A modern-day zen garden opened this past Friday, October 1st, at the Fort York Historic Site in Toronto, Canada. Contemporary artist Krista Kim brings her vision of wellness to the world via CONTINUUM: a meditative 20-minute generated animation aimed at improving mental health through active self-care participation.
A freestanding 100-foot video wall will showcase the magnificent video installation that was part of an exhibit curated by Steve Aoki; and sold through Sotheby’s auction house the night before its debut as an NFT for $113,400 USD. The large-scale piece is a collaboration between Kim, Efren Mur, and American rock musician and guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins Jeff Schroeder. Shroeder brought the art to life with soothing, melodic acoustics, and also performed live intermittently throughout the 4-day exhibition.
The project was born in 2017 as a result of Kim’s three-year Japanese sojourn. According to Kim:
“I would visit a Ryōan-ji temple garden in Kyoto three or four times a year because this is the place where I had my artistic epiphany. In this space I learned that art and the environment become a mirror of the mind. What you see becomes a part of you. It was beautifully manicured, very minimalist with lots of negative space between the stones and so you realize that the negative space imbues consciousness into the viewer. And I knew, in that moment, that I wanted to create zen consciousness through my art.”
Kim, who practices meditation herself and says she is, “sensitive to matters of mental health and wellness,” admits it’s a natural extension of her practice. In this way it was always her vision to bring this concept to individuals and their communities at large through a movement she has coined “techism”- promoting the confluence of art and technology as a medium to further the development of digital humanism during this unique period of technological innovation, adaptation, and disruption.
According to Kim:, “I wrote the manifesto because I was feeling my attention span dissipate. I was always distracted by my digital devices and social media. And if I was experiencing this constant disruption of focus and energy, then billions of people around the world must be feeling the same way. I thought it was important for art and philosophy to enter the realm of technology in order to create balance and make it more humane.”
With her Digital Consciousness series, Kim gathers massive walls of LED lights to digitally paint and manifest her artworks. The immersive experience sets out to facilitate the feeling of meditativeness by producing an effect of decompression and calm through colour and sound. Kim says she was stunned and surprised by the outpouring of support for the project, “People spent hours in our space because they were given permission to be vulnerable and to heal. They would actually say to me, ‘I needed this.’”
As to the role NFTs played with the project and the future of the rapidly evolving space, Kim is quick to point out that they can provide a much greater benefit than most people realize. She references the fact that in our modern-day society we have very little connection to community:
“The functionality NFTs provide in terms of giving the control and dominion back to the artists will be a game-changer because we will see artists start to reinvest back into the communities that they are a part of. This project is a wonderful example of how we can start a movement through that power. I’d like to demonstrate and showcase to the world that NFTs can actually lift humanity up in this way.”
This is just the start of what Kim hopes to accomplish. Even though someone now owns the celebrated video as an NFT, as the artist she owns the copyright and says she never sells the usage rights for her works. The exhibit returns to Aranya China on October 15th, then on to Art Basel in Miami, Florida in December. Then who knows… She is planning a world tour of zen.
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The piece was live in Toronto, Canada, at the Fort York Historic Site, located at 250 Fort York Blvd., from October 1st to 4th, 2021.