Creating for the Metaverse: Brands, NFTs, and Emerging Virtual Worlds

BY Claire Mirran

An Interview with Krista Kim

It’s 2021. Your children are now asking to buy Bitcoin. You own Gucci’s $12 Digital Sneakers that you will never wear, and an artist named Beeple sold his NFT at Christie’s for $69 Million.

With the fast paced rise of Decentralization, Cryptocurrencies and NFTs in 2020–2021, we are living in the wild west of digital creation alongside a deep cultural and technological transformation. In an effort to better understand this complex and fast-changing landscape, the Kinestry team sat down with Krista Kim, a digital Contemporary Artist who founded the Techism movement in 2014, who sold her Mars House NFT for a record high of $500,000 on Superrare.

Krista stood out to us for many reasons. Above all her collaborations and capabilities, Krista’s vision for the future comes from her practice of meditative design. She believes technology and wellness must go hand and hand to ensure a brighter and happier future for all of humanity. With that, she is also a participant of the Crypto revolution and deeply rooted in seeing a decentralized future- more to come on what drives her work.

Image: Mars House
Tell us about your inspiration for Mars House and how you arrived at the sale of this NFT.

“I have to go back in time to give context of how my art evolved into the Mars House. The foundation of my art is through expressing pure consciousness and meditativeness through the light of the screen. I, myself, went through a deep journey with transcendental meditation, dealing with my own anxiety and depression. I, now, practice it twice a day, every day.

Image: Mars House

My vision is to create a meditative space for the viewer. Right now, we are bombarded by data, information and surveillance capitalism. And for the most part, this technology is not made to make us feel better.

“Mars House will forever live as an NFT, so let it represent an art movement for humanity through the power of digital technology. Let it remind future generations that we are here to create a new and better world.” — KK”

Image: A VR Spacewalk produced by the BBCREWIND / BBC
You‘ve said in previous conversations, “FAANG companies are all the forefront of culture, whether they like it or not. And all tech companies have a responsibility to act with that in consideration.” Do you think we are headed in that direction?

With past-paced advancements in VR, AR and XR, the opportunities for full or partial immersion are here today. You can now split your lunch break with a quick space walk at ISS or play a quick game of virtual ping pong. The possibilities for human creation and interaction with technology are perhaps endless and the experiences continue to feel more and more real, almost blurring the lines with reality. The companies that produce the hardware and software that provide these experiences have a serious responsibility to protect our wellbeing.

“I believe we are headed in the right direction. As a collective, we have all experienced a pandemic, which means we all have collective empathy. People were given the chance to reflect and think on their lives. People had to sit down and face who they are, not on automatic mode anymore.

We are hypersensitive to viruses, including companies that act as a virus. I believe we are already for this next step in evolution. People are awake, ready to leave their echo chambers, tired of fake news.

Image: Wilder World

And now people are investing in a new future, and that is the crypto revolution. And then there is the concept of the Metaverse. We have kids playing on Roblox (a Metaverse game). The younger generations are digital natives, growing up on a second “digital” plane. We are entering a phase of human civilization that will be transcendent.

Metaverse worlds present beautiful opportunities for interaction. And this will effect how we live and evolve in the real world in ways we can not imagine.”

Image: NFT CryptoArt
The NFT dust will eventually settle, and the industries where there is long-term value are determined, in terms of accessibility do you think NFTs will remain luxury items? Will they power the Metaverse in ways we can’t imagine?

“For my art, I envision creating a new civilization, a new standard of how we can co-create the world, a new standard for human beings. Art will serve a function to help create new worlds, as it always does. And co-creation and collaboration will continue to become more important.

Metaverse brings new opportunity for creativity and empathy. Overtime, people will continue to lose their jobs to the forces of automation. This will cause a lot of disruption and force people to support themselves through creative opportunities we can not quite imagine. ”

Can you tell us more about 888?

888 The New world is a digital marketplace that empowers creators to share their work in varying degrees, from showcasing their first-ever minted piece, to getting selected for unique exhibition opportunities. It is owned an operated by various NFT artists and collectors. 8.88% of all profits will employ a team of people to travel the world in search of artisanal artists in developing countries, to help them transform their physical work into digital form. That work will be auctioned off with 100% of proceeds going to artists and their local communities.

“This group of people want to create a better world. Most of them have amassed their fortunes in Crypto, “Crypto OGs”. For people in this movement, they are visionaries. They want an egalitarian world. Anyone that sits on this wavelength wants to see a better world. And the beauty of this revolution is that it is silent, peaceful and efficient. These collectors see art as a vehicle for creating a new world. An art collector like 888, who has a philanthropic motivation behind what he does, this makes the platform centered around community, social capital and investing in artisans. And of course all these artists will keep 100% their sales to support themselves and their communities.”

This is an extremely really powerful paradigm shift, which can change the lives of artists across all mediums.

So Decentralization and Crypto, was that the perfect storm for you? How did that influence your last two years?

“In 2018, I read Surveillance Capitalism. This exposed the darker invasive business practices that exploit people and their data.”

“Data is the new oil. Data is power. Whoever controls your data, controls you.”

“Data is our property and must be recognized as a human right. If someone is going to make money from our data, shouldn’t we know and have control over it?

Of course, then came 2020. I had a very incredible and productive time. And I watched as the US begin to print and print more and more money. It didn’t feel right. So I spent some time researching and I discovered Bitcoin (BTC) , Ethereum (ETH) and the world of decentralization. I see decentralization as the greatest movement for all institutions, legacy systems, economic, political, even personal. It’s about shared functionality within a society.”

And how can people educate themselves further on this topic?

“I personally listen to thought leaders in the space. Michael Saylor-Founder and CEO of Microstrategy -is a good place to start, Cathie Wood-Founder and CEO of ARK Invest- as well. I think the key is to dive deep and understand as many viewpoints as possible. I believe Bitcoin (BTC) will become worth millions of dollars in the coming years.”

Image: Marse House
So, what is next on your list of projects? Where to next?

“My mission as an artist is to create a better world, especially through XR. It is such a powerful medium, and must be put in the right hands. 888 and SuperWorld are my systemic action in business.”

SuperWorld is a virtual world where users can buy, sell, collect, and curate over 64 billion unique plots of virtual land.

“I think it is important to also be involved in business as an artist. And both of these companies understand and ensure to uplift artists they work with and give them space to be heard. This is conscious capitalism. I believe for my own art, I want to bring digital beauty and public art installations. The majority of the Mars House proceeds have gone to my foundation.

I am collaborating with Jeff Shroeder, the composer who scored Mars House. We are going on a world tour to host exhibitions of my installations. We are basically putting up the biggest LED wall in the world, as a meditative installation with the aim of bringing people together to heal.

I am very interested in social impact NFTs. Collectors and artists have an opportunity to join forces, and NFTs can become vehicles to finance philanthropic efforts. On Superworld, for example, we are creating artwork for the Flint Water Festival. Every artist (13 of us) is creating an NFT that is uniquely tied to a charity. That charity will receive a donation from the initial sale as well as continuous donations from resale royalties. And we hope to continue to do more of these social impact projects.”

Krista sees a future wherein Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Extended Reality (XR) are a part or our everyday lives. A world where smart contracts power virtual ecosystems and artists around the world have creative agency. “We could foresee in the future that we would have digital architecture,” Ms. Kim said, where with augmented reality glasses, “people would spend times in digital homes, digital spaces.”

And the opportunities for human creativity will be endless.

We look forward to following Krista’s next projects as she brings her digital work to life.

About Krista Kim

Krista Kim is a contemporary artist and founder of the Techism movement since 2014, promoting the confluence of art and technology, and technological innovation as a medium to further the development of digital humanism.

Krista sold “the first NFT Digital Home in the world’ and hit an all time high record sale on Superrare.

Forbes describes Krista as the “new digital Rothko”, and she was chosen by LANVIN to collaborate on their 2018 fall/winter collection. Krista was the first artist in history to exhibit on the iconic square of Palais de Tokyo Museum of Paris for Nuit Blanche 2018. Krista earned her Masters of Arts Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts / University of London.