You wake up in the winter of 2045. It’s midnight, and a 3D hologram of the sun hovers above. Prescribed by your AI physician, you remember that it’s supposed to boost your vitamin D levels, and ease you into another day of life lived online. Anticipation sets in, so it must be working. After scarfing down a nutrient-dense pack of pink goo for breakfast, you mount your omnidirectional treadmill, don your full-body haptic suit and VR helmet, and clock in to your job as education director at one of the world’s largest metaverse art museums.
Although this reality is still a ways off, this is the type of contingency that futurists like Krista Kim are building.
The metaverse has come to mean different things to varying digitally-native groups, brands, and individuals. But in the minds of creators, this fabled next iteration of the internet is beginning to take shape.
To truly understand what virtual existence has in store for us three-dimensional Earth-dwellers, it takes a special sort of imagination and disposition. And to envision the digitization of life itself, people like Kim have to bring the concept from fiction to concrete fact.
Life makes art makes digital life
From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem like Krista Kim is living her life ten years in the future. But in reality, she may be more grounded in the present than most of her contemporaries.
Founder of the Techism movement, Kim has centered her career around the concept of the digital consciousness. Speaking on the early days of her identity as an artist, Kim says that her worldview was drawn inward, focused on how technology affected herself and those around her.
As an art student in 2013, Kim found herself paying attention to the revolutionary effects digital technology can have on human perception, media, social structures, and communication. “Slowly but surely, I had stopped writing, I was only texting and typing. So I thought, ‘Well, then why am I painting?’” Kim said in an interview with nft now.
“I thought that I should start working with light. Because our screens — computers, digital interfaces on screens — are communicating with us,” says Kim. “I just knew that I had to create art out of light. Because light is the new ink.”
Inevitably, Kim found it necessary to work half and half in the digital and physical realm, first kicking off her artistic journey with a focus on shifting gradients, where she earned accolades over the years for her work with glass and Plexi. But as life began to change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim found herself venturing toward a career building the metaverse.
How Krista Kim is building the future
When NFTs began to bubble up in 2021, Kim was already months into her journey of discovering the unique and novel ways digital creators tokenized their art on the blockchain. With a few of her own pieces minted on the blockchain, only a few days after Beeple’s iconic Everydays auction concluded, Kim found her own shining moment with the landmark sale of her NFT, Mars House.
After Mars House closed with a winning bid of 288 ETH (around $512,000), Kim became synonymous with virtual real estate. A compilation of her digital art mastery and zen philosophy, Mars House brought forth a renewed concept of digital dwellings, one that was geared directly towards an NFT-enabled metaverse.
As Kim puts it, the sale of Mars House undeniably marked a paradigm shift into the metaverse. “It’s the first house that you can experience in the metaverse in VR that was sold as an NFT. It’s the first property that integrates a metaverse component and it’s the first artwork that is a metaverse artwork,” she told nft now.
But while the event definitely garnered Kim a wealth of media coverage — not to mention lasting respect in the NFT community — outside of the Web3 space, the triumph was misunderstood by many.
“When the spotlight was on it, people didn’t quite understand what I was, or what the metaverse was… For most architects at the time, it was just a digital house. ‘Here’s a rendering that we create all the time for our clients, and this person just sold 3D rendering,’” said Kim. But with grace, she took this in stride, interpreting criticism as confirmation that public misunderstanding came from her being “too far ahead”. By sticking with it, her true metaverse-building goals started to come to fruition in 2021.
As Kim evolved into a sort of poster child for virtual real estate and the movement toward Web3, her growing fame has expanded her versatility as a builder. With a sustained focus on techism and futurism, Kim has brought her ideas and ideals into the spotlight with her, rather than conforming to fit an “NFT celebrity” frame.
Furthermore, Kim’s sustained knack for innovation has helped solidify her name not only in Web3 spaces, but also in the traditional art world — a familiar place to her, before NFTs. And as evidence of her efforts, she became one of the first female artists welcomed into LACMA’s permanent collection via the legacy institution’s new acquisition fund.
To Kim her achievements helped her broaden the horizons of the human experience by using NFTs as a vehicle for positive social change and healing in the metaverse. Her art continues to proliferate across the metaverse, and her landmark Mars House sale undoubtedly helped kick off a virtual land grab. Now she’s breaking new ground by harnessing the power of the metaverse for good.
“I’m going to create the first immersive wellbeing installations and experiences that help you breathe… You know, there’s nothing better than to immerse the human brain into inspiring spaces because it is scientifically proven that the beauty we witness through art is healing,” said Kim.
“Many hospitals are already prescribing museum visits to patients who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues,” added Kim. “For this reason, if we can harness the power of the metaverse to truly trick the brain into believing what it sees, then you know, we have real power to create beautiful, scientific healing experiences that are accessible.”
Krista Kim’s vision of the metaverse
Although many still associate Kim with the future of metaverse real estate, she is quickly becoming a beacon of positivity within the NFT space. Profits from many of her NFT endeavors feed directly back into projects she’s building, and this onward march of creation has enhanced her unique persona in the wider Web3 ecosystem.
In the near future, Kim hopes to continue her work toward a benevolent metaverse, starting with plans to create what she calls a “learn to earn” mechanism. In her forthcoming platform 0.xyz, she aims to build ecosystems and digital experiences capable of uplifting human potential.
“We just want to make wellness and meditative-ness and healing a mainstream practice for kids who are used to playing video games. We want to make it entertaining, so we believe that this is the way forward,” Kim told nft now. “Only 15 percent of the world meditates. But, you know, for the rest of the world, art can actually create that calming experience, scientifically, and so it’s quite exciting. We’re really at the forefront and pioneering this intersection.”
Despite the abundance of new platforms coming from Zuckerberg’s Meta, Yuga Labs’ Otherside, and more, the metaverse boils down to digital identity in virtual space. To many, this means augmented reality, NFTs, and VR headsets; but to Kim, it’s clear that enhancing the human experience is the most essential facet of the metaverse.
But it’s not easy to gain traction in the metaverse, even as a prominent Web3 builder. That’s why Kim’s grand vision will take time to grow. And while NFTs and crypto have pushed countless into new Web3 territory, Kim continues to illustrate how real change, regardless of industry or market situation, can only happen human to human.
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