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Powered by Transcendental Meditation: Krista Kim and the Techism movement
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13 December 2017
Krista Kim is not only an artist whose digital technology based pieces will blow your mind. She's also the founder of Techism — a new artistic movement.
Image: Guy Hepner
She became a pioneer bridging the gap between art and tech following a dark and painful epoch in her personal life.
''I believe that it's a time of crisis where you really discover who you truly are. It's a great opportunity to really evolve as a person,'' Krista Kim shared in a recent interview.
After her split from her husband, the artist suffered from depression and anxiety. Worried about the well-being of the couple's two kids, Krista Kim begun to think of ways to pull herself back together.
''I began to meditate and I took up Transcendental Meditation. Now, little did I know that through my practice of Transcendental Meditation I would experience an artistic breakthrough, also.
''So really, through the practice of meditation—which I do daily and I'm a huge proponent of—I felt that every aspect of my life, whether it's being a mother, being an artist, being a person, just being myself, it just made everything better, brought it to a new level.'' Krista Kim observes that things falling apart can turn out to be things falling in place instead.
Tapping into the source of creativity
Krista Kim's ''canvas'' is digital images of LED lights. Her ''brushes'' and ''paints'' various kinds of software. For inspiration she uses meditation to dive into the creative silence deep within.
She described the effects of her meditation practice: ''You go down there and you just basically tap into this creative force of intelligence and from where all things come from and this collective intelligence too . . . you go into this deep state of bliss and then when you come out, you feel amazing, you feel like you've touched the sky . . . .''
Transcendental Meditation also helps Krista Kim trust her intuition.
''It's amazing because your intuition grows and I believe the intuition is sort of that connection that we have to something greater than ourselves, it's to that flow of information, that greater intelligence. The stronger your intuition the better decisions you make, especially creatively.
''You get so many amazing ideas and inspiration and you go with it. You're confident and you have that sense of awareness and self-actualization; that self-awareness that's so strong that you know that this is something interesting and I'm just going to run with it and it turns out to be great. Hunches are everything. The intuition is incredible'' . . . .
Krista Kim [is] regular in her daily TM practice . . . . ''As soon as I wake up, the first thing I do, I have to meditate. And then at the end of the day, I like to meditate too. . . . In the morning, and in the evening I do 20 minutes each session,'' she explained.
Painting with light
Krista Kim changed her medium from painting to digital following the realization that her life is bound and shaped by the light dots blinking on the small screen.
''I was always on my screen, communicating with people online on my website, or emailing or watching things on YouTube, or on my Facebook, and I thought, '. . . I'm no longer the same person who is being introduced to this iPhone.' My consciousness, my thought process, the way I process information is different, and my consciousness is all digital. So I was like, okay, I have to use light because light is the new ink.''
That realization became the basis of her thesis while she was studying for her Masters in fine art at La Salle College of the Arts/Goldsmiths in Singapore.
But Krista Kim's work is not just about creative expression.
''I think that art should have a higher purpose. You have a moral responsibility if you're truly creating art. It's very cliché, but you should try and create art that creates a better world. That's where I come from, and that's what I operate from,'' the pioneering artist elaborated on the purpose of her work.
World of digital consciousness
Krista Kim became acutely aware that while the advent of digital communication promised bringing people together — sharing knowledge, collaborating and cooperating — the reality of our online lives is that of isolating bubbles, segregating people based on similar interests and likes through algorithms on social media.
''People are just blindly signing up on the social media platform and becoming extremely addicted to getting likes, and posting these pictures of a life that probably isn't even real. It's inauthentic. Where is the authenticity? Where's that expression of humanity? That's what's missing because you don't have artists and philosophers leading people into a higher ideal of how to exist. Right now, it's basically just driven by parameters of digital technology that we just blindly accept and it's widespread,'' she expressed her concern.
''Art and philosophy really need to catch up here. It's a catch-up game, because I don't think that many people are talking about it, and we need to talk about it because 50 years from now, if we don't have people talking about what it means to be humans and creating that digital humanity that space, we're going to have a future of children and future generation with people without empathy. Like some people who just follow the rules and follow the standard paradigm and can't think outside of the box. That's what I'm afraid of.''
Krista Kim sees what's happening today with digital technology and information age as one of the biggest disruptions in the history of human civilization.
''Humanity is never going to look the same, so these disruptions are not only wide, far-reaching, and global, but they are exponential.''
That's why for her the Techism movement is of utmost importance.
''Being creative is an act of rebellion. I'm not an anarchist. What I am is a person who supports freedom of expression and free will. What we give to the world to retain that sense of independence, to retain that sense of who you are in a world that is becoming more and more confusing, and to algorithms, to artificial intelligence, we are supposed to be more and more streamlined, and controlled and manipulated. This is what Techism is about,'' she explained.
Bombarded with information
One of Krista Kim's missions is to raise people's awareness of the effects this new reality we all live in has on who we are and how we treat one another.
''We're so distracted. I mean, when you think about our generation right now and future generations to come, we are bombarded with thousands of messages every day because we live in this world of digital consciousness where we're constantly communicating on our digital devices. And now it's like a whole concept of reality is a dual reality, like our physical reality and the virtual, the digital reality. So we're grappling with so many different layers of information and there are so many messages. Not all of them are real, but not all of them are meant to be good for you. A lot of them are manipulating,'' she cautioned.
''I want people to really pay attention to their behaviors when it comes to adopting new technology like social media. Do you feel that you're connected, that you're being authentic? Do you feel the void? Do you feel that society is becoming less and less empathetic? Do you feel that people are afraid?
Krista Kim also wants people to pay attention to the way the patterns of thinking fostered in our digital lives shape our consciousness outside the world of screens.
''Well, look at the way people are treating each other now. You've got these dating apps, for example, where you're swiping people left and right. There's no humanity in that. . . . You're just another name or a thing. I mean, but it actually affects how we treat people. And it actually does affect our standard of behavior, which is not a good thing.
''So, I definitely want art and philosophy to really have a strong voice in this context. And you open people's eyes and open their hearts. Open their hearts because our behaviors really dictate who we are. And if we continue behaving this way, in an inhuman way, I'm really afraid that our society will become like a fascist society in future.''
''The more involved artists are in conversation amongst leading-edge technology innovators, the more humane the future becomes. If art is left out of that conversation, you have a tech revolution that is devoid of human element. We must have art thrive in the world of technology, because it can.'' She remains optimistic about the power of art in turning things in a positive direction.
Creating a better tomorrow
It is in this context of historical shifts that Krista Kim views meditation as being especially of value.
''I believe that intuition is a gift of all human beings and meditation is something that could really facilitate that strengthening of intuition. I believe that if everyone were to meditate — and I strongly believe that everyone should — the world would be a better place because you cannot lie to people who meditate because the intuition's so strong. . . . Your moral compass, your grasp on reality and what's real and what's not real is so strong that it's hard to fool a person,'' she argued.
She also hopes that her artwork brings the audience into a state of pure consciousness.
''I cannot say that I have really, truly succeeded until I think I have made an impact with my activism around the world. And I just want to see people understand that we could be better. We could be better, and we can be better human beings. I know it. And we could use technology as a tool for that,'' she summed up her mission.
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