Interview: Krista Kim

#Techism, Exploring the Merger of Technology and Art


UNLEASHED x Medium features inspiring female trailblazers through full Q&A interviews. These women are creating new own opportunities across industries, pursuing positive impact for their communities, and leading socially productive practices in life and work at large.


In a building tucked away in Manhattan, New York leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the transformation of earned success into new opportunity, a conversation that prioritized the words “impact”, “philanthropy”, and “progress”. The formal event is known as the Success for Progress Luncheon, hosted by Ohana & Co. and our board members Kara Ross and Susan Rockefeller. While the event itself was something worth writing about, we wanted to follow up with one of the characters that contributed to the conversation — an innovator hailing from the fields of art and technology.

Krista Kim, founder of the Techism© movement (est. 2014), is a contemporary artist who focuses on utilizing technological innovation as an artistic medium, encouraging artists and engineers alike to positively empower the development of humanity in the digital space. Kim was chosen by Lanvin, the oldest couture house in France, to collaborate on their fall-winter 2018 collection, calling her work “emblematic of neo-modernity”. Hailing from places like Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore, and holding degrees from La Salle College of the Arts, Goldsmiths University of London, and the University of Toronto, Kim, like the wave of the internet and new technologies, spans a global reach. Showcasing her work at a variety of global art fairs including New York, Paris, and beyond, she aims to promote meditative experiences through technologically inspired art, bringing humanness to and from digital environments.

After meeting Kim at the Success for Progress Luncheon, we wanted to hear her full story — the things that inspire her work, her plans for the future, her personal journeys, and the values she holds for women empowerment, philanthropy, and societal progress at large. Below are the collaborative results of the curiosity we foster here at UNLEASHED and the unsurmountable thoughtfulness, talent, and intellect of Krista Kim.

Krista Kim showcasing her Sound and Light Meditative Installation project in Jacksonville, Florida, in collaboration with sound healing artist Tenille Bentley. // Photo by Toni Smailagic

Who is your sheHERO?

Leanor Fini was a celebrated artist of the Surrealist art movement, and she was the only recognized female contemporary of the Surrealists, including Max Ernst, Man Ray and Salvador Dali. I respect Leonor because she was fearless and had the tenacity of expressing herself with unapologetically bold talent during a period when women struggled for equality. Leonor was an original feminist, sexually liberated, who painted dream like scenes of feminine strength and sexuality despite public controversy. With strong intellect and tenacity, she paved the way for the modern woman of the 21st-century. She is my sheHERO because she was a disruptor who was instrumental in breaking down barriers of sexism, whilst being celebrated as an artistic genius.

Kim atthe 8th Annual Success for Progress Luncheon, hosted by Ohana & Co.

What exciting projects are you working on?

I am very excited about writing my book on Techism, which I plan to complete over the summer and publish early next year. I am also focussed on a solo exhibition in Paris and in New York later this year, in tandem with the global launch of the fall/winter collection of my fashion collaboration with Lanvin. I also have international speaking engagements booked in May in Moscow and in Paris, plus public art installation projects currently in planning internationally.

What are some other goals you have for the future or new things you’d like to try? What steps are you taking so far to get there?

After completing my book project, I would like to produce a documentary film or TV series. I am also speaking with artist collaborators and technology leaders to plan how my program would be structured. I can already see it!

Freedom of thought, individualism and equality in a future of digital disruption and technological advancement is important for the future of humanity.

What are some ways you believe art influences our world (that people might not often think about)

Algorithms are controlling our interactions on social media platforms, and a vast culture of sharing and liking has created an egocentric society that is lacking in humanity and connectedness. It is our very connectedness on social media platforms that is diminishing real human connection.

Artists express humanity in their work. The contribution of art using digital technology will create a more connected and humane culture, which will affect how our society chooses to use and innovate digital technology for the future. It is the demonstration of possibilities of technology as a tool for humanity that will create a more balanced culture.

Artworks from Kim’s collaboration with Lanvin, selected for the Fall/Winter 2018 collection by Olivier Lapidus. The color cards for the collection were taken from each artwork, used for the fabric prints made to design each clothing item.
Left: №1 v.9, Digital Algorithm Painting by Krista Kim, the inspiration for Lanvin look 18, fall/winter 2018. Right: №1005 v.25, Digital Algorithm Painting by Krista Kim, the inspiration for Lanvin look 3, fall/winter 2018.

Techism is a movement that recognizes technological innovation as an artistic medium, and encourages artists to promote digital humanism in the formation of culture. Collaboration, co-creation and dialogue with engineers and technology leaders is key to this movement, because we are in a transition phase between institutionalized “painting & sculpture” tradition of human creative expression, into digital.

Freedom of thought, individualism and equality in a future of digital disruption and technological advancement is important for the future of humanity. We recognize the unique challenges that society will face from social media platforms, algorithms and AI in this new and uncharted future and we choose to express connectedness, humanity and transcendence at the forefront of technological innovation through collaboration, dialogue and freedom of expression.

Life isn’t a popularity contest: be happy with who you are. Forgive and be kind to yourself.

What sources have significantly inspired your art (place, person, experience, worldview…)? What are some important life philosophies or values you’d encourage others to consider?

While living in Singapore over five years ago, I separated from my ex-husband of seven years, and it was a very difficult divorce. My children, at the time, were ages two and four, and I suffered from crippling depression and anxiety. I had to find a way to be strong for my children, so I decided to learn transcendental meditation. During this period, I was enrolled in a Masters of Arts program, and I struggled to find my artistic voice, because I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Daily meditation saved my life, because it cured my depression and anxiety, and I connected to an infinite flow of creative energy, which helped me make artistic decisions through my heightened intuition to create art on a whole new level. Through meditation, I achieved an artistic breakthrough, which helped me regain confidence and independence after seven years in a toxic codependent relationship. I graduated with special recognition for my artwork, and my thesis and research became the groundwork for the Techism art movement.

Another artwork from the Krista Kim x Lanvin collaboration.

I want my art to be a meditative space for the viewer. Meditation and mindfulness are practices that will counter and heal our communities from the sociopathic effects of digital disruption. I want to bring this awareness to the world through my work. After observing how digital disruption and social media is affecting our social behavior and culture, I felt compelled to write a Techism manifesto in 2014, and to dedicate my efforts toward promoting digital humanism.

Kim’s Video & Sound Installation, exhibited in Jacksonville last November and currently planned to premiere in multiple locations globally. Sound artist: Tenille Bentley.
Video & Sound Installation. Photo by: Toni Smailagic.

What advice would you give to your 22 year old self?

Travel as much as you can, and live abroad. Pursue your passion and there is no such thing as failure. Never give up and learn from your mistakes. It doesn’t matter what other people think — follow your intuition. Be humble and kind. Life isn’t a popularity contest: be happy with who you are. Forgive and be kind to yourself. Seek mentors whom you admire and who care for your well being. Focus on you: Invest and work on yourself. Meditate. Have as much fun and adventure as you can!

Giving back is important because the empowerment and education of women — mothers — around the world, strengthens communities, directly alleviates poverty, prevents radicalization, and promotes sustainability for future generations. The future is female.

Biggest pet peeve?

Lousy architecture.

Favorite thing that makes you happy?

Firstly, hugs and cuddles from my beautiful children, Kenton and Ava. Secondly, my favorite thing is to share ideas with brilliant minds, and to create work that inspires me, then bring it into the world to inspire others.

Why do you think empowering women and giving back is important?

I believe that we are all one. Giving back is important because the empowerment and education of women — mothers — around the world, strengthens communities, directly alleviates poverty, prevents radicalization, and promotes sustainability for future generations. The future is female.