Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Eunsol Lee/ Kimberly Lee
Kimberly Lee is the name of a bodiless character brought to life through 3D rendering. Using the character Kimberly Lee, Lee Eun-sol visualizes the idea of the existence of contemporary objects. It is essential to Kimberly's existence that her creator continues to create new landscapes and spaces to ensure Kimberly’s sustainability.
Construction of a Virtual World
Current, yet delayed destination, called Decentraland
“Popcorn Prophet_trailer_001” (2020~) is a project series that explores and simulates Kimberly Lee as a member of Decentraland, with its virtual economy and real estate market based on cryptocurrencies and recorded on blockchains.
Decentraland (DCL) is a distributed virtual world running on a blockchain using the Etherum ERC-721 token. Land in Decentraland is not owned by the central authority. Theoretically, the owner of the land compartment is in charge and anyone can build whatever they want on the virtual land. Their vision is to allow Decentraland to evolve into the same form as "The Oasis" as in the movie Ready Player One.
Decentralization is their main distinction, but the imagined result of this real estate business is the current appearance of Million Dollar Homepage. Can virtual reality avatars--who act as billboards on decentralized lands like billboards that cut and sell pixels on Web pages--be seen as our ideal future?
With these questions, Kimberly aims to collaborate with Youtuber Ryu.Free. Ryu.Free is a developer and YouTuber who conducts lectures on blockchain, and has a plan to run a game business by purchasing land in Decentraland for the purpose of profit. Since Kimberly doesn't own land, she works as a part-time worker in Ryu.Free’s business, creating his virtual workplace and helping in the creation of games. So the destination (dot) is, to be precise, settled in the cycle of generating revenue there. However, the work involved in game production is long, rugged, and tedious. In the process, Kimberly continues her endless ontological concerns and simulates the aftermath of generating profits in Decentraland, while delaying its conclusion. The delay in endings amounts to the simulations piling up unintentionally, with destructive endings. Thus, Kimberly's simulation series will continue to multiply into multiple versions, starting from the origin each time. It is as if an episode about Kimberly's journey in “Happy Easter” (2020~) is in a state of infinite creation.
Wandering with Kimberly's anxiety
"Happy Easter” (2020~) is a project that records Kimberly's journey to Decentraland, which is then published on instagram. Being included in the blockchain economy--an alternative to the real economy-- and communicating with followers and participating colleagues on Instagram, shows the experimental variations on how Kimberly Lee exists, and the process of imagining and realizing our near future, which is quite nearly here.
In Happy Easter, Kimberly continues to move through various contexts and situations. It is also a celebratory march of starting anew; the separation from the body and the start of a new life. Yet despite this jubulitive feeling, she still must face a series of unexpected ups and downs, pressed upon the individual within the context of the capitalist landscape. This journey also shows the time lag between the human imagination and the reality of technological progress, as the aforementioned activities in Decentraland are considered the most defining scenes on the roadmap. They remind viewers of the encapsulation of a movie trailer format, while the actual project remains endless in real time. The plot goes hand in hand with the sense of time distortion among living individuals who experience a completely different speed of time, while simultaneously waiting endlessly for a future that has yet to come.
Kimberly meets her colleagues and has nightmares during the journey, which are recorded through a first-person VR camera, in something like a hand-held technique. The production, which provides a sense of being together in Kimberly's environment, and a sense of overlapping with the eyes of the first person, provides a visual passage for inviting the viewer into Kimberly's world.
Kimberly's world is a virtual environment based on Unity, a game engine. All of the scenes which have been created, have been posted serially onto instagram. Each scene's manufactured result is dependent upon how the scene is built. For example, it could be built through traditional desktop-based games, or with a piece of VR content that led up to a piece within the narrative. Thus, the resulting form implies the possibility for any given variation adapting to the environment in which it is shown. However, that's only possible if the 3D game engine program, Unity, maintains the current platform and constantly provides updates. Kimberly is always anxious, because it is almost impossible to do so, and one day it will require an exorbitant fee or the stoppage of game engine development in order for her to survive. Lee Eun-sol is preemptively working to create countermeasures.
Is it possible to imagine Kimberly's presence outside the platform? As virtual reality gradually melds with our daily lives, there is little possibility that the virtual existence of Kimberly can exist on its own, completely detached from the physical world. At this point, the only context in which Kimberly can be completely free is in the simulation. (Even this, however, leads Kimberly paradoxically back to reality.) Simulating virtual reality - is the escape only in the imagination? Will scenarios regarding escapism from daily life be overrun with the same brutal conditions we live under today? Will it even be possible to escape within our own imaginations?
Lee Eun-sol debuted her “Doomsday Video” (2020), under the authorship of Choi Yoon x Kimberly Lee in May, 2020. Kimberly also ran an Instagram account and began posting her series "Happy Easter" (2020~). She is working currently in conjunction with YouTuber Lyu.Free, on the piece "Popcorn Prophet" (2020~).
BBC Stories. (2018, August 27).
Decentraland: The virtual land selling for millions - BBC Stories [Video file].
Retrieved from https://youtu.be/TgXGq_8esw0
A blockchain-based virtual-reality universe, Decentraland is holding its first property auction today. The virtual world is a social space linked to crypto coin-based transactions. You can buy a patch of virtual land, build something on it, share that experience with friends and family, or even turn it into a profitable business.
Decentraland’s launch is emblematic of a kind of showdown happening in the VR world at the moment. As virtual reality headsets and mobile VR become more readily available and affordable, big tech companies such as Facebook and Microsoft are taking strides to claim what some see as an unfair share of an industry destined to be worth over $70 billion in a few years.
Decentraland shows the potential of blockchain and VR combined [VentureBeat]. (2017, December 15).
Alex Tew. (2005, August 26).
Million Dollar Homepage
Retrieved December 16, 2020, http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/
류프리. (2018, August 27).
“드디어 땅을 샀습니다.” [Video file].
Ryu.Free. (2018, August 27).
“I finally bought the land.” [Video file].
Retrieved from https://youtu.be/aSEzCNeb2SQ
About the Artist/Author:
Lee Eun-sol: The name Kimberly Lee comes from her experience of not noticing that someone hacked Lee Eun-sol's Instagram in 2017 and changed her name to Kimberly. This signified an intervention in EunSol’s life which highlighted the structural framework of our virtual identities, as the maintainers of such accounts stay busy managing their own image as an avatar, much in the way EunSol manages the life of an avatar itself.
M.A. Fine Art, Korea National University of Arts, Seoul, Korea
B.F.A. Fine Art, Korea National University of Arts, Seoul, Korea
ACC Asia Culture Center "Solicarity Spores"
"Doomsday Video" Kimberly Lee x Yun Choi
Peace and Culture Center, Studio8
Performing arts project
Seongmisan Village Theater "Gap is Drag"