Drue Kataoka, leading Japanese American artist-technologist-activist and CEO of global art studio Drue Kataoka Art Studios, announced a new charitable non-fungible token (NFT) initiative in collaboration with ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s pioneering immersive entertainment studio. Entitled ‘Will Your Heart Pass the Test?’, the audio-visual NFT will be auctioned by Phillips. The auction is set to go live December 8th, 2021 at 9:00 AM PT / 12:00 noon ET and culminate on December 15th, 2021 at 9:00 AM PT / 12:00 noon ET.
100% of the auction proceeds will benefit two esteemed American civil rights organizations, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) and #StopAAPIHate.
“This project has been a labor of love for a huge team across London, Singapore, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Las Vegas. In the male-dominated world of art, technology, crypto, and visual effects, it’s remarkable that this project was led by women from 5 inspiring organizations covering the art, vision, execution and non-profit dimensions”Drue Kataoka
‘Will Your Heart Pass the Test?’ was created in response to the growing number of racist and sexist imagery within the NFT ecosystem. The piece serves as a reminder that while the internet, social media, and mobile technologies have served as a democratizing force in communications and content creation, there have been missed opportunities to confront an exhausted, suffering world plagued by the social ills of racism and sexism. The full NFT debuted on November 4th at Dreamverse in New York, the World’s first NFT Art and Music Festival.
Kataoka’s work was inspired in part by a 3,500-year-old myth from the Ancient Egyptian text ‘The Book of the Dead’. According to it, the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ ceremony determines whether a person’s soul is fit to move on to the afterlife, and involves weighing one’s heart against a feather on a scale. Kataoka’s NFT depicts the rite as a call for introspection among the humans of today: technologists, politicians, business leaders, influencers, opinion-makers, and everybody who cares.
“At the end of our lives, how will we be judged? The problems we face are of our own making. But time is slipping away with every beat of our hearts, and turning the tide becomes increasingly harder. Instead, are we hiding our individual responsibility behind the collective “we” and finger-pointing, while sexism and racism comfortably colonize the next wave of revolutionary technologies?” elaborated Kataoka. Created in collaboration with ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s legendary immersive entertainment studio, the resulting NFT is an impressive, complex technological feat with each frame taking 20 minutes to render, resulting in a total of 23 days to render the full NFT.
Kataoka is a longtime friend and supporter of The King Center and a vocal representative of the #StopAAPIHate movement. With her work sitting at the intersection of innovation and activism, Kataoka has leveraged new technology platforms and NFTs to raise over $500,000 USD for social justice causes in 2021 so far.
To accompany the auction, Kataoka will host an opening day discussion on Clubhouse about the artwork starting at 9:00 AM PT / 12:00 noon ET on December 8 2021, and an auction closing event at 8:00 AM PT / 11 AM ET on December 15 2021.