“Will Your Heart Pass the Test?” is a new charitable digital collectible that will be auctioned to benefit The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change & #StopAAPIHate on December 8th.
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’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.
‘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.
Vicki Dobbs Beck, VP of Immersive Content Innovation at ILMxLAB adds, “We saw this as a unique and compelling way to use emerging technologies and our collective talents to raise awareness and funding for two very deserving organizations dedicated to racial justice. We are honored to help bring Drue
Kataoka’s artistic vision to life and together, innovate across art, storytelling, and technology – all with the goal of positive social impact.”
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.
Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, said: “The King Center and I are proud to participate in this historic NFT artwork. Drue Kataoka shares our vision that powerful emerging technologies like blockchain and AI should be bent towards the purpose of social justice, not just commercialization and militarization. Her multi-decade commitment to the intersection of art and technology as a social force for good can inspire the next generation of diverse youth to help us build the Beloved Community.”
Cynthia Choi, Co-Founder of Stop AAPI Hate and Co-Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action, reiterated: “We are deeply humbled to be the beneficiary along with The King Center for this cutting edge NFT art collaboration led by the visionary Drue Kataoka. It is our hope that it will compel each of us to hold a mirror up as individuals and collectively on how we emerge from this profoundly painful period. We are excited by the potential of art to heal, to explore injustices and catalyze civic action.”
The demand for NFTs has remained strong this past year, with more traditional contemporary art buyers wishing to add works of the new medium to their growing collections. Rebekah Bowling, Phillips’ Senior Specialist of 20th Century & Contemporary Art said, “Drue Kataoka has cemented her reputation as one of the most innovative artists and activists of our time and ‘Will Your Heart Pass the Test?’ is poised to completely reimagine the way we look at charitable giving. The impact of her vision extends far beyond the worlds of art and technology and Phillips is honored to work so closely with her in supporting The King Center and #StopAAPIHate.”
De’Leice R. Drane, Special Assistant and Advisor to the CEO, The King Center summarizes, “Will Your Heart Pass the Test? is a breathtaking concept, and a breathtaking piece. When we see this piece, we know we need to search our own hearts. It makes you think about the weight of that heart and it pushes us to realize we’ve got work to do on the scales of injustice. The art speaks to everyone, regardless of your religion or race or background. Because we all have a heart.”
For more information about the auction, please visit these web pages: