This Kiwi Artist’s Warrior-Vixen Critiques the Portrayal of Women in Virtual Spaces
Welcome to Korean-New Zealander Hye Rim Lee’s fantasyland.
“My 3D‐animation project is a fantasyland where dream and reality mix. It speaks to the manipulation and perception of female sexual identity worldwide and virtualised images of women.”
Lee seeks to create a nostalgic paradise, mingling the world of her childhood with an inorganic cyber world of fantasy, dream and virtual relationships. She’s building a fictional world around her own myths, using “symbols of Asian identity and culture,” familiar virtual iconography, and TOKI, a “highly stylised curvaceous, warrior‐cum‐vixen” to critique virtual worlds.
Conceived in 2002, TOKI parodies the idealised female forms found in “Asian manga and anime culture, computer gaming and cyberculture,” and her name—Korean for rabbit—brings to mind both the innocence of childhood pets and Playboy bunnies. The relationship between sexuality and innocence, reality and fantasy, western and eastern, are all key themes in Lee’s work.
Virtual worlds are often fantasies constructed by white men, and Lee examines the potentially problematic ways they influence us, all the while keeping it personal.
“My work is an unnerving mix of cutesy, saccharine imagery and sexual undertones. My images insert fantastical narratives from my childhood fantasies into a computer-generated Eden-like space,” – Hye Rim Lee.
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