It's Thursday and as usual, our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here with us in the studio to share what is trending these days in the arts and culture sector.
What interesting trends did you bring today Bo-kyoung?
Well Jung-min, you know how celebrities and singers are meeting their fans or holding concerts in the metaverse.
Well now, the virtual world is even being used to create new celebrities of its own, and people can audition online to become the next K-pop star.
Let me show you how virtual idol groups these days are being created and the impact they are having on the real world.
Auditions for idol groups no longer just take place in the real world.
People are choosing the next trending celebrities in the virtual world, by watching a series of talented virtual avatars played by online broadcast streamers.
One of the hottest virtual idol groups is "ISEGYE IDOL" a six-member girl group that debuted last December after passing auditions held by a well-known Twitch streamer.
"Korea's very first virtual idol auditions Isegye Idol project. The very first day of auditions "
ISEGYE IDOL debuted with the song “RE:WIND" and they are mesmerizing fans: already almost hitting 3-million views for their official YouTube music video.
The streamer behind the project says their next song could be released by the end of February.
And they aren't the first virtual K-pop stars.
Riot Games the studio best known for League of Legends used the opening ceremony of the game's 2018 World Championship Final to unveil virtual K-pop group K/DA.
The video for the four-member group's debut song "POP/STARS" has been viewed almost 5-hundred million times.
An insider says people who were not game players have also become fans of the group, and adds the reason behind such success is nothing but the essentials.
"We believe the neat song itself was the main reason. We benchmarked K-pop songs, catching K-pop lovers' attention. Unique storytelling too has played a big part. League of Legends has around 150 characters with their own universe and characteristics along with storytelling. K/DA group too has stories for each of the four members."
The new trend has gone even further with the creation of an AI idol group.
AI graphic company Pulse 9 brought life to "Eternity", an 11-piece girl group made from hyper-realistic virtual characters.
The girls were chosen from the faces of 101 girls online by internet users, and were brought to life using artificial intelligence.
Culture critics say Generation Z especially has a strong tendency to just enjoy virtual reality no matter whether it is real or not.
As the virtual world becomes the new normal, eyes are on whether it will become the mainstream in the entertainment industry.
It really is fascinating to see how even the entertainment industry is broadening its range going virtual.
But I assume the entertainment sector is not the only area that is jumping into the metaverse.
You are absolutely right.
The field of art too is rapidly moving online and the art experience has been expanded to the virtual world.
Think about art pieces made using augmented reality, virtual reality, the metaverse and even NFTs.
Yet, given that it is hard to see them altogether at one venue, art lovers will definitely be excited to hear that the very first ARTSCLOUD Digital Art fair opens tomorrow presenting a series of digital artwork.
Out of more than three-thousand pieces of digital art submitted globally, a total of around one-hundred works by artists from 52 countries have been selected by global digital art experts including the former head of the Paik Nam-june Art Center.
Several works out of those selected are being exhibited at UNDERSTAND AVENUE cultural multiplex in Seongdong-gu District, until this May.
The exhibits include creative coder Shunsuke Takawo's "Generativemasks", Taniguchi Akihiko's "Evolving Virtual Creatures and I", and Seo Hyojung's coding work.
Other artwork will also be exhibited through its own metaverse platform which will continue showcasing global artists' digital pieces in their own rooms even after the offline exhibition is over the exact reason why the exhibition is called "Art in Metaverse".
The host of the fair says the reason for such an exhibition is to show current trends in the arts sector. and expects it will encourage more young artists.
"This generation the so-called MZ generation are very used to making another virtual character of themselves and doing activities in the virtual world. Artists are the same. Instead of using traditional tools such as a sketchbook or paint brush, they are creating digital artworks and furthermore are showcasing or trading pieces in the metaverse. Until now, a few collectors and galleries were at the center of the art market, but now more people could be interested in art."
The art sector definitely is getting richer and richer as now it is expanding further into the virtual world.
But what about the performing arts?
Sure thing, all genres are broadening their boundaries and the performing arts sector is no exception and that includes intangible cultural heritage performances.
The Asia Culture Center has unveiled the metaverse show 'BBRUN' earlier this week through its official YouTube channel.
It incorporates "Goseong Ogwangdae", a traditional South Korean mask dance designated as Korea’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 7, reinterpreted in a contemporary style.
This show titled 'BBRUN' is actually an immersive theater performance that fuses VR animation with live theater and motion-capture technology and was staged last November.
The audience were able to go on an immersive journey by sitting on a VR-equipped seat, while interacting with the actors who wore tight suits with motion-capture sensors on their bodies so they could act as the animation characters in the metaverse.
Though one cannot experience that immersive journey through the video, the center is showing how intangible cultural assets can be fused with cutting-edge technology such as motion-capture and the metaverse.
Alright Bo-kyoung, thank you for sharing with us how the arts and culture sector has been moving into the virtual world.
I will see you next week