Hye Rim Lee

The Evolution of Toki (2005)

6 min 20 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"Like Botticelli's Venus, TOKI is born fully formed; an amalgam of idealisations of feminine beauty and desirability, in the case of TOKI animation on Western and Asian popular culture as well as ancient mythology. However, in the long animation process of the construction of super heroine beauty, TOKI reveals herself to be able to shift from being cute to being classically feminine, sexual and sensual. TOKI positions herself as both desiring and desirable subject. The four parts of body are a reminiscent of male fetish and masculine gaze that segregate women’s bodies into their various parts.

Hye Rim Lee examines the traditional male gaze which seeks erotic pleasure from the spectacle of the female body. The audience is presented with a sexuality that referenced the female body’s role as a fetish object constituted by and for an erotic and predominantly male gaze. The evolving poetics of beauty is accelerated by the pulse-like sound suggesting the erotic desire and creates the voyeuristic/ non-participative fascination to the audience. The voice seduces and draws the viewer closer to the work.

TOKI is always feminine; toy-like, sexually charged, pure-white, pretty, plastic, a giver of instant gratification and an impermeable girl-woman surrogate for both innocence and sexual solicitation. Ultimately she is a surface for the projection of fantasy; a fiction holding the promise of realisation, as a cyborg machine born from the vacillating and polymorphous heart of human desire."

Other works by Hye Rim Lee

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