How aespa Is Promoting Global Sustainability Through The “SM Culture Universe”

They are once again using the SMCU to draw attention to real-world problems.

SM Entertainment‘s girl group aespa has been developing the SM Culture Universe (the SMCU) through their music videos, virtual avatars, and a series of videos that depict aespa’s adventures in the story world.

The lore behind the SMCU is undoubtedly complex and captivating, encouraging fans to develop their own theories and interpret the events unfolding.

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But time and time again, aespa is proving that while the SMCU may be fictitious, they are using their story world to discuss the real world.

A simple way that aespa connects their lore with reality is by frequent performances with their virtual avatars. In many performances, aespa has danced side by side with these virtual avatars, demonstrating how the advancement of technology can change the way K-Pop idols approach their stages.

Not only are aespa trying to show new possibilities for performances, but their complex story world is also trying to draw attention to the brutal realities that K-Pop idols face. In the most recent SMCU video, each member of aespa is confronted with harsh realities that reflect what each member has endured in the past.

The video depicts Karina confronting her insecurities, Winter enduring malicious gossip, Giselle suffering an invasion of privacy, and NingNing facing an onslaught of cyberbullying.

aespa’s virtual avatars

Although all four members were acting in their respective scenes, the video certainly portrays the actual realities that K-Pop idols constantly deal with as a cost of pursuing their dreams.

Giselle, Karina, Winter, and NingNing | @aespa_official/Twitter

In aespa’s recent speech at the United Nation‘s 2022 High-Level Political Forum, Giselle proves that the implications of their story world go even beyond the bounds of just K-Pop.

The 2022 High-Level Political Forum focuses on assessing each country’s attempts at sustainability in relation to the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations invited aespa to speak as one of the youth leaders, and the girl group certainly impressed netizens with their professionalism.

aespa at the United Nations | @aespafess_/Twitter

In their speech, Giselle used aespa’s exploration of virtual reality to prove that the “real world” must be taken care of.

Our group aespa uniquely moves between reality and virtual reality. We exist here in the real world, and four of our avatar members exist in the virtual world. Together, we are often called the metaverse girl group.


Karina with her virtual avatar | @aespa_official/Twitter

Giselle points out that, as evidenced by SM Entertainment’s own pursuit of virtual avatars, many “people are paying more attention to creating the best possible metaverse world.”

People are paying more attention to creating the best possible metaverse world. It transcends many boundaries. Reality and virtual reality, time and space, and genres and generations. As the metaverse accelerates, we have to ask the question, ‘Are we working just as hard to create the best possible real world?’


Giselle with her virtual avatar | @aespa_official/Twitter

Just as there are similarities between aespa’s reality and their virtual avatars’ reality, Giselle points out that the metaverse is a direct reflection of the real world; virtual reality won’t succeed without an already prosperous real world.

The metaverse reflects reality. If our own reality is not sustainable, it would become difficult to sustain the possibilities of the virtual world. Without sustainable ecosystems or equal opportunities for quality living, there will be no real world to be mirrored.


Winter with her virtual avatar | @aespa_official/Twitter

There is urgency behind the need for progress and improvement to achieve true sustainability.

The topic of sustainable development is urgent, and we believe that the next generation must support sustainable development goals in order to protect the world that we live in.


NingNing with her virtual avatar | @aespa_official/Twitter

Through their music and development of the SMCU, aespa hopes to encourage fans to promote sustainability in the real world.

Aespa will continue to connect with the next generation through music and will work to represent sustainable goals in reality. Hence, within the metaverse.


You can read more about aespa’s exploration of the SMCU here.

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You can watch the full speech here.