Collective Worldbuilding – Art in the Metaverse

Jonas Lund Collective Worldbuilding – Art in the Metaverse Jonas Lund Collective Worldbuilding – Art in the Metaverse

Press Text

The group exhibition «Collective Worldbuilding - Art in the Metaverse» presents a selection of international artists who explore the possibilities of a decentralised Internet that promises more self-determination, decentralisation and transparency. The works on display encourage the exploration of more inclusive virtual spaces, a renewed sense of communality and a decentralized organizational structure in the digital realm.

Much buzz has been generated in recent years with the launch of a variety of virtual spaces. Game worlds like Fortnite or blockchain-based virtual worlds like Dezentraland, Sandbox or Cryptovoxels are staging exhibitions, concerts and parties. We speak of metaverses, virtual parallel worlds in which we can immerse ourselves in order to interact with others. Artists create their own virtual worlds, but they also appropriate existing worlds by playing and infiltrating these digital spaces with their projects. The exhibition will present artistic projects that use these spaces as opportunities for collaborative work and explore the creative use of virtual universes to tell stories, share experiences, and address issues related to the development of technologies such as Web3 and the future of inclusive and diverse metaverses.

From its very inception, artists have used the Internet not only as a medium, but as an infrastructure for building communities and developing non-institutional models of distribution. Decentralized technologies such as blockchain now offer new approaches to re-thinking systems for production, funding, and community building in the arts. This can include projects that revolve around value models based on one's digital identity, such as musician Holly Herndon's digital twin Holly+, whose AI-controlled voice can be used by others and whose projects are selected by a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), or La Turbo Avedon, a Digital avatar who is a non-binary art persona that exists only on the Internet or the Omsk Social Club's projects that use role-playing strategies in virtual worlds to develop collaborative storytelling. Narrative structures driven by AI algorithms are explored in Ian Cheng's generative videos. The creation of multi-user virtual universes is demonstrated by artists such as Dorota Gaweda & Eglé Kulbokaite, who create collective performances that oscillate between online and offline or Ayoung Kim, who generates experiences in the virtual world VRChat.

The exhibition Collective Collective Worldbuilding – Art in the Metaversum presents phenomena that deal with the possibilities of decentralised communality and corresponding organizational structures, like the new work conceived for the exhibition by artist and Web3 pioneer Sarah Friend. Installations by Artist Simon Denny, in turn, show the market processes surrounding the hype of NFTs. In this work questions about the storage of data, diversity and the promise of technological salvation are put up for discussion with a critical attitude.

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