From being a space for new forms of participation and artistic production, to being the virtual interface of culture in the 21st century, the metaverse is already captivating the collective imagination and becoming the frontier of social interaction, artistic production and cultural experience. As such, the impact of the metaverse on present and future culture cannot be underestimated. While tech industry-driven initiatives are spearheading the creation of this new space and shaping its rules, with the risk of it becoming a branded monoculture, artists are imagining and creating new, virtual worlds that are more meaningful and inclusive.
The project Art in the Age of the Metaverse began in February 2022 with a six-month research period in the field conducted by Leonardo Dellanoce and Arthur Steiner, from Memory Gems, who are guiding both the project and the conference with Hartwig Art Foundation and the Rijksakademie. The joint aim of the Hartwig Art Foundation and the Rijksakademie is to examine the different aspects of contemporary arts in the metaverse in order to explore, prototype and create new support infrastructures for artists and creative practitioners working with and around metaverse technologies (AI, VR, AR, MR, game engines, blockchain and more).
Art in the Age of the Metaverse works with artists, curators, creators, thinkers and technologists to explore and critically reflect on the metaverse and shape its future direction. What would new, distributed, physical and virtual spaces for contemporary art look like? How can we support new generations of artists whose needs and work methods are not accounted for by current art world models? How can we engage cultural audiences at the nexus of the virtual and the physical? The Rijksakademie and the Hartwig Art Foundation’s partnership will research how we can expand our ways of facilitating artists and new forms of art production.
The international conference of Art in the Age of the Metaverse took place on 10 – 12 March 2023 at De Balie Amsterdam. It presented a wide range of voices from the field, discussed the project's first findings, and enabled exchange and public input to kick-start the next steps for this multi-year research.