The first avatar clothes (Rerat Pignataro), including translation errors (design instead of design!). Picture: loudspeaker
Munich [ENA] The question mark after the title was of course just a flirtatious decoration, because on St. Nicholas Day 2022 everyone involved agreed that the metaverse is here to stay and we are dealing here with the future of the internet.
The conference was organized by the Cultural and Creative Industries Initiative within the framework of the Federal Competence Center for the Cultural and Creative Industries. This could lead to the conclusion that the importance of the metaverse has also been recognized in German politics and that corresponding support measures can be expected. However, proximity to politics had other effects as well. They shifted to “political correctness” and a commitment to diversity (or should we say: -management?), which went as far as the compulsory specification of personal pronouns of different genders in order to address , and poured out a torrent of silly expressions and touched Anglicisms on the listener.
Remarkably, Meta’s concrete Metaverse project was hardly discussed, when there would have been enough reason to criticize or even just a realistic assessment, especially with regard to its economic viability. Instead, it was widely identified with Web3, whose VR technology had been in use for at least a decade, let alone earlier precursors. They rushed to assert that there is not just one but many metaverses, apparently trying to free the term from the shackles of a proprietary corporate initiative.
Rather, it was to show what creative applications already exist for this new space in this country and in the surrounding European space. Fashion played a major role here. Claudia Hofmann, “fashion and lifestyle visionary and creative advisor”, found that the technology and gaming industry, in whose hands Web3 is currently still in the hands of the industry of fashion, should learn emotionality and humanity, including the feeling of haptics.
The metaversian will ask: what does my avatar look like? You will develop a need for expression, because you move in a (pseudo)social space, and you will probably have more confidence in yourself than in the real space. You will be able to see all the new trends emerging in real time, because of course every step is digitally recorded in Web3. Fashion designer Christie Lau rose to prominence in the online community through her showmanship at her fashion school Central Saint Martins, when she paraded QR cubes walking instead of fashion on the catwalk. The planned mode could then be seen on the screens in AR mode.
It was undoubtedly a manifesto for the displacement of real visibility into virtuality – and the denial/negation of reality. You can’t even say fashion brands are digging their own grave when it doesn’t matter how you dress. In fact, money is made with fashion designs on the Web3, and they can be designed much bolder and stripped of materiality (!) than is actually possible. They are also much cheaper to manufacture, just need ideas, and they will certainly come soon from AI, like the DALL-E image synthesis software.
Of course, digital fashion in VR is also an Eldorado for transvestites, who are largely spared the physical transformation thanks to the digital kit. Therefore, Lau also designed digital-physical drag outfits, which were presented in a mixed reality drag performance. Faced with such projects, one might have the impression that Web3 is a place to dress up and dissolve one’s own identity. However, we already know this from the beginnings of the Internet, when it was said: no one on the Internet knows that you are a dog. It remains to be seen whether the virtualization of the person will go hand in hand with their re-anonymization.
Giulia Pignataro, designer at Artificial Rome, also started with virtual fashion, that is, the dressing of avatars, then took care of the interactive virtual ballet, as the Bauhaus had already planned at the era, but without virtuality. But now we have found ourselves in the automotive industry, in this case Daimler, where there seems to be an urgent need to be able to convince potential customers at home of the benefits of a new wheel set as genuinely as possible. In the design phase, VR allows realistic design work of different trades and thus avoids errors.
With his experience in the music industry, Frank Hahn first built relevant nightclub architecture as a virtual venue under the same name in his company Rave-Space. Without a doubt a good idea in times of pandemic. Then the business, which is now For real?! means – what could you mean with “in real life?!” could translate – to something higher and geared towards the visual arts, but not the real ones either, but, how could it be otherwise in the age of fake news, the fake ones; False art, so to speak. The art forger Beltracchi received his own museum.
The latest project is the Dezentral Museum, the largest decentralized NFT museum in the Metaverse. The name is haunted by the still held vision of Web3 decentralization, a founding myth that will likely soon be dispelled. NFT presentations can be rented by artists. Here, the gallery owner also saves a large part of the costs of a real gallery, and the commercial risk lies solely with the artists. For one thing, there’s a start-up spirit everywhere, but the economic trends that have always been at work obviously haven’t changed.
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