Artists and digital art projects came together on Decentraland. What happened at the Metaverse Art Week 2022?
Decentraland, the Ethereum-based virtual world, hosted the third edition of Metaverse Art Week from August 24 to 28. After the first Fashion Week in the metaverse in March, Decentraland dedicates five days to contemporary art on blockchain. In the art districts of the metaverse, such as Soho Plaza or Voltaire Art District, events, exhibitions and roundtables dedicated to digital art on blockchain took place. The theme and title of Decentraland’s Metaverse Art Week was “The World is Made of Codes”.
Reality can indeed be seen as a set of codes, patterns and formulas that shape the natural world and especially the virtual world. The initiative therefore hosted artworks and immersive experiences inspired by the mathematical patterns and designs found in nature. The best artists of the NFT scene (and even more) participated in Metaverse Art Week. Let’s find out about Decentraland’s art projects and what happened at Metaverse Art Week 2022!
The relationship between man and technology, the theme of Metaverse Art Week
The immersive art installations, performances, and conceptual art exhibitions at Metaverse Art Week opened the discussion on the theme of the relationship between people and technology and how technology shapes reality. This theme is inspired by the guiding questions of the Venice Art Biennale, which will open in April 2022. The artists currently exhibiting in Venice have questioned the changing definition of man in relation to technology, as well as its ubiquity and the transformations it achieves. Decentraland’s Metaverse Art Week explored “code” as an element that brings virtual worlds to life, and how “the human mind is predisposed to process an emotional response when art inspired by mathematical designs found in nature is presented.” Decentraland’s initiative was a moment of alignment between the thoughts of the contemporary art world and the new frontier that is Web3.
An audio-guided tour and debates on Artnet
One of the new features of Metaverse Art Week was an audio-guided art walk, produced by Audio Art Tour. Once you landed with your avatar in the reception area, you could ask for a pair of virtual headphones in order to listen to the guide through the exhibitions of Decentraland. Just like in a museum, the guide’s voice explained the works in detail and introduced the projects. During the five-day event, Artnet, one of the world’s largest online art communities, hosted art performances, live poetry sessions, and artificial intelligence work creation related to the Metaverse Art Week theme.
Frida Kahlo’s artistic legacy on display on Decentraland
Frida Kahlo’s family, in collaboration with Ezel (a platform offering services to realize web3 experiences), opened a permanent installation titled Frida Kahlo Family Red house on Decentraland, which tells the story of the first half of the artist’s life and also presents unpublished works. For the occasion, never-before-seen artworks, artifacts and family histories of the Mexican painter have been digitized. Ezel’s founders say they have collected nearly 800 unique pieces that belonged to the artist, including sketches, original artworks and other objects used in Kahlo’s daily life.
Each piece of content was scanned using high-resolution image capture tools, requiring at least 30 different images and videos. Decentraland users will be able to visit the works within the installation, which reproduces the red house in Mexico owned by the family. Pedro Quinzaños Cancino, founder of Ezel and friend of the Kahlo family, said in an interview that when he proposed the project to Frida’s heirs, he was met with some resistance and skepticism. Later, the Kahlo family chose to rely on emerging technologies such as the metaverse to tell stories that would otherwise have disappeared.
The Sotheby’s exhibition and UXart Lab
UXart Lab has exhibited on Decentraland the works of some Latin American artists from the 1960s like Marta Minujín, Gyula Kosice and Eduardo MacEntyre who best represent kinetic art and pop art; but also contemporary and digital artists like Alberto Echegaray Guevara. These artists are currently exhibiting in real life at the Venice Biennale. Another organization that is no stranger to Decentraland’s virtual galleries is the auction house Sotheby’s.
Its vice president Michael Bouhanna explained that their experience with Decentraland has allowed them to experiment with state-of-the-art exhibitions for digital works and transpositions of physical works. At Metaverse Art Week, Sotheby’s reaffirmed their interest in NFT and blockchain art, presenting new works within the exhibition such as jewelry sculptures in collaboration with Metagolden. Decentraland’s Metaverse Art Week also saw the participation of several NFT marketplaces such as Rarible, OpenSea, SuperRare and Know Origin. The latter presented an installation titled “Crypto Winter,” which pokes fun at the volatility of cryptocurrencies.
The Ukrainian Museum of War History
At Metaverse Art Week, an exhibition space was also reserved for works from the Meta History Museum of War, the NFT project that tells the story of the war in Ukraine step by step since the conflict began. The goal of this digital museum, founded on March 25, 2022, is to document what is happening on the frontline through artistic expression, and to raise funds for the reconstruction of the country’s artistic heritage. The sale of these non-fungible tokens has raised over $1 million.
Cash Labs’ gallery with Damien Hirst and Estée Lauder’s POAP
Cash Labs, a Web3 content creation platform, has launched its first art gallery on Decentraland. Among the artists it features are Damien Hirst, Laurel Charleston and Justin Aversano. The Cash Labs exhibition has been organized into four levels, the first of which groups works under the theme “From physical to Digital,” the one where Hirst is on display. The second is titled “Art for the Metaverse.” The third level of the Cash Labs exhibition is devoted to the first NFT collection by Nick Knight, the British fashion photographer and founder of SHOWstudio.com. On the fourth and final floor, users who visited the entire exhibit received a free Estée Lauder-signed POAP as a certificate of participation.
These were the highlights of what happened at Metaverse Art Week 2022 in Decentraland. The public reception was good, but there was no shortage of criticism. Some participants noted that the graphic design of Decentraland’s metaverse was still primitive and inadequate to convey the complexity of contemporary art. For Decentraland, however, this can only be a constructive criticism.