Have you ever heard of a new digital environment where you can have a “second life”, buy a home, watch a fashionshow, or visit an art gallery and museum? Like Minecraft, the Sims, but fancierand socially accepted as a grownup and cool activity instead of some nerdygaming thing?
Well… Welcome to the metaverse!
I agree that with such a start, itdoes not seem appealing or cool, but in real life, the metaverse is not thatbad. It allows you to participate in culture from any part of the world, to interact with people who might have your same interests. It also allows galleries, museums, and artists to showcase in a 3D scenario their works and providesbenefits from the point of view of the conservation of artworks, as well as froman environmental perspective (less traveling, fewer carbon emissions).
I get it; participating in this kindof activity might seem just too complicated, but it is way more straightforwardthan it looks, and I’m here to tell you step by step how you can finally join metaverseevents!
Let me begin with a few technicalnotes: “The metaverse” as a unique, interconnected, worldwide digitalenvironment does not exist (yet). When we speak about the metaverse, we referto one of the several digital environments that offer the same type ofexperience. They all have their peculiar features but are not so different fromone another. Some of them require a crypto wallet to access, others don’t, and others,in turn, only request a wallet to buy artworks and allow you to visit theexhibition as a guest. If you are unfamiliar with how to use a crypto wallet,you can find below everything you need to do to participate.
The most famous metaverse is Decentraland, which requires a metamask and is less intuitive to use than other platforms. In the art environment, the most popular metaverse platform is Spatial, which offers the possibility to create several different scenarios where peoplecan enter and engage, and they are all related to the art environment. It is friendlyfor both providers and users, and if you are an artist, gallerist, or a visitorapproaching this for the first time this kind of technology I suggest using Spatial.
Spatial aims to provide accessible Web3 gatherings and wants to help creators and users interact and createcommunities in the online environment. It is accessible from any device and hosts a great variety of events and scenarios. Each space can only hosts 50 people, but creators can set up several spaces interconnected to each other. The only requirement is to create an account and avatar. Then each participantcan access the event from basically any device.
Ok, now let’s get specific: what are the precise steps for an art exhibition on Spatial?
- Create your account on Spatial (and your avatar, of course). You will be able to choose between a free and premium account according to your needs.
- Once you’re all set, you will see the main page, where you will select “new” to create a new space.
- Select a template or upload your custom space into the platform. If you choose a space, you will be able to add empty frames and display them as you prefer.
- Import the artworks. Upload your files either from your device or your Metamask, which you can connect to Spatial.
- Choose the layout. You can fill the frames one by one or select multiple items all at once. In this case, you can choose the layout or leave it to spatial and change it later if you desire.
- Once you’re all set,send the invitations via email or with a link.
- Go to the Spatial website, or follow the exhibition invitation link.
- Create your account. You will be required to insert a username, and your photo (the photo is not mandatory).
- Create an avatar (Let me be super honest, this part felt like I was back in middle school playing The Sims).
- Enter the room of the exhibition. As you enter, the platform will show you a brief tutorial on how to move your avatar around the space and how to interact.
- Look around, watch the artworks, explore and enjoy!
- Engage and interact with other people. You can activate your audio and video, and eventually, you can even talk and see other participants! Just like the evolution of a zoom call, more fun and more interactive!
Do I need to have a Metamask?
In some metaverses, it is required to have a crypto wallet and digital identity to access, but this is not true inall the environments that provide this service. In Spatial, you can participateas a guess, but if you are interested in buying NFTs and having a full experienceof this type of gallery having a wallet is the preferable option.
If you want to invest in this kind of art, having a wallet is necessary, and I would suggest creating one. It is super simple, and it will be potentially helpful in the long run. Even if you’re not ready to buy and sell NFTs, or you have never heard of the word blockchain, a crypto wallet is more than that: it is a digital identity that will allow you to participate in this kind of environment and, in general, to utilize Web3 ina much easier, faster and thus more controlled way.
Is this all free?
Creating your account and visiting spaces is free; you can also create your own space for free! This is an advantage for all those who want to experiment and understand how to be in the metaverse in an easy and fun way without anything more than an email and a device. However, especially for creators, the premium feature is advisable.
What to expect from this type of experience?
Exhibitions in the metaverse are a completely different kind of experience from physical ones, and many have criticized them,considering them a threat to physical exhibitions and art. As always in the artworld, the reality is not black and white, there are shades in between. Whilephysical galleries can bring together the buying/collecting experience and theexhibition visiting one, digital art marketplaces were, until now, designedmore like e-commerce websites than spaces to experience art.
The metaverse offered a new opportunity for creators to show their work in a more creative, experience-based, and interactive way. In addition, the spaces are often works of art themselves,created by digital designers and artists.
Visiting an exhibition in the metaverse can look like a fun videogame. Still, in reality, it is a big step forward bothfor the creative community and digital art. As NFTs are slowly entering museums, the metaverse is blurring the lines between physical and digital. Protecting in a sense the very idea of a gallery, of the exhibition,backing up the value of art itself!
What if you could visit an exhibition from anywhere, anytime? What if you could have your artworks shownin a “real” place instead of a digital catalog? What if you could meet theartists and talk to them live, in front of the same NFT?
Visiting an exhibition in the metaverse might not be like visiting the MoMA or the Sistine Chapel. Still, itis an incredible opportunity and exciting experience for all the art lovers andcreatives that live on their art. I hope this article made you curious aboutvisiting some of these incredible environments. If so, meet you in themetaverse!