Why the metaverse needs its own exhibition themes
William M. Peaster
August 10th, 2021

The metaverse isn’t a replacement to traditional galleries but rather extends and complements the possibilities of traditional galleries. We’re using the new tools of our times (e.g. VR, NFTs) to advance and explore creativity and our existences in new ways, just as all generations of artists and innovators have done before us.

Yet every era has its own unique cultural zeitgeist: as humans our fundamental approach to creating may be timeless, but what we talk about in our creations always changes with the times. Ultimately, all we have is the creations and stories we give ourselves, so those who come after us will have only what we leave them with — it’s incumbent on us as contemporary pioneers, then, to shape and bring meaning to our current zeitgeist.

Image via Max Osiris

Our current zeitgeist, the one we can all see beginning to form right in front of us, is metaversal, and it’s increasingly being fostered by Ethereum, Web3, and NFTs.

This metaverse zeitgeist and these aforementioned technologies are in primordial states, relatively speaking — they will undoubtedly evolve considerably from here, meaning we’re all still actively fashioning our day’s culture and our new tools.

This brings us to curation. For example, curating an NFT exhibit in the metaverse is second-order creation; curation complements and extends creation, it is storytelling in its own right. If we are bricoleurs, curation is our bricolage. And recently we’ve begun to see curation start to seriously bloom across Ethereum-based VR worlds like Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, Somnium Space, and beyond.

Curating per historical themes, e.g. Baroque-inspired or Cubist-inspired NFTs, is always fair game. Yet there’s undeniably a need for the metaverse’s curators to further cultivate their own unique exhibition themes — we’ve got to round out and keep adding to these amazing new creations and stories we’ve begun to give ourselves; we are the shapers and that task’s in our hands.

Art via Avid Lines

So while the metaverse isn’t a replacement for traditional galleries, its exhibitions also need not be skeuomorphic either. The young metaverse’s curators are in the middle of a new kind of frontier, and therein the opportunities for new creative and cultural explorations are vast. We should lean into this newness to keep shaping our zeitgeist as innovative and thoughtful creatives.

And that’s as much for ourselves as it is for those to come: “The constellation of objects via people = curation / The constellation of people via objects = community,” as JPG co-founder Sam Spike recently put it. And ultimately this is what JPG's all about, i.e. offering new ways for us to create and connect!

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Featured image is "First Supper" by Alotta Money, Coldie, Hackatao, et al. via Async Art.

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