digital, art and philosophy came together to reflect on the metaverse

As the idea of ​​the metaverse gains ground, experts participated in a day of debates on the topic on Monday, November 14.

The metaverse is a concept as vague as it is fascinating. Many events and conferences are organized on this topic, either to discuss technologies, culture, economy or ethics. Among them: At Metaverse, a day organized by BNP Paribas and Fish eyeexplored these issues through round tables and artistic performances.

The Metaverse offers a whole new universe of possibilities for artists who are interested in digital. However, as we can see with current metaverse efforts, especially Horizon Worlds, it is still difficult to break away from the simple copy of reality. This was also a problem in the early days of virtual reality and the Internet, but over time even the metaverse will find its own language and formats.

Artists Cyril Laurier and Maya Mouawad are among those artists who use digital to create immersive works of art. Beyond reflecting on the message to convey with the work, the challenge is to know how to feel it and think about the management of the space so that finally, as Cyril Laurier explains, “The technology disappears and the message appears”. But new technologies themselves can be a source of inspiration: “We are obliged to clean the tools, to know what is possible. Available technologies can also give us ideas. »

With their immersive work PopulateCyril Laurier and Maya Mouawad begin a reflection on the way in which vegetation coexists with urbanization.©Marie Flament

Introducing the event, the co-founder of Fish eyeBenoît Baume, already raised a first problem of the metaverse ecosystem today: “The commercial aspect of the metaverse may be at the end of the road, but it cannot be at the beginning. » It’s really the obsession with profit, money making, and potential wealth that dictates many decisions on the metaverse today. speculation about virtual real estate and the Meta debacle due to the lack of profitability Worlds of the Horizon being particularly prominent examples. Doctor of economics Julien Pillot, regrets that the think tanks about metaverses consist of “Many industrialists and few intellectuals”while it is a complex concept that requires a multidisciplinary approach.

The 6ml collective questions the relationship between user and avatar by showing the distress of a group of characters faced with a glitch in their metaverse.©Marie Flament

Ethics and philosophy of virtual societies

The notion of virtual society may recall this idea of ​​a “sovereign metaverse” on a French or European scale, proposed among others by the French political class. If this concept is so widespread, it is because Europe has been traumatized by its failure to create a company with the global influence of Google and to guarantee basic freedoms on the Internet, which gives the impression that we are not in control of our digital destiny. . Despite these concerns, the digital chief of the Ministry of Culture, Romain Lasupers, insisted that the government considers the metaverse above all a matter of cultural policy. An approach confirmed last September by the creation of a fund of several million euros per year dedicated to diving works.

Éric Sadin, thinker specializing in the digital world, gave a philosophical perspective on the evolution of technologies since the 2000s to reach the metaverse and on the dangers this can cause for humanity, creating a form of collective isolation that makes us more sedentary and more bringing the world to us and, eventually, replacing our real perceptions virtual sensation. This intervention was complemented by a theatrical performance by the 6 ml collective on the sometimes fused, obsessive or conflicted relationship. between the user and his avatarbetween the real and the virtual.

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