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How the metaverse may be a game changer for job seekers
Remote work, job Interviews, meetings and live art events could be conducted on the metaverse.
Art x Tech 21 Feb 2022
An image from Micah Johnson’s “Aku” NFT series. Image courtesy of Micah Johnson via Twitter.

Remote work, job Interviews, meetings and live art events could be conducted on the metaverse in the very near future, are you ready?

The metaverse, a term coined in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel, can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction, mimicking the real world. No longer a place solely for gamers, some say metaverse worlds are set to go mainstream and will be the next evolution of the internet. While the notion of the metaverse as a computer-generated mirror of the real world might sound extravagant and still largely fictional, the artworld is at the vanguard of this brave futuristic new world. Several key art players have already begun to experiment in virtual spaces for the arts, pushing the boundaries of how digital and physical art can be experienced today.

Here, we look at how this futuristic new world, can soon be a reality for us in the art world and a game changer for job seekers.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is at the forefront of the movement to create, build and grow a brave new metaverse world, and it seems they have been heavily inspired by art. The first major ad for Meta, took place in a museum. The video includes a group of young people looking at Henri Rousseau’s “Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo” which hangs in the Cleveland Museum of Art. As they admire the artwork, the whole painting comes to life and becomes a 3D animation.

Likewise, the video that Meta released to explain itself to investors also features art notably, opening with a demo in which a couple of Mark Zuckerberg’s co-workers find a piece of AR street art.

Facebook is not alone in this emerging digital world however, other giant players in the technology sector, including Microsoft, are ramping up their development of virtual solutions. The art world is also starting to heavily experiment – not just with NFTs – but also with virtual spaces to bring additional immersion and gamification for people to experience. After a long pandemic, it is not surprising that there is a fast-growing movement to find an alternative to the challenges of everyday life. As the art industry enters bold new territories, the attractiveness of NFTs and curiosity of the metaverse has hit the roof.

Auction houses and galleries have ventured into the matrix to exhibit and sell artworks. Sotheby’s have created ‘Sotheby’s Metaverse’, the auction house’s new platform designed specifically for digital collectors, featuring NFTs curated by art experts. In a digital platform called ‘Decentraland’, there’s another Sotheby’s, where the yellow digital avatar of an ape will greet you at the door. The space is a replica of Sotheby’s in London, transposed into Decentraland’s interactive metaverse, launched in early 2020, where users can create and explore virtual worlds, and curate and sell digital artwork or NFTs through the use of blockchain technology. This move is Sotheby’s latest jump into the digital art sphere.

Pace Gallery launched an NFT platform exclusively for their artists called Pace Verso, a new platform for minting, exhibiting, and collecting NFTs. An early champion of artists engaged with technology; Pace has long held innovation as a core value. Asked what the gallery’s role will be in the emerging metaverse, Pace’s Online Sales Director Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle, who oversaw the launch of Pace Verso, told ocula.com, ‘I believe our role comes into this as being early shepherds within the space, to help guide our artists through an alternative world that’s been around for more than a decade and is here to stay.’

Still image from the video game Forgetter (2021). Artworks as viewed in the game by Zhang Huan. Courtesy Alan Kwan, Yang Jing, and DSLCOLLECTION. Via Ocular

The DSL collection featuring major works by contemporary Chinese artists, created in 2005 by Sylvain and Dominique Lévy, have developed several noteworthy digital spaces. dslcollection distinguishes itself from other collections of contemporary Chinese art through a strict collecting concept. The collectors believe that the 21st century collector must think beyond established boundaries. Therefore, dslcollection not only actively promotes the discovery and study of Chinese contemporary artistic production and but also makes use of the latest technologies. Tools such as the internet, interactive programs, virtual exhibitions and electronic books have helped the company to achieve greater visibility and provide the means to share the experience of contemporary culture. To improve access to the virtual dslcollection, founder Lévy said they provided Oculus Rift headsets for a devoted VR room at the Pingshan Art Museum in Shenzhen and similar arrangements are being made with the National Museum of Colombia in Bogotá, the The Modern Art Research Institute of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine (MARI), and institutions in Africa. They’re also collaborating with the Tisch School of Design at NYU to launch a virtual reality art park, modelled on New York’s Washington Square.

Metakovan and Twobadour Panar — Vignesh Sundaresan and Anand Venkateswaran in the “real” world — bought the NFT-backed digital artwork “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” by Beeple for $69 million. They’ve chosen to display it in a virtual monument called ‘The Souk’ that they’re building in a virtual, online world, Venkateswaran told the Economic World. Anyone with the link to the artwork’s online address will be able to view it for free in its virtual gallery.

DRIFT, Block Universe (2021). Multimedia augmented reality, polyester block, LEDs, PSU, aluminium strips, wood, NFT. © DRIFT, courtesy Pace Gallery via Ocular

And not only big players have been exploring the metaverse. During the pandemic, the art world moved online, and many artworks intended for the physical world entered the digital realm. Early in the pandemic, many artists created galleries in their Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, using a gaming function to digitize photographs of their artworks into pixelated images to look like canvases on the walls.

The emerging digital world built on virtual and augmented reality, may be a game changer for job seekers too. Instead of meeting a potential employer in person or logging onto a Zoom call, job interviews could be conducted in the metaverse, allowing people to interact with others in a “virtual environment that feels real.” Siemens and Hyundai have already used virtual worlds for hiring and people management. And for those starting a job remotely, the metaverse will make navigating a new workplace online less challenging. Instead of Zoom calls, you can interact with co-workers and clients in a virtual environment that feels real.

Are you ready?

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