In its latest exhibition titled MetaWhat? which is dedicated to the metaverse, the Media Majlis (Northwestern University, Qatar) explores a constantly evolving digital media landscape. It provides a view of this technology from the Arab world’s perspective as well as that of the Global South. One has the opportunity to attend MetaWhat? until the 7th of December, 2023.
In the exhibition, five avatar personalities introduce visitors to the present-day online landscape through VR, AR, digital screens, and hologram NFT displays. The show comprises several sections. The MetaWorld section tells about the seven layers of the metaverse: Experience, Discovery, Creator Economy, Spatial Computing, Decentralisation, Human Interface, and Infrastructure. The MetaExperience section visualises the data that describes the growth and development of virtual land sales. MetaCreate offers the guests a range of various activities. For example, you can play Fortnite or learn how to code.
Among the exhibits are 100+ nostalgic collectable items and some rare and valuable objects lent from the Ooredoo company, Qatar Museums, Qatar National Library, and Khalifa Al Haroon, a founder of I Love Qatar. Visitors can look at an early print of Super Mario Bros and an Aladdin’s Kingdom token (in the 1990s, it served as a currency in the popular theme park).
The objects on view include the ERODED Safari collectable figure (a model car) and a photobook by American artist Daniel Arsham, which he created in partnership with Qatar-based company Astro Automotive Services. In 2022, the artist went to Qatar to race the Rally 911 of the Astro collection in the Brouq Nature Reserve, where the East-West/West-East art installation by Richard Serra is situated. On the back of this, Arsham created the displayed figure and photobook.
As part of the MetaWhat?, UK-based artist Luke Jerram showcases his breathtaking touring artwork, Gaia. It is a giant copy of the Earth (6m in diameter) featuring 120 dpi detailed NASA imagery of its surface. In the exhibition, Gaia aims to prompt visitors to think about how the virtual realm and the tangible world are fusing. It encourages them to reflect on how the metaverse could influence our physical existence. Jack Thomas Taylor (Interim Director of the Media Majlis and Curator of the show) adds that the installation also makes one question the ecological impact these new technologies have on our planet.
Another highlight of the show is MetaCat, its playful AI-created mascot. It pays tribute to the Internet’s love for cats and interacts with the guests. Besides, to make sure that the visitors will not get lost in an abundance of tech terms, the exhibition features a special edition of the museum’s publication, Voices and Conversations. It includes common words and phrases related to the metaverse.
To learn more about MetaWhat?, please visit the show’s official web page.
You might also be interested in attending Aya (a HyperSpace) and the Museum of the Future in Dubai. Besides, we would recommend you to read our articles about the Utopic Arabia art duo and three NFT female Arab artists.