Art has had a very prominent role to play in the first tentative steps of Meta. The new Facebook product is still very much an unknown to many but the marketing that has so far been created around it seems to indicate that the company wants users to think about art in the Metaverse. Whether that’s because the new platform is being pushed as a medium for creative expression or trying to find an alternative promotional theme to working from home or video games, who knows. What is obvious is that - as far as Mark Zuckerberg is concerned - Meta and art go hand in hand.
Art and the Metaverse
Art has already featured pretty prominently in Meta promotions. The main keynote that was delivered to investors, for example, begins with an augmented reality piece of street art on a wall in SoHo. Plus the first Major ad for Meta is set in an art gallery with a group of young people looking at Henri Rousseau’s “Fight Between a Tiger and Buffalo.” In both these examples, the art comes to life, a clear indication perhaps that Facebook believes the Metaverse has a lot to offer when it comes to opening up a whole new experience where art is concerned.
The appeal of dreaming and escapism
It could be that what the Metaverse ads etc are keen to tap into is the way that art offers an escape from the day-to-day mundanity of life. Even the use of Rousseau could be telling - this was an artist who painted vibrant jungles from a studio in Paris where he was attempting to temporarily escape the fact that he was a middle aged municipal toll-service employee. Rousseau was also one of the main players in the creation of bohemian modernity, designing new ways of living and seeing the world. This is a mantle that Mark Zuckerberg seems only too keen to take on when it comes to the Metaverse, playing around with Utopian fantasies and, essentially, trying to create a new universe.
The Metaverse vision for the future
There are plenty of people who are cynical about what Meta really has to offer when it comes to art. Can the ideas of a creative agency for a mega corporation ever really deliver on the creative front? Meta is a platform that is still quite hard to get your head around - and watching Mark Zuckerberg selling it you might be forgiven for wondering if even he knows what he is promoting. However, this kind of open brief can be a place for creativity to flourish and that might be why the call has gone out for people with creative brains to help define what Meta is going to be all about when it comes to art. Those making art for the Metaverse will be taking part in a reimagining of art today and also creating work for the wider public.
While Meta still has a long way to go in terms of clearly defining what it has to offer when it comes to art, it’s obvious that art has a big role to play in the Metaverse and artists who engage with it could benefit from it.