If the Metaverse could one day be an extension of reality, how would it shape our lives? What are the inherent power structures and historical contexts that it builds upon? Is technology truly a neutral tool, or is that only part of the story?
Whereas FUTURE FRONT ROW and the Exhibition stimulate the imagination, this comprehensive program of talks and performances allows a deeper dive into what we can learn from past activism, and why engaging with these ethical dilemmas is urgent today.
Read more about the talks during THE MESSYVERSE below
CAN AVATARS BE LABS FOR IDENTITY?
Sun 3 sept 17:30 – 18:15 – zuilenzaal
How does our online identity influence our offline self?
Join digital artist Tailo Neri in conversation with moderator Shaquille Shaniqua Joy for an interactive presentation aiming to take a critical look at questions such as: In the current setup of the Metaverse, can avatars actually contribute to the construction of identity? Can avatars be labs for identity? Join us as we seek answers.
Personal identity is multi-layered. Research has shown that we are all made up of different types of selves, which explains why we can hold contradictory beliefs and can change over time. Solange perfectly summarizes this in her song “Can I Hold the Mic” by singing, “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there are too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations.”
When expressing said identity, context determines which traits are allowed to shine – you may highlight different traits to your boss than to your oldest friend. You might change and morph your identity to fit into specific spaces and communities or to have an easier time navigating everyday occurrences.
Thus, if outward identities are fluid and unlimited in the Metaverse, to what extent do the avatars we create influence our analogue sense of self? What are the risks of playing with multiple identities, and might our digital personas one day feel more relevant than our physical ones?
Shaquille Shaniqua Joy
“Shaquille Shaniqua Joy is an interdisciplinary creative focusing on storytelling through different mediums. Within the cultural sector, her role ranges from researching to conceptualizing and writing, focusing on moderation and program-making. Her excitement for people and their fascinations is the base of her practice as a moderator, in which she always strives to have conversations rather than interviews.
Within her work, Shaquille explores sociopolitical and pop-cultural subjects by combining research and the embodied experiences of herself and others. This has led her to a range of conversations and programs, including live and recorded panel talks and reporting formats in collaboration with cultural institutions, organizations and museums, as well as commercial brands.”
Tailo Neri, is a Digital artist based in Amsterdam and Helsinki, whose works explore human emotions and stories through the use of technology. With a background in fashion & branding, their creative practice interweaves fashion imagery-inspired visuals, with deep human-centered stories, reflecting on the state of the world; aiming to unpack and analyze them further and leading the watcher to become part of the work.”
Sun 3 sept 17:30 – 18:15 – shaffyzaal
Next Wave Of Green Capitalism?
Climate concerns have long haunted the fashion industry, and the time to rely solely on traditional sustainability actions is in the past. Digitizing fashion seems to be the only way forward – and fashion in the metaverse is the newest trend that is believed to future-proof the industry. Drastically reducing overproduction, overconsumption and transportation, proponents celebrate digital fashion as a pathway to sustainability while also being a commercial alternative to the physical industry. At the same time, critics contend that the data centers and NFTs required for this transformation consume enormous amounts of energy, and the risks of extraction and greenwashing are not to be ignored. Will digital fashion prove to be the next wave of green capitalism, or will it be a new form of greenwashing? What eco-friendly solutions are required if we are to move forward with the metaverse??
Tumelo Setlaba is an Innovative Product Creator, with a distinguished background spanning Product, CX, and Marketing leadership roles, including her pivotal role as Product Lead at The Fabricant, a renowned digital fashion sensation. Her expertise lies at the crossroads of fashion retail, production, and technical innovation.
As a visionary Tech Entrepreneur, Tumelo’s experience as Token Sale Marketing Lead at The New Fork ignited her passion for web3 possibilities. She now pioneers fashion sustainability through two startups. Stylexx.io employs AI, 3D scans, and Web3 to offer precise measurements and size recommendations, reducing returns in e-commerce fashion. Swap-Studio tackles sizing-related returns by facilitating swaps in online fashion retail.
Tumelo’s background in TV presenting and Business news anchoring led her to become the face of fashion events. She hosted the red carpet at African Fashion Week Amsterdam and emerged as a panelist and host at AWE, Europe’s prominent XR industry event. This unique journey equips her with insights into the fusion of technology and fashion, showcased at influential events globally.
Giancarlo Pazzanese, aka @GianPazza, is a visual artist, lecturer, and digital fashion designer. With a passion for exploring the intersection of art, fashion, technology, history, and cultural analysis, he founded the design studio dis_placed. Giancarlo’s unique approach involves time travel through fashion and art history to understand their influence on contemporary trends. He taught for five years at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy, sharing his expertise in cultural studies and 3D fashion design. Currently works as a lecturer of the Creative Business Program of the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht.
Recently, Giancarlo has focused on the potential and challenges of fashion in web3, particularly on identity, gender, inclusion, accessibility, and representation in the metaverse. Combining sustainability, gender equality, fashion, and history, his perspectives have been shared in publications, conferences and fashion wee.
Chinouk Filique de Miranda
Chinouk Filique de Miranda is a design researcher and critical (fashion) practitioner. She analyses, translates and visualises the crossover between the fashion system and digital culture with a focus on introducing digital literacy to fashion.
In her practice she approaches fashion as a subliminal communication vehicle which she aims to de-mystify in order to inform consumers on complex matters regarding individual agency within our current digital culture. Through various projects the digitisation of fashion and the new ways the fashion system and its consumers connect and communicate through newly acquired technological rhythms is explored and explained.
Picture credit : Ashley Röttjers
COURT OF THE MESSYVERSE
Sun 3 sep 18:45 – 19:30 zuilenzaal
Art, appropriation, and authorship
Should the law adapt to the metaverse, or should the metaverse adapt to the law? It’s a common trope that technology evolves faster than legislators can keep up – but courts are already applying laws to the Metaverse is surprising ways. Countries as diverse as China and Columbia are now hosting trials in metaverse courtrooms, with Colombian judges even using ChatGPT to write legal opinions. But it’s not just deliberating physical-world cases in virtual spaces – we are starting to create legal precedent on what happens in these virtual worlds themselves. It is understandable that brands want to protect their copyright, but if Andy Warhol appropriating Campbell’s soup is considered art, why is appropriating a Birkin bag in an NFT considered a copyright infringement? Where is the line between art and appropriation, and should it be different in virtual spaces? Should digital creators have new or different standards? And in a truly global virtual environment, whose law applies?
Catalina Goanta is an Associate Professor in Consumer Law and Technology at Utrecht University, where she leads the HUMANads European Research Council Starting Grant on fairness in content monetisation on social media (humanads.eu). In this project, she works with media and legal researchers, as well as computer scientists, to better understand platform monetisation policies and develop language technologies for the detection of hidden advertising. The project also aims to translate the law for content creators.
Editor in Chief COEVAL Magazine and Artist
Donald Gjoka is a creative director, photographer, web designer, communication and web3/AI specialist and online strategist. He works in the field of contemporary arts and culture, creating concepts across graphic design, creative direction and photography. He’s the founder and editor-in-chief of COEVAL Magazine, a publication that explores contemporary arts and culture, and is one of the leading sources of inspiration for major creatives worldwide. COEVAL showcases international artists, image makers, directors and musicians by celebrating experimentation, innovation and identity.