MetaWhat? [EXTENDED] (1962)
It cannot be denied that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted everything we know.
You. Your family. Your teacher. Your pet. Your career. Your planet. Your future! Name it, it was affected in some way, shape or form. In good ways. In bad ways. In ways we don't even know yet.
One fundamental change was the way in which we communicate and, to that end, how much we appreciate communication. Overnight, Zoom became a household name. WhatsApp was the replacement for family gatherings. Roblox was the classroom. And Facebook, the 'OG' of social networking, changed its name to Meta. MetaWhat?
Our fall 2023/spring 2024 exhibition explores how the metaverse is shaping, changing and evolving how we communicate. From avatars to value, opinions to virtual land ownership, the themes of this exhibition reveal a deeper understanding of what is—and could be—the new generation of media and entertainment.
Join the Northwestern Qatar community to contemplate a new paradigm, an emergent virtual world where the boundaries of reality are blurred and the impossible becomes possible. The exhibition brings together dynamic content and collectibles that provoke us to think about the challenges and opportunities we may encounter in the years, decades and centuries ahead.
Complemented by over 100 physical objects, artworks and installations grounded in contemporary and nostalgic prompts, MetaWhat? unravels a story that encourages an appreciation of what the metaverse can bring to people's lives and a reminder of what it can prohibit. Right now, the metaverse is being imagined, designed and constructed by technologists in a relatively shallow way, with retail, gaming and entertainment experiences dominating usage. But who are the people developing our new world? How can we be involved? What is the true meaning and potential of the 'verse?
Like it or not, the metaverse is here, and knowing how it can shape our lives is something that shouldn't be ignored. This is a wake-up call that the media is changing and a town hall to ask pertinent questions: What are the consequences and how far will they reach? How does this impact our lives? Will it again change the ways we communicate? Will we ever embrace it? Is this another trend or will this profoundly impact our future?
By taking an active role in the metaverse, building a virtual world representative of identities, cultures, languages, religions and politics, can we be more effective in creating a better and better-informed world in which to live?
>>The exhibition is accompanied by an English and Arabic glossary of words and phrases related to the metaverse and Web3.