What we know today as ‘the internet’ has historically been accompanied by a particular class of high-definition visions for its future. In this luminous world, a boundless 3D space, digital beings would interact through new forms of collectivity and partake in new modes of making, sharing, learning and trading.

The idea of the metaverse—broadly defined as an always-online and persistent spatial virtual world—is being resurrected through a fundamental shift in digital infrastructure. This development includes the relatively recent advent of consumer-level technologies such as video game engines and immersive hardware, and is accelerated by a bearing within the games industry towards user-created worlds. At present, the metaverse is set to be shaped mainly by the interests of large corporations and mass markets. How and why should cultural institutions engage with the construction of the metaverse?

And for whose benefit? The purpose of Future Art Ecosystems (FAE) is to provide analytical and conceptual tools and strategic guidance for the construction of 21st-century cultural infrastructure: the systems that would support art and advanced technologies as a whole, and be responsive to a broader societal agenda…

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