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futuribile / curating futures - Issue #43 The metaverse and the Marbella: towards possible, emerging worlds

futuribile / curating futures
futuribile / curating futures - Issue #43 The metaverse and the Marbella: towards possible, emerging worlds
By Marta Arniani • Issue #43 • View online
Aloha,
These days I am dodging being a contact case like I would avoid ninja stars in a Tarantino movie. The last friend who sent me to nasal inspection is currently stuck with no symptoms in Santiago de Compostela, where she went after meeting up in Paris. Right before Christmas, it sucks. But, it also opens up a lot of possibilities. I am trying to convince my Italian friend that this is a gift from destiny, offering her the best road trip adventure ever: buy a Spanish car (possibly a vintage Seat Marbella, cheaper than renting a car), and do el camino de Santiago the other way around singing, peeing in nature and hunting for food until self-isolating in Milan. In this possible universe, she’s having the best time of her life. 🔮
Technology may offer her many more options to invent her future in the same situation in a few years. I am far from being a fanatic of virtual worlds. Still, mixed realities are coming anyway, and we are called to handle them inclusively and creatively. In an interview with the NY Times, David J. Chalmers makes it all about meaningfulness: “there’s a whole lot of people out there who are going to be able to find new kinds of meaning from virtual worlds who may well be restricted in various ways from their access to the physical world. Whether it’s disabled people or people in oppressed societies.” 
I find a digital world layered on the analog one more desirable than a parallel immersive virtual universe. The CEO of Niantic (Pokemon Go) has definitely an economic interest in the topic, but his view is less dystopian than Zuckerberg‘s: “I’m a techno-optimist in the sense that I think AR — a real-world version of that metaverse, if you will, that’s about getting people outside and active and learning about their city, state, town — can help bring us back together.” 
The open challenges are not just technical - the design (the visuals, the sonic experience) or the devices (moving from phones to wearables). They span the whole socio-cultural sphere: the community (community-owned metaverses so far are centred around virtual money), the inclusiveness (gender and racial problems exist there too), and ultimately the whole purpose of the experience (is it a sandbox for new social order? For innovation? For creativity?). When you build new architectures, they always emerge from somewhere, from a context. It is political. Reflecting on the Gramsci’s lines “‘the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born”, the freshly nominated curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Lesley Lokko, points out that the word “emerging” describes: 
“a condition that is full of promise and potential, yet, in the wrong hands or context, can also be patronising, tinged with judgements that are inevitably subject to bias. Given the highly politicised, racialised and environmentally aware world that young architects are themselves emerging into, the question of what it means to be an ‘emerging’ voice, on whose terms and by whose authority, according to whose definition and by which criteria, is an important, if challenging one.”
This applies also to architects of new worlds.
Aloha,
Marta
PS: This edition is a bit bigger than usual. In the past few months, I took a pause from my professional digital presence and enjoyed a busy ride in what I’d define as “the interface of the present moment”. I used this time to hold workshops with citizens in different EU countries for the T-Factor and the Hestia projects. On all these occasions (more details below), I have gone hands-on and created experiences with prototypes and installations to facilitate community processes or raise digital awareness (pics here). It was simply amazing to create and the feedback was🕺🏾 - I look forward to doing more installations for creative facilitation and digital literacy in the coming year!

OK, the Marbella is romantic, but... Finally, a classy electric car that does not look frigid: Hyundai Heritage Series Grandeur, an all-electric version of the 1986 saloon car.
OK, the Marbella is romantic, but... Finally, a classy electric car that does not look frigid: Hyundai Heritage Series Grandeur, an all-electric version of the 1986 saloon car.
In the interface of the present moment
For an ecology of attention: a walk along biodiversity and data centres
Data Campfire: a methodology for data justice in urban regeneration
Digital placemaking in Kaunas: extremely vast and incredibly close future
How do you prepare the ground for an energy community?
Introducing the Icelandverse
Introducing the Icelandverse
Shots
/// The Digital Violence interactive platform by Forensic Architecture let you explore the net of NSO’s Pegasus malware, which has been used in at least 45 countries worldwide to infect the phones of activists, journalists and human rights defenders.
/// ‘The Lobby Network’, report by Corporate Europe Observatory and Lobbycontrol, explores the biggest lobby sector in the EU (spoiler: tech). 💩
/// Italy is the first EU country to introduce a temporary ban for private entities to use surveillance systems in public places or places accessible to the public. 
/// My friend Nura launched 75 Tbps of (🌸◠ω◠) ︻╦╤─, a digital observatory on online visual culture across violence and cuteness, militarism and kawaii aesthetics, gun waifus and ideological crisis. 💕
/// How the Chinese queer internet is being censored.
Oh, dear!
How I experience the Web today. Experiental prank website.
How I experience the Web today. Experiental prank website.
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That’s all for 2021. Share online and forward to support my work, hit reply for feedback or starting a conversation. See you in 2022!
Aloha,
Marta
Did you enjoy this issue?
Marta Arniani

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