Metaverse, although it is still a relatively new concept, is undergoing a period of intense exploration across a wide range of industries around the world. With this opportunity, the art industry can creatively join the party and introduce more ingenious and innovative works to the public.
In this article, we invited Mr. Gu Qiang, the co-founder of Beijing Chu Jiao Technology Co., Ltd. and the founder of Dayou Buyan Culture Co., Ltd., to share his views on exploring art in the metaverse. Besides NFTs, the buzzword may offer more opportunities for the industry that values creativity and innovation.
A brief history of art development
Two critical influences have contributed to the development of art. One is the medium through which artwork is created, while the other is the medium used to disseminate artwork. Historically, rocks have been the earliest medium for creating art. Our ancestors carved and made them one of the earliest forms of art traced back thousands of years ago.
Over time, human productivity increased, resulting in an evolution of the medium used for art creation. A growing number of art forms, such as stone carvings and oil paintings, have increased the appeal of art. The value embedded in artworks has grown accordingly, and many artists and creators have started to gain fame.
With the advent of industrialization, we were given richer ways to create art with the invention of the camera. Learning how to draw a painting was no longer necessary; the new medium provided creators with a better creative experience and a disruptive state of mind.
After this comes the more familiar modern era in which computers, mobile phones, and tablets are now the preferred medium for creating art. We have to continue exploring the answers to the following questions as technology evolves in various fields: how will new media evolve in the future, and will artificial intelligence become the next generation of art creation media?
In the ancient times, there were no printed publications such as newspapers, or other media that could be quickly disseminated, so artists had to spread their work through word of mouth. Due to transportation difficulties, the scope of the dissemination of art was also limited at the moment.
The constant development of transportation gradually made it easier for people to overcome distances, and the development of art began to rely on such a medium of communication. The proliferation of art during this era was also facilitated by lighter and more portable materials, such as paper and canvas.
With the global reach of the Internet, the means of communication for art have become very diverse today. Internet technology has enabled us to access information more than any previous generation. Amid such a situation, how should art be defined? As the buzzword metaverse becomes more familiar, what kinds of sparks will emerge from the combination of metaverse and art?
Art + Metaverse: new possibilities
Among the possibilities for an ecology of "Art+Metaverse" is NFT. It is a form of tradable digital artwork that has solved a long-standing problem: users cannot distinguish between the original one and the replica of an image when copied and pasted. Using blockchain technology, NFT addresses the issue of uniqueness in virtual items.
NFT's main problem is its limited business pattern. Most users adopt a "blind purchase" attitude toward NFTs; that is, they will purchase many NFTs and expect the value of their products to rise over time. However, NFT has no uncertainty or practicality, and unlike stamps, antiques, or other conventional collectibles, it cannot be easily displayed.
It is anticipated that this type of problem will disappear with the emergence of the metaverse. NFT collectibles will be visibly displayed in the virtual world of the metaverse, making it possible to appreciate other people's collections. A situation such as this will increase the value of NFT significantly due to its uniqueness. As a result, NFT will have a multitude of applications and markets that can be explored further.
- Artificial Intelligence
AI plays an important role in creating and measuring the value of artworks. Traditionally, there are two ways to value artworks: the first is by counting the number of hours worked and multiplying it by the average hourly rate of the creator to calculate the piece's value. Secondly, when an artwork is of great cultural and social significance, its value increases accordingly.
However, the value of artworks created by AI does not apply to these two standards. A key question to consider in this process is whether humans should measure AI-created artwork and whether AI is a creator equal to us or a tool for human use.
An animation was presented as part of the special exhibition celebrating the 70th anniversary of The Palace Museum (Forbidden City). Inspired by the famous national treasure painting "Peony", this animation depicts a flower slowly opening up. It was hoped that the flower would gradually change from budding to blooming, in which case the image would need to be manually created.
In the past, this kind of outcome could only be achieved by collecting a large number of drawings. For a smooth effect, frame-by-frame brushwork was required, which would be a labor-intensive process. Typically, a professional artist would need about two days to complete one frame of "Peony". That means an animation of 70 seconds like this may take ten years to complete if 60 frames are captured each second.
Using artificial intelligence, this task, which was previously impossible for a human to accomplish, can be completed within a short period with high quality. That is the fascinating future that AI can offer.
- Digital Humans
Another "Art+Metaverse" prospect is digital humans. For enterprises seeking quality brand ambassadors, digital humans will be an excellent choice. Ultimately, real stars are not "perfect", so it is possible for brands to suffer financial losses if these A-listers become involved in ethical scandals. In contrast, a brand ambassador of a digital human will be highly unlikely to cause any crisis of this sort.
Currently, there is a great deal of discussions about the concept of digital humans, and its definitions are pretty broad. Hatsune Miku is an example of a complete digital human, as her entire body is composed of digital components. The second type is the half-digital human, such as the previously wildly popular Xiaoice, which uses artificial intelligence to replace the appearance of a real person. Such figures may also be referred to as "digital humans".
In the metaverse, art is a comprehensive term, and several possibilities may influence how we view and treat art in the future. With the advent of the metaverse, we can now expand the realm of art in a very convenient and expansive manner. While you may not have prior knowledge of art, the metaverse offers you numerous opportunities to get very close to it, which can be both fascinating and inspiring.