Art in the Age of the Metaverse

The Art in the Age of the Metaverse conference brings together artists, curators, activists and industry professionals from around the world working at the intersection of the metaverse and contemporary art. The Rijksakademie is participating and organising three workshops in line with the event.

The conference

Through talks, discussions, and presentations, participants will share their insights and explore key questions such as: What are the forms of artistic expression at the nexus of physical and virtual? How do these artists engage with the ethical, social, and environmental implications? How can we counter big tech in deciding what the metaverse is and can become? And what role do we, as participants, play in shaping the future direction? On the first day of the conference, the Rijksakademie is organising three workshops on these topics.


Tickets for the workshops on Friday 10 March at the Rijksakademie you can purchase below, per workshop. Tickets for the conference and exhibition are available through de website of De Balie. For more information on the conference's programme visit

Workshops – Friday 10 March

  • Friday 10 March / 10:00 – 14:30
    Rijksakademie, Project Space Zuid

    How might we build more equitable (art) worlds? What is at stake when deciding the flow of limited resources? What are the trade-offs of different organisational forms and strategies?

    The Modules is a role-playing game about decision-making and resource scarcity. Players speed-run organisational forms and explore the intricacies of ‘real-world’ economics and organisational dynamics.

    In a preparatory workshop, participants contribute their knowledge to design different organisations, and their characters and roles within them, based on archetypes pulled at random. Players build an exquisite corpse and contribute their creativity to the contours of the world.

    In the second part of The Modules, participants play a game based loosely on Capture the Flag and Nomic, a game about changing the rules of play through different collective mechanisms. Each organisation – called an *org* in the language of the world – manages a balance of a fictional currency called *phi*. They create a sustainable strategy for their treasury, and explore their own cultural economics by navigating the other players.

    Tickets. The ticket includes a free vegan lunch.

    Formed in 2019 in Berlin, Black Swan (Laura Lotti, Calum Bowden, Penny Rafferty, Leïth Benkhedda) is a collective pursuing horizontal and decentralised approaches to art making. Starting from their context in the Berlin cultural scene, Black Swan proposes an ecology of interdependent art worlds based on plurality and situatedness. Black Swan is developing digital toolkits for artists through a methodology that puts play and blockchain-thinking at the centre. Existing communities of creative practitioners are invited to test and experiment with forms of interaction, modes of organisation, and sustainable economic models in role-playing games, working groups, and hackathons. Through this, Black Swan is building an interoperable protocol for artistic communes, to enable collaborative institutional forms and allow for a redefinition of what art can be.

  • Friday 10 March / 10:30 – 15:00
    Rijksakademie, Auditorium

    Digital tools have the capacity to open up possibilities for different identities and forms of representation. Our digital identities, in the form of an avatar, have the potential to be free from binary forms, and move beyond the limitations of a physical body. As one of the main forms of representation within the metaverse, the avatar plays a central role. But who dictates how that avatar is constructed, the limitations of its shape and form, and how it can move through space?

    This workshop emerges from Babusi Nyoni’s creation of a decentralised version of a metaverse, which he set out to build in order to establish a framework for future, truly African, virtual worlds. Babusi’s metaverse environment does not use any proprietary software development kits and is accessible to users who may not be able to afford the hardware typically required to engage in virtual reality experiences. During the workshop we’ll be creating avatars that will then populate the metaverse environment that Babusi has created. The avatars will be created using open browser-based tools and libraries that are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

    Emphasising the importance of simultaneously working with, and being critical of, the tools that we use, this workshop will weave discursive moments into the step-by-step process of creating an avatar. During the workshop we’ll be discussing what representation means within the metaverse and its Eurocentric underpinnings; exploring how software reads and analyses our bodies; questioning the processes and normative biases of ‘rigging’ the body; and looking into online movement libraries which are often derived from game design and replicate the violence and sexism present there. Once we’ve created our avatars, we’ll be able to share them and place them within Babusi’s metaverse environment–giving space for everyone to move and dance collectively, to connect with their avatar.

    Tickets. The ticket includes a free vegan meal.
    We kindly ask participants to bring their own laptop and smartphone.

    This workshop was originally developed as part of the Toolkit for the Inbetween research project, a partnership between The Hmm, affect lab, and MU Hybrid Art House. The Toolkit for the Inbetween is a how-to knowledge base offering tools, frameworks, and inspiration for designing a successful hybrid experience where online and on-site audiences come together. The toolkit is born out of extensive research into hybrid experiences and their dynamic lineage of experimentation undertaken in the art and cultural sectors.The workshop is facilitated by Babusi Nyoni and Margarita Osipian.

    Babusi Nyoni is a Zimbabwean creative technologist who develops new work at the nexus of emerging technology and the needs of underrepresented communities. With a focus on AI-enabled computer vision and virtual world-building, Babusi has created various interactive media experiences that interrogate the uses of new technologies while centering their early applications on the requisites of often-marginalised communities

    Margarita Osipian is an independent curator, researcher, and cultural organiser based in Amsterdam. Engaging with the intersections and socio-political frictions between art, design, and technology, she organises workshops, exhibitions, and collaborative projects both in formal institutions and in more precarious and ephemeral spaces. Margarita is part of The Hmm, a platform for internet cultures and is also on the curatorial teams for W139 and Sonic Acts.

  • Friday 10 March / 13:00 – 17:00
    Rijksakademie, 'Het Schip'

    PLEASE NOTE: this workshop is currently fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please contact

    Join producer Veronica So and production designer Shuruq Tramontini of Ian Cheng’s animated film Life after BOB for a 4-hour interactive workshop on worldbuilding for the metaverse.

    Participants will experience first-hand integral processes of creating a world through collaboration and technology. Practical sessions will include exercises on story development and how to go about creating well rounded, fully-dimensional characters and environments. The workshop will emphasise the importance of establishing tone, consistency and surprises for its participants as potential world builders and directors, covering content creation, rule-setting and getting comfortable with giving feedback for design and performance.

    Producer Veronica So will lead production-focused discussions on how to assemble and collaborate successfully with artists and technologists. Technical director Ivaylo Getov will present the technical side of building a world in a video game engine. Production designer Shuruq Tramontini will show stages of the production process from concept art to polished product. The team will emphasise the relevancy to the metaverse by presenting ways of environmental storytelling in 3D spaces.

    The workshop will playfully challenge its participants to think of what might be required in the ideation process. What tools and thought experiments can be utilised to design worlds? What are the implications of interactive spaces on linear storytelling? What are potential strategies of working as a team to create a cohesive and whole world? Is there a difference between witnessing and experiencing alternative realities?

    Participants are encouraged to bring any personal tech (laptop, camera, recorders, smartphone, etc) they want. Please note that these sessions will be highly interactive – with group games, modules and improvisation and therefore participation and collaborative ideation is highly encouraged

    Veronica So is a producer and writer creating technologically ambitious projects that span the disciplines of fine art, storytelling, artificial intelligence, animation and gaming. She is known for intuitively paring fine artists with the right collaborators, and her work and passion lies in cultivating healthy, successful and long-term partnerships. She is the co-parent and producer of many Ian Cheng works, including Emissaries – a trilogy of digital ecological simulations of infinite duration built in the Unity video game engine, and AI-driven virtual lifeform called BOB (Bag of Beliefs) and currently, an animated miniseries called Life After BOB, which narratively explores the transformation of human life scripts in an era of artificial intelligence.

    Shuruq Tramontini is a creative technologist bases in Los Angeles. Working with game engines and interactive media, she explores relationships between technology, culture and nature. She is interested in game mechanisms and interactive game play to explore and provoke potential futures. In the past she has worked as the Lead Unity Artist and Production Designer for the anime series Life after BOB: The Chalice Study by Ian Cheng, as well as for first-person PC game Common’Hood and collaborated as the Creative Technical Artist on a real-time project for Pierre Huyghe. Currently she is adjunct faculty at SCI ARC’s MSC Fiction and Entertainment programme.

About Art in the Age of the Metaverse

The project Art in the Age of the Metaverse began in February 2022 with a six-month research in the field conducted by Leonardo Dellanoce and Arthur Steiner, from Memory Gems, who are guiding the project and conference with Hartwig Art Foundation and the Rijksakademie. The aim of the Hartwig Art Foundation and the Rijksakademie is to examine the different aspects of contemporary arts in the metaverse in order to explore, prototype and create new support infrastructures for artists and creative practitioners working with and around metaverse technologies (AI, VR, AR, MR, game engines, blockchain and more). The international conference in March is organised together with De Balie. 

Public Programme

Our calendar of events, project presentations, talks & readings.