Muses 2 // Metaverse Performance (2022)

I created ‘Muses 2 // Metaverse Performance’ in collaboration with Vueltta, the metaverse art collective I co-founded this year with designer Adrián Martínez. The piece was debuted in the Decentraland metaverse on November 18th 2022, with a repeat performance on December 4th 2022 for Miami Art Week. The mp4 version of Muses 2 was also shown at Miami Art Week with The Royal House of Medici genesis exhibition and auction.

Muses 2 // Metaverse Performance was the world’s first performance art piece in the metaverse, as confirmed by Decentraland, the organizer of each year’s Metaverse Art Week in collaboration with arts organizations such as Sotheby’s, Artnet and CADAF. You can read more about why this was the first performance piece and see more images in my news pages here.

↳ Explore the MUSES 2 Decentraland installation (120, 130) (ends 31/12722)

Still from Muses 2 // Metaverse Performance, showing the ‘wearable’ face mapped from my paintings.

Muse 2 // Metaverse Performance is part of my ongoing body of work on the archetype of the muse. For this work, I start by generating my ‘own’ women using AI technology, training my algorithms with my previous paintings and complimentary data sets (focused especially on Rembrandt’s ‘triangle’ lighting for chiaroscuro). I then paint the ‘portraits’ of these muses in real-life using oil on canvas and Renaissance painting techniques.

But for me, the outcome of my work cannot stop at the painting. I always need to push the paintings further by making and filming digital or physical interventions. I’m especially interested in where archetypes meet our nascent digital identities. So with Muses 2 my intention was to push this further by turning the paintings into an immersive, participatory metaverse installation and performance.

To begin the work, I painted four AI-generated muses inspired by the works of José de Ribera, which regularly visit in Valencia’s Museu de Bellas Arts. I then converted the paintings into digital textures using photography and digital painting. Once I had the textures, I worked with Vueltta to transform the textures into metaverse architectures and ‘wearables‘ (digital clothing that can be worn by avatars in the metaverse).

The intention was that a participant in Muses 2 could fully embody the paintings – from being immersed in the images, to wearing their likeness on their own metaverse avatar.

Still from Muses 2, showing the sleeping ’emote’ by Canessa

Designer Adrián Martínez created the installation architecture featuring all four muses, and 3D creative KJ Walker transformed one muse into the wearable face and headdress.

I then combined the wearable and immersive architectures with a movement and spoken word performance, led by two ‘muse’ avatars within the space. Everything used within the performnce was an NFT (digital asset minted on the blockchain), from the installation walls to the wearables and the poses (‘emotes’) of the avatars. The work itself was available as an NFT in the inaugural Royal House of Medici auction.

Just like clothing and objects in the real world, many of the assets I used within the Muses 2 performance were created by other artists. The difference being in the metaverse that I can trace the creator of all the assets and thank them here. In fact, we see the boundaries of Vueltta as a collective as being very fluid. The algorithms in our artifical intelligence models are justifiably artists within our collective, as are all the creators who contributed wearables and emotes to the project.

Special thanks go to:
– Sleeping Emote by Canessa
– Sitting Emote by Doki
– Armour by James Guard
– Music by Palle Knudsen
– Decentraland Land, coordinates 28, 12 (Nov) and 120, 130 (Dec) by Butter.