Andy Picci: Meditating in the Metaverse

The fruitful collaboration between Istituto Marangoni Firenze and the conceptual artist Andy Picci continues under his new Mentorship for this academic year with a project that will bring students from both Multimedia Arts and Arts Curating courses in a Metaverse. 


By Jessica García Corral and Giulia Piceni. Cover image courtesy of Andy Picci.

The increase of technology in the art world and modern hyper-connectivity have caused our relationship with space and time to change radically. The new world to conquer is now the digital universe, the metaverse.

Supported by the Mentorship of renowned conceptual artist Andy Picci, students from the Art Department will develop together on Spatial a new world to display their works and research. Curated by Arts Curating students, this metaverse will host artworks from the Multimedia Arts programme to reflect on the possible meaning of identity and education in the metaverse.

I’MF: To start the interview, I would like to ask your definition of a metaverse. Since there has been a lot of noise around it, we’d like to know what metaverse means. Is “metaverse” the right word to define it?

AP: It is tricky to name something yet to be defined. I guess it’s more about what the metaverses will be like, rather than what they are supposed to be. I like to think about metaverses as extra rooms for our physical world. A place where we can gather, hang out and meet up in a way reality doesn’t allow us to.

I’MF: This year, the students from Multimedia Arts and Arts Curating courses are introduced to Spatial, a new platform that will take virtual exhibitions to another level. First, how did you come across Spatial, and why did you choose it as a medium for this project?

AP: What I found interesting on Spatial was the aim to let everyone create their own metaverse. I found it fascinating to allow users to define their virtual place’s usage and aesthetics.

Istituto Marangoni Firenze first metaverse classroom on Spatial. Kick-off meeting with Mentor Andy Picci & the students from Multimedia Arts and Arts Curating courses.

I’MF: As an artist, you have repeatedly questioned identity through virtualisation. How can a digital universe help a process of self-discovery?

AP: I don’t see virtual worlds as a way to escape reality. I found similarities between closing my eyes to meditate and wearing a VR Headset to explore an undefined world. That’s where I started my research on how memories define our perception of ourselves and our surroundings. For me, building metaverses is an opportunity to express and share our true inner selves and allow people to access them. Some sort of Meditation 3.0.

I’MF: During this upcoming Mentorship at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, what is the ultimate destination you would like to reach?

AP: I really hope the students will bloom and understand that the quest for self is not based on others’ perceptions but on our understanding of a subject’s context. The way we process this journey is what makes it personal.

Andy Picci is a conceptual artist and I’M Mentor at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Jessica García Corral is a Multimedia Arts undergraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Giulia Piceni is an Undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. 

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