By Alexandre Teodoresco, Nov 2021
|Last Saturday I found myself in a small party, with real people! And as good habits die hard, it quickly turned into a kitchen party. A girl I have not met approaches me and, to start the conversation, asks me what I do for a living. I answer: “I work in the Metaverse”. I see a deep boredom… Oops, I thought I was being smart but quickly realized that what can be a fascinating subject for me can actually create quite different reactions in people who are not in my field. I decided to give it a shot with my new techno-skeptic friend and hang on to explain what this Metaverse is all about , and why you should care about it.
I understood that she was an art lover and that she was involved in social justice causes. I told her that I worked at Les 7 doigts de la main. She got confused. She loves The 7 Fingers. For her, we are real, authentic, artisticly driven, we are in the real world and especially not interested in technological gadgets. I took advantage of this moment of sympathy to explain to her the reason for our exploration of the Metaverse.
Basically, we define ourselves as storytellers. Since we’re a circus company, we use human movement to create these narrative threads and emotions. But circus is a multidisciplinary art that is by definition always innovating and taking risks, reinventing itself. That’s how our art can stay relevant through the ages. Right now, we are witnessing a major shift in the way audiences entertain and cultivate themselves.
Like it or not, the facts are clear. Hundreds of millions of people young and old are spending more and more time in immersive digital environments. We can decide not to believe in this transformation, and wake up in a few years in front of an empty room. Someone wise once told me that if we don’t like the future, we might as well create it.
That’s exactly what we’re trying to do at 7 Fingers by taming the tools of the Metaverse and learning how to tell our stories in it. In fact, this is what all our colleagues in the performing arts in Quebec should absolutely start doing as well. Our cultural sovereignty is at stake. Look at the trouble we’re having carving out a place for ourselves on streaming platforms. We can’t afford to miss the boat on this next digital transformation.
When I started talking to her about why we’re moving to the Metaverse and what’s at stake for our cultural relevance as a nation, I think I struck a chord with my kitchen party techno-skeptic. Who knows? Maybe she went to create her avatar after the party?