The Media Majlis opens doors to Qatar’s first major exhibition that examines the metaverse.

The Media Majlis at Northwestern University in Qatar has launched its seventh exhibition and Qatar’s first major presentation exploring the concept of the metaverse – MetaWhat?

The exhibition is being held at a community preview event hosted at the museum exhibition hall at Northwestern Qatar’s campus in Education City.

The display, which is ongoing until December 7, explores the pitfalls and opportunities of an ever-changing digital media landscape while challenging structures imposed by the West and offering a view of this new technology from the perspectives of the Global South.

Jack Thomas Taylor, Interim Director of The Media Majlis and Curator of the exhibition, said the wide success of the opening of the exhibition reflects the growing interest in the topic of the metaverse. He said: “No one truly understands what the metaverse is or its potential, but everyone is fascinated by this new technology and what it might mean for our future. Our autumn 2023 exhibition dives deep into what it all means—and could mean—while putting a mirror up to our past and reflecting on the present.”

Marwan M. Kraidy, Dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar, added: “As a university museum with distinctive capacities, The Media Majlis at Northwestern Qatar is best suited to explore the concept of the metaverse with its ambitions and audacity and explain the emerging virtual world and how it is transforming our lives.”

Visitors attending the exhibition will be introduced to five specially created avatar personalities which will take them on a journey through today’s online landscape through digital screens, hologram NFT displays, and virtual and augmented reality across five thematic installations. This includes MetaWorld, which unpacks the seven distinct layers that make up the metaverse, and MetaExperience, a captivating data visualisation offering a glimpse of the growth and development of virtual land sales. Also, among the installations is MetaCreate, where visitors are encouraged to participate, build and create in a dedicated space, from playing Fortnite to learning how to (low)code.

On show throughout the exhibition are more than 100 nostalgic physical collectibles and several rare and valuable items on loan from international, regional and local lenders, such as Ooredoo, Qatar Museums and Qatar National Library.

The display of collectibles includes the result of a collaboration between Qatar-based company Astro Automotive Services and American artist Daniel Arsham.

Gaia, a touring artwork by celebrated British artist Luke Jerram, is on public display at Northwestern Qatar’s Forum as part of the exhibition.

And TV personality and commentator Anas Bukhash is encouraging visitors to question our future in Where do you stand? a forum in which four well-known talents from the Arab world’s media landscape discuss their honest thoughts on the metaverse. MetaWhat? is open from Sunday to Thursday from 10am to 8pm. The exhibition will be complemented by weekends of talks, panel discussions, showcases, walkthroughs and experiences to commence in October. ✤