Mark Zuckerberg’s latest iteration of his virtual world has been derided as aesthetically primitive – but is that the point?

Justin E. H. Smith in The New Statesman:

In October 2021, Meta Platforms, Inc, released a “trailer”, hosted by the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to give a visual tour of its recent expansion into the Metaverse – the immersive, virtual-reality world that is expected to be the next great iteration of our internet technologies.

It was a curious piece of work. The trailer began with Zuckerberg standing in a living room with a fireplace, a stunning mountain view, and other conventional signifiers of wealth. The Zuckerberg who first greets us appears to be the real one; he quickly proceeds to summon up a nearly life-size digital avatar of himself, and then runs through a sequence of possible costumes to dress his Meta-self in ahead of a virtual meeting with his Meta colleagues (or, more accurately, is yea-saying underlings). He briefly considers some more outlandish outfits before deciding on one that exactly matches what he, the real Zuckerberg, is already wearing: an unassuming anti-fashion ensemble for which he has long been known for, consisting of a black shirt and black trousers. This comedic set-up reveals something about the mentality behind the dismal aesthetics of the Metaverse as we have seen it so far.

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