Italian artist gains new inspiration from metaverse in China

(Xinhua) 13:30, October 25, 2023

HEFEI, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- While the metaverse may seem virtual to many people, it has provided Italian artist Elisa Laraia with a real-life trip to China, where she demonstrated the charm of technology through several works of art from her native land.

The three-day 11th China (Wuhu) Popularized Science Products Exposition, in the city of Wuhu, east China's Anhui Province, concluded on Monday. With an exhibition area of 36,000-square-meters, it offered audiences a fresh look at science and technology through its panoramic virtual exhibition hall and highly interactive exhibits.

Multiple leading sci-tech achievements and cutting-edge products were introduced and displayed, such as quantum information, nuclear fusion energy and deep-space exploration, as well as AI foundation models and the metaverse. For Elisa, the exhibition provided a rare opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the metaverse concept and China's developments in this field.

Back home in Italy, Elisa is a professor at the School of Sculpture at the Naples Academy of Fine Arts, and director of LAP Laboratorio Permanente di Arte Pubblica -- a permanent public art workshop. Over a period of years, she has become increasingly intrigued by her Chinese students, taking more interest in Chinese art and culture.

One of her Chinese students has been serving as LAP's Chinese liaison and invited her to attend the exhibition in Wuhu, bringing along some art works from Italy.

Elisa embraced the opportunity to see China for the first time, and brought a series of works by seven artists from the Naples Academy of Fine Arts to be shown at the event.

The seven artworks integrate cutting-edge concepts, such as the metaverse, artificial intelligence and digital avatars, with realistic topics such as environmental pollution and social resources. This combination leads viewers to ponder how technological advancements could transform life and address current societal challenges.

During her trip to Wuhu, Elisa also delivered a speech on the theme of the metaverse and art education, and participated in a conference and an art competition on the metaverse theme.

"I found that many of the works in the competition focus very much on improving the experience of the exhibitors, allowing them to integrate into the works of art," said Elisa. "The various technological exhibits in the exhibition hall also allow people to envision the future."

She added that exploring the impact of technology and art on society is a topic she continues to pay attention to, and this experience has provided more inspiration for her future teaching activities.

This August, China issued a three-year action plan to promote innovative development of its metaverse industry, calling for breakthroughs in metaverse technologies, industries and applications, among others, making it a significant growth pole within the digital economy by 2025.

The development of China's artificial intelligence and metaverse is at the forefront globally, providing more imaginative space and creative soil for domestic and overseas artists like Elisa.

As her next stop, Elisa plans to go to Shanghai, where she will gain an in-depth experience of China's technology and creativity from the cutting-edge art experiments there.

She is currently working on a metaverse project called LAP to build a digital city where people can reside and interact with each other in the form of digital avatars.

"I hope to invite more Chinese artists to visit the LAP project, and also look forward to sharing my artistic ideas with more Chinese artists and Chinese students," said Elisa.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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