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  • Nicolas B.

Earth2 / Terre seconde

Logo Earth2

Earth2, apart from the American series of the 80s, is a metaverse concept launched in November 2020 on the internet by Shanon Isaac. It consists of a virtual version of the Earth at 1:1 scale in which the geolocations of the real world on a map cut into 10x10m "tiles" correspond to virtual digital environments generated by the user. These tiles can only be bought and sold for the moment, making this site look like a cryptocurrency trading platform to some, but in the near future these tiles will be fully customizable and participants will be able to terraform them, construct buildings and conduct various activities, some of which are expected to be lucrative. For the time being, the people in charge of the game remain cautious and circumspect about future developments.

Of course, I can't help but put this project in parallel with the concept of Second Earth of the digital artist and philosopher Gregory Chatonsky, whose work I particularly like, and with his exhibition that he presented in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo in 2019. Of course, the concept is on the one hand commercial and videogame (Earth2) and on the other hand philosophical and artistic, but the two come together in a way that seems to me quite interesting and prove that this idea of an obsolete, deserted, out-of-breath current Earth and a second, virtual one, in which we would take refuge through technologies (virtual reality), is floating in the air of time.

The cinema has been exploiting it for a long time, in a more or less dystopian way (rather more than less) with films like Avalon by Mamoru Oshii, eXistenZ by David Cronenberg or of course Matrix by the Wachowski sisters.

When Nola's key was created in 2005, when in the long introductory text of the original website it was written "our dreams are the new worlds, they are not necessarily, as you think, in an afterlife or somewhere else, but somewhere deep inside", maybe this kind of idea was referred to.

We don't really know what this "new" Earth is going to look like and the team of developers seems quite small for such a pharaonic project, but it is clear that the project seems to arouse great curiosity, given the viral nature of the phenomenon and the number of participants/buyers already registered.

To be continued...

Edit of July 11, 2021 :

After following the project for a few months, it turns out that it seems to take a purely speculative and economic turn (buying tiles/reselling them for more money, exploiting the resources on the tiles to make a profit, building buildings, etc.). While on paper the idea was great and could have brought an exciting breath of fresh air to the VR world, what the project team lets us see is just horrible: a total lack of grandeur and vision. Earth 1, but worse.


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