Screen capture still of animated 3D street art video from the Instagram feed.

Inspired by the rise in the prevalence of street art during the pandemic, the StreetArtifacts group created an interactive AR platform on which they host scans of street art using a sophisticated camera that captures a “4k color textured 3d scan” and then use “spatial web and augmented reality” technologies to realise a map linked to authentic, detailed three-dimensional renders of the artwork in each location. The result is a virtual tour of immersive street art that digitally conserves this important part of our modern cultural heritage.

Named after a fictional dystopian virtual world from the 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash” and popularised by the Spielberg film “Ready player one”, metaverses are collaboratively developed environments beyond the control of any one person that the hype is currently touting will replace the two-dimensional internet we know now with a three dimensional, immersive VR world in which people represent themselves with avatars – virtual representations of themselves. Is the metaverse the next step in the development of the internet, the digital frontier in which we should all be investing, or an overhyped false dawn destined to be forgotten as soon as the next big thing hoves into view?