ICC Metaverse Project
Vol.4 TANAKA Hiroya x KARASAWA Yuusuke Space, Environment, Corporeity in the Metaverse Interviewer:
For the fourth study session, we invited design engineer TANAKA Hiroya and architect KARASAWA Yuusuke. With both guest speaking from their respective standpoints, the discussion revolved around the topic of "spacial representation unique to the Metaverse." *

Firstly, TANAKA points out the imbalance between the input and the output interfaces of online virtual worlds. No matter how the 3-D space displayed on the screen is brought to perfection, human corporeity will not be effectively realized within that space as long as the input relies on devices such as the keyboard and the mouse. Furthermore, he explains that information spaces such as the Internet have a "discrete" nature, as opposed to the continuous structure of the real world. He expresses frustration at the current situation in which, even though people have gotten used to the lifestyle with "discrete experiences" through the daily use of e-mail and portable devices, this has not yet been reflected in any creative form. KARASAWA says, virtual 3-D spaces can be presented in any imaginable way, but they will not be convincing if they have no relevance to the real world and fail to evoke corporeal sensibility. He refers to Google Earth as an ideal model having a specific connection to the real world.

Both guests are neither interested in viewing the Metaverse as a "social experiment," where it functions as a communication platform, nor as a place to pursue "adventures of perception." They suggest that an "environment as the Other" could be experienced within the Metaverse. The idea is that a parallel universe very similar but slightly different from the real world is realized within the Metaverse, and the results from the simulations conducted there can be incorporated into the real world. This kind of system can be useful to solve pressing global issues like environmental and population problems.

Inevitably, a certain gap emerges between simulations and actual events. But KARASAWA says that this sense of gap might indeed function as the basis for corporeity. TANAKA indicates that aside from conventional approaches such as "formation" and "construction," other perspectives like "observation" and "cultivation," could be brought in to enrich the virtual space.

Although expressing conflicting views at times, the two guests share a common ground. They agree that it is important to associate information technology with actual social issues. By somehow integrating them, the Metaverse could be used as a platform to create solutions for social issues.