Nadia Tolokonnikova, lead singer of activist band Pussy Riot, launched her own metaverse in partnership with Together Labs and its subsidiary IMVU.
According to Pussy Riot’s Twitter account, her metaverse, dubbed Utopia, offers a “diverse, feminist and inclusive community.” As MetaNews discovered, part of her diverse user community also offers opportunities for adults-only interaction.
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PUSSY RIOT’s first Metaverse community
Join Utopia, a diverse, feminist and inclusive community. @IMVU 🕯️
Exclusive NFT drop + in-app quest experience designed by Pussy Riot is coming🔪🖤🥷💒https://t.co/a3qSQIAuYq To join the community for free
@IMVU +… pic.twitter.com/5aJMgFsWre
— 𝖕𝖚𝖘𝖘𝖞 𝖗𝖎𝖔𝖙💦 (@pussyrrriot) April 12, 2023
Pink Church of Feminism
Pussy Riot feminist leader Nadia Tolokonnikova is no stranger to using technology trends for self-promotion and activism. Tolokonnikova was previously involved in a cryptocurrency project, UkraineDAO, aimed at financing Ukraine after its invasion of Russia. She has also worked on various of her NFT projects, including Bowie on the Blockchain, as well as lending her name.
Now a pop provocateur, she’s teaming up with IMVU to bring her brand of anarchic feminist punk to the Metaverse.
IMVU is a virtual world and social platform that allows users to create personalized avatars and interact with others in 3D chat rooms. As advertised, the metaverse created by Tolokonnikova is called Utopia, but more precisely, it’s her chat room within her IMVU labeled “The Pink Church of Feminism.”
“It was my dream to found a pink church of feminism,” Tolokonnikova said in a widely-publicized statement last week. “Eventually we will find a way to build it into reality. But the first step is to launch this vision in the metaverse.”
“It’s very thrilling to launch Utopia at IMVU and make it feminist, queer, diverse and radical,” Tolokonnikova said.
Curious to find out more, Metanews decided to visit the Pink Feminism Church and find out what it was all about.
Register for IMVU
One of the slightly deceptive things about IMVU is the process by which users choose and customize their avatar. During the customization process, all work is done within your browser.
Only after the customization is complete and the user has tinkered with the avatar until they are satisfied, IMVU will ask them to download the app to their system. The app says it’s a “beta” release, which is surprising considering the company was founded in his 2004.
After successfully downloading and installing the IMVU client (146MB), the first page that appeared was the menu page. This is unintuitive and I found myself guessing and clicking randomly and hoping for the best.
Clicking on “Feed”, I discovered the realm of the IMVU metaverse, which is basically an Instagram clone. However, instead of actual pictures, I was shown screen captures of various users’ avatars.
Finally, in the upper right corner[チャット]It turns out that you have to click a button. The chat page displayed many thumbnails, each representing a different chat room. However, I still didn’t know what to click due to the small size of the thumbnails.
I chose the first thumbnail. This one looks pink and this also happened to be exactly the pink feminist church I was looking for.
the church is open
Upon entering the feminist church, I quickly realized that this was unlike any church experience I had ever had. In front of me were two female avatars, neither dressed like a typical churchgoer. On the dance floor, another woman jumped and writhed while the male avatar stood motionless at the edge of the dance floor. (I think some things in the Metaverse are exactly the same as in the real world.)
I looked around the church, but really there was little to explore. It had a seating area and a stage. For a while, reckless curiosity trapped me behind a pink drum kit.
In the main chat feature, which appeared on the right side of the screen, one of the women called her male friend “Daddy” while another attempted to claim that feminism had achieved nothing. Another participant expressed her hatred of incels.
Clicking on some of the chat participants found interesting details in their bios. One user promised to “be your goddess” and was “prepared for discord.” Another suggested nudity. One claimed to be a model scout.
“For me or for my avatar?” I wondered.
As time went on and the interactions became more surreal, I began to think I might be in the wrong place. Then he found the words “Pussy Riot” carved into the floor of the church. After all, I wasn’t lost, I was just confused. Was this really the case? It was.
shopping and goodbye
After leaving the Pink Feminism Church, I decided to take a short tour of the IMVU store. Inside I found a long list of Pussy Riot products including t-shirts, hoodies, scarves, balaclavas and more. All can be purchased with VCoins, a type of cryptocurrency unique to IMVU.
As I was scrolling through the corporate clothing at the IMVU store, I was surprised to receive a push notification. A user named Steven, who has an avatar who is as metrosexual as I am, sent me a friend request.
Sadly, I had already decided it was time to end my adventure in Pussy Riot Utopia. I’m sorry, Stephen.