IMVU Joins With Pussy Riot Founder To Launch Utopia Metaverse

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova wants to bring feminism to the metaverse

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Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova | Photo by Santiago Imkorpo Pagnotta via UnicornDAO modified by Blockworks

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Online virtual social networking site IMVU and Pussy Riot band member Nadya Tolokonnikova announced the launching of a Web3 metaverse community space called Utopia on Wednesday.

Maura Welch, vice president of marketing at IMVU parent company Together Labs, told Blockworks that Tolokonnikova will also launch an NFT collection for use on the platform. The assets will include digital wearables for users to buy and wear in the IMVU community.

Tolokonnikova is a founding member of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock band and protest group. She has also embedded herself in the Web3 space, creating Unicorn DAO in 2022 to challenge the male-dominated landscape and buy NFTs from female artists.

As a part of Pussy Riot, Tolokonnikova and four other members staged an anti-Vladimir Putin demonstration in a church in 2012. Two of them, including Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and later convicted of “hooliganism.” The artists, both in their early twenties at the time, were sentenced to two years in prison.

More recently, Russia added Tolokonnikova to its wanted list after Pussy Riot released a short protest film called “Putin’s Ashes.” In the film, a picture of the Russian leader is set on fire. Tolokonnikova also previously released an NFT titled “Virgin Mary, Please Become A Feminist” depicting the famous religious figure from Christianity in the outline of a vagina.

Sticking with the symbolism of what catapulted Pussy Riot into international notoriety, the centerpiece of Utopia will be the Pink Church of Feminism. It will be a building clad in Pussy Riot’s colors of pink, white and black. Participants will be able to use their avatars to engage with one another and roleplay their own punk music performances.

“It’s very thrilling to launch Utopia in IMVU and make it feminist, queer, diverse and radical. It has always been a dream of mine to create a Pink Church of Feminism,” Tolokonnikova said. “Eventually, I’ll find a way to build it in real life. But the first step is to launch this vision in the metaverse.”

Utopia markets itself as an inclusive space for “women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ creatives.” Other past metaverse projects have taken on similar inclusive branding in recent months. Decentraland joined up with deodorant company Degree in April 2022 to host a virtual marathon that catered to wheelchair users with avatars and accessible infrastructure.  

The NFT series designed by Tolokonnikova and powered by blockchain asset developer MetaJuice will be showcased Wednesday at an invite-only NFT.NYC event.

Updated April 12, 2023 at 4:48 pm ET: A previous headline referred to Nadya Tolokonnikova as a Pussy Riot alumna. She is a current member.


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