I think much of the reason for the stultifying, amateurish, kitsch and even oppressive art scene in Second Life is due to the nature of the society, which is authoritarian as controlled by its makers, Linden Lab and also with a high factor of “wannabee” available from the anonymous nature of the world.
I was just watching Draxtor’s feature of Nylon Pyncky, long one of the “cool kids” of SL. In RL she’s a wedding photographer in New Jersey; in SL she’s a top fashion designer with all the retro cool and arch kitsch that you could ask for on one of the top designer sims, Tableau.
She’s one of the few to make old people avatars in this world of eternal youth; her RL status, revealed in ways most of these artists don’t reveal, is indicative of both the charm and bane of SL. There are many people who become “artists” in SL without being them in RL or if they are artists in RL, they gain the fame they would never have in RL via SL. This is the virtual amplification factor that has worked well for lots of people not even in the art field.
Yet there’s an oppressiveness, a numbing amateur quality, a horrid kitsch even in the self-conscious cooler-than-thou kitsch that really turns you away from SL art.
I remember when I first saw a show by Bryn Oh I was all ecstatic and thinking we were living in a new human epoch and new boundaries were crossed and blah blah blah. That was before I then saw my 100th little broken porcelain doll face and ominous clock face and umbrella opened to an alarming angle — not to mention sad clowns or morbid circuses or sepia windmills and Nevada gas stations and gold field vistas worth of Andrew Wyeth by AM Radio, an IBM worker. I think SaveMe Oh is spot on by not just calling these installations “avatar parking lots” where all people do is pile up, photograph and tag them for Plurk or Flickr; she even went further satirizing the avatar parking lot with her own funny pile-up on her blog.
What you linked to from her and her posts about the totalitarian little shots at the LEA is appalling, but not surprising to me, a long-time student of the oppressive little insecure wannabees at the heart of the SL FIC (Feted Inner Core) phenomenon. Of course SaveMe Oh (are all cutting edge artists using the last name Oh?) is probably no picnic either if she strobe-lights everybody to death during their hippie ritual.
The whole LEA thing is depressing as only a Soviet Union of Artists can be, where those that suck up to the Communist Party the best get the rewards. You wish it really encouraged great art but I haven’t seen that it does. Socialism does not create good art. And all this “fight the man” and “criticize the administration” (I bet you don’t mean Linden Lab) also makes for bland and stupid art to, in real as in virtual.
If the kind of things going on there are true that SaveOh is describing, the Lindens should intervene/shut it down. But meanwhile, I ignore all that because of course there is interesting art in SL, you’re just looking to the equivalent of 59th Street to find it instead of looking even in Soho let alone in Jersey City or Williamsburg.
The complaints of the FIC here in this thread that they can’t make art unless they have 6 months of zillions of prims and even a financial subsidy is just ***** ridiculous. Seriously.
I was just reminded of Moe Winkler’s work, a German artist. He happened to put an installation into a little 512 by my rentals in Alice. He’s also at a Mexico artists’ museum where you can find interesting stuff, and not all just photographs or selfies by any stretch.
I often visit the studio of Garvie Garzo whom I view as an artist and even the silly amateurish snobs of LEA would agree is one. Obviously in SL the line between design and art, or architecture and art can’t always be drawn. No matter. Garvie’s “Gilty” gatcha series with the burning zebra, the Salvador Dali watch actually melting and moving off the table (that’s what SL should be for), the paintings turning into branches, the neo THIS IS NOT REAL sign which has the added fun of an annoying neon buzz sound to it which ensures you will not be too enthusiastic about it for long — all this and more is delightful, great, even useful art that is enjoyable to have, talk about, interact with, etc.
To be sure, her little chair with the little children’s hands coming up of it; the Venus Bound and so on — Not For Us as they say. But perhaps for someone.
The events held constantly in SL for merchants to sell their wares ARE the art of SL because this is where art is, where Medicis can pay for it, where audiences can see it, and where it can be bought and used. I guarantee you it’s not at LEA or some sim with doll parts and a sad circus. The show 6 Republic was worth of the grandest art of real or second life — textures, builds, concepts, and works placed in it — it’s an installation of art that also happens to sell furniture, some of which is art. Here the line to architecture is blurred but then you have to ask: when an artist like Imo makes a RL building replica in SL in miniature with more than a tongue in cheek, it’s not by definition architecture in a world where many prefabs in fact are sculptures that people put out and don’t actually “live in” — they might teleport to flat boards in black boxes to a sex bed but leave their “sculpture” with all its artfully draped mesh shabby chic blankets on worn wooden benches to just look at from their lawns….
Sometimes these designers educate me, I hate their stuff at first with my bourgeois Wal-mart tastes but then I come to appreciate things like keke’s traveler chairs. And Imogen Neox’s Prentiss Hospital for SL which was in the 6 Republic event. I mean, what sort of fugly travesty is that thing? Yet I’m drawn to it:
I mean, check out this entire sim, it’s a work of art.
I think if you stop trying to find art where it isn’t, at the Soviet Union of Artists circa 1953, you might do better.
Years ago at the dawn of the Internet for everybody, a co-worker told me “Walk around the robots” about all the stupid on the Internet. And I’m still walking in SL, and it’s great.