The darned artist – by JoaoPedro Oh
You are the most polemic person I ever met. Yet you have a very peculiar view about art at SL, and I love it. Tell us about how your artistic career begun.
When I entered Secondlife in 2007 I met some Americans who were running a club with girls who were poledancing with a large tipjar in front of them. I found this so ridiculous to enter a new medium and the first thing I found was a sexist, white male dominated imitation of the worst outings of real life. To disturb this role-reinforcing practices I start to attach a wheelchair and start to poledance with it and this resulted in my first bans. And it will not be a surprise that on my further journey in the virtual world I encounter more and more of this hypocrite behaviourism. And that was the start of my career as a performance artist in which I try to shake up the virtual world a little, especially when owners, rulers and self acclaimed dictators try to set up their own little banana republic’s in where they invent themselves the rules and punishments.
I start to build all kind of items who could bring out the message stronger and start to question the motives of the new wannabe dictators in public. All resulting finally into a strong believe that nobody should own something or another and that we are all free to perform whatever we want on every moment we want as in the end everybody is in my screen. And when they don’t want to be there, they should get the fuck out of my screen.
Tell us about your most important theatres, exhibitions , performances, that you developed since the begin of your SL. You always searched controversy , and for that you was the darned artist. Do you think you ever will be recognised as an artist?
What irritated me from the beginning in secondlife was the huge influence of the nationalistic re-creationists. The French had to recreate Paris, The Portuguese could all be found in the copy of Lisboa and the English are having tea in the shadows of the Big Ben. Was the only creativity they could come up with the re-creation of their real life while they had all kinds of new virtual opportunities lying ahead of them? One of my first projects in answer to this was the Dutch Salvation Church, the church where Cheesus could be worshipped in a church build up completely out of “typical” Dutch products as Negro Kisses, Peppermint pillars and Candy Cotton forests. The Sunday ceremony performed here enlighten a lot of re-creationist to search for other ways of expression.
Another mayor performance was to confront the Wikipedia artists with all the bullshit they write on their notecards to explain their Sudoku art, art that requires a complete library to understand what deep levels are lying underneath the even deeper levels of the bottoms of their tormented souls. Nortorius in this case were the works of DanCoyote Antonelli who invented his own hyperformalism and try to add this himself to Wikipedia. Normally art critics do this after 50 years when they discover a certain movement in art, he did it himself. In answer to this megalomaniacs I created my own movement, the fundamental environmental roadshow that invaded this bullshit spaces with a eco-friendly alternative, wearable, moving art that left no traces after performing and with absolutely no notecard needed to understand everything as I even didn’t understand myself what the hell I was doing while swimming in a wearable aquarium of milking a giant cow on stage.
Artists in secondlife glue prims together in a sim that stays there after completion for weeks or months and somehow in their narcissist view on themselves of their utterly greatness they expect the visitor to silently admire their genius. As if I go every day in the week to Picasso’s Guernica to sit there hours glued on a chair in front of it. That’s why I recently developed the project Dancehall Days – The party is where we are. This is a complete wearable and changeable environment that upgrades every dull art sim in a boiling hot meeting point for avatars who can battle, inspire, jam and improvise together to make really a virtual interaction taking place. That this covers up a little the original building could be seen as collateral damage. And when I and my friends have left there are still ages to go in peace to see the boredom presented just for yourself, with or without a notecard at hand.
And if I will be recognised as artist for it? If even the gay’s start to be interested in art instead of showing their elephant dicks in public I rest my case.
I understand your point of view … But not everyone is looking for the SL with pedagogic goals or artistic reasons. Freedom of choice is something very positive in SL. Accepting differences is much more difficult then be creative. Being your way of being in SL somehow pedagogical have been somehow successful?
Everybody is completely free to stay as far away from me as possible, or mute or ban me but I do not accept anything for granted what passes in front of my nose. When someone feels the need to present herself or her work I feel free to anticipate on that in whatever way I like and vice versa I encourage it too. Everybody is in secondlife for different reasons, that is not my problem, I am in secondlife because it is a tool with great possibilities and when I see idiots abuse, destroy or rape this tools for the benefit of boredom, re-creation, avatar parking’s, being in power or playing their RL on my screen it’s time to interfere. And mother Teresa also never asked before if you want to be saved or not. She just did it.
Do you have idea how many sims you are banned from? If they banned you from good, I will miss you a lot, you are not a scam, your way to be in a social game is very hard, but i recogneise your hard work and incredible creativity. Will you be happy in a SL living alone in a sim?
If I score an average of one ban a week and I am turning six this month, you can make your counting. But all the banning, exclusion and silencing will not hold me back because when you have a mission it is not for the faint hearted. And I am not alone in a sim using a box of Kleenex to wipe my tears as I am exited of being almost married and I have a lot of friends, acolytes and minions who are not afraid to look a little bit closer to what’s behind the surface I don’t feel lonely at all, on the contrary, my secondlife is so full off exiting adventures that the stupid facebook is too small to cover it all. And all the sims that once banned me? Most of them have now disappeared.
I like your irreverence, and I hope people start to understand you more (even if I understand why people ban you) and thank you for this interview, you are my SL sister anyway, the only one I have here:))
What else do you have family for? Xxx
Private persona – by Flora Nordenskiold
SaveMe Oh graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog. When we were finished with the questions, she showed me some of her art work. I had no idea she had created so much! Please see images above of some of SaveMe’s many creations.
Flora Nordenskiold: Thank you, SaveMe, for agreeing on such short notice to meet for an interview. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to ask you a few questions.
SaveMe Oh: I am all weekend already busy with interviews so I am used to it. Yesterday I was interviewed by Penumbra Carter for Soup Radio and another one want an interview too but I forgot her name.
Flora Nordenskiold: You have developed a reputation as a controversial figure in Second Life. Some people don’t like you, some avoid you, some fear you and, like a bunch of my friends, some love you. Would you please comment on SaveMe Oh, the Second Life public persona?
SaveMe Oh: When by coincidence my name became SaveMe on the day of my birth in Second Life it showed the path that I had to go. People start to ask me why I should be saved or if I was going to save them. And that’s how it all started. As I became aware of the fact that a lot of people here need to be saved. Saved from their real life that they try to copy here.
Flora Nordenskiold: On a more personal note, who is the individual behind the mask(s) of SaveMe Oh, who is the private persona who drives the radical public presentation?
SaveMe Oh: I am a director in theatre who uses me to be an extension of that. I fight for the right of free interaction between people in a virtual world and I fight against strange, imported conventions that people accept as rules, from which I have no idea why they accept them. The private person behind me doesn’t understand this self censorship, and on nothing based rules. And I also don’t understand why people with the gift of this strange virtual world choose to be so conservative and imitating Real Life. So there I have my battlegrounds.
Flora Nordenskiold: What inspires you to create in Second Life and what are some of the challenges that you have come up against?
SaveMe Oh: The new opportunities given to me here inspire me to experiment in all kind of ways, but as an artists I will try to connect all these experiments with each other as they belong together with my avatar and my behavior to one complete artwork.They are not separate things. Biggest challenge is that people don’t understand that chatting and interacting is part of creating. So my biggest conflicts I have with the lovers of static bullshit art.
Flora Nordenskiold: You have been in Second Life for a while, since 2007. What are your thoughts on art and creativity in Second Life? And are things different now, in 2011, than they were in 2007?
SaveMe Oh: In 2007 they were better as everybody was finding out new things. Now you see only copies from what have already be done before with better scripts, better building, but not with better ideas.The only interesting artworks for me now is interactive jamming between creator at the spot.
Flora Nordenskiold: Finally, I love Second Life, but I know I also sometimes struggle finding time for it. There are other times when I ask myself why I keep on doing it. What is it in your opinion about Second Life that keeps us coming back?
SaveMe Oh: The people you have met make you coming back and the possibilities are still there to explore. And also as a machinima artist there are great opportunities here to compose unique work.
Flora Nordenskiold: Thank you very much, SaveMe.
SaveMe Oh: You are welcome.
The Big After Birthday Interview –
by Quan Lavender
Recently, about 2 weeks ago I had an interview with the artist SaveMe Oh. It was quite long and I finally found the time to edit. Enjoy!
Quan Lavender: It was your 6th rezzday recently.
SaveMe Oh: Yes 23. February
Quan: Congrats! Let me take the chance to ask you some questions and let’s start with your beginnings. Did to enter SL to create art?
SaveMe: No, I enter to see what SL was and by coincidence I became me. And by becoming me there was no other option then to start creating art. It was not planned.
Quan: Hmm, the name would have given other options.
SaveMe: It exactly started with the name. I choose the name to provoke reaction and it worked well. People start asking me if i want to be saved or if I could save them. And that was the beginning of the chain reaction
Quan: And have you saved any?
SaveMe: Yes, a lot… although it depend how you see “saving” and acolythes prefer not to speak about it
Quan: Funny, I know a lot here but so far nobody told that he was saved by you. Explain, what is saving for you.
SaveMe: Saving means open peoples eyes about the true possibilities of SL. And punch them in the eye when they refuse to see. The true possibilities are a world wide interaction between creative people on a canvas that is not restricted by old borders and limitations
Quan: Such as…?
SaveMe: Gravity, kitchens, ownership, money and habits
Quan: But as far as I understand SL there is always someone who has to pay, a fact that many artists prefer to forget.
SaveMe: There is an option to pay, but there is also an option not to pay and still use the canvas
Quan: How? Without a sim there is no virtual world
SaveMe: Now you are exactly the example of the conservative thinking. Why you need a sim?
Quan: So, please explain how progressive people create a world without sims, because we need a place to rez prims or even to be.
SaveMe: My friends the Linden provide sims everywhere and they are all open for all kind of creativity without you swinging with your wallet. You can build in sandboxes and there are 1000 of empty sims and what is that stupid old view of building in sims? You can attach 256 prims on one body spot…you have….20 or so? Makes 4000 and something.
Quan: That does not answer how a company is able to exist without doing money, how to pay the staff?
SaveMe Oh: Company??? Money? Since when artists care about money, profit and staff???? Are you an idiot or what?
Quan: I think just an idiot expects others to provide all for free.
SaveMe: So we are back to the times where the rich decide who is able to be or not to be?
Quan: Did we ever left them? And by the way, also an artist has to live.
SaveMe: I live on the love of my loved ones. I earned with my art so much that I really have n idea how to spend it. I made a special avatar to take care of my Linden for when I reach old age.
Quan: Haha, concrats. I recommend to pay for some sims for free usage for artists
SaveMe: The less talented artists can pay of course, me they always beg to come. As more then money they need someone to wake parked avatars up out of their lethargy.
Quan: How do you think you can do it?
SaveMe: Waking them up you do by make so called events really an event.
Quan: What you actually mean is disturbing their opening events…
SaveMe: No I mean upgrading boring avatar parkings into speechprovoking events in meadows of interaction, in markets of creative exchange and in playgrounds of fun.
Quan: Since you do that for a long time now, you know that the only interaction that artists blame you to use their popularity for your own show, they hate and ban you. Where is the creativity in that?
SaveMe: As the majority still didn’t see the light it is a long proces, so I cannot count the time that is necessary. Rome was also not build in one day. And the popularity of other artist is not a real concern. When they are good enough they will survive.
Quan: I have problems to see the light to as I don’t see a line. I do not see that you choose by quality or by the style of art. When you disturb a life peformance as if done by the last opening of the UFO you are just disturbing this kind of art you say you want to have.
SaveMe: I am not gonna talk about the ridiculous behavior of Betty with you. The event could have been wonderful.
Quan:: I am not talking about Betty, it was about the concert of Ultraviolet Alter.
SaveMe: I even was not able to meet Ultralight. Betty banned me before Ultralight came in. Or Ultralight banned me herself, or one of her bodyguards.
Quan: I was told that you came back with an alt and crashed the sim.
SaveMe: I did not came back with an alt. I was still at the border of the sim behind banlines and I attached some protest signs. That was all. I have no alts disturbing events. All my alts are good citizens. That’s a myth. I also dont crash sims, thats also a myth. I cannot help my glory get that big
Quan: Hmm, I didn’t want to go too deep into single cases but I saw myself that you came back as your ‘Father’ at Bryn Oh’s talk.
SaveMe: But my father is a very nice, polite and correct man ( I hate him for that, the old fart). I would have prefered he would have kicked that snob of a sister of mine
Quan: All these actions have one in common, I don’t see any empathy with the work of the artists or respect of it. Do you really think that others deserve that?
SaveMe: I also don’t have a lot of empathy with the work of others, I am mostly bored to dead behind my screen and that makes the urge to create some activity even bigger. What others deserve or don’t deserve is again not my problem. In the best scenario they created a good playable space. You think I have to go around saying CLAP CLAP when somebody has glued again some prims together?
Quan: No, I don’t do that too. And I really think that honest critics are helpful.
SaveMe:: As that is what we are here for. Play. Not to be audience or CLAPCATTLE.
SaveMe: Play yes
Quan: I highly disagree with this point of view
SaveMe: As a journalist your point of view is not that interesting.
Quan: I am blogger, I have an opinion.
SaveMe: I take notice of that.
Quan: But regardless my opinion. The point is that most artists in SL don’t see their work as playing and tend to take it too serious.
SaveMe: Thats why they are so grumpy, they take themselves sooooo serious. Regardless the fact that in RL they are maybe toiletladies.
Quan: That does not judge the quality of their art and RL artists takes themselves often to serious too.
SaveMe: The real artists know that if their work has quality it will get the attention it deserves. Simple as that. The crybabies who see SL as a last oportunity to show the world their lousy aquarelles will be less pleased.
Quan: Sorry, again I have to disagree. RL artists are not better.
SaveMe: I dont say that. I also know RL artists who are even worse than their SL avatar and drama is also art, all those primgluers forget that in their arrogance as if gluing a prim together is the highest level of art.
Quan: Totally true and I like you for your humor.
SaveMe: One day I will be a stand up comedian.
Quan: I reserve a ticket right now.
SaveMe:: And then come with large attachments???? No thank you!
Quan: Arghhh, you got me! And I am BAD in bulding! But large should be possible. You glue prims too and especially your last attachments has been very good. Was there any common idea behind the sequence of scenes or are they just random?
SaveMe: Random, but in a concept and in reaction of the environment. I have a series with big boxes, I have Hopper attacments, I have attachments from the last performance, which was an invitation to participate. So people could do to me what they accuse me of doing to them as I did a project some years ago were I handed out my avatar to everyone, so they all can be me. I want contributions and not glued avi’s on a chair or parked ones on a poseball.
Quan: The sad thing is that almost nobody takes the chance to contribute, actually just a few other artists are attending.
SaveMe: That’s why it is a long way and when you call that sad you better order me some more boxes of Kleenex. The few artists who are attending have seen the light. The others are still in their dark ages. And I am not participating in a popularity contest.
Quan: If you would show more empathy with others in SL you would get the deserved appreciation as artist. I am honestly tired of discussions if you are artists or not.
SaveMe: I dont have that discussion, I don’t say who is an artist or not, I just say that in my screen I have the right to do whatever I want. Respect for what? You think Picasso was all day banging on the door: “respect me, respect me?” You just do, and see where it brings you. And when a glued prim installation stays somewhere for weeks or months what is the problem? Even I have to sleep sometimes, so if the people use that to vist a sim…. And the elderly have their early morning walks?
Quan: If you refer to your actions the problem is that you choose the times when many people are there. If you would appear with your glued prims the next day, nobody would care.
SaveMe:: Am I smart or what? I just think the same.
Quan: lol…that is a question of the point of view.
SaveMe: And the smartest thing to do of course is send me a journalist.
Quan:: Ah yes? why?
SaveMe: I could have been upgrading Betty’s party now, but I am here talking with you. In a way you are robbing the people now from a real event.
Quan: Just a last question…
SaveMe: You think Betty’s party has finished?
Quan: No, I will go there after.
SaveMe: I can’t come with you. She has me banned already.
Quan: You work artistic too in RL. You work with people and you obviously have a lot of empathy in your rl work, simply because it is needed. Why do you think it is not needed in SL.? Especially here you never know who is behind the avi. I met people here with disabilities, mental illness and more where I never expected at the beginning.
SaveMe: Because the first day you go in SL the Linden don’t ask you, please copy yourself- They offer you all kind of options and it is very strange that after making a choice a lot of people expect you to be yourself again. That’s weird. Even when I had chosen to be a kangaroo they would have expected me to be a empathic kangaroo.
Quan: Initially, I think, the idea was a copy of reality, as shown by the name Second Life
SaveMe: I think the opposite, they offered me strange last names, strange avi’s etc. I think it is the people inside SL who don’t get things going their way who start to scream about behaving “normal” again. The old fashioned powergame.
Quan: It is a very interesting question how and why people choose to be their own copy or not. But we all have one in common. Our brain only can digest information taken from the senses. All is virtual for the brain. Therefore it is always us who interact, whoever we are here.
Quan: It was not my goal to impress you. I know that I am good 😉 It is more about your thinking that rules do not count here. You hurt real persons.
SaveMe: When you can’t stand the virtual heat get out of the virtual kitchen. They can always go back to painting aquarells on sunday.
Quan:: I really would love to see such actions in RL and the reactions there. But will there be more performances with the last attachments? And if, when?
SaveMe: Every day, just stay close to me. The point is that you don’t schedule that.
Quan yawns secretly: Following you every day, how interesting!