Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lane's List: The Arts in Second Life

I was one of several artists interviewed by Nazz Lane for a blog article called The Arts in Second Life. Here is my portion:


Nebulosus Severine - Art & Artist Network

What were some of last year’s key milestones in the SL art world and why were they significant?

In no particular order for chronology or importance, here are several milestones I can think of that had an impact on SL art in 2007:
  • The formation of Bettina Tizzy's NPIRL group, which has united some of the most influential and creative artists who use Second Life as a medium;

  • The Rezzable SIMs, such as Dark Swan and the Greenies installation, which devote entire SIMs to a particular theme or work;

  • The return of Starax Statosky, now known as Light Waves, who is arguably SL's most well-known and best loved artist;

  • Brian Eno's '77 million Paintings' installation, probably the most significant example of an SL-RL crossover art event;

  • The Second Life 4th Birthday celebration, which gathered together a wide range of artists, builders, and content creators, and was attended by thousands of residents, despite the massive technical problems plaguing the event.

  • Burning Life 2007, which was handled completely differently than any other year, causing a huge amount of controversy and drama for many residents involved, including the censoring of a sculpture by Cheen Pitney and resulting outcry as a result.

  • Project Open Letter, written to Linden Labs and signed by many residents frustrated with the repeated technical difficulties with Second Life. Many SL artists, some of the most passionate content creators, were among the thousands of residents to add their signature to the letter.

  • The controversial "Keeping Second Life Safe, Together" post in the official Linden blog raised concerns of Free Speech and Free Expression for many SL artists.

  • Massive inventory losses affected many residents, among them important and highly respected content creators, such as Arcadia Asylum, whose frustration led her to leave Second Life for good.

Looking back to the start of last year, have things evolved the way you thought they would? Why or why not?

I personally did not anticipate the population of Second Life to grow so drastically. As a result, the art world has exploded here. I expected the art world to grow, but not as much as it actually did!

What were the trends that began last year that will have the greatest impact in 2008?

Artists selling "limited editions" of their work. This practice arose a fair amount of controversy, documented in part in ArtWorld Market's SLArt blog:

Immersive sound installations, such as those created by Juria Yoshikawa, Daruma Picnic, and Adam Ramona.

Art SIMs, in which an entire SIM is devoted to a gallery or installation, such as the Rezzable sims or the collaborative 'Dynafleur' project on the Princeton South SIM.

Artist collectives, in which several significant artists with similar styles occupy a shared major gallery space, such as Oyster Bay (mostly sculpture) and The Cannery (featuring Snapshot photography).

Art blogging. Many individual artists and art collectives have blogs now. It's a great way to document events, gatherings and achievments as blogging is often the easiest (and usually free) way of creating a personal webpage. Many artists also have accompanying Flickr accounts to document their work and supplement their blogs.

"Mixed reality" events, SL art galleries or events that have a real life/first life equivalent occurring at the same time.

Live music events. These have been going on for a couple of years, but 2007 was the year that probably saw the greatest influx of new musical acts. I believe that this trend will continue to grow in 2008.

Windlight. While not a "trend," is something that will have a huge impact once it is fully integrated into SL. The atmospheric possibilities are almost endless for artists who are able to control SIM settings, and I imagine many will take the opportunity to incorporate Windlight aspects into their installations. There is also a new option for prims, "Glow," which will give sculptors even more to play with while building.

Have you explored other virtual worlds and has that had any influence on what you've done in SL? If you have, has what you've done there been influenced by what you've done or not done in SL?

Second Life is my first 3D online environment, so I have no outside influences from any other online worlds or MMORPGs.

What can we look forward to in 2008? (Events, openings, influences etc.)

I'm usually too wrapped up in my own projects to know about new events until they are happening! I am definitely looking forward to what Windlight will bring; I hope Linden Labs will be able to release a stable version of it this year. I've also got several personal and collaborative projects in mind for this year but, so far, those are all top secret!


Read the rest of the interviews here:

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