Thursday, July 24, 2008

A thought on the non-permanence of art

Have been thinking lately about Sabine Stonebender and the loss of her huge, amazing installation, Zero Point. [I'm glad I got to see it before it disappeared; I wasn't able to visit prior to upgrading my video card which I did only a few months ago.]

ArtWorld Market wrote about it on his blog and in SLArt (r) Magazine and had this to say about it:
"...Whatever your opinion of Zero Point, or of the system in general, if you want to create in Second Life then you need to protect your investment. What happened to Sabine could happen to almost anybody. Your build can disappear and your inventory can be wiped out, whether from a technical glitch or an accounting error..."

He has also raised the question:
"...What can I say to the readers--artists, collectors, gallery owners, curators, writers, business owners and institutional leaders--who now doubt whether they should continue creating, collecting and investing in a virtual world where years of work can disappear irrecoverably?..."

Well, here are my thoughts on the subject.

The disappearance of Sabine's Zero Point is definitely a huge loss and will be missed; that goes without saying.

However, in virtual worlds as well as in the "real" world, nothing is ever permanent.

[I am in no way making excuses for Linden Labs; they should make every effort to restore what was lost; and to take measures to prevent these sort of things from happening in the first place, of course.]

A lot of people have expressed sentiments to the tune of, "Why should I create/buy anything in SL when it could disappear tomorrow because of technical issues?"

In that sense, why do anything in RL either? Why paint a picture, or make a sculpture, or build an installation, or knit a sweater, or make a sandcastle, or buy a home, or collect stamps, or do anything? Anything you create or own can be broken, burned down, washed away, torn, used up, worn out, stolen, lost, destroyed...

There is ALWAYS the risk. Second Life is no different from First Life in that sense.

Take precautions to preserve what's valuable to you, certainly; but NOTHING lasts forever; enjoy it while you can. Part of what makes ANYTHING valuable, in ANY life, is its impermanence.

And I'm not about to let that stop me.

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