Thursday, September 18, 2008

Burning Life 2008

A lot of people who know I'm an artist have been asking me lately if I'm going to have a build in Burning Life this year. My friends, for the most part, know why I refuse to take part in it.

Burning Life 2008

I left this piece at Brooklyn Is Watching recently and also responded to a post about it on the BIW blog, saying this --

Burning Life — oh, how I used to love the event…

I’m with agreement with Arahan about BL 2005 and 2006. Burning Life 2005 was one of the first major exhibitions of art & building that I’d seen in SL and it blew me away. In 2006, I was overjoyed to have been one of the participants — it was the first time I had a really big plot of land to build whatever I wanted.

The festival was handled FAR more simply then; the land plots were given by lottery. People interested in having a build would submit their names & a couple specifics (whether they wanted PG or Mature land, etc.) to a thread on the official SL forums, and the winners were (supposedly) chosen randomly. The winners were given their plots (which averaged about 1500 prims, I think) and left to build, and that was pretty much it, other than the Burning of the Man event. There wasn’t too much other involvement or interference, other than volunteers and Lindens keeping an eye on stuff that caused too much lag, etc.

In 2007, it all changed, though I am not sure why. BL is usually announced late in the summer, and in 2007 the time was fast approaching with nothing much being said about it, other than rumors on forums that the Lindens weren’t going to bother anymore.

Then announcements went up about it, finally — but this time, a regular resident was in charge. It seemed at the time that he had taken it upon himself to get it going, since the festival might not have gone on otherwise. I was happy at first to hear about it — would have been disappointed if it had just been canceled altogether — but the whole thing quickly turned into a fucking nightmare.

The land grab thing was pretty annoying, for one thing; each plot of land had a little 12-prim kiosk on it that HAD to remain on your plot for the duration of the event. And most plots, other than the large theme camps, were considerably smaller than in years past — most about 200 or 300 prims. These issues were the LEAST of what was wrong with the festival, however.

It quickly became apparent that the resident who took charge of BL — who I will refer to as V_c_r_ L_mb_rt — was on a big power trip and micromanaged everything. To make a long and pathetic story short, people’s builds were being scrutinized constantly, you-can’t-do-this, you-can’t-do-that…. Favoritism, backstabbing, pettiness, ugliness. Oh, and the stupid Porta-Potties. The fucking stupid, 60-prim (I think) Porta-Potties which have no fucking place in a virtual world where people do not have bodily functions to attend to, yet the organizers insisted on their presence.

Then there was the censorship of Cheen Pitney’s statue — one he has rezzed at BIW in the past, as a matter of fact — most of BIW’s regular viewers and readers will recognize it. I don’t even want to go into THAT whole fiasco, so I’ll paste the link to the unofficial Burning Life blog articles on it here:

[To DC, if you are reading this: We had a convo sort of recently about P__d M_h_vl_ch, and I mentioned vaguely that I despise her, tho I can't remember if I explained it all -- well, now you know why. I'm not printing her name in full here, either, because she has threatened to sue people in the past -- gimme a fucking break. Anyway -- ]

I ended up quitting BL 2007 in disgust shortly thereafter. I got myself into a bit of controversy on my way out by pasting a picture of V_c_r_ L_mb_rt’s face on a Burning Man model and leaving it on my abandoned plot. —
Within a day or two, I was locked out of SL, although I was never told I was banned for disciplinary purposes. Supposedly, it turned out to be a billing error, but the timing was pretty fucking uncanny. Not to mention that most of the things I had rezzed on my OWN land — not the BL plot, but my home gallery space — vanished without a trace, without explanation. It took me a week to get back into SL, and my missing items never returned.

I was stupid enough to have hopes that maybe, just maybe, BL 2008 would be handled differently, or at the very least, exclude V_c_r_ L_mb_rt and P__d M_h_vl_ch — you’d think Linden Labs would be out of their fucking MINDS to let those two back in after last year’s debacle — but, nope, both of those two still have major roles (though V_c_r_ has mostly a technical role rather than an organizational one, or so I’ve heard). As long as those two have anything to do with Burning Life, I sure as fucking hell will NOT be participating.

So now you know why I say, ‘Fuck your bureaucratic “arts” festival,’ Linden Labs, et al.

So -- now you know why I won't have anything to do with Burning Life, if you didn't already know.

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