Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why was Mab's post deleted?

I used to be pretty heavily involved with the Brooklyn Is Watching (hybrid SL/RL) project in Second Life. To make a long story short (and this is just a very general explanation), BIW closed, became Newark Is Watching, and moved to a different sim, thanks to the very very generous donation of land by art supporter Mab MacMoragh.

Sadly, Mab soon has to give up the land that she so graciously donated for that length of time. She posted about the farewell recently on both the Brooklyn Is Watching and the Newark Is Watching blogs.

However, her post was deleted (censored?) from the NIW blog for reasons that aren't clear whatsoever. Her admin rights to the blog were removed, too.

So, for the purpose of drawing more attention to this, I have decided to repost Mab's post, plus the comments that followed.

we work in the dark
18 June 2010

We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. (Henry James)

Take care with people you meet because you can’t see what invisible mountain of burdens they carry. (Anon)

Arahan has posted on his blog about the surprise announcement that Oberon made on my behalf regarding my inability to continue with Newark is Watching. The comment I wrote in response was too large to be accepted, so I’m putting it here.


Thank you for this Arahan. You’re a good friend. I haven’t made a statement about closing because I haven’t been capable of knowing what to think or say, and actually Oberon’s shocking (to me) group announcement was the first I’ve really thought about it in concrete terms. He knew I was struggling with a morass and took it upon himself to make it public, which was a tremendous favor to me as it unlocks the issues and makes things move along. I’m grateful for that.

I have no reason today to think the future of Newark is Watching will be anything other than different and interesting and new. This is my hope. The meeting on Saturday with all concerned (Gallery Aferro should attend) will be a beginning step to make it clearer what could happen, what the possibilities and limitations are, what the organization and structure of it should be.

Gallery Aferro has made public their preliminary schedule and, while I don’t know how it would all fall into place, it seems they now have time to learn and plan and revise, revise, revise, revise, if they’re serious and are open to the challenges, realities and possibilities of virtual art. My feeling is they’re interested in committing to a successful ongoing workable format, in whatever ultimate form it takes (probably a much different ultimate form than anyone can yet envision).

Last year when Jay asked me for land to temporarily rezz megaprims I was happy and honored to be in a position to help because I like him personally and felt like I knew him well enough to be able to judge that the financial sacrifice would be worthwhile. However neither of us could know then that not only would this temporary expense be prolonged indefinitely, but he was also asking for my blood, sweat and tears, and most of my real life useful waking hours (I don’t have many).

I don’t intend to take on an administrative role in the new Newark is Watching because it’s impossible for me, a severely disabled person who is frequently debilitated, to sort through nuts and bolts of something so complicated and labor-intensive. It’s dangerously easy for me as a naive nurturer to be swept into things like this over my head beyond my abilities. Too deep, too far. I hope to remain a quiet supportive observer of art on the periphery, as I was before. I have other dreams, long neglected now, set aside for Brooklyn is Watching’s sake. I have to be responsible with my life, as does everyone.

I can’t speak for others, but I have no feelings about what has happened on Push SIM with Brooklyn is Watching other than gratitude I could be of service. No regrets. Even if no one was making official podcasts, we were there talking about the art amongst ourselves, and in that real connection was poetry. I loved Brooklyn is Watching and its artists from everywhere with all their languages who would come and go and come back again leaving their marks and influences like waves on a beach. I’m not an art scholar or an art critic, though I respect those who genuinely are. I have no aspirations or abilities in Second Life to be anything other than an arts lover.

The past is history. Let it go. Now is the time to prepare for the future. I wish Newark is Watching well. Thank you everyone for all you’ve done.


Posted by Mab MacMoragh on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 3:55 am.

2 Responses to “we work in the dark”

Mab, this is a beautiful post. Thank you so much for your support of all of us (I’m not even a SL artist and I feel so supported and nurtured by you!). Your support of SL art goes way beyond the financial – you’ve invested in us spiritually and emotionally, and I know that you gave of yourself until you were exhausted. I know you will remain an avid viewer, cheerleader, (generous) critic of, and participant in SL art, and I’m excited to see what this new chapter brings for you as well as the work that is yet to be made.

Left by Amy Freelunch on July 20th, 2010


I did get your comment on my blog and have just published it and replied. I don’t know why it does that, I think it’s a bug, it does it to me too.

Anyway, ditto to what Amy said and here’s a copy of my reply -

“Thanks a lot for getting in touch and your thoughtful response.

I’ve been much less charitable in my summary of the situation than you, but your patience is a virtue I don’t posses. The lack of communication from Aferro has driven me nuts, call me old fashioned but when I ask questions I expect an answer. They’ve ignored us for a while now and that has caused a lot of bad feelings, so then to suddenly have a burst of activity and expect everyone to comply with their wishes whilst ignoring their failures strikes me as arrogant and deluded.

I do think the project has mainly fallen apart because of Jay’s absence, it needs an anchorman to keep everything focused, secure the guests etc. We all know that his organisation was sometimes chaotic but those early podcasts were often excellent, I listened to every episode very keenly, there were some brilliant guests who offered insights into SL art that was sorely lacking.

Jay seemed to lose interest and sort of wandered off, I still don’t really know why he did that, but the departure of the brains behind the project left a massive hole. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh on Aferro, maybe they were roped into it without really knowing what was expected of them, after all Don at JTP was just the host, he didn’t get involved in organising anything else as far as I’m aware. But without Jay around his role has to be taken over by someone and so it is up to Aferro to take it on themselves or find (and pay) someone to do it for them.

I think you’re right to back off and protect yourself, there has to be a limit when things start affecting your health.

The most depressing thing about all of this is Brooklyn is Watching was a really great idea that has been badly neglected. Perhaps Newark will indeed rise to the challenge but it will take a lot of time and effort to bring it back to its former glory.

As you mentioned despite the absence of official podcasts there was still something worthwhile happening on Push. There was just so much uncertainty and confusion about BiW/NiW it always overshadowed everything positive.

Anyway Mab, big thanks to you for keeping the space alive for so long, it will be missed.”

Left by Arahan Claveau on July 20th, 2010

So... is there some reason that we're missing as to WHY the fuck Mab's post would have been deleted? She generously donated her land and time and money to supporting artists in SL without really asking for anything in return. The fact that she was basically given the finger by the NIW people is really goddamn awful.

She left these big boots behind at the Newark Is Watching parcel:

Description: made for walkin'

Update - Mab has posted again on the Brooklyn Is Watching blog:

moving forward

Hello Gallery Aferro and Jay,

When I woke up today (I sleep at odd hours, similar to a baby’s schedule) I had communications that my latest blog post was taken off the Newark is Watching blog.

I can see that for myself now, and also that I have been denied access to the blog.

I realize it’s possible you may not understand this but I was involuntarily put in the very tough position of buffer between Aferro and Second Life® virtual artists whose work I care about and believe in, all of whom have been trying to do the best they could on a completely voluntary basis, blindfolded and hamstrung by uncertainty.

For every question you were asked and didn’t answer, I probably had a dozen related come to me, which I answered as well as I could and as promptly as I could, even if it was just to say ‘I don’t know, let’s try to find out’ or ‘we must keep an open mind’.

I have never attempted to influence anyone’s opinion on anything that has happened except to urge for understanding, patience and tolerance on your behalf.

The art in Second Life®, as in all participatory conceptual art, depends on engagement, curiosity, and timing – you get from it what you bring to it.

One of the things I have said to my son about being an artist is: Art must hit on the beat or have a good reason not to, otherwise it’s not art- it’s just dust in the wind.

Thank you for your time and as I said in my now-removed blog post, I wish you well.

Mab MacMoragh

Posted by Mab MacMoragh on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 12:29 am.


Anonymous said...

It's been a crazy time Neb, it's good you've documented everything here.

We've just heard officially from Jay that Newark is Watching is no more, also Emma from Aferro claims that the post deletion was an accident. I would like to believe that it just doesn't add up, at least now we know the situation and we can all move on.

Check out the BiW blog for the latest updates and comments -

Amy said...

Also, I gotta say I'm really touched by how we all really rallied behind a member of our community who we felt was attacked (erm, I still feel that's what happened). It was really great and just goes to prove what a connection we all have to one another.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, I think sometimes you just have to do the right thing, and it sends out a very clear message. So, there is after all a real art community in SL, albeit small, that actually does give a shit.

CM Pauluh aka Nebulosus Severine said...

I also don't believe for a second that the deletion was "accidental." Were her admin rights also removed "accidentally"?

I agree, Amy -- it's nice to feel that sense of camaraderie with other artists.