Friday, June 19, 2009

Forbidden Art - Forbidden Avatar?

Woooooo have I been involved today! On top of hustling to make my SLb6 project with only a week's notice, I have been up to my neck in the hissy-fit surrounding child avatars...

First though, let me tell you how it started. Today I went to the opening of Feathers Boa's "Forbidden Feathers - Art that has been banned or panned." You really should see this show, featuring very strong and communicative art - yes, art. Not a deliberately staged provocation, but pieces that speak deeply to certain hurt places in myself (and I am sure many others). Two pieces in particular - "Take Me Home" and "Leave Me Alone" could have come from my own dark places and I am very grateful to Feathers for portraying such feelings.

As I have said before, my own childhood included abuses both physical and mental. One of the most insidious tools of abuse is SILENCE - all the neighbors knew what was going on (in fact, we had to move once because of it) but "it's their child; I stay out of it" - Natalie Merchant, "What's The Matter Here?"

So silence about such matters furthers abuse and its' consequent destruction and crippling of a child's sense of security and trust. Such things are a matter of high art - to speak about your life; to show things that others might find in common; to bridge the silence gap and encourage people to speak out against repression, cruelty or horror.

I came as Alice in Wonderland. In case you don't know, Alice has a long and dense history as a metaphor/avatar in cyberspace; one of the reasons she was mentioned in "The Matrix." Alice is old enough to have been in nethack, Alphaworld, and hundreds of science fiction and cyberpunk stories (one especial favorite of mine is "Trouble and her Friends" By Melissa Scott) and usually represents the wondrous possibilities of cyberspace; none of those references run around screaming "child abuse" because clearly, Alice in cyberspace is no child. Obvious, ne?

Not so obvious to certain people...

I Scared SaveMe Oh!

Even though many people weren't talking to me, I held my ground (good thing Alice has a long skirt; it hid my trembling knees) in the discussion about "forbidden art" and "repression" and "freedom of expression."

'N that's when SaveMe Oh decided to have a go at me ^_^

Here's some of the nicest parts of that PUBLIC dialogue (no TOS here!)

SaveMe Oh: all are hypocrits here, not only about the mature stuff
SaveMe Oh: take of your clothes and TP in a Linden
Miso Susanowa: then i will have to leave, SaveMe

Feathers Boa: i am glad i'm stirring things up a lil
SaveMe Oh: you are not stirring up anything
SaveMe Oh: we just wondeer what take you so long

SaveMe Oh: censorship is an american national sportd

Then... she has a go at me (I was wearing my Caerleon tag because I had been building at my workspace on NC)

SaveMe Oh: why you invite the caerleons then, they are notorius for banning and censorship
[ because Miss Oh was banned there for... reasons other than art]
Miso Susanowa: not in my experience SaveMe
SaveMe Oh: oh good
Miso Susanowa: i have been well supported by both Georg and Sabrinaa
SaveMe Oh: what a relief
Miso Susanowa: Better, SaveMe? [after i changed my tag to my usual, "Miko," Sworn Temple Priestess]
Miso Susanowa: i'd be happy to translate if you wish it :)
SaveMe Oh: i dont belief a word
Miso Susanowa: then believe my work
SaveMe Oh: next week you appear again like donald duck
Miso Susanowa: and then perhaps a dragon?
Miso Susanowa: a vampire? a mech?
Miso Susanowa: this is, after all, cyberspace
SaveMe Oh: where???

Then she backs off and takes a few cheap shots at Feathers which i needn't give her the digital pixels to reproduce -_-


SaveMe Oh: dont name the word avantgarde when caerleons are around
SaveMe Oh: you could be banned for that
Miso Susanowa: SaveMe, i was gifted workspace on Caerleon, so i use it. If you would like
to gift me workspace for 3 months, i'd use that also
Miso Susanowa: but my beliefs and my mind are my own, as always
SaveMe Oh: if that child avi cames out of your workshop, I rest my case
Miso Susanowa: if you don't know the rich history of Alice as a cyberspace metaphor, may i
suggest reading Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto"?
SaveMe Oh: is that the next step?
Miso Susanowa: maybe it would enlighten you

Alizarin Goldflake: i nearly dies of fright the first time SaveMe showed up in my studio
SaveMe Oh: I dont dare it here
Miso Susanowa: well... i have been to prep school so i am not afraid
Miso Susanowa: i got past it

Miso Susanowa: golly... i have disturbed SaveMe Oh! *writes that down in her blog*
Miso Susanowa: quite a feather in my cap
RobertSteven Smythe: what sarcasm I am hearing today
Miso Susanowa: *totally cracks up*
Feathers Boa: a feathers in your cap
Alizarin Goldflake: you girls!!!
Miso Susanowa: *giggles*
RobertSteven Smythe: the love in here is absolutely over powering
SaveMe Oh: sarcasm is the only lasting art form forever
Miso Susanowa: oh... you read Lucius?

SaveMe Oh: and sorry, robert, cant fuck you right now
RobertSteven Smythe: hahahaha
SaveMe Oh: im busy
Feathers Boa: but make an appointment
RobertSteven Smythe: I see that
RobertSteven Smythe: lol
Alizarin Goldflake: hehehe
Miso Susanowa: yes, she's busy molesting a child avatar ^_^

SaveMe Oh: I would love to hit the child avi, btw
Karli Daviau: bye feathers.....gotta run....wonderfully true exhibit
SaveMe Oh: is taht allowed?
Juliete3d Quinzet: i will see you soon I hope
Feathers Boa: thanks
Feathers Boa: see you later
Karli Daviau: i'd like to see more like this in sl
RobertSteven Smythe: on the mature sims it is for now
RobertSteven Smythe: SaveMe
RobertSteven Smythe: go ahead strike away
Miso Susanowa: *adjusts glasses* and how duss zat make you FEEL, Mizz Oh?
SaveMe Oh: hitting child avis?
Miso Susanowa: *totally cracks up*

RobertSteven Smythe: bye mIso and I did not mean anything about striking a little avi
Pete Jiminy: lol
Feathers Boa: okies
Miso Susanowa: that's ok... i am here to provoke discussion :)
RobertSteven Smythe: well good for you we need more people to provoke the stagnant sl
Miso Susanowa: hey Alice was mentioned in The Matrix, how hip is THAT?
Miso Susanowa: L O L Giggles <-----------

Miso Susanowa: well, i shall leave also, before i disturb Miss Oh any further ^_^

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

So now let's do a little "deconstruction" on this particular set of dialogues:

1. Miss Oh is all about "freedom of expression" and opines, "censorship is an american national sport," thus showing off her pretensions about fairness, liberality and whatevah.

2. First she has a go at me for wearing my Caerleon tag; a sim where she was banned for being obnoxious and rude, deliberately provoking and... let's face it; "enfant terrible" went out of style sometime in the early 80s.

3. When I hold my own ground (after all, i have been to prep school too; i know a sorority bish when i smell one) she has a go at my avatar... and shows ignorance of any artistic comment, dialogue or message in my appearance, like this, at a show that speaks about child abuse, despite labeling herself as an "artist").

And all this from a person espousing "freedom of expression" and "censorship outrage" at a show designed to show some very dark spaces, many of which happened to a REAL child - Feathers... and happened to me and countless thousands of real children.

As i said, i have been to private school; i'm not afraid of bullies. And sarcasm IS an art; however, the same argument about quality applies to that art as well as the rest of the arts. Slicing and dicing is not good sarcasm; it's just cheap ego shots.

So I hope Miss Oh gets a wonderful dose of her own medicine; it's easy to run down kittens in a Cadillac, but it isn't skillful driving nor very brave. And I don't admire it. And it isn't art :P

Read on next post for Part II


Anonymous said...

You need a very good spanking

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