Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - Art Year In Review

Despite having a completely-disrupted year and 6 months of hospital hell/enforced medication addiction, I was able to do some pieces this year I am happy with:

1. Commodity

When the Industrial Era began, it broke the connection between kinship and trust and began the perceptual shift of people as commodities to be used rather than human beings/resources. Datamining accelerates this process where people are dehumanized into aggregated sales data, market segments and things. I don't like this trend; it makes it that much easier to dismiss real human problems by abstracting them into some mental marketing model.

Commodity was done to point out the conflict between person as object and as human & to engage dialogue about the marketing/selling of artists. The dreams concealed in each part were very deep fears, wishes, hopes and yearnings of mine and I sold these intimate parts of myself in order to contribute to the UWA artist's prize pool. I really was astonished by the speed of the reaction to this piece.

2. For Your Viewing Pleasure

Involving the issues of art curatorship and accessibility as well as the problem of encouraging interaction with virtual art when people have been trained all their lives to be "hands off!" on artwork; the reality of a media culture where curators and institutions claim ignorance of their confederate role as perception & attention manipulators.

3. Prime Radiant/Chroma

Both pieces explored my love of the color palette & transparency of the pure light of a computer screen along with the problem of translating the CYMK [print] color model to RGB [screen] and mixing colors in light.

4. Daddy (for Sylvia)

This piece was a great break for me, as it was created in 3D from the memory of a painting I did at 16 and had forgotten. Plath's work touched me in deep places and has affected me my whole life. Daddy gathered many strong personal reactions from people.

5. Theatre of War

"War is entertainment" they say, and in these days of video-game-like rocket launches, remote Predator drones, breathless semi-pornographic weapons summaries on the mainstream media channels, it only seems more so; dehumanizing war and contributing to our alienation - it's easier to kill someone when they are just a blip on a screen and not a human being.

6. Time Considered As A Helix Of Semiprecious Stones

Another light-piece encouraging "slowing down" & working with overlapping transparencies mixing and blending RGB color and light, with a 9-track multi-directional soundtrack.

7. Down On The Data Farm

This issue had been concerning me for some time; I get very aggravated filling out soooo many forms for this blog, that blog, avatar, world, email, twitter, this & that - when I am painfully conscious of the reasoning and uses for this enforced data-cross-correlation (echo of Commodity) - so I had already been thinking (and talking about) these issues and started work on this piece at the beginning of July. I had only just completed it (and was still studying it to see if it needed trimming/additions) about 12 hours before the whole Google/Nymwars/PlusGate issue caught fire.

8. Big Winter

One of my most naked pieces, dealing with my feelings of isolation, depression, vulnerability and existential hopelessness. Big Winter is the main story subject of the upcoming film of the same title, which has been delayed by my illness (dammit!) although the 47-track soundtrack was completed in late Spring just before I got sick.

9. OccupyLEA

Inspired by the Occupy movement but continuing my examination of the curator/sponsor/patronage issues of art brought up in For Your Viewing Pleasure. #Occupy has become a deep and meaningful thing to me and this performance-work engaged the issues directly and with explosive reaction, bringing up issues surrounding the arts patronage of Linden Lab discussed in many blog postings and forums for 9 months and engendering heated dialogue among many.

10. A Reply From The Recalcitrant I, II, III

Writing pieces rebutting the perception that we who talk about the problems of Linden Lab hate SL and are the reason for its niche status. Meditations at length on how much we actually love SL/virtuality and wish it to succeed, even to the point of being unpaid (and mostly unappreciated) beta testers.

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Some other nice things happened for me:

My installation State of Mind was featured in a talk by Rik Panganiban (SL: Rik Riel), Community Manager at the Non-Profit Commons in his keynote speech "We Built This City: Creating a Better World" at the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC).

I got to take part in both Spring & Fall semester interaction with students from Cal State University at Long Beach in their Art110 - Introduction To The Visual Arts program as a Featured Artist.

I began investigating materials and contacting fabricators in preliminary consultations for bringing my Radiant Stallions into physical manifestation; also experimenting with materials for fabricating Lady With A Fan and Big Winter. and continuing my focus on creating/translating digital pieces into physical works.

Was invited to speak at the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable on the realities/challenges of creating art in virtual worlds.

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Other things... at the suggestion of Wizard Gynoid I began my Netpolitik blog, which engages the politics of the Information revolution - issues I have been involved with since 1993... started making machinima/videos, which was something I tried in the late 80s to mid-90s but is much, much easier now that I have a computer than can handle rendering in less than 27 hours at better than 320x240 and don't have to tiptoe and hold my breath hoping it doesn't crash 80% into the rendering or completely fill my hard disk.

Although I lost half a year, I am still satisfied with the work I've done and look forward to doing even more in 2012.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011

Light waxes; prosperity and joy, understanding and peace to you and your loved ones.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blinded By The Life

Madmen, griefers, spammers
and owners with ban hammers

a new avatar surmounts
With their things full of blings
as the sim owners sling

their bots to pack the count

With a soldier-pet on my shoulder
feelin' kinda bolder

I built a merry-go-round
with this very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing

the entire sim crashed to the ground

Some sim-stim builder-bim
was heading for the golden prim

flappin' his textures, poundin' his script

And some Barbie noob with giant boobs
was dancing with some penis dood

spewin' particles from his tip

And now young Claire, bad noobie hair
finally found a camping chair

and was stopping there to earn some bux

And some rude dood in Furry suit whispers
"Daddy's got some sexy boots,

try some thong stuff, I think you're stuck"

     And she was blinded by the Life
     Cut loose like a noob
     Another avie in the night
     Blinded by the Life
     She got rezzed but she never got tight
     She's gonna make it alright

Some big-shot coffee-pot
who formerly was something hot

a dreamer from the West

He says, "Forget the VR worlds
ride the modern business curls

that's where we'll make cash best."

And some lamerguys who never fly
said "we know what'll make 'em buy

let's send them some free gifts"

And the dethroned market drones
were mumbling over broken bones

usin' their blogs to pick some tiffs.

     And she was blinded by the Life
     Cut loose like a noob
     Another avie in the night
     Blinded by the Life
     She got stuck but she never got tight
     She's gonna make it tonight

Some gallery sister with her manager-mister
told me I got what it takes

She said "I'll turn you on, hun, to a sim so strong

if you rez those prims with the funky breaks."

And Go-Kart Linden was checkin' out the Primdom
to see if it was safe to finally sell

And little avie Teddy was playin' with his Stroker beddy

and asked me if I needed some Ls

Oh, the Crazy-tard was foamin' hard
she posted stuff that was bizarre

sayin' "You commies killed the splash"

Yes, and Jack-Hack, former flack
was tryin' hard to make it back

from a planet that simply crashed

Well, I teleported, but was thwarted
rezzed in the air, tour aborted

and tried to make my way back home

He said, "It's your fault that nothin's there
you're recalcitrant; it's over, square

it's a deathwatch, stop with the moan"

And now in Welcomeland, a giant hand
was slappin' noobies in the sand

hummin' a griefer tune

Yes, and the avatar said, "You're a 'tard
but first I'm gonna boot you hard

we're gonna teach those Mods to laugh too soon"

And some satrap land baron fap
was complainin' that she lost her tap

on the Anshe Chung strategy

Cause her homestead sim wasn't jammed to the brim

with renters bailing, looking grim

She'd bet on the downward spree

     She was blinded by the Life
     Cut loose like a noob
     Another avie in the night
     Blinded by the Life

Mama always told me not to look into the virtual sun
Oh, but Mama, that's where the fun is...

I was blinded...
I was blinded...
I was blinded...

[composed live on Twitter to the tune of "Blinded By The Light"]

... with apologies to the virtual Boss

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Solstice-time Stirrings and Doings

Inworldz Holiday Gala

The Inworldz Holiday Gala is now open to the viewing public and it is spectacular. This year's chosen benefit charity is the well-known Toys For Tots, a program begun by the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1947 by reservist Major William L. Hendricks. Kiosks for donations are set up near all the builds, and donations will be gathered and sent to Toys For Tots.

In previous years in Second Life, the inworld Toys For Tots campaigns have raised substantial amounts to benefit this charity. Please come and visit this wondrous winter carnival and send a donation to a child for the holidays.

As mentioned, the builds are really gorgeous; given Inworldz' prim allowances, size (dis)constraints and the creativity of the residents, the builders have really outdone themselves.

There is a Santa's Workshop, a fantasy Ice Forest of magical creatures, ice skating, a beautifully-done train which encircles the entire Gala and can be hopped on for a relaxing tour, horse-drawn carriages, winter hay bale tour carts, and of course lots and lots of snow and blinky lights.

There are also some "warm-weather" areas for the folks Down Under and other peoples for whom it is warm and dry this time of year. This is a no-advertising, no-selling event so come and enjoy the energy and creativity shown here.

Scene from 'The Longest Night' at the Holiday Gala

This is my own build, one scene from the storyboard for my film-in-planning, 'The Longest Night," which will incorporate several of my major pieces. You might recognize 'Big Winter' and 'Solstice Tree,' two of the elements which inspired the whole story of the film.

Tawa (Hopi Sun Katsina)

The Hopi Sun Katsinam are the new element; they dance around the Woman sleeping in the snow to a loop from the soundtrack (completed late this Spring) for the film. The build also features a 5-directional particle blizzard of cross-blowing, whirling snow. You can see more closeups of the detail on the Katsinam in this Flickr set.

You can also find gifts under the huge (monstrous, gigantic, words-cannot-encompass-its-Yggdrasil-like-volume) Yule Tree set up in the center of the Holiday Gala, including this small one from me:

Brushed Silver Angel jewelry set

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Second Life doings

... over on the Second Life side of the grid, you might be the recipient of my Solstice Gift: a teeny companion Bear that clings to your upper arm (or other chosen attachment point) and protects you from grumbleyheads. Yes, he is small, but I assure you, he is fierce! (the knot is almost gone from my shoulders from working on him at micro-prim level; I am now spoiled by Inworldz' prim scalability for making-tiny)

This little Bear is a childhood memory of Clippy Bears, a fad that started with little bears and branched out to all kinds of animals (I remember monkeys and kittens) that you'd clip to your hair, shoelaces, backpack, jacket (even a punk black-leather jacket).

This Bear is small but has a large heart

VWER special Arts Panel

It was my pleasure and honor to be invited to speak at the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable Arts 2011 panel along with my friends soror Nishi and Wizard Gynoid as artists active in SL, OpenSim and other grids to talk about making art and life as an artist working in immersive 3D settings.

Chaired by Ignatius Onomatopoeia [RL Joe Essid, a faculty member in the departments of English & Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond], the panel was a stellar Who's Who of educators and artists working in virtual environments; among the luminaries were Merlin Moonshadow, Elphaba Helendale, Delightful Doowangle, Grizzla Pixelmaid, Wrenaria Antiesse, Sam55 Chester, Ridvan Atolia, Zotarah Shepherd, Kavon Zenovka, Sheila Yoshikawa, Rachelle Monroe, Frankie Antonelli, Lyr Lobo, snow Scarmon, Praxislady Witt, BackWoods Texan, barbarathelibrarian Magic, LoCE99Ch8 Morpork, Kali Pizzaro, Shailey Garfield, Nava Wonder, Claudia13 Rossini, Tomkin Euler... PHEW!

24 on the sim at the conference, including the renowned Pathfinder Lester, Hypergridnaut extraordinaire [who "just likes to poke around"] and who surprised and flattered me with several nice comments about my piece "Commodity" (awee was I pleased!).

We talked about Unity3D, making a living as an artist (VR/RL), barriers to real-time collaboration, hardware/bandwidth/latency problems in collaborating, the patron model of support, 3D printing, RL/VR crossover work, WebGL, the problem of deliberate retardation of tech because of trying to "corner the market" and locking up collaboration/variation, what grids we all explore/work in and why, future models of revenue/support for virtual reality, the wonder of people exposed to making in virtual worlds as opposed to merely consuming, machinima as a way to reach people unable to get into VR, preservation of virtual art for future collectors/buyers, computers as a tool for creators and... my spleen :D [there were some possible future-organleggers at this meeting!]

Plus a discussion of whether Iggy's companion Raven should have either a small Santa hat or elf ears for the holidays (you know which one I voted for).

It was a wonderful and heady experience and I am very grateful and honored to have been asked to attend. Soon, I am told, a transcript of this session will be available on the VWER site in the Library section (as soon as the site is rebuilt, although there are links there now to past conferences which are a great resource and well-worth exploring).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go make a kidney for Pathfinder before he comes in the night to collect one...

The Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable Arts 2011 panel

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Friday, December 9, 2011


Things change all the time, and I've had some changes in Inworldz -

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Stefanik Dagostino is happy to have me back at the S&S Galleries of Fine Art - along with the Little Gallery and Painting Expo he has maintained for me there, he's had me build a nice new addition to the S&S Sky Gallery at the Museum at Cannery Row, where I have put out Big Winter, which now has a not-for-sale-separately companion Miniature in a snow globe (you can't make things that small in Second Life!) and which won the Phi Designs Prize at the University of Western Australia's 3D Open Art Challenge in October 2011, and The Fountain of Salmacis, based on Time As A Helix of Semiprecious Stones, which won 3rd prize in the Challenge and is a Finalist in the Grand Finale.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt starts tomorrow!

Stefanik is also the creator of The Hunt Club - an idea he had when Inworldz was fairly new to get people to explore the grid and find out what was out there in Inworldz. His Hunts are always great fun, and with the expanding of Inworldz, this year's Christmas Hunt will be huge, so come Hunt, starting December 10 and throughout the holiday season til January 6; gather the goodies and explore the grid!

The Sky Gallery at S&S

The Little Gallery at S&S

The Painting Expo

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I'm also happy to be welcomed by Leanna and Mera to have a small shop for my Garden of Sound in Midsomer, where I'll be keeping my crickets, frogs, whales and Singing Flowers. They've also invited me to put out my holiday items in the central square, where you can find my Singing Carolers, Sparkling Yule Tree, some pretty holiday rugs/wall hangings and free holiday jewelry.

Leanna has done a fabulous job bringing winter to Midsomer; it's pretty, warm and snuggy, so swing by for some holiday treats in the Cafe and great chat with the residents of Midsomer!

Midsomer's Holiday Plaza

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Inworldz Holiday Gala

Finally, don't forget, the Inworldz Holiday Gala will be taking place starting December 17th. This year's chosen Charity Drive is "Toys for Tots". We will have kiosks or donation builds, (Inworldz official only) set about. Please let's make this a banner year for Inworldz participation in this wonderful charity. No child without a gift, of love. This is a "No Sale" "No Advertising" event, just a celebration of the holidays and the spirit of giving.

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My friends soror Nishi, Alizarin Goldflake and Maeve Eiren have generously offered me build space to make more artwork - mmmwwwaaahhh!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breech Klout

"... in heart I'm an American artist, and I have no guilt.
I seek pleasure. I seek the nerves under your skin.
The narrow archway; the layers; the scroll of ancient lettuce.
We worship the flaw, the belly, the belly, the mole on the belly of an exquisite whore.
He spared the child and spoiled the rod. I have not sold myself to God."

                 - Patti Smith, Babelogue

You Monetizers, you creepy-crawly Marketeers, you incessant leeches on the creativity of others; you who equate figuring out some little math trick to confine, quantize, qualify or judge worthy to receive your splendid trinkets in return for my soul and the soul of my friends; you craven carpetbaggers, you thieves of culture, you reducers of human motivation to snapping at mackerals like a trained seal, you pimps of prostitution; I see you.

My friends are not for sale; nor are they for worming your way into my life by using them. I've watched you do it to the Web and I won't sit and watch you do it to the social network this time without saying something.

Q. At what time does "social media" and "social metrics" become social engineering?

Why Klout Is Dangerous [Business 2 Community]