Thursday, July 19, 2012

LEA endowment application now available It's time for the next round of the LEA Artist-in-Residence Land Grants! The LEA Land Grant program seeks to promote and nurture the arts in Second Life, through a six-month land grant to recipients. Recipients can be individuals or groups interested in creating or curating art, or proposing cultural projects which would require/utilise a full-sim build and can be completed within the allotted time frame. The LEA is able to offer land grants through the generosity of Linden Lab. Below you will find all the information needed to apply for a Land Grant, including helpful information for your application, and how decisions will be made, with a link to the application is at the bottom. Please read this carefully even if you are familiar with this process, as new information is available here. WHO? You. And the LEA. We are looking for projects that utilize the many possibilities available in the virtual world. This is not limited to visual art; we encourage applications that are also collaborative efforts across the spectrum of the arts, including performance, music, and film. We'd like to encourage Second Life residents at all levels to apply, and also suggest residents might form groups and apply together if they don't feel they're able to fill a sim on their own. WHAT? We expect that residents will plan and execute a project utilizing their land grant within a certain time frame. This has often been in the form of a full-sim art exhibition and/or immersive installation, but we also welcome applications which propose curatorial projects, especially those which have a connection to physical exhibitions and events (augmented reality) by individuals and arts groups. The LEA would also prefer that projects be original works for this installation, though of course curators might be presenting extant works. Recipients can expect to 'buy' (at zero cost) a full sim's-worth of land from the LEA. You will own the land and be able to deed it to your group, and so forth. LEA estate managers will have to change some settings on the land, such as terrain RAW files and textures, and will be available to support you throughout your residence. Artists will be given 4 months to execute their build, so that all sims have open work during the last 2 months of their grant. This, however does not mean you cannot open your project earlier than the 4 month deadline, and in fact many artists in the past have used their land to have multiple exhibits. However, it is imperative that your project will be ready within 4 months, and this time-frame should be considered (and reflected) in your application. WHAT IS EXPECTED OF RECIPIENTS? In addition to the aforementioned completion of builds, LEA Land Grant recipients are expected to uphold the LEA Code of Conduct. Recipients will also be expected to hold at least one event at some point within their residency. This could be an art opening, or it could be lectures or demonstrations. It could be an ongoing event, as well. They will also be expected to participate in an LEA-wide art festival, tentatively scheduled for the first week of the final month of your residency. While this could simply mean your build is complete and accessible, we would enjoy if you might consider being an active part of events (ex. talks, performances, gatherings). WHAT CAN ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE EXPECT OF THE LEA? In addition to providing land and estate management support, the LEA wants to help make your project a success. You will be assigned a liaison from the LEA Committee, who will help guide you through the land grant timeline, land management, PR planning, and point you to other resources which might maximize your experience and success. WHEN? The next round of land grants are scheduled to start on September 1st, 2012, and finish on February 28, 2013. Applications are available now, with a DEADLINE OF AUGUST 15, 2012 HOW ARE DECISIONS MADE? Land Grant recipients are decided upon in a democratic fashion by the 7 members of the LEA Committee. All applications are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL - they are only reviewed amongst the LEA, and we will not make public who has applied. Criteria We feel one of the strengths of the LEA committee is that we come from different backgrounds - artists, architects, curators, historians, etc. - all of whom have different ideas on what makes virtual art great. We share a passion for this project, emboldened by differing viewpoints. What this means for the LEA Land Grant applicants is that there is no one ‘right’ project. Some committee members like immersive builds, others enjoy highly technical and scripted work, still others look for projects embracing collaborative, curatorial, or education projects. Some might wish to select those who have a history of successful exhibits in SL, while others are passionate about providing experiences to new and emerging artists. This is great news for applicants, as it means that ANYONE has a chance at getting sim, provided you show us you have an idea for a great project (even if it isn’t completely thought through, and we realise that this will most likely change in your working process). Decision Process Each full LEA committee member makes a list of their top 20 selections from the application pool, then these are tabulated by a member of the Advisory committee (link) to retain anonymity. With the results tabulated, the committee reviews the results and votes again, if necessary, to break ties in order to achieve 20 finalists. The remaining ‘tied’ applicants will be listed as alternates should someone be unable to accept their sim. Notification Successful recipients can expect to be notified within 2 weeks (see timeline below), and will be handed their sims at or near the time of acceptance. If an applicant has had a change of circumstance and feels they can no longer complete their project, that sim will return to the pool and be given to an alternate. No public announcements will be made until all applicants are notified of their result. APPLICATION TIMELINE (subject to change in the event of unforetold crises) Applications available/announced - July 18-19th Application deadline - Aug 15th Final Decision Committee Deadline - Aug 26th Notification period, and selection of alternates if need be - Aug 27 - 31st Sim handover and public announcement - Sept 1st HOW TO APPLY? Fill out the form at the link below. Please take care to ‘paint a picture’ of your project, and include slurls and/or web pages where we might view your work, to help the committee make an informed decision.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Virginia - Piano

     One of the things which lessened the symptoms of Virginia's illness was to play the piano.  In our talks she spoke about how living in the City had a variety of things, essentially sound pollution, which would  cause her illness to become more pronounced.   Sounds most City people don't hear anymore such as, believe it or not, an ambulance going by or cars honking and dogs barking.       Personally, I still hear much of that noise which is what has made me into what my friends call an "Alley slink" because I find the noise and bustle of the main touristy streets annoying and generally travel everywhere one alley way north, south, east or west of the busy streets.
     Virginia would hear much of the ambient sound of her City and it would trigger reactions and anxieties in her.  One of the things which brought her reality back into balance was the soothing act of playing piano at her Church.  Many of the piano pieces she recorded on cassette were original compositions as well.  The sound is a bit tinny being on one of these tape recorders and the piano itself is out of tune but she has some great work.
     When I listened to all the cassettes in some cases I would begin to visualize her in the house talking to the cassette player.  Like on Christmas day humming to a song or attempting to organize her house.  I tried to imagine what the actual scenes would look like if I were watching from the bushes.  In this one there is quite a striking scene to visualize if we put the pieces together.   Virginia is blind as I mentioned and each room in her house was covered with almost a thick drapery of cobwebs that had grown over 20 years or so.  Her piano was situated amongst these cobwebs almost like on a stage with the curtains drawn back.  Now imagine being outside her house as she is recording this particular tape.  The house is dark as there are no lights on and as Virginia says in the machinima, there is a storm outside whose thunder may be heard on the piano recording.  Imagine flashes of lightning illuminating the scene inside this house of Virginia as she is playing the piano in the dark shrouded in cobwebs.  What I kind of shake my head at, is that should this scene exist in a Hollywood movie then I would have felt it to be far too dramatic and corny looking to be real.
     May 26th 2008 is the date of this particular tape and I wonder what I was doing on that day.  Perhaps building in SL.  It was a Wednesday and the Harry Potter actor Rob Knox was stabbed to death in a pub protecting his little brother, a mass grave was discovered in Peru, a oil pipeline was blown up in Nigeria, there was talk of "carbon credits" and Switzerland's top court ruled that a convicted drug trafficker was entitled to keep the money.   And in a remote house Virginia played the piano during a storm.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Virginia's breakers

     Virginia had created hundreds of cassette tapes and on each she would state the date and sometimes the tapes connection to others she had recorded in the past.  For example she might say "December 1st 2007, tape 45 a continuation to tape 73."  In some cases the numerical order didn't actually relate to the chronological order. Virginia has a remarkable memory though and in her mind she kept the order clear, but in being blind she was not always able to find the correct tapes she needed.
     Virginia struggles against what she calls her left and right side.  Two sides which are forever battling for dominance.  She has discovered, over time, that a complex method of placing pressures or avoiding interaction with parts of her body will reduce her symptoms.  In this cassette she talks a bit about her "breakers" or the means she uses to alleviate some of her problems.  The way she interacts with her left and right side not only affect how she physically feels or functions but also it directly can affect what happens in her outside reality as well.  So for example if she picks up her coffee cup with her left hand perhaps the voices in her mind stay at bay or she has better balance or feels more collected and comfortable.
     If by accident she picks up the coffee cup with her right hand then things in her world can become unstable.  So for example if she picks up the cup in her right hand then at that exact time a car might pull in her driveway where a person starts banging on her front door alarming her.  Or perhaps using her right side causes the feral cats to aggressively scratch her when she feeds them.  She catalogues to herself all these occurrences and has found a means to counter them by putting pressures at points on her body.  She may tie her left shoe very tight or put pressure on her wrist with elastic bands.  It is a balancing act for her which allows her to manage these symptoms. My rational side wonders how these could do anything, but then medicine has many examples of pressure point treatment.  A massage therapist often treats areas of the body by working on seemingly unrelated muscles far from the affected area.  The acupuncturist has practiced for centuries and mapped out complex connections all through the body.  Perhaps Virginia has found a way to alleviate her illness in this manner either psychologically or physically.
     Over her life people found Virginia to be strange and in the 50's many just saw her as being "difficult".  She is well aware that talking about these things to others has, for the most part, done nothing more than caused her to be ostracized from society.  She is a rational person dealing with the irrational.  When we talk she is hesitant to speak of some of these things because she knows they sound crazy, but she has never flinched from trying to figure out just why her life proceeded as it did.  Why did she have to deal with these struggles where it seemed easy for everyone else.  She lived in a constant self diagnosis and was her own doctor.

Virginia Alone is now open on Immersiva and is also currently being shown on a monitor at the Santa Fe new media festival.