Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Metaverse Creativity and identity

At the Jewish museum in Berlin
     A few weeks ago Facebook decided that I wasn't a "real" person and deleted my account after a week of giving me time to scan my passport, drivers license, credit card or various other forms of identification to prove.. well I expect essentially to prove to their advertisers that the money they pay is justified as its going to "real" people or perhaps to ensure their data mining is accurate as it culled from "real" people.  If companies buy my behavioural data then they want to be able to contact me specifically to directly sell something.  Below are two kind of humourous posts I wrote related to my slow death on facebook. 
I had planned to write a few more posts but kind of lost interest.  But if you wanted to know where the story was going let me just sum it up.  My face was going to slowly disappear as Bryn and be replaced by... Danny Devito!  Oh and I was going to draw a obviously crappy representation of some kind of
Bryn Oh on hundreds of Toronto subway platform monitors for Nuit Blanche
ID in crayons and send it to them to see what they said, and then post it here.  Lets pretend I finished the story and it was funny.
     Anyway, I have a feeling this is all a precursor to a future where people will smile at our current naivety in not creating/demanding some form of barrier between our real life and the ever increasing amount of entities that wish to profile us and use our info for various reasons.

     So yesterday I was contacted by Metaverse Creativity, who published an academic work on Bryn Oh which you can find here to let me know that I was now on their editorial board (they did ask me first naturally).  You can find the academic journal here
    This is the group of people associated with the journal below.  Have a look and see if one of these things is not like the other as they might say on Seasame Street.

Editorial & Advisory Board
Editorial Board 
Trish Adams,
 RMIT University
Selim Balcisoy,
 Sabanci University
Andrew Burrell,
 University of Sydney
Bryn Oh written about in this Vogue magazine
Stefan Glasauer,
 Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
Beth Harris, 
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Patrick Lichty, 
Columbia College
Bryn Oh, Artist, Second Life®

Advisory Board
Howard Rheingold,
 Stanford University
Roy Ascott,
 University of Plymouth
Arts and Algorithms digital festival
They are all "real" people.  Well all except Bryn Oh who is a virtual creation.  That is an important distinction for me because when I began working as an artist using Second Life as a medium I wanted to see if I could succeed in "real" life amongst the flesh and blood artists and curators as a cartoon or an elaborate screen cursor of sorts.  I was fascinated with the idea of people dealing directly with an anonymous figure.  I wanted to know if they would talk to Bryn or perhaps instead demand real life information.  Also I liked the idea of someone being in a physical gallery space looking at an artwork and asking who did it?.. then imagining their face as they are told that it was done by an artist residing in a virtual world.  An artist with a very grey pallor and sporting horns.  To which they would say.. "Oh.. but I mean who REALLY did it?" to which the curator must reply.. "we don't know".  In the images in this post I have shown various things I have done in the past which were done exclusively with the virtual identity of
Menage museum in Moscow's Red Square
Bryn Oh rather than the shadowy artist controlling her.  So for example Vogue magazine only spoke with Bryn Oh and had no way to contact the person behind her.  In some cases my real name had to be given, such as with the Canadian Government art grants, which is not surprising as you can't ask for Government money in such a way, but in most cases people dealt with Bryn as the first and only contact.  It's quite possible that I am the only person who gets gleefully excited with this idea, but at least you know another one of my little oddities.   Bryn Oh's work was also shown in various ways exclusively as Bryn Oh in places such as the World Expo in China, on RAI TV in Italy, on programs such as ART21, in college and university courses, in thesis works and many other things.  So my inclusion to the editorial board is a fun addition to this strange quest of mine.  If you have any ideas for content to do with Metaverse Creativity then contact me and I can help you submit your academic essay or whatever to them.

There is though another side which I don't write about too often.
    
     This side of me is interested in removing the influences of my ego by being anonymous.  I sometimes wonder if striving for recognized personal success might not prevent ones pure creativity from coming forth.  It seems to me, from observation of various celebrities and what not, that many
who achieve success or renown at a fairly early stage spend a much longer period of their career trying to reverse that inevitable decline from the public eye.  They desire to hold on to the recognition, and all that comes with it, perhaps at the expense of their art since I think their desire to hang on drives the subject matter they choose.  So for example one might write a song for the emotional preteen hordes and their technological prowess with twitter and what not, rather than write a song that they know will not be of interest to that generation.  I hope to be creative for my entire life and to be content with what I make whether it is seen by 50,000 or 5.  I desire that the actual creative process fulfills me rather than scrabbling to be noticed and choosing projects based on whether I think it will keep me within the public eye rather than whether it is relevant satisfying art to me.           
A guest at a Boston show turning the music box of a Bryn Oh work as seen below
      Right now, regardless of how well received anything I create in the virtual space is, in real life nobody knows what I do or have achieved.  How are ones choices affected when creating art if their decisions are not based on making those people around you, who you interact with, feel respect, give kind words or anything that is a means to validate oneself?  I don't know the answer and I am just speculating really, but I wondered and thought I would see.  In addition, there is a freedom in being anonymous in that you can also create intensely personal work that you might be hesitant to do otherwise for fear of hurting the feelings of friends or family.  It's funny but there is one side of me that wants to show people, who know me in real life, that I have achieved something.  To show my parents I was right to drop psychology for art or I would love to go to a high school reunion and be the cool one for a change. Yet another part of me wonders if that need is somehow shallow.  Hey wait who am I kidding.  If I went to a high school reunion and tried to explain Bryn Oh to them then I still wouldn't be the cool one.  In fact I might even drop a few rungs socially.  Oh well.

Music box encaustic
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