"Because I am not here" Thesis work on four SL artists

     Recently a thesis work for a doctorate of arts was published by Francisco Gerardo Toledo Ramirez for the University of Western Ontario. Ramirez discusses the work of four Second Life artists, Eva and Franco Mattes, Gazira Babeli, Bryn Oh and China Tracy (Cao Fei).  I am flattered to have been included alongside the other three talented artists.  If you have an interest in the history of virtual art with Second Life as the medium for presentation, or rather of virtual worlds in general, then  you can download the thesis work at the top right side of this webpage listed below.

"Because I am not here"  Selected Second Life-based art case studies: subjectivity, autoempathy and virtual world aesthetics.
AM Radio

Blotto Epsilon
      Artists come and go in Second Life with some leaving a lasting impression, others a legion of artists they have influenced and a few who create a style that stands uniquely on its own spawning new ways to think inside this medium.  One of the very early artists in Second Life was a recluse by the name of Starax who then created a successful alt named Light Waves.  He was known for sims such as Black Swan and Greenies.   Some of his creations are still mind boggling today.   There were mathematicians and scripters such as Seifert Surface and Desdemona Enfield who suddenly found themselves being classified as artists.  There were the predominantly sound based creators like Adam Ramona and Dizzy Banjo, those with talent and personality such as Four Yip and fan favorites like Baron Greyson, Madcow Cosmos and AM Radio.  And finally the unheralded like Cutea Benelli and Blotto Epsilon whose work at the Spencer Museum is still one of my favorites to have ever been created in this medium.
Gazira Babeli observing a work by Starax

Today we have great veteran talents such as Glyph Graves, Selavy Oh, Rose Borchovski, Nessuno Myoo, DB Bailey, Maya Paris and others who are quite active.  The big names in art companies have changed from Rezzables to Madpea, and some of the newer artists on the scene making an impression are those like Claudia222 Jewell, Yooma Myoo, Romy Nayar and quite a few others.  Stellarc has even been working here recently.

     The problem with naming names is that there is always someone annoyed they were not mentioned.  So just to clarify these are only artists I can remember at this particular moment and in an hour I could recall someone who I have forgotten.   Actually to prove that I am going to think of someone right now.  Eupalinos Ugajin.  A very talented and unique artist.  Oh and of course Marcus Inkpen.  See I can keep going, but I have stuff to do dammit.  One thing I have to do is return a tv series to the library, suggested to me by Caer Balogh, called the singing detective.  I had no time to watch it unfortunately and it now also has late charges... grumble.  Those librarians they'll break your knee caps so I better get over there.

spent it
Anyway, yes this is just the history and some artists I remember off the top of my head but someone really should write a definitive one before it is all forgotten.  If this kind of history does interest you then there is a good blog called NPIRL which recalls some of the the active SL artists up until 2009.  Since then there hasn't really been such a prolific virtual art based resource blog on a scale like NPIRL, but info can be discovered as Mr Ramirez has shown us with his fine thesis research and interpretation.

spent it
And finally I would like to say goodbye to our penny here in Canada which will stop being made after today.  This was my favorite penny (the bird above) but I think I only ever came across a few in my whole life.  Was a pretty rare one.  I had a lucky one once that I carried around but I spent it one day by accident.  Then I found a rare nickel with a rabbit on it.  I felt like my luck upgraded from the penny and it was meant to be until I eventually freaking spent it by accident as well.   But yes we are getting rid of our penny today because people generally only ever use them to throw at one another when trying to get each others attention.


Glyph Graves said…
Bryn ... no one, I mean no one should return The Singing Detective to the library without watching it.

Having got that out of the way I for one will be looking forward to seeing your work realised in a gallery environment.

As an aside AngryBeth Shortbread certainly deserves to be mentioned with Adam and Dizzy as amongst the pioneers of sound based art in SL. You can still see her work at The Port.

The ephemeral nature of SL makes comparisons difficult so I dont envy you in your attempt. This is particularly so with performanced based art. I recently saw, and was quite blown away by a performance piece by Jo Ellesmere and Pyewacket Kazyanenko. It was however only viewed by about half a dozen people and while was documented by a machinima this is not the same as the piece itself.

I find that while often works of art in there own right machinima often dosnt do justice to a piece.

This is a perenial issue I think and not sure the best solution.
Ziki Questi said…
The Singing Detective — and I hope you have the original British series directed by Jon Amiel, not the American remake — is one of the most outstanding and fascinating pieces ever made for television. Glyph is right, it's not something to return without being watched. (And a great suggestion from Caer, who is always full of excellent suggestions!)
Bryn Oh said…
Yes Caer made me get the British one. Ok Ok I will order it again but better not be a musical. I totally agree with you Glyph machinima really can't do justice to any open ended 3D environment where we navigate and make decisions on our own. Wish I could have seen the performance as well! There needs to be a better way for people to get the word out for performances such as that.
Rose said…
Bryn, ty for mentioning my name,I‘m flattered. I think with the digital art most of us are still facing two mayor problems. One is the archiving or survival of the pixel art-work and the other one which frustrates me most is how to reach a bigger audience inside sl. I have the luxury to have my installation at Two Fish hang around long enough, so eventually words about it get around and the audience is growing and it is very well visited. But with The Arrival at my borrowed Lea sim it is a different story.
I do have a constant small stream of visitors, but when I go to yours the words constantly and flooded are connected. I’m very pleased for you, but gosh I really feel frustrated, I’m blogged and flickered all over the place, (we have great active art bloggers and photographers inside sl), spent a lot of energy on giving out information, made it after a hiccup back into the destination guide and the responses are very appreciative. And then again I know I have no rights to complain because at the end of the month when I have to return the sim to Lea, The Arrival will have been seen by a good crowd, which is not bad for an art-sim which has not hunt or game elements being part of it. But when you imagine that in average around 45.000 pple are constantly online in SL, it feels rather small.
I take another example (I know it is dangerous to name single names, but I feel save with this name because I’m a great admirer of his work), Nessuno Myoo made a stunning art work at his Lea sim: Danger In Evolution.
I find it amazing, there is no real movement, no sound, but when you visit this installation your eyes compose the soundtrack inside this void of silence, feel the speed of this split second and undergo the danger.
Why, Why, why is this artwork of Nessuno and Kicca not crowded?
Why, why, why is there not a constant speechless starring crowd at this sim, which wonders about its magic and is dazzled by the emotion it is expressing?
Where and how does it go wrong that many of these stunning Art installations are the best-kept secret in Sl, despite the effort of so many dedicated bloggers?
I wonder if in the end SL is maybe not the right platform to shoot off digital 3d art installations. I’m sure (or hope) that tomorrow I’m again filled with great optimism and it is just me murmuring on a very grey windy rainy day.
Bryn Oh said…
I agree completely Rose. One of the things I wonder is if there couldn't be some new ways to help promote set up by linden labs. So for example, a new resident would click off a few things they are interested in when they sign up like art or music or roleplay etc. So then if they were to pick "art" they would then be automatically added to an inworld group that advertises art events. That group would quickly balloon into tens of thousands of people. The group would be moderated by residents who are in the art scene and are aware of openings. Hmm think I will bring that idea up as a blog post. But incidentally, in regards to the archiving of sl art, I have been speaking with a lawyer/art academic the last week and he is intent on setting up a project for that purpose. One of the ideas is to use Hypergrid ip laws that would allow work created in something like Opensim to have a legal freedom of movement meaning that if it is then taken into SL it is then allowed to be taken out again... thus allowing it to be stored somewhere cheap. I am admittedly not a lawyer so this is just my basic grasp of the situation but it sounds promising.
Thanks Bryn, an honour and a pleasure writing about you and the other artists. My deepest gratitude.

Francisco Gerardo Toledo Ramirez
nessuno myoo said…
Ty so much Bryn, as said out of here I'm honored find my name too among many wonderful artists that make SL in a really better place and of course congrats to you for the thesis of doctorate published by Francisco Gerardo Toledo Ramirez..Ty so much to Rose too for the appreciation, is the same for me respect his work that absolutely love. About the motivations whereby one installation is rewarded by a good visitors traffic -or not- I have an idea very clear, but for me very difficult to explain well in English now: Is my desire in the next days or weeks publish a post on my personal blog just about this topic..in italian language of course so I'm sure that say good :°)
Anonymous said…
"If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain"... Pop art became so popular because it was an art that escaped museum context, jumping to streets to meet the people.

In SL we have a problem: how we (artists,, gallerists...) can scape to the street? Can it be possible to plant an art installation in a RP sim to meet and embrasse the public?
jeanli said…
Personally I enjoy non-crowded sims :-) And I want to mention since I am a working RL artist that its important to remember one makes art for other reasons than just crowds;) That said, i wish there was a better resource system for finding builds that are at least um lets see, what can we call it, Aesthetic? non-commercial? I find it problematic to use the word art in the SL context because even those who are building a store to sell trinkets think they are SL artists, and maybe they are. I bring up the resource question because I recently returned to SL after a year away and couldnt find anything easily--nearly all my favorite art haunts were down. gone. The only way I found those places in the first place was by a combination of good luck, perserverence, time, and NPIRL. Where to go to find out who's setting up new aesthetic installations?
love, sunshine
Anonymous said…
Jeanli, there is no equivalent to NPIRL that I know but try those blogs: http://quanlavender.blogspot.com/
and http://honourmcmillan.wordpress.com/
Bryn Oh said…
Can also try the LEA blog

They also have 20 regions which are specifically given to artists and curators so you could always check them out or even apply to use the space. Some machinima and performance regions are available too.
Indigo Mertel said…
I also suggest SL Art Exposed http://slartexposed.weebly.com

Ziki's Blog
nessuno myoo said…
...a promise is a promise :°)

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