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New ‘Master Q’s Feng Shui Clinic’ opening on Friday 14

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RMB City is ready to launch a new SL opening tomorrow Friday August 14, 2009.
Chinese artist Huang He (SL name: queenShoe Voom) will inaugurate the new ‘Master Q’s Feng Shui Clinic’ in RMB City’s Sanyuanli village.

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Presenting a new series of virtual project RMB City opens itself to a new era of experimentation, novelty and liveliness.
A city needs lifeblood and creativity to regenerate itself: how will these young eclectic artists infuse new life in RMB City? Which new elements will they bring to the ordinary routine of the city?

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Like ‘modern Prometheuses’ or godly figures, they are given the unique chance to infuse new life and cross the boundaries of new worlds in the unique artistic context or RMB City…new adventures are about to come, don’t miss the date!

Huang He (SL: queenShoe Voom) is a young Chinese artist and a long-standing friend of RMB City. Last January, coinciding with the opening of the City, Huang He applied the traditional oriental Feng Shui spatial theories to a SL context and investigated the connections between reality and virtuality. (Master Q’s Guide to Virtual Feng Shui)
http://vimeo.com/3574782

http://rmbcity.com/2009/01/master-qs-guide-to-virtual-feng-shui-a-special-project-by-huang-he/

Chinese architecture and apparently Hong Kong architecture most of all is completely infused with Feng Shui theories, also known as ‘Geomancy’…some bloggers wrote that the recent fire in the CCTV area was caused by a miscalculated arrangement of the spaces…it would be interesting to know some experts’ opinions…

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 12, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

Turin Reharsal 1

Actors start rehearsing for the upcoming RMB City event at Italian exhibition ‘Artissima 16′: here’s what Cao Fei wrote on her blog:

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As part of Italian project ‘Artissima16′ for the ‘Blinding the Ears’ theatre section, Arthub invited me under the “People’s City” project to create a drama.

CBD, we rented a small community 20-storey apartment as a rehearsal space, the window is very close to the CCTV ‘accident area’, which then becomes our background “stage”, which feels very psychedelic.

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due to the relationship bewteen the actors and the small space, it looked as if we were having a mini drama, as if we were in a movie.

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Get rid of the conventional stage, in rehearsal rooms the play becomes a day-to-day integration of furniture and a real life drama.

Actor introduced:

He Yu Fan, male, Graduated from the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, one of the founders of Rice Theater, as a director and actor. Since 2006 he has been working for “Pour”, “Pour2-memory,” “He” and “School violence” (also known as “I speak”). He’s participated to Dutch festival Oerol (repertoire “Oosterburen”), the French blind spots Theater (plays “Out Heaven’s Gate”), as well as Hong Kong forward into the theater (plays, “Fly,the Pro Flow birds, Fly”) performance.

Jiang Jun, female, graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy, one of the founders of Rice Theater, is a director and free-lance actress. Since 2004 she has been participating in dance studio live work “8 reports 37 degrees” and “Reproductive Report”, she’s participated to Julidans Arts Festival, International Theater Festival in Zurich, Switzerland, Gothenburg, Sweden Arts Festival, Hamburg, Germany Kampnagel Arts Festival, Berlin Festival, Austria Salzburg summer festival.

For the original Chinese version see Cao Fei’s blog http://www.alternativearchive.com/caofei/article.asp?id=363

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 11, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

People’s Stadium vs. Bird’s Nest

birdnest1Crazy that just a simple annoucement in newspaper got thousands of people rushing to Bird’s Nest. Granted, the news started with a vague article from the authoritative Xinhua News Agency saying parts of the Olympic Park is open to public for free; which is then widely (mis)quoted as “Bird’s Nest and Water Cube is open to public for free for a week, to celebrate the one year anniversary of the BJ Olympics”.

While many are frustrated by this particular incidence, overall, the Bird Nest seems to hold up extremely well as a tourist spot after the Olympics. Didnt become “ghost towns” like stadiums in Athens and other Olympic cities. RMB50 entrance fee is not cheap; but its also not prohibitive, at least not for those who came to BJ especially for it.

PS – the People’s Stadium in RMB City is free, all year round! Come!

Blog — Alan, August 8, 2009 @ 4:37 am

‘People’s Limbo, scene 6′, The meditation

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Intensely touched by my voyage to the netherworld (see ‘People’s Limbo’, scene 5, The graveyard), I now feel that my duty as knight-errant of RMB City has become even more precious and needed by my fellow citizens: I’ve experienced Christian mysticism in front of the Golden Virgin Mary, I’ve underwent a session of purifying and enlightening Chinese acupuncture and I’ve finally met my destiny in the reign of the dead.

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At this point, after my long wanderings, my fate brings me to the next stage of my journey and I magically fly towards People’s Temple (“People’s Limbo 6”, the golden bodhisattva, RMB City 3 186, 50, 60 (Mature) – RMB City 3).
Here, opposite to a gigantic Buddha statue in a supermarket cart (the strange Chinese union of mysticism and consumerism) I sit on a comfortable floating cushion and plunge into a deep state of unconsciousness and meditation,…and I breathe and relax, unwind and repose…

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“Get rid of all your useless novels!” a profound and fresh voice suddenly whispers;

“Who’s speaking? And how dare you interrupt my musing?” I immediately answer…

“That’s how my dear friend Govinda reacted, too, but you have to trust me: the long path towards understanding and Nirvana doesn’t follow the worldly logic of carnal pleasures and intellectual sophistry but is instead patiently reached through experience and spirituality, I’m “he who has attained his goals”, nice to meet you knight errant of RMB City”

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“Dear friend, my path towards salvation is closer to your ideals than you may think: I’ve already forsaken all my dear books and decided instead to become part of a bigger novel and experience life. And here I am, wandering through a new, unknown world, trying to redeem myself from my sins and undergo a new level of life and experience. What do you think of this second world?”

There is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha! I’ve spent my whole life in this statue, musing on my self and waiting for answers…”

“This world may be a mirror of your old world and can help you to see things from a different perspective but you should experience it more…live this city with me: you will be my shadow-guide and I will follow your whispered words of wisdom. Are you ready to cross our destinies?”

He just takes my hand and we fly towards our next destination, together.

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Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 6, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

New mayor’s inauguration (the unofficial report)

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queenShoe voom and the audience

excited avatars (queenShoe Voom on the left)

While SuperConcierge Cristole was reaching the climax of his very serious and inspired speech, eccentric avatars enlivened the scene offstage: an extremely excited minute girl named queenShoe Voom (a long standing acquaintance for RMB City citizens and friends…) expressed her extreme joy for the new ordination of SuperConcierge by staging a one-man-show of somersaults, enthusiastic remarks: ‘I am happy with the citizen-community!’ and unordinary drinking performances (some liquors in SL make you instantly dizzy).

former mayor AlanLau Nirvana and his new fancy outfit

former mayor AlanLau Nirvana and his new fancy outfit + China Tracy and newly born China Sun

Out in front our happy and relaxed former mayor Alan Lau, probably relieved from his recent demanding duties, showed up in his new weird outfit: his ordinary elegant suit equipped with a fancy white puppy attached to his right leg…!
Old and new friends attended the ceremony: our dear friends and former colleagues Miniature Tigerpaw and Man Michinaga, and the newly born China Sun, who stressed Jerome’s speech with his funny baby mumbling and even attempted his first speech, too: ‘a mn,mn piojiimm,,, m’

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Hufang Scribe

All throughout the ceremony a mysterious character named Hufang Scribe dressed in an ethereal gray tunic thus presented himself to the crowd:
‘Hello, everyone, actually my name should be Wong Guo Wei, a ‘suicided Chinese intellectual’ at the beginning of Chinese modernity and I would like to explore his RL in SL’…What does this strange avatar has in mind? What does this new ‘flaneur’ of RMB City is plotting to do? Don’t miss the chance to meet him and find it out!

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me and my new wings

p.s. By the way, I hope you liked my brand new dragonfly wings especially dressed for the occasion ;-)
Bye bye citizens of the two worlds and a special welcome to our new mayor!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 3, 2009 @ 12:36 am

Third mayor’s new speech (the official report)

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New mayor SuperConcierge Cristole

China Tracy (+China Sun), RMB City project manager Zilla Warrhol, new mayor SuperConcierge Cristole

China Tracy (+China Sun), RMB City project manager Zilla Warrhol, new mayor SuperConcierge Cristole

Last Sunday (Beijing time) our newly appointed mayor Jerome Sans (SL: SuperConcierge Cristole) gave his inauguration speech. Surrounded by a festive crowd of extravagant avatars here’s what he proposed for the future management of RMB City:

“Hello RMB City citizen!
I am honored to be appointed Mayor of Timeless RMB city and be part of this challenging art project part of the Second Life world. What a wonderful city where art can make temporary mayors with personal proposals? This is quite something since I am starting this 3 months mission the day of my birthday, August 2nd.

I am a man of adventure and being the mayor of RMB city is such a special one. So special that I want to honor my duty as mayor in the most caring and useful way possible. As if RMB city citizens where all residents of a 5 stars hotel, I am delighted to be at their service. As RMB City mayor, I offer to act as Super Concierge.

That means, I don’t want to look at your questions from afar, I don’t want to be secluded in my own official office, my own universe and take decisions that would be disconnected from your concerns. I want to serve all your needs. I want to make sure that all citizens of RMB City, can create, be inspired and enjoy their time in this city, in the best possible conditions, receiving creative insights, new ideas and full support from my end.

During my three months mandate, I would like to create and interact with you, I would like to gather knowledge from you and help you to grow and develop your projects. I wish that together we can create a dynamic community where new ideas can emerge and shake our lives.

In a word, I want to make your every day virtuality a total success, a complete experience”.

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Our new mayor will have a station in RMB City where anyone can go and leave him his requests and questions: as a super concierge he will satisfy your curiosities and help old and new friends of RMB City to integrate into the community.

We all warmly welcome our new mayore Jerome/SuperConcierge!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, @ 12:04 am

Inauguration of RMB City’s third mayor: Jerome Sans, Super Concierge

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Date: 2nd August, 2009 2 pm (Beijing Time)
1st August, 2009 11 pm (Second Life Time)

Venue: People’s Palace, RMB City, Second Life

http://slurl.com/secondlife/RMB%20City%201/173/41/129/

RMB City 1 (173, 41, 129)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the past four months, RMB City has been guided by the sage economic and artistic wisdom of our second mayor, AlanLau Nirvana. A time of recession can bring hopelessness and despair, but with AlanLau Nirvana and his “RMB City Stimulus Package” came encouragement, reflection, and creation. Our People’s Limbo project explored all of these feelings, and allowed RMB City to birth itself anew.

RMB City is now ready to experience new life, energy, and action. It will undergo a new phase of experimentation under the eclectic leadership of our new mayor Jerome Sans, a man of many different talents, who will also serve as the city’s master concierge. What new interpretations and ideas will he have in store?

Please join China Tracy and RMB City Management for a special afternoon ceremony. We will inaugurate Jerome Sans (SL: SuperConcierge Cristole), on his birthday, as our third mayor. In addition, we will introduce a preview of our upcoming “People’s Life” project. We sincerely invite everyone to share with us this new and exciting phase of RMB City development.

See you there.

RMB City Team

Jerome Sans is Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, and cultural curator for the hotel chain Le Meridien. He co-founded the innovative Palais de Tokio museum in Paris in 2002, and served as its co-director until 2006, and has curated numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is a singer and songwriter as a member of the rock band Liquid Architecture (www.liquidarchitectmusic.com).

About RMB City:
www.rmbcity.com

Join Second Life:
To join Second Life and visit RMB City, register for a free account at https://join.secondlife.com/

Visit RMB City:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/RMB%20City%201/153/32/126/

Contact Us:
info@rmbcity.com

Developer of RMB City: Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space
Facilitator: Uli Sigg
Public Presenter: Serpentine Gallery
Chief Engineer: Avatrian

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 30, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

On virtual food “Take some more tea”, the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. “I’ve had nothing yet”, Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I can’t take more.”

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New Japanese Air Yakiniku restaurant has recently become one of the most visited Korean barbecue of the world: no need for reservation, no queuing at all and most importantly no digesting problems…yes, because Air Yakiniku is actually a visual and auditory web-based restaurant and can only serve you virtual food! http://airyakiniku.cosaji.jp/

The idea sounds definitely unordinary, if not completely crazy: you enter the site and are immediately invited to download a template to make a real paper apron to prevent your pc from getting dirtied by grease splattering; after that the site suggests to accompany your ‘meal’ with a (real) bowl of rice and some dipping sauce and when you’re ready there you go: your virtual meat starts to get cooked on the screen ‘till finally at the ring of a bell you can actually click on your chopsticks and enjoy your…meal.

Now I don’t think the point is to judge whether or not the whole idea makes sense or is just an idiotic and meaningless waste of time (go and have a look at the numerous exhilarating comments on the video: ‘Feeding on air…Yummm I feel full already!!’ style) but I would rather express a couple of thoughts regarding this weird ‘experiment’:

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First of all, as already suggested by other bloggers the whole idea could be ironically interpreted as a satire both on the ongoing economic crisis (when my poor pockets don’t allow me to take my wife out for dinner, let me at least enjoy my virtual barbecue at home!) and also on the huge spread of visual and interactive games and communication platforms in our modern society.

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Secondly, the whole idea of mimicking reality to an almost perfect level of likeness is a typical and age-old way for men to represent their world and in a way control and understand it better (think about the cave drawings of ferocious animals in primitive times);

This website could also be a funny analysis on human perception, on how our primary senses react to some visual and auditory impulses and immediately activate our ‘hunger centre’ in brain (I must say that I totally agree with some bloggers considering this quite a masochist and cruel game though!)

Air Yakiniku can give rise to such reflections or simply be a nonsense idiotic game for masochist players and desperate subjects on a diet….

…or maybe the truth is that we’re not used to spontaneous and ingenuous fun anymore, so used to give facts their right and rational interpretations that we cannot be surprised by anything anymore!

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Just as a final comment on the need for all societies of any time to express themselves, artistically and sociologically, in a realistic way, I just want to remind that Lumière brothers’ “Arrival of a train at La Ciotat”, considered to be the first motion picture in modern history, is completely based on this realistic trick of a train heading for the screen and almost running over the audience.

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Popular legend has it that, when the film was shown, the first-night audience fled the café in terror, fearing being crushed by the ‘approaching’ train.

Could it simply be that we’re not used to such simple and straightforward irony anymore?

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 28, 2009 @ 12:14 am

The economy is one big garden?!

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There seems to be lots of plant (or farming) terms as analogies for our economy today.

Optimists have been talking of “green shoots” since almost 6 months ago. Roubini, a leading economist, didnt think that’s likely (at least not as of May). He thought its more “yellow weeds”, that could potentially turn into “brown manure” (now that’s going to stink!). Faber, another “Dr Doom”, maintained that “ultimate crisis” has yet to arrive. (Sorry I know this isnt a “plant” – but you cant get more pessimistic than an ultimate crisis…worth the record here)

But last week, Roubini said the worse of the financial crisis is over, and the US economy will come out of a recession by 2009 year-end.

Seems getting a consensus on the economy is as difficult as having a sunny nice weekend in Hong Kong these days. But to extend the plant analogy, dont you see different plants in different locales of the world? The same way that July is winter in Australia and summer in Japan, on the economy, you will see regions like China emerging from the recesssion sooner than anyone else (hence green shoots – or bamboos?). You see regions like UK or Eastern Europe still in deep troubles (yellow weed at best!). But even within these troubled regions, you will see “cactus” that grows in extreme weather!

The analogy goes on, and you can see the world economy as one big “garden” I guess…I wonder, is SL “in sync” with RL? What sort of garden and what kinds of plants do we see in SL, to extend the RL analogy?

Blog — Alan, July 22, 2009 @ 12:32 am

22/07/2009: Partial solar eclipse in RMB City

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http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/90872/6705882.html

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Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 21, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

Shall we call it postmodern art? (second general reflection on (virtual) art(s))

While not a big fan of ‘labelling’ I cannot stop finding parallels between some forms of contemporary art we can call ‘postmodern’ and SLart.

img_0012Last week I finally managed to go and see the so much-mentioned Yan Pei Ming’s “Landscape of img_0016Childhood” exhibition at UCCA.

The piece consists of a series of painted flags representing portraits of 34 Chinese new born children surrounded by huge landscape scenes painted on the walls of the huge Big Hall space.

What makes this piece even more effective is the way in which it is thought to be installed and experienced by the spectator: an ongoing artificial air current keeps on flapping the flags, creating a quite noisy and upsetting atmosphere that keeps the audience tensed and alarmed.

The intensity of the work, already quite disturbing in its social theme (anonymity, misery and the difficult role of modern parents) is therefore further stressed by external ambient factors, such as the disturbing wind and noise.

This challenge to conventional forms and conventional exhibiting media is part of the big contemporary world of ‘postmodern and conceptual art’ (so huge and ‘un-categorizable’ that is covers so different forms of art such as Dadaism, img_0024-2Surrealism, performance arts, new medias, installations etc. etc.) and is quite typical of both manyimg_0025-2 contemporary exhibitions, such as Yan Pei Ming’s one, and of virtual art and virtual museums as well.

The idea is to eliminate the so-called theatrical ‘fourth wall’ between artist and audience and let instead the piece of art to be enjoyed and experienced in a different and more direct way.

Both in UCCA Big Hall and in any other ‘sim’ in the vast universe of SL, Art is meant to involve the audience in an unconventional way, escaping ‘classical’ and traditional art-displaying and exploring the boundaries of new ways of perception and amusement.

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RMB City landscape pays homage to its dadaist precursor and 'artistic father', Marcel Duchamp, and his famous readymade objects.

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http://www.ucca.org.cn/portal/exhibition/view.798?id=20&menuId=20

http://arthistory.about.com/od/dada/ig/DadaatMoMANewYork/dada_newyork_01.htm

Blog — Gianna Yebut, @ 1:54 am

My “People’s Limbo 5”, The atonement, a tale freely adapted from S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

(more…)

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 16, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”: a reflection on virtual museums, historical memory and political myths.

charlie-chaplin Sl, as a looking glass, returns a slightly distorted but highly reliable image of our world. Real people’s interests, obsessions, fantasies, nightmares and wishes are directly transposed on this virtual platform and bounced back in their new virtual and fantastic appearance.

twin-towers_002 While musing on these thoughts I became curious to understand how people approach history and how they represent historical deeds in SL. Interestingly enough there are quite a few historical museums and historical memorials, some of which cleverly manage to display facts through the unconventional use of interactive games and virtual experiences.

I also found Hobsbawm conception of the 20th C as a ‘short century’ with rather no historical memory left but completely immersed in its present quite right also in this new millennium SL context (for Hobsbawm references see http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/eric.html)

chernobyl_002 Lots of memorials are actually dedicated to quite recent and extremely impressive historical facts: 9/11, Chernobyl, Holocaust, Iraqi war but very few of them pay homage to minor or older deeds and this is quite significant of the way in which we connect to our history.

Historical memory plays an extremely important role in any historical period and I’m sure that social way of interaction such as SL, Facebook or Twitter could become instruments of great value to spread historical knowledge and supply people with an immense platform of communication and exchange of thoughts. With regards to this issue I’ve recently read an interesting article about the big importance covered by social web services in the recent election upheaval in Tehran: www.osnews.com/story/21673.

In times of economical and political uncertainty, with Iran’s President claiming the Jewish holocaust never took place (or much tinier and less important historical fakes, such as the ‘Lega Nord’ separatist Italian party claiming the descent of its people to be of Celtic origin (!)) we all should be very careful to judge social networks and virtual games as rubbish and then maybe believe in quite extravagant (and highly dangerous) historical myths!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 14, 2009 @ 2:28 am

My People’s Limbo, part 4, the redemptive foot massage

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In my people’s Limbo 3 I finally managed to find a job and I’m now knight-errant of RMB City, which is still quite an uncertain definition but basically means to protect our city from abusers and use the power of creativity and fantasy to build a better society.

On my path towards salvation and redemption there’re still some steps to climb and some errors to be mended: I fly from the worksite towards the fourth People’s Limbo location, in the massage parlor of RMB City People’s Palace, the central city hall of our virtual town (RMB City 1 156, 25, 154 (Mature)).

I lie down on a luxurious sofa and while glancing through the magnificent interiors of this palace, its Chinese paintings and porcelain vases I doze off and imagine that my spiritual guide, in the guise of Dante’s Virgilio is giving me a very relaxing foot massage:

Virgilio: What brings you here, my dear Gianna? You look tensed and worried.
Me: To be honest, I need treatment, I want to wash my sins away and start anew, everybody has his own part of responsibility in this shaky economical situation and I want to take this burden and fight to mend my mistakes
Virgilio: The acupuncture flux cannot be wrong…I feel greed and superficiality in your body.
Me: I suppose I’ve been slightly lazy in the past few months and rested on my laurels
Virgilio: That’s what your body’s telling me, do you feel pain here, right below you large toe?
Me: Ouch! Yes, God if it hurts!
Virgilio: You should always nurture your mind and creativity, laziness is a bad and dangerous thing, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty.

I suddenly wake up, I’m alone in the room, my muscles are less tensed and one sentence keeps whirring round my head “O human race born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou fall”…I need to atone for my past mistakes and find my way towards redemption.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 6, 2009 @ 1:04 am

Transient and unconventional artistic media

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Spiral Jetty

Spiral Jetty

What first comes to your mind when you think about unconventional pieces of Art subject to the passing of time and to external factors?

My immediate thoughts go to the 1960s and 1970s Land Art of such artists as Robert Smithson (and of course his archetypal, provocative earthwork Spiral Jetty, made in 1970), James Turrell, Walter De Maria and many more.
This quirky art movement, sinking its roots in Minimalism and Conceptualism, considered art and landscape inextricably linked. The main pieces were actually outdoor ‘sculptures’ and installation made of natural material, subject to changes and final corrosion under natural conditions (quite interestingly the only way for the contemporary audience to experience them is through snapshots and video recordings). Most interestingly, and perfectly in tune with the contestative atmosphere of the time, Land Art was born as a provocation against the artistic ‘commercialization’ of the 1960s and the conventionality of Art displayed in museums and galleries. As a sign of protest, it therefore quitted conventional spaces and displayed in the open air, and actually made land and the environment the main subject of its installations.

Three decades after those peculiar artistic expressions, the wide world of SL presents itself as a creative platform in many ways similar to its Land Art predecessor.
As an artistic stage, it actually allows artists to display their pieces in an unconventional way, in a sense it is also a much more democratic way of expression, seeing that anybody can use it as an artistic medium or simply as an unconventional showcase to display his works.

In a way, both form of expression then, Land Art and SL Art (commonly known as SLart), encourage a revisionary understanding of Art and artistic approach, overthrowing our traditional conceptions and questioning the very purpose of Art.

There’s then another level in which the two forms of Art overlap: their transitory state makes both earthworks and virtual works ephemeral in a way; this is surely true in the first case with Land Art installations slowly degrading under the erosive effect of natural conditions, but it is also peculiar and incidental to SLart and its precarious state due to its own ‘insubstantial’ nature and its inextricable link to its Father, Linden Lab.

What if they just decide to close down, what happens to the innumerable avatars, prims and SLart works living in there?
And also, as already discussed in the post about Bettina Tizzy’s proposal of a ‘Slart will’, what happens when an artist die in RL? Unless he ‘wills’ his art, everything he’s done in SL is simply lost.

Although I also think it would be very regrettable to lose one’s work overnight, I still believe Art should be considered more as an ever-changing flux of energy and renewal rather than an immortal value and this is especially the case with Conceptualism and SLart, where more than objects and installations what really counts are IDEAS.

http://www.tate.org.uk/collections/glossary/definition.jsp?entryId=151

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 30, 2009 @ 1:00 am
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