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Second Life Meets First Life
March 30, 2007

I was bound and determined to avoid Second Life as long as possible, but it seems just as determined to invade First Life. Slart is the newest front: a critical magazine about Second Life art, it's currently published in-world (as they say) but may soon be published in real life (IRL, as they also say). How long until I'll be penciling gallery openings in my calendar,  which I can attend only if I load my avatar?

Second Life Performance Group watches film

Second Life performance group, Second Front, watches the first feature film to be shown in the online world: Lynn Hershman's Strange Culture.

I think I'm too late already. I missed an interesting Second Life film screening. And according to Ben Davis in Artnet—that's an online publication about IRL art—Second Life's first art star has seemingly retired:

In contrast, the fantastic sculptures of StarAx Statosky, arguably Second Life’s first art megastar, can only exist in the virtual universe, the physics of which are decidedly dreamlike. Statosky has already had a one-day retrospective at Second Life’s Aho Art Museum . . . including many works lent by private collectors in the online world. . . . Yet Statosky’s story also contains a cautionary note for artists looking to do business in Second Life. His most popular creation was a "magic wand" that allowed users to translate their in-world dialogue into animations, which he sold for 15,000 Linden dollars a pop, or $60. . . . However, after one of the periodic updates of the game changed the world’s operating principles, the device was rendered non-functional, destroying the artist’s business and apparently inducing him to abandon the world completely (rumors abound that StarAx has returned under a different guise).

In-world art exhibitions sometimes include online versions of IRL art. And in-world art galleries sell online art for IRL money. Sometimes in-world art is also IRL art: Second Life artist Filthy Fluno is IRL artist Jeffrey Lipsy, and occasionally the crossover artist sells art in-world and then ships it IRL.

Of course, entirely IRL art is can be subject to online sales, too. The NYT reports that Tom Friedman's latest show at Gagosian sold out in minutes after collectors, specially notified by the gallery via e-mail, responded to images of the work in the show.

Posted by Kriston on March 30, 2007 in Museums & Technology


Regarding Second Life: The phrase "get a life" takes on sublime meaning.

I'm not so much scared of international terrorists as I am of old school Dungeons & Dragons geeks who have latched on to new school software programs that can morph poor Haight-Ashbury holdover Puff the Magic Dragon into a slick Artbender hedge fund art collector avatar of Harry Potter.

More interesting, to me, than gallery openings you can ONLY attend if you load your avatar, are the ones you can attend by loading your avatar when you can't make the real life components of them.

For Artomatic in DC this year, we're allowing people to attend some of the live events through Second Life (video/audio feeds) and creating some mixed-world events where people from the real life show and Second Life can both participate: Virtual Sculpture contest where the RL audience votes for the winner and a Open Art Critique session (coming up) where a group of Second Life and Real Life attendees will (through webcam, mic, and a projector) look at each others art (located both in SL and RL) and critique the pieces.

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