I get hundreds of invitations to Second Life art galleries, and when I manage to get some time I do a gallery hopping tour to check them out. I dabble in mixed media and love doing art, and I love viewing art in “real life” museums. But when I am inside Second Life I don’t want to see art that is merely a replica of anything that can be done offline. I look for a couple of key features:
1) art that utilises the affordances of the Second Life platform – such as the use of prims to make 3D sculptures, or installations which use animation or audio;
2) art that allows interaction, so that it only becomes complete when you participate in some way with it
Here is some amazing art I’ve come across recently.
The first one is an increidble light installation, which involves beams of animated light filling the space and moving around the space. By entering one of the central beams and clicking on it, you become a part of the installation, your avatar transforming with each new beam.
This second one is a social comment by Nebulosus Severine on The Cult(ure) of Television, and to appreciate it best you have to enter and sit on an animation which makes your avatar stare mindlessly at the flickering of a TV screen.
This third one I thought was art, but then I heard a rumour that it was one University’s efforts at making myspace-like pods for student accommodation. I couldn’t find an explanation anywhere, but either way, the build is a fascinating concept.
This fourth gallery space was a loft which featured the work of a multimedia artist from Sweden (Nils), an artist that created pieces you had to click or pose with before the art was complete.
The fifth one has changed since this photo was taken (but I prefer this version) and was a huge animated heart, complete with a beating pulse in the audio stream. The heart was juxtaposed with a holodeck type room and the two pieces together were designed to represent the tensions between real and virtual (artist: Nobody Yap).
And finally, the most amazing sculptures I have ever seen in an art style I didn’t know much about before, called steampunk. Each sculpture is designed with around 500 prims and requires a lot of camera work and flying around to appreciate the sheer magnitude of it. (More about Madcow Cosmos, the artist, here)
I’ll be doing some more formal and academic work about digital arts soon, but for now, this is just a small snapshot or two of what I find most fascinating.