Sunday, April 11, 2010

Second Life Creatives as Digital Folk Artists. Plus Late Breaking Video.

Folk Art: Art and objects made by people who are not artists, using styles and materials from where they live. The Museum Network
As I was browsing through Raw Vision the other day, it occurred to me that most of us who make art in Second Life are not trained artists; and that the sculpture, machinima, images, fashion and other works we create can be classified as Folk Art or Art Brut.  Seen via this point of view, Second Life can be viewed as the largest collection of Visionary Environments in the Worlds. That's pretty darn cool!

From the very first choices one makes to name and form his or her avatar, Second Life provides an outlet for the subconscious to emerge through creative expression. Latent artistic abilities are activated through content creation tools that are integrated expressions of the physical environment. There is no separation between avatar, tool and art.


I took a quick look at Google Buzz before hitting "Publish" for this post and saw a link from Peter Stindberg to an Alphaville Herald post about the Saga of Second Life video. I embedded it here because I think it relates directly to the question of how the changes in Second Life's direction over the last couple of years might impact its future ability to act as an artistic catalyst. What do you think?


sororNishi said...

Well, as I have said before, I think there is a natural progression from pioneer stage to the men in suits, it happens in many new enterprises.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is the most difficult phase of any organisation's development.

The digital folk artists, however, wont really mind moving grid, I think, if things get too bad. There is a great comraderie on the smaller grids, and the people who care more about building than their (dodgy) hair will not hesitate to swap expensive prims for (rather unstable) cheap prims, or free prims.

I have been given a sim on OSGrid, well....15k prims (free) would be enough to turn any prim-whore's head...:)))

Nothing will stop me from popping in to SL tho, all my friends are there, tho some of them are on OSGrid too.....

Michele Hyacinth said...

I agree with what Soror said. Suits are everywhere, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. (That's not to say that things shouldn't be questioned.) I found the slide in the video interesting that said something to the effect that second life revolutionized the Internet. While SL is astounding and I love it, I'm not so convinced that it revolutionized the internet. As hokey as it sounds, communities did...and there were plenty of them before Second Life. Reminds me of a video Mashable posted a couple of months ago:

The bit toward the end in that video shows the growth/changes in social network platforms from 1995 to now.
Work colleagues are already asking what's coming after Facebook, so even being on the top of the social networking heap doesn't create the perception of long-term viability...maybe because the predominant perception (reality) in the digital space is change. How we navigate that change, as a community of individuals, seems to be the thing that everyone's grappling with to some extent.

Botgirl Questi said...

soror: Congrats on the free Sim! I agree with you that artists probably have the least to lose and most to gain from lower-cost grids. The people with the most to lose are those whose assets are tied up in non-transferable inventory, which now means anything you haven't personally created. Also those who are embedded in Second Life subcultures which have not founded outposts on another grid.

Michele: I also think that it's a huge stretch to say that Second Life "revolutionized the internet". But I do think it revolutionized virtual worlds and provided an integrated content creation model that has fueled all of the artistic activity.

Life beyond Facebook??? Just as few people in 2000 could foresee the incredible growth of social networks in 2010, it's likely we'll be surprised by what new platforms emerge by 2020.

Chestnut Rau said...

I think the anonymous video overstated how wonderful the "good old days" were and over stated the "imminent demise" of Second Life. I also think if you are going to float a film like that you should have the courage of your convictions, and attach your name to the work.

I think soror is spot on. The transition from start up to established corporation is difficult. My personal belief is the corporate masters at Linden Lab are perfectly ok with people like soror, you and me leaving SL for Reaction Grid or wherever else. They would rather have concurrency of millions of casual "players" than devoted members of a community who tend to be vocal, demanding customer service and consistent policy.

I have to say, I am a "suit" in RL and I do bristle at the idea that having a business approach to running a virtual world is a bad thing. The truth is, Linden Lab is doing a terrible job in some key areas including customer relations, policy development and most disturbingly providing a reliable service. If the "suits" in charge were listening to the community, and providing a service that did not randomly fail on a fairly regular basis, we would all feel quite differently about the current management of Linden Lab.