Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Filthy Pictures Bridge Two Worlds

Filthy Fluno is a master of the real/virtual interface. His works use traditional media, like oil paint and pastels, to create abstract representations of virtual places and characters. He then markets the images in the Second Life® world as virtual limited editions that com with a real-world giclĂ©e print, and also sells the original paintings and drawings. He has had several international exhibitions that came about through virtual contacts.

Read the article that originally appeared in our archival paper limited edition, which is now out of print

Read about his real/virtual CounterpART Gallery.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Let Love Live

Must See This Month:

The New Media Consortium
Zero-G SkyDancers
Let Love Live (L3)

Through March, 2009

If you have never seen the ZeroG SkyDancers then you are missing a spectacular and riveting experience. This show raises the standards for evaluating performance art, not just in the virtual world of Second Life®, but in all media. It incorporates original musical composition, choreography, set and costume design, as well as computer code scripting. The current iteration was photographed by ArtWorld Market at the performance on Sunday, February 15, 2009. There is no way a series of images can communicate the sensation of being immersed in this performance, with the dancers in their immense costumes, called "cascades," swooping past you. The scale is so huge relative to the size of the avatars that the figures of the dancers are rarely seen, and the visual impression is a ballet of pure light.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Digital Reproductions

[reprinted from the old blog site 4/16/07, with comments]

Karen Schreiner makes a point that requires a new thread:

I'm still unhappy with the notion of "reproduction" when it's applied to digital art. Someone has yet to tell me where the original exists in order for it to be reproduced. No doubt this argument has already taken place many times but I've obviously missed it. If there is no "original" then I'm perplexed how there can be a "reproduction". It's beginning to seem to me we have to re-examine the whole model because we've shifted to an entirely different paradigm. Perhaps the terms "original" and "copy" no longer have relevance in this context. There may even be good reasons to consider *any* rendering of any image that's been entirely produced by digital means as the "original". This seems a little more satisfying than saying we have reproductions (or copies) without an original.
"Original" is certainly a slippery word in this context. The code is the original in the way that a copper plate or litho stone is an original. It's not the object that is intended to be viewed. A print is usually issued in an edition and each iteration is called a "copy." A reproduction of a print (i.e., of a copy) involves scanning or photographing the print and reproducing it in another medium, as in a picture in a book or magazine. A facsimile of a print involves a similar process, but printing it on the same paper, or other medium that the "original" print was on.

The 3D metal prints of Bathsheba are created from original code. So are the 3D SL objects, like Bathsheba Dorn's RhombdO
. We have not been calling them prints, but perhaps we should.

We can tell an original print on paper because it's signed by the artist. The signature signifies approval of that copy as authentic. That notion requires more thought, and a lot of thought has been done on it. I suggest reading the essays and their commentaries on
Authenticity in Art by Denis Dutton,
From Original to Copy and Back Again by James Elkins, along with other papers and discussions at the Art and Cognition Workshops.

To call any rendering of a digital image an original is dicey. In Second Life, for example, a copy may be sold with permission to modify. Someone can modify it and then sell it as an "original" without modify permission, and it will still have the original creator's name on it. The end user may not know it went through an intermediate change. It is called an original.

Zero Point Disaster

[reprinted from the old blog site 7/21/08, with comments]

Yesterday's front page article on the disappearance of Sabine Stonebender's Zero Point stimulated a lot of response. Zero Point was one of the best known and artistically influential builds in the virtual world of Second Life®. Many residents were incredulous about its disappearance and concerned about the impact of this on every aspect of the virtual world's economy.

This one from an institutional leader summed up the sentiments very well:
... stuck on a plane at LAX and saw this on my treo. ugh. why couldn't linden do a rollback or other recovery? if not possible to recover from things like this, SL can never be a place for serious business. Also makes me wonder about the sanity of my own research investment in SL if this can happen. Linden really can't afford this type of publicity if SL is to be taken seriously! Hoping to hear a solution will be found and very sorry to learn of this.
This morning I wrote to Pathfinder Linden, who has been exceptionally supportive of the arts, asking why they have not done a rollback, and asked "What can I say to the readers--artists, collectors, gallery owners, curators, writers, business owners and institutional leaders--who now doubt whether they should continue creating, collecting and investing in a virtual world where years of work can disappear irrecoverably?" If I receive an answer I will post it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What is Real?

[reprinted from the old blog site 3/20/07, with comments]

A post on another thread suggested that the art in SL is not “real.” One SL artist suggested deleting that post, but several others responded to it. In the interest of keeping this discussion real, I’ve set up this thread to discuss the issue. After all, the motto on our website is “WHAT IS REAL?”

A few observations: The screen you are looking at is real. The feelings you have about the avatars you meet in SL are real. The responses you have to SL art are real

Artworks in SL that are reproductions of Terran 2-D works are---???. Works that exist only is SL because they are scripted constructs are---???.

To give a bit of background to this discussion, I suggest that prior to posting a comment you look at the discussions on Art and Cognition at http://interdisciplines.org/artcog and also the discussion of Authenticity in Art at http://interdisciplines.org/artcognition (scroll down—it’s the last discussion at the bottom of that page).

Disclosure: I am on the Art & Cognition Guest Panel in my RL identity as Richard Minsky.

The Artist-Gallery Contract and Intellectual Property Theft

[[reprinted from the old blog site 5/22/07, with comments]

There is a lot of sloppy business going on in the SL art world, and it affects artists’ rights.

This morning I received chilling reports that full permission copies of artworks were “stolen” by a gallery employee, and that these might be used to replicate unauthorized editions of artworks for sale. I did some research, but there was no evidence outstanding, so I will leave the accusations of theft in the anonymous zone for now. This is the second time this week I have received a copyright violation notice. The first time the person who posted it would not identify the accused, but asked us to boycott an exhibition, leading me (and some others who were in the recipient list) to suspect that it was a publicity stunt to get people to look at the artists' work.

That is an old ploy in the real world. If it’s controversial then people come to see it. I have seen it done in business and on campus, with the same person organizing an event and also the protest.

Whether a crime was committed this time or not, it raises disturbing issues that the SL art market needs to address:

Artists are giving gallery owners full permission copies of artworks without any written contract, and without even knowing the real life identities of the alt they are dealing with. This is because the dealers say they need this to set up a vendor. If you are playing a game, maybe you don’t need a real identity. But if you are creating in SL because you own the copyright to works you create here, then get real. And let’s leave the TOS discussion for the next time.

Sometimes it is only copy permission that is given, so the dealer can make copies and sell them. Is this a good reason to create Limited Editions under the artist's control? So you know the provenance of every copy you make? Would it help if the gallery only had ”no copy” originals to sell?

When the vendor (the scripted object that dispenses the artwork) is not owned by the artist and under their direct control, the opportunity for abuse exists.

There are other ways that artworks can be stolen for resale. In the case of simple unscripted image prims, it’s easy enough to take a snapshot of the art and paste it on a new object. The safety feature for the creator of the original is that the creator field will have the new creator’s identity, so it’s clearly a stolen image. In the today’s case, if the Gallery allowed someone to have a full permission copy of the work, and that copy was abused, then how will those copies be differentiated from authentic ones? They will be exactly the same.

If the dealer has an exclusive license with the artist, then the dealer will know to whom authorized copies were sold. The owner of a genuine copy would be able to produce a provenance for ownership that goes back to the exclusive gallery.

Does this mean that the Art Police now have to go around looking for copies of pirated work, and demanding provenance proof from collectors, and from civilians who are just decorating their virtual walls?

Hyperformalism: Jargon or Art?

Why does DanCoyote Antonelli sound like Rodney Dangerfield?
[reprinted from the old blog site 3/19/07, with comments]

Labeling himself a Hyperformalist, he wants to include Bathsheba Dorn and Seifert Surface in that category. They back away from it, saying they make “mathematical art.” Is it all jargon, or is there a significant difference in what they are doing? Bathsheba has said (and more, in our interview) that Dancoyote’s work is more conceptual, while mathematical art is more rigorous.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No More Phony Limited Editions!

Click on this subject to view the archive of this thread, copied from the old blog site.