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 and also the discussion of Authenticity in Art at (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.

1 comment:

  1. 3 comments:

    Karen Schreiner said...

    Maybe what is "real" is a bit too deep? How about is it "art"? Or is that just as problematic? I guess we could include "art" in whose opinion? The person who created it? The person experiencing it? The "expert" (God help us)? Or, is it not just a matter of subjective opinion, no matter whose? Is it something that can be determined objectively? Say, by checking off items on a check list? Yes, that's definitely art ... 10 out of 10? Hey, do we (the people who create it) really care if someone (anyone) says "yes, well done ... that's art"?

    March 22, 2007 12:05 AM

    Just some guy said...

    Art is not the medium, art is the message. If something establishes a connection between "artist" and "viewer" in a non-literal way, then it is art, no matter whether it be 2D, 3D, scripted, virtual or whatever. So in this context, it makes no sense to say that SL art is not "real".

    March 22, 2007 10:43 PM

    DanCoyote said...

    Nothing is real. For someone to say that something is real requires an objective viewpoint, something not possible for a human being.

    Everything, including art is as equally unreal and real according to the viewer. It is a matter of opinion.

    Second Life is simply another way to mediate you consciousness and like the world we were born into it is a construct of our minds interpreting various wavelengths of vibrations. I challenge anyome to prove difinitively that the physical world is any more real than Second Life.

    This dilemma existed before Second Life and will contine to be a question long after it.

    Here's a concept:

    Imagine if SL were indestinguishable from your physical reality. In a few years with quantum computing we will be able to create such a construct. What would be the difference between the constructs then, when each is equally real to our perceptions?

    The answer is neither, or whichever one you prefer.

    Some thinkers posit that when this happens, and we are able to create a world so seamlessly real that we cannot tell the difference, we will also be able to upload our minds into this world and be free of the limitations of the biological avatars we inhabit.

    When this happens things will really start to get interesting! Our biosphere can support maybe 12 billion people presently? However if our minds are uploaded into non-biological worlds and the inner planets converted into microprocessors fueled by solar power from the sun, our population could be 100 billion and exist anywhere there was sufficient sun to power our present construct.

    Is this heaven?

    My point is that dont be so sure that your meat avatar (your body) is any different than your SL avatar in percieving what is real. The future holds many surprises that we can only guess at!


    March 24, 2007 3:37 PM