Friday, August 18, 2006

Farewell to Starax

Promises, By Starax Statosky

Starax's departure from SL was a tremendous loss to anyone who knew and loved him or his artwork. The works produced by Starax have been an inspiration for new people entering Second Life and for many of us who appreciated in them the essence of the SL spirit -- creativity, beauty, endless possibilities, an opportunity to be playful.

Starax's wand, undoubtedly one of the most amazing items ever made in Second Life, was deeply affected by the last client update. This single object allowed the person wearing it to temporarily resolve in the world sculptures/small scenes based on keywords entered in the chat box. The aftermath of dealing with the glitches of the update ended with Starax leaving SL, completely canceling his account, and selling his virtual property.

Kate Proudhon and her hippo, Warren :)

Kate Proudhon, curator of the Tye Dye Plaza Gallery, fell in love with Starax's works after seeing his animal renditions, in particular his hippopotami. She had never met the artist "in person" and she is still new here, at just 3 months of Second Life. However, the artwork has left such a deep impression on her that she is organizing a small get-together tomorrow, August 19th at 4pm, in fond memory of Starax and the multitude of ways in which he touched people.

Join us on Topgol, at 4 PM SLT. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Short Editorial Note

As I started reading the comments on my earlier posts, I was extremely happy to find all the positive feedback. Thank you very much for the encouraging words. Hopefully this blog will keep bringing quality information.

Feel free to also let me know what we should do to improve this blog or what else you would like to see on it.

Until next time :)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To Be Uncovered : A Museum of Moving Image

I have posted about art as builds, art as sculptures, art as paintings, and art as I'd like to talk about the art of moving image.

Susi Spicoli, posing by one of the displays in her gallery.

The Second Life 3-Year Anniversary (June, 2006) was the first event to host a gathering of machinima artists. Tao's presentation of the shows produced until then brought like-minded people together into a novel collaborative space. The audience was able to access in SL the material that was created for the SL community.

The end of the celebration prompted Susi Spicoli, one of the artists, to devote part of her land to create a permanent machinima gallery. The grand uncovering of the gallery will take place Saturday, August 26, from 2 to 3pm SLT at Ochreous.

Susi's voyage into the world of SL moving image started with an attempt to advertise her own photography gallery inworld. It quickly changed into trying to convey more serious messages about real life and real world situations. She feels strongly that even though the movies are created for a Second Life audience, it is equally important to recognize how videos can introduce people who have never tried Second Life to the possibilities present here. One simple way to look at it is that accumulating 30 hours of footage in real life, with the camera angles and special effects I have seen in some of these productions would take a large crew, expensive technology, and cost a fortune. In SL, this type of project is much easier to tackle, although a similar type of professional attitude is paramount to create a quality machinima.

Susi Spicoli is helping artists setup their machinima players, created by Tao Takashi.

Although the gallery will hopefully become an important repository of machinima creations, I think this sort of environment holds a lot of promise in organizing events around films. I would love to see artists launch their new movies inworld accompanied by viewing parties (perhaps here) and then post the footage on youtube. I can also imagine, for example, discussion events about Susi's "We Choose Death" and the anti-war message behind it as well as information/educational sessions about machinima-making techniques.

Overlooking the machinima gallery.

For questions regarding the gallery or the opening event IM Susi Spicoli, or email at susi.spicoli AT You can also check out the SL event page.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Announcing a New Art Museum -- Angel Dorei in Matsushima

While traveling to NY last week, I missed out on the opening of this new museum, Angel Dorei at Matsushima. Apparently, many of us did not, since the sim was full throughout the evening. Razi Semple and Manu Seattle, the owner and coordinator of the museum, respectively, were graceful enough to welcome me in person to their Japanese corner of the world and to explain the philosophy behind its existence.

Art inside the museum is organized on two floors of a lovely Japanese mansion. Pieces featured belong to Osprey Therian, Rusotu Salome, Jeff Barrett, Suzanne Logan, IanLee Patton, Ceria Semple, and Filthy Fluno. Razi Semple expressed a wish to have artwork cycle through the museum every two weeks to a month. He also extended an open invitation for artists to come exhibit here for free.

With the support builds of Amari Gable, this location is situated in the midst of a loving community that embraces art and is looking to provide a free setting for their exposure. If you are interested in exhibiting in the Angel Dorei Museum, contact Razi Semple or Manu Seattle.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Artists on the Green -- Panel Discussion Thoughts

First of all, I'd like to thank Larry Pixel and Sasun Steinbeck for organizing the NMC discussion and for inviting me to participate as part of the panel. A big thanks also to Nimah Ash, our wonderful panel moderator, who had to handle all six of us over voice chat. :) Their official event blog is here (with audio), with a Flickr foto stream here. -- Thanks to Vlad Bjornson for providing these links.

The experience was a unique one for me, on so many different levels. Although I had interacted before with the artists on the panel, adding a voice to the avatar enriched my image of the person beyond the pixels. The brief part of the conversation that took place before we went "on air" was filled with our remarks about each other's voices. Curiously enough, we all sounded just as we had imagined, based solely on text interactions. (This would make for an awesome pshychology study)

Moving on to the actual content of the panel, I enjoyed the first two related topics about art in SL, making the clear distinction that this is real art in a new medium, and the freedoms only SL can provide. I felt that for these first two topics, each member of the panel was able to chime in with some very interesting snippets.

The waters got a bit murky when we approached the topic of artist rights and the section 3.2 of the TOS (in which Linden Lab maintains the right to use art created in SL for marketing purposes). DanCoyote Antonelli spoke very strongly against LL's partial rights over artwork and connected the issue to how a collector assesses the value of artwork. The position held by the other artists was mostly one of gratitude and amazement that they can take advantage of the opportunities of SL to be creative and to share their art with a live audience.

From what I "heard" in the text chat, there also did not seem to be a huge concern over section 3.2 because people did not feel that LL would be "owning" their art per se. Many felt that it was a fair exchange for the company providing the world to also be able to use images of content created here to promote their business. I also added that in the grand scheme of things, LL is still pretty much the only company that allows users to hold close to full intellectual rights over their creations.

While I'm sure the debate could have been carried out differently (i.e. better, more productive), the question that remains in my head is...maybe not now, but are full artist rights something we should move towards in the near future?

I'm left wishing that there had been a LL representative present, but this is perhaps another detail to consider if there should ever be a follow-up discussion.