[-empyre-] A little about a Second Front Performance, what we do, etc.

A few notes on what to expect from a Second Front performance, and the problems of performance in Second Life in general.

Tonight (Aug 2, 2007) is a date for a new Second Front performance, â28 Avatars Laterâ, in which the members of Second Front will rise from the dead and invite as many people as possible to become walking dead through the distribution of zombie animations and âskinsâ for their avatars.  Our reasoning for the piece is a discussion that has included the work of George Romero, Adorno, Ouspensky, Max Brooks, Sam Raimi, Richard Dawkins, the list goes on.  This, however, is not as important as the event itself.  The important thing is that we have as many walking dead as possible.

My take, and in that the philosophy of Second Front is more about the âhappeningâ and the gesture, with the theories of the constituent members being more tangential to the process, is that the 28 Avatars Later is more about questioning the space and a certain criticality of the social milieu.

And we have always wanted to make a zombie flickâ

We often launch from the Odyssey  Art Simulator
Odyssey_Ian Ah Sandbox, Odyssey (72, 234, 100)
Columbia College Sandbox
Field, I AM Columbia (208, 212, 25)

Probably around 8 or 9 PST

Who to Contact for Teleport:
Just search for us and IM:

Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty)
LizSolo Mathilde (Elizabeth Solo)
Great Escape (Scott Kildall)
Wirxli Flimflam (Jeremy Owen Turner)
Tran Spire (Doug Jarvis)
Gazira Babeli (Gazira babeli)
Aliseiborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne)
Tea Chenille (Tanya Skuce-Turner)

What to expect:
Donât expect a tight script or extensive plot.  After trying to create script-based work in SL, most times the logistics (system delays, constant technical problems) makes truly coherent staging utterly impossible.  Much like the Fluxus Score, we have a basic set of parameters that we explore, and respond to our audienceâs reaction to it.  In general, we try to interact with the environment with a basic score, and try (we are NOT always successful) to create a general gestalt that is in keeping with the idea.  The Plot is emergent in many cases. We know the virtual world is often broken, hackneyed, and âkludgyâ, but this is what we find interesting about it.

With Second Front, and as absurdists, from a contemporary performance art tradition (this being operative) the center rarely holds, things usually fall apart at times, but there are always great interactions, like sluicing sand with lots of gold flecks.  We merely ask your patience and to find what you can; an interaction, an arresting visual moment, a moment of unease.  If we have done any of these things, if even for a moment (probably only for a moment), we have succeeded.

What we expect from our audience:
If youâre new, weâll try to help get you into the mix as best we can while weâre executing our score.  In this case, knowing how to accept items, wear skins and objects, and basic navigation skills are really helpful.  Otherwise, weâll do the best we can, and just enjoy the chaos of it all.  

Audience/The Representational Performance Method of Second Front
The criticism of the vacant server of Second Life is one we wholeheartedly agree with.  The information architecture of SL makes it very difficult to maintain any population density at all, and this is documented well in the recent WIRED article.

Therefore, why would anyone expect performance to work at all in Second Life?  If we were performing solely for Second Life, Second Front probably would not work.

First, the performance takes place in-world, where (hopefully) we create a mise en scene that people can find compelling, and we play through it until the concept runs its course.

Second, the video from the performance (often as long as 90 minutes) is re-edited down to under 5-10 minutes as a recontextualized distillation of the event.

Third, we play with side and backstory on the Second Front Blog, Facebook group, and so on.  

Second Frontâs performance does not end with the in-world event.  It continues on in constant remediation, media mythologies, and play with these events and images as a form of media performance in virtual terms.  

More than a Second Life performance group, Second Front is a Virtual Performance Art Collective, as we will be doing other social media in the near future.

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