[-empyre-] Re: Gazira Babeli's exhibition

I forgot to post the location of Gazira Babeli's exhibition that I talked about in my previous post (see below). It's still on if you haven't already visited I recommend it




Kathy Cleland wrote:
Hi everyone, and thanks for the introduction Melinda :),

Although I have been investigating virtual worlds since the late 1990s, I'm still a bit of a Second Life newbie.
I logged onto SL for the first time in mid-2006, but various frustrations (including an old computer) made the experience quite difficult to negotiate and I still find the whole Second Life phenomenon both intriguing and frustrating - often both at the same time! However, I actually find the newbie experience a particularly interesting one and will post more about that later.

First though, it's been great reading Patrick's postings about using Second Life as a performative space and, in my own limited experience of Second Life, the most interesting stuff I have come across is definitely the performative. As Patrick has already mentioned, Eva and Franco Mattes' re-enactments of famous performance art pieces of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the work of Second Front and artists like Gazira Babeli make the most of the real-time graphics capabilities of virtual worlds and their ability to involve the audience as active participants rather than just passive viewers and audiences. I've also been quite enchanted by Adam Nash's interactive artworks/musical instruments but as he will be joining the discussion himself in a few days perhaps it's best to leave that discussion until then ...

Visiting Gazira Babeli’s retrospective exhibition 'Collateral Damage' in the Exhibit A gallery on Odyssey Island is a Second Life experience that shouldn't be missed. It's a bit like entering an Alice in Wonderland world, simultaneously magical and uncanny. Describing herself as a 'code performer' Babeli makes use of the elastic virtual physics of the digital terrain to create interactive art works where audience interaction sets off a series of playful, unpredictable and sometimes disturbing animations. Her Andy Warhol inspired work 'Second Soup' traps your avatar in a looped animation within the soup can (‘You love pop art but pop art hates you!’ the work tells you). Another work, 'Come Together' enables audience avatars to morph and merge into a collective living sculpture. Or you can even take on Gazira's identity - buying her self-portrait (for the very modest sum of 1 Linden $) enables you to wear her avatar. Everything is interactive and you have to be careful what you touch, and what you agree to sit on! Taking up Gazira's invitation to sit in a chair in the exhibition, my avatar was possessed by one of her voodoo-like ‘performance codes’ and began to spontaneously make strange arm and hand gestures. Sitting on a chair in one of the paintings on the wall triggered an even more disturbing transformation as my avatar body was grotesquely distorted and deformed, body parts stretching and swapping place even after I freed myself from the chair and tried to escape! There's a fine line between performance art and griefing in Second Life!!

Kathy Cleland


Lecturer, Digital Cultures Program

S316, John Woolley Building A20

University of Sydney

phone: + 61 2 93514721

mobile: 0411 474 551


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