[-empyre-] performance art / griefing

Hi Christian (and list)

as I think I mentioned in a previous post, there's a fine line (perhaps no line at all?) between griefing and performance art in SL ;-)

Gazira Babeli's "Grey Goo" performance code work for example

Kathy Cleland

Christian McCrea wrote:
Christy (and list!),

I came to Second Life from the perspective of games rather than arts practice,
so I'm not sure if my observations really apply to your question - however, I've
noticed than more and more 'griefing' occuring (as often becomes pandemic
in game worlds when they begin to disintergrate) and have found these
disruptive activities to be very interesting. As the ABC found out, a
couple of bored
people can dispose of a lot of hard work, and especially considering
how open the
code for SL is, it may still be a point of interest. I'm sure many SL
users remember
the grey plague attacks being  carried out and supported by the forums
of several
websites last year.

Part of me believes that SL is a conspiracy amongst media researchers
to create work
for themselves, that it has no independent life, it exists to be
spoken about, and it exists to draw funding. So count me amongst the
skeptics there (unless I can join the conspiracy!)- but really when
things go terribly wrong, something quite aesthetically complex
occurs: - there is a continual sense of error. Its prime material for
me is the 'pataphysical clinamen (following Jarry and then Christian
Bok's book on 'pataphysics), or a kind of continual, immanent swerve.
Nothing happens on time, you're always bumping into things, nothing

Which, all things considered, has been producing some really
marvellous pieces of art. I've been calling it The Garden of Errors
for a while for that reason, and I think these works articulate that
swerving really well:

Eva and Franco Mattes: Synthetic Performances:

Sculpture Garden:

As said, I also find the greifing element to be just as interesting:

Anshe Chung vs. Room 101

As the reputation of SL grew and fell, it was really interesting to
see more and more griefing merge with the types of artifacts made by
artists. Suddenly assault-style raids gave way to performances, and so
forth. So it could be that the formal properties of SL swerve people
into certains types of activity, a user experience around which
coheres only when being strange.

-Christian McCrea
empyre forum


Lecturer, Digital Cultures Program

S316, John Woolley Building A20

University of Sydney

phone: + 61 2 93514721

mobile: 0411 474 551


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