Re: [-empyre-] [Missive 6] Alterity and dystopia in SL - a response to Dissidents in SL
Thanks, Patrick, for your long and complex reflection on SL dystopia.
Although I myself am not a SL participant, I've learned a lot from
this month's active discussion. Even though I remain very suspicious
of the corporatist ethos underlying SL (and myself lack patience for
the meta/meta displacements necessary for active participation in
SL--I've just never found myself wanting to speak via avatars...),
your post clearly suggests that the paradox of activism within SL is
not that different from the paradox, say, of activism within the
academy or museum and art worlds which themselves flourish on the
economic model of corporatist culture. Such activism derives from
and feeds on the rhizomatic slices of critical activity that develop
within the fibres and pores of mainstream cultural production.
When Arthur and Marilouse Kroker and I were actively developing
political new media projects for CTHEORY Multimidia
(http://ctheorymultimedia.cornell.edu), for instance, we too depended
on the corporatist infrastructure of my well-endowed University to
launch and maintain issues of socio-political critique and praxis
whose aim was to highlight cultural structures of alterity and
dystopia ("Tech Flesh: The Promise and Perils of the Human Genome
Project," "Wired Ruins: Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia,"
"NetNoise," etc.). The problem we face(d), however, was the
difficulty of extending the reach of our project beyond the well
received tenacles of CTHEORY (whose audience, although much larger,
probably come close to mirroring the profile of -empyre-
So I'm now wondering about how those of us invested in curatorial
practice might develop better strategies to make these works more
readily accessible to audiences who wouldn't be inclined to invest
energy in mining SL or mining the few sites dedicated to net.art,
such Ctm, Turbulence, Computerfinearts.com, or low-fi.org.
Is there a model for this being developed in Second Life or does
activist artwork just take place kind of on the margins?
Thanks for your thoughtful contributions.
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, New York 14853
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