Re: [-empyre-] > 1. Re: the Times and SL (G.H.Hovagimyan)

On Aug 19, 2007, at 2:01 AM, Alan Sondheim wrote:

Some of the best and most 'questioning' artwork I've seen has been in SL, and it's been as exciting and far more interesting (to me) than what I've seen in Chelsea (whatever) galleries (which are far more insidious in terms of corporate power, disinvestment, etc. - but that's another argu- ment).

Looking at the Chelsea galleries is like looking at an old fashioned market. What SL does is expand that market into cyberspace. Your analysis comes from someone who believes in what SL is promoting. I don't see a lot of interesting art being sold in Chelsea either. What I do see is a large group of people involved in various nuanced presentations of their private obsessions. Some deal with art history some are simply personal obsessions. Not much is very forward looking or enlightened. The group of artists and galleries in chelsea are very focused on art. In SL you have a broader range of people. They are engaged for variety of reasons. the main structure of SL is to give an "Art-Like" experience to a broad range of people. To my mind this is a dilution of art. It is like art therapy.

You had mentioned Sherry Turkle, her book Life On Screen (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995) is not exactly gung ho in term of virtual worlds and computers. She finds the dislocation and detachment that I speak about in my previous post;

"Simulation troubled some faculty not only because they feared it encouraged a certain detachment from one's work but also because it seemed to encourage a certain detachment from real life." pp.64 Life on Screen, Sherry Turkle

Although I am not as eloquent as Marshall McLuhan here is part of a longer missive on the effects of technology;

"The artist can correct the sense ratios before the blow of new technology has numbed conscious procedures. He can correct them before numbness and subliminal groping and reaction begin. ... If it is true that the artist possesses the means of anticipating and avoiding the consequences of technological trauma, then what are we to think of the world and bureaucracy of "art appreciation"?
Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man, Marshall McLuhan, 1964, MIT Press, Boston pp. 66 (sixth printing 1997)

Speaking of immersion, I wrote an essay that was published in 1997 called Notes on Immersion < index.html> It is an analysis of the psychological steps in any immersive environment starting with cave paintings. It is not a very long essay. What it does is talk about the logic of immersion and it's application.

I like computers and working with them. I do believe that an artist has a higher responsibility than simply being a cheerleader for every new technology that comes along. McLuhan's musings are quite appropos.

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