[-empyre-] Re: // Second Life: Who's art is it anyway? //

Margarete Jahrmann margarete.jahrmann at zhdk.ch
Sat Mar 29 22:03:43 EST 2008

Dear Mister Warwick, Julian, Ilias!

(a note and congrats to the great SL book on which you collaborated,
melinda, chris!)

The Ludic Society magazine appears in this edition as usual in print and
in 2nd Life – to provoke a World 3 phenomenon! The periodical’s online
presentation is a parallel Hello World event.

In order to vivisect 2nd Life critically, it must be considered not as
game – but as a hypothetical game system. Its focus is a playful 3rd
life, according to Jorge Luis Borges´s "Orbis Tertius" and Sir Karl
Popper´s "World 3". Games played in SL serve as examples for deviant
gaming behaviour on the borderline.

2nd life appears as a benevolant dictatorship and an unavoidable
love&hate object of desire to the ludic artist in flux. Back-to-back a
World3 investigation platform was constituted in 2007 – as an in-depth
research project hosted by the Interaction Design/ Game Design
department of the HGK Zurich, and by the players in 1st life, members of
the Ludic Society, also affiliated with the games research group of the
local academic Game Design strand.

What I find challenging when regarding SL, is:
the search for the missing link between first and 2nd life
in the form of real toy objects (namely the SL aura indicator under
development in World 3)?

This most hated environment is an opportunity to PLAY inside the belly
of the beast, namely as shown on Odyssey Arts. MosMax Hax served as
supermodel for such a test (and as mutual inspiration for Superfem Beebe
and Chris Marker), using  reshaping, collecting Freebies as material for
arts, being aware about the fact that you depend on a proprietary system
… and on the benevolence, of host whom we don’t really know (as

To contrast an omnipresent euphoria, we quote an early SL observation:
“Second Life is a benevolant dictatorship. If you were doing corporate
business development in emerging markets, political stability would be a
key factor in measuring the attractiveness of a potential new market. I
think, if given the the choice, you’d rather invest in a place with a
representative government that has proven to support smooth transition
of power in the past. To me, the fact that a very small group of people
basically dictates what goes and what does not in this market, a group
of people that is not beholden to the residents by law, is a political
risk.”(Adamo Lanza, 2004)

Superfem Beebe nuzzles with a murrpurr...

h w schrieb:
> Could be that Second Life's public space isn't  "in" SL itself if (i
> agree with Julian) it's an administrative gamespace, so everything you
> 'make' in SL is SL bound.  But how about a public space of
> risk and ambiguity at its edge or threshold, as it were, its
> passage=moment.   I mean, at the laptops in real space / place where
> subjects are flicking in and out of it?  If you make a film from SL
> and put it on you-tube? (like 'China Tracey" did
>  http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcR7OkzHkI&mode=related&search=&v3
> ================================================
> Julian covered that (emphasis mine):
>> you're allowed to take photos of it,
>> ***even make derivative works***,
>> but the island itself will always be the fixed home of the original.
> Making a film of it be like "allowed to take photos" and "make
> derivative works".
> Frankly, I agree with Julian, and would take his point further: since
> this is posing as a "public" space, there is a great deal of data
> imbricated into its development and performance. Obviously, if
> Microsoft or Fox News or GE simply bought SL right up, residents would
> get upset... However, now that the SL protocol has been reverse
> engineered, it only makes sense that there would be incentive for
> corporate interests to set themselves as interstitial portals, or
> Windows, on SL that provide "enhanced abilities" but also track and
> catalogue behaviour to be used for data mining and other
> investigations.
> Myspace was bought outright by News Corp, and Facebook has its own set
> of issues. Given the complexity and immersive character, SL is a more
> challenging "space" to conquer, but given the profit motive and
> coroporate investment in Linden Labs, SL's creator, that are resulting
> in higher prices, and the level of investment can be quite high
> (example: from wikipedia: total first year cost for a "16 acre" piece
> of virtual ground is US$1,650 setup fee and US$295 a month server
> fees... a total first year cost of $4,895.) There is incentive for such
> questionable behaviour,as such people clearly have disposable income,
> and waving cash around attracts people who want it.
> SL *is* a private space, and it *is* run by a corporation, so it *is*
> responsible to exhibit profit oriented behaviour as a requirement of
> its existence. Given that it is not the only game in town, and the
> classic problems of capitalist economics (declining profit over time,
> etc.) One sould not expect SL to be "benign". In fact, I would expect
> it to become  more draconian and limited over time. To protect the
> children and all that, of course...
> HW
> [edit]
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