Saturday, December 26, 2009

AM Radio Seminar at Burniversity - The Artist's Perspective

What:    AM Radio Seminar: the artist's perspective


When:  December 27th, 2009 at 2PM SLT


Where: Burning Life - Afterburn Art Project



Earlier this month AM Radio helped us to launch the Burniversity educational program with two very technical seminars designed for experienced SL artists and builders.  You can find the transcripts of those classes at the Afterburn plot.


On December 27th, 2009, at 2 pm SLT AM Radio invites you to his third, final Burniversity presentation.  For this session no knowledge of scripting or building is necessary.  Interest in Arts is a prerequisite, as always.



From AM RAdio:


"I will be hosting a discussion this Sunday at Afterburn. I'll be taking questions. Below are some thoughts which relate directly to the Burning Life afterburn graffiti project. We can discuss these topics or go with the flow. This Sunday is for discussion about creativity in Virtual Worlds, but for fun to. There are no requirements for attending. I hope to see you there.





Why Explore Art experiences in a Virtual World


Second Life is a popular choice among virtual worlds. Second Life is unique in that it allows residents of its virtual world nearly unrestricted control over content subject matter creation and presentation. Second Life is a full 3d virtual world using openGL technology to present a game like, simulated 3d environment. This is a leap from previous flat virtual worlds, and so-called 2.5D virtual worlds which used isometric 3d allows artists to create full environments. The goal of artists using 3d environments is often to immerse the viewer in an environment and engage them through 3 dimensional spaces. The result is often cinema like, with the artist taking in considerations such as the screen, and the viewer’s relationship to it. Art created and presented within a Virtual World falls somewhere between film, performance art, theater, public art and installation art. 


Some view Second Life and virtual worlds as a game, or a toy. Artists however are approaching these simulated worlds in much the same way the military or flight training might immerse soldiers and pilots in computer simulations, utilizing the senses to immerse the viewer in a virtual situation which requires decision making, task completion, and direct input which engages, manipulates and changes the virtual world environment in real time.


The primary problem for virtual worlds in Fine Arts today is the question of validity and integrity of Virtual Worlds as an expressive medium. Secondary problems such as discovering methods and techniques which create a successful art experience are explored as artists continually test the validity of the medium. The Arts in the Virtual World space contains a massive range of possibility and approach. The past few years have seen artists experiment with completely controlled cinematic experiences, massively scaled 3D sculpture, to full immersive environments that range from realism, to impossibly dimensional abstract experiences.


My purpose in the use of community created art in Second Life is to explore the relationship between the viewer and the three dimensional space. One of the more exciting possibilities within a virtual world is the ability to allow users to manipulate, define, even control their environment. In real life, walking into a gallery or museum and leaving an object on the floor would seem rude, out of place and frankly prohibited (unless as an act of performance art itself). However, as seen in much Second Life press (, users yearn to understand their relationship with virtual 3D space, building their own environments, architecture, vehicles, identities and Art. ( The user is constantly testing their boundaries, authority and depth of their presence. By manipulating the environment they seek to understand its limits, to understand the boundaries of their own ability, and discover the radius of the sphere of their own influence upon the world. This search might be likened to graffiti art, the medium of generations with little understanding of their role in dystopian like inner cities, and now modern, anonymous suburban living. 

By exploring the relationship between the user and the virtual space I seek to close gaps in our understanding of what is acceptable. The primary gap is currently what Second Life sim and virtual world owners might be missing by disallowing deeper creation and manipulation interactions. By locking down a sim, disallowing users to create, the experience is reduced to tourism. While tourism may in fact be the primary experience of massive virtual worlds, I seek to challenge how spaces are experienced, remembered, and transformed by those who dwell within the space. One needs only to tour Flickr for a few minutes to find the thousands of tourist like images produced within Second Life by users every day (


My work traditionally utilizes realism and surreal environments which engulf the user in a complete experience. No facet of the environment is left unconsidered, with careful attention to detail which might affect the viewer’s suspension of disbelief (, unless otherwise explored ( I base my environments on known landscape design theory, specifically Jakle’s Visual Elements of Landscape ( Jakle presents a theory of Refuge and Prospect. Jakle writes, “In landscape, the sightseeker seeks views that compose involuntarily in the mind’s eye as satisfying place images. Sightseeing is a search for scenes by which the objects of place can be effectively discovered and related.”  Once in these discovered places or refuges, the viewer seeks prospects for more. Jakle writes, “Effective views contain prospects that enable the viewers to survey considerable distances over several successive horizons.” Jakle explains that some prospect opportunities are arbitrarily constructed or pointed out as vistas, photo opportunities, and known panoramas within the landscape which are discovered and shared. Environments in a Virtual World are at an advantage in that vistas and panorama, the sense of place can be purposefully constructed, manipulated and even act as a tool which guides the user in way-finding through the space by enticing the user into ever more promising potential refuge. The title and theme of my Second Life work is The Space Between these Trees, a title which exemplifies the possibilities of space as defined within the boundaries the users of a virtual world construct.


Once in the space and immersed, I will present the users with tools to affect that environment. I seek to find out how the space might evolve as a haven, a recognizable and familiar space for regulars, or a potential target for users who wish to understand the limits of the control users have over the space.




To stay informed about Afterburn Art program make sure to remain in Burning LIfe group or join the Subscription board.


The Seminars are presented by the Burniversity, Burning Life/Burning Man


White Lebed -  the Burning Life Art Department Lead; the Curator of Afterburn Art Program



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