By now, most people have heard of Second Life, the virtual world sensation that is sweeping the whole world and has attracted millions of visitors. It has also attracted the attention of some prominent artists, including Molly Smith, Artistic Director of Arena Stage, who spoke about Second Life at the TCG National Conference in Minneapolis this summer. The past couple of months have seen some really exciting projects come to "life" in this virtual reality:
Second Front Performance Art Group
Jeremy Owen Turner, also known as Wirxli Flimflam, is an online performance artist and a front man for Second Front, a group that stages events and performance art pieces in Second Life. Second Front is a pioneering performance art group in the online avatar-based VR world, Second Life. Founded in 2006, Second Front emerged as the first performance art group in Second Life and quickly grew to its current 8 member troupe with artists from around the world including Italy, St. Johns, Canada, and the United States. Second Front found its roots in the theatre of the absurd movement, and currently stages performances that challenge notions of virtual embodiment, online performance and the formation of virtual narrative. Second Front is perhaps best known for their performance piece Breaking News, a text-based performance in which Second Front stormed the Reuter's building in Second Life announcing 'Breaking News' headlines about Second Front's “clandestine operations and notorious affiliations in-world.”
Artopolis is an artist colony like no other in Second Life. This tropical paradise hosts fifteen studios scattered around a flourishing jungle environment, with tons of places to sip a virtual Mai Tai with your closest Avatar friends while enjoying the sights. The goal of this simulated island is to promote all of the arts, which includes art, music, poetry and theater. This sim was created by the combined efforts of Filthy Fluno (Manager), Esch Snoats (Builder), Xtasy Veil (Terraforming and Landscaping) and Maxim Deharo (Financial Management.) It took about a month and a half to complete and is still considered a work in progress as the sim will always adapt to accommodate the community of artists who call it their home. People are encouraged to visit the artist colony, and while you're at it, you can also support the artists by purchasing their work. One of Second Life’s most influential artist-celebrities, Filthy Fluno (real name Jeffrey Lipsky), has a high profile gallery established on Artropolis.
Mixed Realities & the Andy Warhol Foundation
In the art world, the Andy Warhol Foundation has helped fund exhibitions and projects in Second Life, including the well-know exhibit “Mixed Realities.” "Mixed Realities" was an international juried competition that resulted in the commissioning of 5 networked art works to be exhibited/performed in 2008 at Turbulence.org; Huret & Spector Gallery; and Ars Virtua, a gallery in the online 3D rendered environment, Second Life. Each commission is $5,000. "Mixed Realities" challenges artists to created simultaneous exhibits in three distinct environments: the Internet (Turbulence), an online 3-D rendered environment (Ars Virtua), and physical space (Huret & Spector Gallery). The works will evaluate the concepts "virtual," "simulation", and "real" and will feature a series of experiences in which participants connect with one another and contribute to the creation of the work.