Friday, May 6, 2011

Art & Anarchy in Second Life

The Artiste Pontificates

If you're looking for the type of travelogue you've come to expect it's been preempted today.  I'd like to report on a discussion being carried out both in world and in the various social networks we use.  Discussion probably isn't the correct term.  First of all it's mostly one sided and second it involves lots of self important histrionics.  So just skip this post if you don't want to know.  :)

I love that art is such a big part of Second Life.  I love that so many things are possible and that so many talented individuals take advantage of that fact and create magical things that they share with the rest of us.  I also feel privileged to have met many artists and have a number of them on my friends list.  I believe that the health and vibrancy of any Community is in large part due to the artists who work and reside there.  The corollary to that is the requirement for a Community to support the arts to ensure its own continued existence.

All of that being true, I watched the following encounter with interest.  A young Artiste had seen an empty stage and took advantage of the opportunity to express her views.

Artiste: I am going to show you what Second Life really should be.  I don't need permission and I have no fear. I will decide what does and doesn't have value and do what I like.

Suddenly there was a large cloud of blue smoke and a thump.  Somebody else appeared on the stage.

The Cranky Fairy GodMother

Artiste:  Who the hell are you?  This is my stage.  Get off!
Fairy GodMother:  Don't like sharing the spotlight eh?  I'm your Fairy GodMother little one and we're going to have a long overdue chat. 
Artiste:  You're my what?
Fairy GodMother: You heard me.  You were expecting maybe Angela Lansbury?  Too bad.
Artiste:  Well what do you want?  I'm busy here.
Fairy GodMother:  I told you we're going to have a little chat.  I don't remember what fairy tale we raised you with but apparently you decided there are no rules that apply to you.
Artiste:  I'm an artist.  That means I can do whatever I want whenever I want.  Rules don't apply to art. Creative anarchy FTW!   Why are you laughing?
Fairy GodMother:  Where do I begin?  First of all "anarchy" doesn't mean there are no rules.  It means there are no rules imposed from above - all rules are established by a community of equals.  Think of it as a consensus driven society where authority is vested in everyone and everybody has to take responsibility for exercising it.
Artiste: Pffft to that.  I will do whatever I want.  I make my own rules.
Fairy GodMother: And do you give the same right to everyone else?
Artiste:  Maybe just the artists.  Only the ones I like though.

The Artiste Protests

Fairy GodMother: /me sighs  What set you off today?
Artiste: The Lindens said they were supporting the arts but they've imposed all these rules. Support is supposed to be altruistic and  for art's sake.  They're commercializing it - they want to use our work as free advertising.
Artiste: Ow!  Why'd you hit me?
Fairy GodMother: Just knocking that chip off your shoulder.  I heard what was said and it was a compliment.  You should learn to take them.  Of course machinima is good advertising for Second Life.  It shows the outside world not only the talent here on the grid but what is possible.  I suppose you could try and avoid doing any of that by making sure nobody sees your work but then what is the point?
Artiste:  But they're using us!
Fairy GodMother: Yeah well patrons and supporters get something back for their investment in art.  How do you think the Sistine Chapel was built?  If you just want money with no strings then go look for charity instead.
Artiste: But they want to tell us what we can and can't do!
Fairy GodMother: Patrons and supporters set the rules.  I'm pretty sure the Pope would not have permitted "God is dead" to be painted on the ceiling of that Chapel.  Even those wonderful people who donate sims and prims to artists inworld will expect that the TofS won't be violated. If you can't live with the TofS you shouldn't have agreed to them and if you need nipples then show them on a sim that allows them.  What's the big deal?

The Fairy GodMother Gets Nowhere

Artiste: But I want to show nipples and violence here!
Fairy GodMother: Hang on to your bloody body parts til the adult art sim is opened then go crazy.
Artiste: Hmmmph.  They promised us 70 sims!  I see only 4 or 5.
Fairy GodMother: /me chuckles   "They" promised you?  Or one man who left almost a year ago did?  Shit happens, change happens.  I would think an "artiste" could adapt.
Artiste: Art should have no boundaries or constraints.  I insist on the freedom to do whatever I want.  Period.
Fairy GodMother:  Fine.  Go win a lottery, buy an island in the south Pacific and do what you like.  Until that happens get your head out of your ass and face reality.  If you stop substituting your ego for your brain I think you'd be better off.
We all live with boundaries and constraints.  At least in Second Life nobody is forcing you to pay for food or supplies.  There are unlimited opportunities for you to create as long as you recognize that  the rest of us expect a modicum of respect as well.  If you can't live with the TofS then you should go find somewhere else.  If you stick around recognize that others have rights too and many of them have power and authority.  Both of the latter will be exercised when needed.
Artiste:  That's not fair!  Artists are special!
Fairy GodMother: Artists are special and this is not a perfect world.  But nobody promised you it would be.

I left them at that point.  Somehow I doubt that argument will ever end but I for one don't have enough patience for this.

The Artiste Remains Unmoved


Corcosman said...

I was amused that someone got upset that Marketing was mentioned at the Month of Machinima opening.

I wonder if there is an Emotional Age Verification program that would fit. Score too low and no Open Chat for you, my friend.

Wait....Considering all the stupid things I have said over the years, maybe that is not such a good idea.

Cole Marie said...

I would just like to add. There is an ART to marketing. Anyone claiming to know ANYTHING about art should know that. It is close minded, arrogant, manipulative, and egotistical to twist a statement to suit a persons own social paranoia when the statement was meant to be kind and crediting the hard work others do. A little birdie tells me this isnt the first time such a childish fit has been thrown by theywhoiznottobenamed. But what do I know. Just sayin the truth.



Miso Susanowa said...

Thank you Honor - I haven't laughed so hard since I read Prok's blog today :D

I agree with ColeMarie, even though some people can't grok what I am saying. I'm not against Marketing, when, as Cole says, it's done by competent and creative people. I show a lot of people the Ally Bank commercials; they are brilliant. Likewise, who could forget the golden girl bouncing weightlessly across a field while her Windsong stays on his mind?

OMG-capcha - tampun :D swear to god :D

Honour McMillan said...

@Corcosman I'm sure you'd pass now :)

@ColeMarie Thank you - I was trying to be restrained in my presentation. But yes paranoia was what I was thinking.

@Miso - I hid that capcha in there just for you. :)

Lyrilen said...

Honour - I could leave this comment on every one of your posts: I LOVE YOUR BLOG - YOUR FRESH VISION AND DELIGHTFUL EXPRESSION!!! THANK YOU.Thank you so much. Keep going - you are thoroughly enjoyed and applauded.

Honour McMillan said...

@Lyrilen Well you just made my month :)