“Radio” by AM Radio

I caution that I’m pretty certain this piece isn’t 100% finished yet, but I was so impressed by it I had to talk about it on tonight’s show. I get overexcited like that from time to time! Here are some pictures:

This is it, save for a few little details (a table, and a mobile office space). It’s stripped down and bare. I am blown away from this piece (and it’s not even done!) as really the best thing I’ve seen from the artist so far and such a wonderful move for him to make at this particular moment in his development. Figure: the guy could have churned out gorgeous scenes of sun-soaked midwestern prairies that contain elements that animate your avatar in such a way as to connote loss and longing for, well, forever. And his work would have continued to be be adored by so many. Or he could ditch all the nostalgia, ditch all the beauty (beauty is beyond overrated, especially in SL, but we can get back to that another time) and just present us with this very straightforward scene that forces us to take another look. The artist isn’t doing the work for us anymore; he’s challenging us to step up and spend some time thinking about it.

Here’s a picture of the Very Large Array:

AM Radio is recontextualizing this real thing (that exists today, and is documented all over the web) and turning it into a relatively straightforward metaphor for searching – for someone, for something, I don’t know. It’s beauty is way, way, way below the surface. This is the first piece that he’s given us that is truly demanding upon the viewer, and as an artist I hope he has built up the kind of trust and relationship with his audience that people will give him the attention it deserves.

Have I mentioned I’m blown away by this? I am blown away.


~ by amyfreelunch on October 6, 2008.

3 Responses to ““Radio” by AM Radio”

  1. Don’t count on this not being finished yet. AM is very much a minimalist, in the tradition of Andrew Wyeth and Maya Lin. If you haven’t been there yet, go to his build, the Far Away and Extension, and just let yourself go in there.

  2. Actually, I have to say that I truly disagree with the term “minimalist” being applied to AM’s work (the only artist in SL that I can think of as being aligned with Minimalism is Selavy Oh, but that’s a whole other discussion).

    I’ve written a couple of articles on AM’s work in the past, so I am definitely a fan. But the reason why I say I think it’s unfinished is that I spoke to the artist and there is a whole web component involved with it that I have not yet seen. Maybe instead of saying that it’s “unfinished” I should have said that it’s “evolving,” to reflect its current state plus where it will eventually be.

  3. This is very much a departure for AM and although it does have a certain repetition associated with minimalist art, it does seem there is much more going on under the surface, but as it is a work in progress it cannot be fully judged yet.

    The Far Away however, is as ‘far away’ from minimalism as one can get in Second Life, it is very consciously nostalgic, this new work, as Amy concludes, is surprising because of its uncharacteristically simple, subdued sentimentality.

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