New article by Patrick Lichty

(So just the briefest of updates on all the SL drama before we get into the main topic of this post: Nebs seems ok, or as ok as she can be right now, either way I feel a lot better about the whole situation and am no longer freaking out that much; DC and I have patched things up. Onward!)

Patrick Lichty shared with me his exceptionally well-written article,  Why Art in Virtual Worlds? and I really recommend you check it out. In it, he attempts to do what I obsessively try to do over and over (although I suspect that Patrick is more successful than I’ve been), which is to contextualize SL-based art within a larger history of contemporary art. In the process, he relates the practice of creating art in SL most convincingly to the work of Kaprow and Beuys (and a word of warning: his article reads best if you have a working knowledge of these artists going into it. Still, it’s not impenetrable in the least and a quick glance at wikipedia ought to help you out if there are names unfamiliar).

Articles like this are exceptionally important. I remember going to the Vitamin Gallery booth at Art Positions, outside of Art Basel Miami Beach last year and visiting the RMB City installation they had:

2092009379_0200d53065I didn’t for a second envy the poor gallerists trapped in this hot container in the Miami sun, having to answer the same questions over and over; questions like, Ok, so what is Second Life again? You’re saying this piece doesn’t really exist? Was it made on a computer? Is it real? So, is this art? Ok – tell me again, what is Second Life? Like, virtual reality? (yes, these are actual questions I heard being asked over…and over… I can only imagine for many, many hours over many days.) Recreated and re-presented in this RL setting, the piece made little sense to the people who wandered in, expecting to see more traditional painting or sculpture.

And bear in mind, RMB City is a shining example of work created in SL that has been pretty widely accepted by the RL art community. Working to build an understanding of the work of artists who have no RL art career to point to is an uphill battle all the way. It’s an awfully tough sell, believe me.

But in referring to Kaprow and Beuys, Patrick makes a point that has been bugging me lately, which is primarily that SL functions best as a social space and can really be put to use to solve many of the problems facing artists at this very moment (and at the top of that list of problems is the need for space to show/make their work as well as place to gather as a community).

Anyway, I’m repeating myself so – just go read the article. Also, in it he credits me as a founder of BiW, which is very sweet but not 100% accurate. Jay did all the early legwork; I just blogged and talked on the show. It’s really Jay’s baby. But I still appreciate the mention.


~ by amyfreelunch on November 6, 2008.

One Response to “New article by Patrick Lichty”

  1. It is an excellent and important article and one that we can all refer to in the future. It acknowledges that virtual art does indeed have a place in art history and the examples, comparisons and predictions Patrick puts forward are informed and insightful.

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