Italian artists, Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) have spent the last year wandering around the online world of Second Life, a virtual realm with its own architecture, real estate laws, currency, social norms, and sense of reality. Over time, they met avatars to which they felt drawn, at least in part because of their meeting of the criteria of a Western sense of 'beauty.' This experimentation led to '13 Most Beautiful Avatars,' a series of classicaly-formatted 'photo' portraits of the most intriguing avatars they've met on their adventures. Rhizome has partnered with Ars Virtua, an online Second Life gallery, to mount an exhibition of the portraits, as a part of the Time Shares online exhibition series co-presented by the New Museum of Contemporary Art. While the online show presents the images in their own spatial context, it is also a replication of the exhibition space in which the Matteses present the large, beautiful, richly-textured prints of these images, at Columbia University's Italian Academy (NY). In this context, a question arises as to which is the 'copy' and which is the original. Meanwhile, both the online and offline shows (open, respectively, until Dec 29 and Dec 19) are interesting in their own ways. Check out the Ars Virtua show and see for yourself. - Rhizome.org
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