Second Life: Foundations, Sites of Engagement, and Remediations of History
Location: InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre
Toronto, ON M6J 2Y8 416 599 7206
Instructors: Patrick Lichty (a.k.a. Man Michinaga), Scott Kildall (a.k.a. Great Escape), Second Front Collective
Dates: Monday July 16 and Monday, July 23, 7pm-10pm both days
Cost: $125 (non members) $100 (members)
Day 1, Monday, July 16: In person with Patrick Lichty (a.k.a. Man Michinaga) and Scott Kildall (a.k.a. Great Escape) from Second Front
Second Life is an online simulated world which has recently been in the spotlight. It has been a point of discussion at the Davos World Economic Summit and institutions such as Ars Virtua and Turblence are awarding residencies and commissions involving Second Life. Artists including Eva and Franco Mattes, Marisa Olson, and Cory Arcangel, Gaz Babeli, John Freeman and Second Front are creating works for this social space. In this introductory seminar, Scott Kildall and Patrick Lichty will give an overview of Second Life, explore details of building and scripting and comment upon the current trend towards remediation of historical works. We will ask: how does Second Life figure within New Media art praxis, and what is interesting about it as a medium?
Day 2, Monday, July 23: Online with Second Front
Mini workshops in Second Life
The Avatars Way: A self-help workshop for creative avatars
Doug Jarvis (a.k.a. Tran Spire)
Tran Spire (a.k.a. Doug Jarvis) will discuss some of the insecurities and identity issues he is experiencing as an avatar in Second Life and how they are investigated through the use of narcotics, overt fashion statements, and the deferral of responsibility. This workshop will be an opportunity for Tran Spire to open up and share some of the challenges he faces when dealing with nay-sayers of multiple, fractured identities and the cozy feeling of being grouped under the umbrella of the 'self'. Self-help strategies for avatar expression will be explored and encouraged.
Collisions between Artifice and the Real
Penny Leong Browne (a.k.a. AliseIborg Zhaoying)
When it comes down to the rules of social conduct and ethics, there is an initial expectation in Second Life for them to function as they would in the real world. It's when they don't (which is most often the case) that we are taken by surprise, producing feelings of ambiguity, awkwardness, uncertainty, even shock and leaving us to question how our avatars should respond, behave and interact.
In this workshop, Penny Leong Browne (a.k.a. AliseIborg Zhaoying) will talk about the remediation of ethical and social codes within SL and how, when these codes fail to inform or explain our avatar interactions and behavior, collisions between artifice and the real occur. She will select performances to illustrate how, through its interventionist and Situationist strategies, Second Front challenges avatar ethics and social codes of conduct. Performances such as "Spawn of the Surreal" that tested protocols over creative agency and ownership over avatar identity and "Hazardous" that challenged social tolerance for protest politics will be discussed. In both performances, audience participants were unaware that they were part of the performance and often were uncertain as to how to react to Second Front's interventions.
Frontiers of the Virtual Playground
Liz Solo is intrigued with the evolution of human relationships in cyberspace and with how communities develop in virtual worlds. Virtual Environments like Second Life provide almost limitless possibilities for presentation and for collaboration in a performance context. Preparing virtual performance, especially in collaboration with others, is an exciting multi-dimensional adventure that often produces unexpected and never before seen results. The virtual playground also lends itself to hybrid presentation (ie: merging RL and VR) and artists working in bridging these realms find themselves pioneering unknown frontiers.
Wirxli FlimFLam's 15 Minutes!
Jeremy Owen Turner (a.k.a. Wirxli FlimFlam)
Wirxli FlimFlam (aka. Jeremy O. Turner) will discuss the evolution of his avatar from nOObie to SLebrity in Second Life. FlimFlam will also recollect Second Front's days of formation and the group's ambitions to cross over into RL/SL media outlets.
Second Front Bio:
Second Front is the pioneering performance art group in the online avatar-based VR world, Second Life. Founded in 2006, Second Front quickly grew to its current 8 member troupe that includes Jeremy Owen Turner (Vancouver), Doug Jarvis (Victoria), Tanya Skuce (Vancouver), Gazira Babeli (Italy), Penny Leong Browne (Vancouver), Patrick Lichty (Chicago), Liz Solo (St. Johns) and Scott Kildall (San Francisco). Taking their influences from numerous sources, including Dada, Fluxus, Futurist Syntesi, the Situationist International and contemporary performance artists like Laurie Anderson and Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Second Front creates theatres of the absurd that challenge notions of virtual embodiment, online performance and the formation of virtual narrative. Created in 2006, they have already performed extensively, including in Vancouver, Chicago, New York, and has been featured in publications including SLate, Eikon, Realtime Arts (Australia), The Avastar (published by Axel-Springer, Germany) and most recently in Exibart (Italy).