Ars Virtua Opening 26 May: "How have you been an artist today?"

Ars Virtua Gallery and New Media Center is proud to present:

"How have you been an artist today?"
by Michael Smit

Opening: Friday May 26.
Time: 1 - 3 pm and 7 - 9 pm Second Life Time (PST).
Location: Ars Virtua (in the online world of Second Life).
Michael Smit will be present and perform once at both opening events.

"How have you been an artist today?" This is the name of an ongoing
interventionist art project and investigation started by artist Michael
Smit. In it people are invited to consider and respond to this question
in a documented conversation.

The question leads back of course to the meaning of words like "art" and
"artist," and whether everybody indeed can be considered an artist, even
on a daily basis. Smit always sympathized with Joseph Beuys' statement
from the nineteen seventies that "everyone is an artist" ("Jeder ist ein
Kunstler") but felt it had its shortcomings as just a statement.
Although it still is a shocking, provocative, and exquisite Joseph Beuys
work in itself, Smit feels it misses a more active way-in for the
audience (to make its meaning more powerful and true). Thus it still is
too conforming to the understanding of art as a unique and brilliant
form by a creative genius, to be admired on a pedestal by the
non-artistic audience.

Through his own art practice Smit came to understand that we need to
embrace what art essentially is: the creation somehow of something
meaningful in the creative meeting between ourselves and our surrounding
realities. The challenge to make our existence in our situation
meaningful is familiar to everyone and does not need to be delegated to
specialists. This leads to a wider understanding of art where art is not
limited to the making of traditional art objects nor by the profession
or specific talents someone has or has not. In this sense art is the
birthing of meaning in creative engagements between oneself and the world.

In Smit's understanding art not only brings the ability of everyone to
be artful and the possibility of joy and meaning, it also suggests a
responsibility with it. Thinking of the state of our environment art
could be seen as a requirement for survival of our species even.

The "How have you been an artist today?" attempts to investigate whether
this understanding of art is viable in people's lives, as it invites
others to consider our art in a dialogue and exchange. Having taken
place in the physical world of the San Francisco Bay Area this project
now for the first time has a Second Life component. Documentation of
recent interactions within Second Life will be on view at the Ars Virtua
show, and on billboards at several places in Second Life, from May 26
till mid/end of July. Ongoing interviews conducted within and outside
the gallery will be added as the exhibition proceeds.

Requests for participation as interviewer or interviewee (these terms
are misguiding since both roles are much more similar in practice than
it might seem at first, the interviewer being an initiator and process
lead, while being also just one participant in a dialogue) can be
directed per Instant Message towards the artist's avatar MichaelJohn
Turner, or per email to <>.