Tonight (March 21, 2010) we burned the first Ars Virtua gallery to the ground. This is the end of an era, but not the end of Ars Virtua. The land will be used for performance for a few weeks, and then be sold off. We are abandoning “land ownership” in favor of working in community spaces. To that end we have a curatorial coming up at the end of April.
The event was casual and social, there were to be no speeches or tears. It was cool to see Servo again, he built the first gallery and curated the second show. Humbert has been around for a long time as has J0E.
I forgot what it was like to invite everyone you know who is online to the party. And blissfully forgot how much work it is to host an actual event in SL, let alone the daunting task of documenting it. (please read as I have video but not edited yet)
John Bruneau took most of these images, he is a damn fine SLtographer.
The missiles were like roman columns, stately and demanded our attention.
Second Front came to the party and brought their own ICBM’s. Man Michinaga, lizsolo Mathilde, and Bibbe Oh then proceeded to set everything on fire, break up all the objects and collapse the gallery.
It was really wonderful playing along, I eventually spotted Vroom online to, and he came by. I had to turn on damage at one point, and then the hail of bullets commenced.
Cleanup was quick, and left us with only a few pieces of Servo’s original build… and of course the Panther house.
I just replied to a Facebook comment which said “sad” in its entirety:
Okay, please understand this was not a sad occasion. It was a huge amount of fun, gathering around a space that had meaning for us in the past. As we move along and grow in our understanding of the way SL works we need to evolve. Part of that is the understanding that islands, even metaphorical islands in the mainland do not work for organizations, but for communities. The whole principle of “selling land” is horribly flawed. Most of AV’s properties sat empty for most of the time that we owned them. When I originally bought this land, it was under a traffic model that would eventually allow me to pay tier for it from the traffic. Linden changed that.
I still maintained the same mindset, and continued to buy land until I owned nearly half a sim and paid $125 per month. Now mind you I was supporting other artist projects like Second Home, but again there was little traffic.
My strategy, which may well be flawed, at this time is to go into thriving communities, places that have traffic, and bring the understanding that we have of art. I want to see our work reach a larger audience.
As I say, not sad, but an opportunity. Furthermore, this is a lot kinder on my budget.
I think this expresses my reasoning pretty well. When we started Ars Virtua it was to bring our understanding and aesthetics to the SL. It was a reaction to the assumption that art was pretty pictures on virtual walls, and it was an attempt to find, expose, and encourage “native media.” To those ends we have succeeded even though we have frequently flown under the radar.
Our evening ended in a most pleasant way, with those remaining sitting around a table and chatting.
DC made some nice comments in the Facebook thread:
The model of bringing art to the viewer works. Traffic only happens when community hits a critical mass and this is hard to achieve without some kind of media hype. However there are TONS of communities in SL that might benefit from insightful art. Great idea!
I agree about the dynamism of the virtual world not being a sad thing. It just is. Things come and go. I can’t tell you how many galleries I have outlived in the material space. Ars Virtua’s contribution is part of art history now and it is my opinion that Ars Virtua changed the face of the grid for the better.
Another point is that in the virtual world, location is a vector as it has evolved in material installation. The new location is “LIVE”
to which I add:
It seems odd to try to own your own space when distance is deprecated. That is to say, that teleportation prevents us from walking along the road or having a happenstance encounter along our journey. We click and we are there.
For us this means that SL is a … See Moreseries of destinations, and very little else. We have done several projects where we encouraged people to walk around and explore (one of which was with Julia). I honestly feel that this is now much more a form of archaeology than an experience in the landscape.
Finally when I think of the mainstream media articles that are written about SL now, so many of them miss the point because they come into SL alone and never look for a community. They don’t even benefit from a community of outcasts and so they see emptiness, loneliness, and a lack of imposed goals or “things to do.” SL is in the communities and regardless of what Linden does to kill SL through their ignorance of their own strength, the community is what makes it outlast There.com, metaplace and so many others that have fallen.
for more documentation see http://kidneutrino.blogspot.com/2010/03/ars-virtua-burns-to-ground-amongst-hail.html and john bruneau’s photo stream http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4951246&id=630559358 (you may need to log in to fb to see it and I have linked to an image that picked up some good comments).