Monday, October 1, 2007

DanCoyote Antonelli overcomes Real Life constraints in Second Life; finds a home and venue for his art

The realm of any original theorist is a lonely place. I spent two engrossing hours with NPIRL'er DanCoyote Antonelli, and we only scratched the surface of the world this thinking man has invented for himself. Whether or not you agree with... or even understand his doctrines, know this: DanCoyote is making art history in the metaverse, and you can and should experience this masterpiece for yourself now at the Arts and Letters installation for Full Immersion Hyperformalism: (Teleport directly)
Bettina Tizzy: Who is DanCoyote and where is he/what does he do in real life?
Dancoyote Antonelli: DC Spensley is the artist behind the agent/avatar DanCoyote Antonelli. DanCoyote is a logo, not a personality. While I respect that people have a rich role playing life in SL, and know how important it is to many, it is not my project to role play in SL. I am called DC in both worlds. It is my project to merge the two through my art practice.

I am in San Francisco… have been a practicing, exhibiting artist here (in RL) for over 20 years. (My) work spans genre and medium. I am fortunate to have many different threads in my career, (and) while I create and display physical works in RL, I also have a burgeoning digital output as well. The two connect actually, theoretically and literally.

I have been attempting serious art with digital tools since Photoshop 1.0, so my research is many, many degrees older than SL. However, none of that work had a venue.


I thing the Web is a lousy place to show art. It is like TV in that all things become equal and flat on TV. Let’s say you have Gandhi on one side, and Britney Spears on the other in an interview on TV. The audience assumes they are both equal since they are being interviewed on the same show… but in fact, they are not. Gandhi is a world hero for the ages, Brit is a pop entertainer. Both contribute, but not in equal ways... so I do not like to show my work on the Web.

Bettina Tizzy: Please describe that aha! moment... when you realized that SL was the right venue.
Dancoyote Antonelli: I actually had an opportunity to get into SL in 2004, but was in for a few minutes and decided it was a strip mall; didn’t come back. In early 2006 I was at the San Francisco Art Institute doing a performance piece called "Love is Stronger than Hate," when a friend told me about a call for entries for Ars Virtua. Rubaiyat Shatner is the curator. I contacted him via email and he gave me instructions to meet him in SL.

As I (re)explored SL, I realized a few fundamental things. #1: This young culture was starving for serious art. Retail, porn and gambling were the dominant forms as they are in RL. I knew then I wanted to plant roses.

The second thing I realized is that my work was native in SL. I had finally found a home and a venue for work I had been doing on faith for a decade.

#3 is the third realization that people in SL are surrounded by cheap reproductions. The art market - such as it was - had topped out at 300 Lindens. I decided to do a conceptual experiment to begin to cultivate value in SL, and refused to make copies of my work for any reason. (I) don’t resell work after a collector acquires it. My first offerings were around 2700L.

Bettina Tizzy: So all one-of-a-kind pieces? Every single piece you make?
Dancoyote Antonelli: Yes, unique. My only concession is that I can display works, but not make them available for collectors. So in the last year and a half, the value of my work has evolved from 2700L to 150,000L. I sometimes display a work in a collection, yes, but never resell editions, prints, copies, etc. Unique objects are of great value to collectors… and art can, and does appreciate in value, just like in RL. This is not to say that I am all that interested in commerce. It was a conceptual experiment.

Bettina Tizzy: My read is that you are opposed to open source.
Dancoyote Antonelli: Many people jump to that conclusion. Open source is important for tools and delivery artifice. It is an enabler. (In any life,) your value in commerce of any kind is directly connected to the quality of your ideas. Ideas = creative capital. (I support it) by making some things open source. I have also done very public works at the OSMOSL (Open Source Museum of SL), an experiment with Brown University.

The feeling out there on the street is that open source means my content should be free. Tools and delivery should be free to encourage culture. Artists, like plumbers need to pay the bills; (get paid) for their work… and artists make creative capital.

Bettina Tizzy: Explain, in lay terms, what Hyperformalism is...
Dancoyote Antonelli: I use Hyperformalist to describe the art movement that the art world missed…the differential of technological proficiency and old school modernist dominance kept critics and thinkers from mainstreaming important developments in the boundaries of art. Part of my conceptual project is what I call “neologism.” I am a theorist as well as a practice person. Neologism = new word, in demonstration of theory.

Everything I do is abstract, but none of it is random. Hyperformalism is formalist abstraction, (as in) basic building blocks of aesthetic experience: form, shape, color, volume, etc, in hyper medium which allows for scripting and ersatz gravity.

The work I do in SL is not modeling for RL. I make it my mission to push as hard as possible to overcome RL constraints. It is my goal is to bring the Guggenheim audience into virtual reality to experience my work.

Bettina Tizzy: What tools do you use primarily?
Dancoyote Antonelli: (I) have been using Photoshop since 1.0. Another tool I use is a film production model. I use everything at my disposal. I own 10 Macs of every generation, and have software tools for every generation… many not available anymore.

Visual art is only a portion of my project. I also compose audio and perform. DanCoyote actually came into being as an audio performer at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco where my combo played at the "Bang the Machine" show: DanCoyote and the Alonso Quixano Experience. I am a fan of John Cage, in that I believe that the constraints of "music" are too limiting. The stream here (Arts and Letters) is my work.

Bettina Tizzy: I am listening. Describe it.
Dancoyote Antonelli: At different times…atonal, arrhythmic audio, hyperformalism, related to Edgard Varese.
Bettina Tizzy: but, but… that description sounds... so cold! I find it warm and conflicted, and earthy, and other worldly, at once.
Dancoyote Antonelli: It is warm because it is not practiced. I set up circumstances. I don’t dictate. I compose the circumstances of chance operations - like in Cage - but not for the same reasons. Cage was trying to take the hand of the artist out of the picture. That has been (proven) impossible. My hand appears in the possibilities, the set of potentials I bring to bear, not in the choreography of what occurs.
Bettina Tizzy: That is too theoretical. Take that down a few notches and explain it to me as if I were your grandmother. What do you mean?
Dancoyote Antonelli: I make noise, granny,
Bettina Tizzy: ahaha
Dancoyote Antonelli: …for its own sake... in complex ways that some call art and most call noise.

DanCoyote’s key collaborators are:
Patrons: Giulio Perhaps, Larry Pixel, Kitty Tully.
Scripters: ZenMondo Wormser, Qarl Fizz, Seronis Zagato.
Music: For the SkyDancer show: ZeroOne Paz, Mick Mahoney; for Arts and Letters: Jamie Timms with the JAMX Co-Lab.

Many thanks to DC for providing some of the photography for this post.

2 comments:

Lauren said...

WOW, not just an artist but one that makes me want to drag a piece off and put it in my living room in FL. I think hyperformalism underlies the order the Great Masters used to paint and the digital extrapolation. No doubt DC is studied and yet expansionary. As usual NPIRL brings more depth to our lives. Thank you Bettina and DC.

Seraphine said...

Nice interview Bettina. I loved the artwork displayed, and the discussion of ideas and creativity. Hugs.