Monday, April 14, 2008

A postcard from Brooklyn

If you haven't heard of Brooklyn is Watching, you might want to start by reading this first.

On Saturday, I spent a very pleasant hour catching up with Jay Newt (aka Jay Van Buren) of the Real Life art gallery in Brooklyn, NY, Jack the Pelican Presents. His Brooklyn is Watching project only just got underway a few weeks ago and, like a stick of dynamite, it has exploded onto the Second Life art scene. I invited Jay to share what has transpired there with us, and soon after received this. - Bettina

by Jay Newt

Brooklyn is Watching has now been up for 5 of its scheduled 52 (at least) weeks and the response has been greater than even my ridiculously grandiose dreams. Our blog is getting more traffic all the time and so is our sim, and in the physical gallery in Brooklyn, playing with the installation has become a favorite pass time of the crowds at the various openings and receptions that happen every couple weeks.

Hip art fans playing with the BIW installation during an opening at Jack the Pelican Presents

Last time we had a crowd waiting to take turns at the keyboard, while others cheered them on and asked Second Life artist Cheen Pitney to make them a virtual beer.... which he did! Pretty much every time I spend any time at the gallery I meet a new person who has never seen Second Life or only heard about it vaguely and who gets their mind completely blown by the quality and variety of the work that they see on the BIW sim.

Teardrops in the Rain by elros Tuominen

In some ways this project is a Noob-Mind-Blowing-Machine, which is good for anyone in Second Life, since every radicalized NYC art-fan who leaves the gallery buzzing about Second Life just raises the world's profile that much more.

As for the professional Second Life crowd, we may get the NYC Metaverse Meet Up to have one of their next meetings at the gallery so the Real Life local profile of the project is about to explode. We also got a lot of exposure at Virtual Worlds 2008 because of the enthusiasm of the Lindens who put our project up on the screen at their booth.

The sim filled up within days (largely thanks to NPIRL's original blogpost I'm sure) and has had a steady stream of new art for the last 5 weeks. People are starting to figure out that we record our podcasts on Wednesdays, and that the gallery gets the most traffic on Saturday and Sunday, so they're rezzing new things then, and we're getting some good dialogue going on about the art that we praise or mock on the podcast.

"Mixed Opposites" by Juria Yoshikawa photographed with dot/bot Monet Destiny

Podcast 3 was a disaster, and was only saved from being a disaster by the fact that Kat2 Kit (a tiny panda in SL, and Brooklyn-based artist and photographer who has joined the project and saved our bacon several times) recorded a really interesting interview (in panda voice) with PatriciaAnne Daviau, an artist who made a 'tortured prim' tiny-tiny city at BIW. Podcast 1, 2, 4 and 5 were pretty strong I feel, even though we've had lots of technical problems.

I've been learning how to be a talk show host in front of everyone - trying to control the collision of egos and the crazy mixture of people who know alot about art but little about Second Life, people that know alot about Second Life but little about art and of course, a lot of people who know alot about both. Don's been bringing in a steady stream of fine art luminaries and we've also included Second Life art-stars Strawberry Holiday and DanCoyote Antonelli on our panels, as well. The conversations have uncovered some really interesting areas of disagreement and areas that we could, and will have whole shows about in the future.

Nebulosus Severine's Bunnykinball

We're trying actively to get an audio recording and editing sponsor or partner and a streaming video sponsor so that we can improve the audio quality of our podcast and also get a video stream of the gallery piped back into Second Life to "complete the circle" --- I would love to make it so people in Second Life can see the folks in Brooklyn who's minds they are blowing. We're also looking for help on our blog so anyone who is interested in writing about art should contact us at

Selavy Oh's capture of DanCoyote Antonelli's sky art

One so-far-untapped possibility is of a performance in the BIW sim for the audience at the gallery -- anyone that's interested in doing something could let us know ahead of time so we can promote it around the neighborhood, or just do something the next time JTPP is having an opening and surprise us. The openings are always announced on the Jack the Pelican website.

Basically, this is a great time to be watching Brooklyn and we can't wait to see what insanity the next 47 weeks will bring us!


earlyadopter said...

a great little video introduction to the project was just posted on the SL podcast network by Chugabug and Radar from SL under the radar