Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Whatever next? A Furry in Istanbul?

Posted by Alpha Auer (your eyes and ears in Istanbul... ;-)

The Amber Art and Technology Festival is up and running here in Istanbul, going strong until the 16th of November. While more information on the contents and the mission of this 2 year old festival can be obtained at their website, I would like to write a very fast communication on two installations presented as part of the festival, both of which involve Second Life® and both of which can be participated in online over the next few days.

"Avatarium – A Consumer Paradox" is by Paul Sermon (known as Sylvester Grut in Second Life). "Since the early nineteen-nineties Paul Sermon’s practice-based research in the field of contemporary media arts has centered on the creative use of telecommunication technologies. Through his unique use of video conference techniques in artistic telepresence applications he has developed a series of celebrated telematic art installations that have received international acclaim and have been cited on numerous occasions amongst his peers in this field".

On a personal level, I have been an admirer of Paul Sermon's work for a long time, my favorite installations of his being Telematic Dreaming and Telematic Seance. "Telematic Dreaming" especially strikes an emotional chord with me that sadly very few other works in our seemingly unemotional contemporary art milieu manage to achieve. The reaching out of the two lonely figures of artist and viewer/participant, separated by huge distances and dispersed lives, within the intimacy of a bed had me quite choked up when I first saw the images and read about the context of this intensely delicate piece.

Here in Istanbul, Paul Sermon, has struck out on a far more playful tone, by bringing Second Life avatars into Real Life. And into a totally, artificially, absurdly unreal Real Life shopping mall at that: Virtuality superimposed upon virtuality: City's is one of the chi-chier shopping malls of contradictory old Istanbul; all gleaming brass and marble, brandishing a level of polish which simply cannot be perceived as real, placed as it is, smack in the middle of a city some 4000 years old. So right here, amidst the stores of the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada, my furry reporter friend (who has been such an invaluable help to me in recent weeks) made her altogether bizarre appearance earlier on today!

The whole experience gets fed back into Second Life in real time displayed on numerous video screens inworld. So, you can in fact, admire yourself prancing around City's of Nisantasi here in Istanbul if you teleport to Sylgrut, Paul Sermon's Second Life location, between the hours of 1.00 AM and 5.00 AM SLT through Friday November 14th, directly from here.


The second installation is entitled Hello World and I will need to give you Taso Telling's artist's statement in full, since I have not yet seen the piece in action myself due to the fact that this work will only have its opening tomorrow, Thursday November the 13th between 8.00 AM and 8.30 AM SLT.

"Hello World! is an art installation which takes place both in SL and RL in Amber Art and Technology Festival in Istanbul. The work brings together the RL and SL audience, through real time video streaming.

The theme of the festival is "interpassivity", and SL audience will meet the Real audience "Caged" in interpassivity as the Real Audience turns into the Virtual Artwork. Thus the work intends to question the relationship between the artwork, the audience and the artist and also the so-called superiority of real life over second life, and promotes open source and open content share culture. Anything in the installation is copyleft!

Metaverse should not be a place to reconstruct but to deconstruct our borders, superiorities, chains and mind cages. So let's give a chance to it!

Taso Telling (aka Umut Tasa)"

Thus if you teleport from here to the Amber Festival location at Cirrus between 8.00 and 8.30 AM SLT tomorrow, Thursday the 13th, you will have your rare opportunity to stare at us, poor new media aficionado Istanbulites, helplessly caged here in Real Life staring back at you! ;-)