more spots & dots

spotsdots1spotsdots2

So, last week I went to the performance seeing spots, being dots by Juria Yoshikawa and Nnoiz Papp. Allthough visitors were asked to participate in the performance I didn’t do so because I couldn’t be there for the whole performance. I realize that because of that I have not experienced the work as I should have but at least I saw half of it. The first time I saw work by Juria was in june 2007 when he was ‘doing’ the white cube gallery with his work called 4. For this work, being a collaboration between Juria and four composers, he gave each composer a number (being 1, 2, 3 or 4) and asked them to create soundscapes based on that number. Juria himself ‘took on the challenge of using the art space itself as the raw material of the sculpture. As with light, sound, motion and time – the art space is material for the creator‘ as he wrote it on his website. The whole work/exhibition lasted for 4 weeks and every week Juria changed the gallery completely. In all four episodes Juria integrated us in the work, using all aforementioned ingredients. In the first week for instance: ‘Each panel contains a unique voice audio sample and visual text that is activated when viewers walk through each panel‘. This was one of the first sl art works I experienced, and can be considered an eye opener to me. In most of Juria’s works I have seen since, I recognized the same ingredients. His use of colours, sound, movement and the integration of the visitors in the work. All and all I can say that to me Juria has a pretty distinct signature to his work. However, lately I have been wondering if it would be possible to actually develop one’s work in sl. What I mean by that is that a lot of, what we now consider, great artists have earned that status because of the radical changes they made in their own work and in arthistory in general, no? So here I witness sl artists at work and I consider this kind of art, a radical movement in itself. Juria describes it as follows:

‘Rather than bringing in rl artwork, I am compelled to use mainly the elements that make up Second Life itself. Typically, my virtual artwork mixes kinetic objects, animated texture, text, ambient noise and av animations. I inevitably choose scales larger than conventional gallery work since I’m interested in people experiencing the work in a physical way – flying through them, riding on them and socializing within the art. To me virtual art is about freeing oneself up to create in ways impossible in real life.’

New materials, new techniques, a new way of experiencing art. It’s all new. But will the possibilities be endless? Or will we end up with more of the same? In sl that is. I hope not. In light of these thoughts I was very happy with the invite for the new performance and, allthough not everyone may agree, with the things that happened afterwards. The day after I was asked if I thought Juria and Nnoiz’s performance was too much like Dancoyote Antonelli’s ZeroGskydancers show. I had to think about that for a while. Since there were indeed similarities, there also were essential differences. Whereas the skydancers performance was a more ‘classic’ style show with an audience, in the spots & dots performance the audience was in fact part of it. Whereas the skydancers were moving according to a well prepared choreography based on a storyline, the spots & dots were of a more improvised character. Where in fact the instructions were shouted by Juria in general chat, in the skydancers performance this was, very theaterlike, done behind the scenes. I don’t think that I have been looking at a case of plagiarism. To me that would sound like one photographer telling the other he is being a copycat because he also uses a camera. Or a painter telling the same to another painter because he is using canvas and a brush. But I’m not sure. Hence my questions about development in sl art. I guess my real question is, what is in fact the newness. Is it the genre (a term used by Juria) in total, or do we already have to look at the differences in language (a term used by DC). Whichever one it turns out to be, the fact is that as in RL, artists are also being inspired by other artists. And sl art is, even if to us it feels like a big thing, still a small niche. I for one am really curious to find out how long we will be able to experience newness in sl. The more detailed discussion on the works by Juria and Dancoyote Antonelli can be read here. A video made by Evo Szuyuan on the performance can be seen here.

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