Friday, December 4, 2009

Art:21 - an example of the lively exchange in Comments

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Alfred M. Ajami Reply:
December 2nd, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Nettrice, I take your point. First an observation, and then permit me to push back on the second clause of your closing sentence.

If we take the Coulter-Smith forecast as normative, then the medium’s evolution, just shy of five years, is astounding.

As to the assertion “can really only be experienced in-world”, let me ask you to imagine applications for technology already at hand that will bring the “in-world” experience of the virtual world out into the, shall we call it, actual world.

It is now possible, albeit in a temporarily primitive way, to create a personal, Imax-like environment for 3-D video and hence for full-motion virtual art. Put together penta-prisms, beam splitters, digital light projectors and hemispheric mirror surfaces and digital art can be personalized, as well as shared with others off-line. For a hint on how this can be done, you can imagine the virtualization of 3D and 4D art within some variation of Luc Courchesne’s panoscope (, in spatially immersive displays( or in any one of the enveloping projection environments pioneered by Paul Bourke (

I submit that for virtual, immersive art to fully take root, it must cross over and hold its own within the same space and in front of the same audiences, public and power-elite, that currently only experience legacy art (if any art at all). That is the premise that I have adopted as a starting point for working the technology, and it provides a practical, common ground for scientists and artists to collaborate on.

Nettrice Gaskins Reply:
December 3rd, 2009 at 1:10 pm
Alfred, this issue has been bandied about and debated, both in-world and in real life for a while now. Can the “in-world” experience be brought out into the actual world? Of course and it’s already happening. Several SL artists have done Mixed Reality shows and Brooklyn Is Watching, a show I mentioned in my write-up, is an example. The debate rests on the purpose and intent of the artist and the form of art he or she creates in virtual 3D space. Some works are clearly, intentionally meant to be experienced in Second Life, for example, and any attempts to bring the work into material space would somehow lessen the impact or experience of being immersed in the work (as an avatar).

Plasticity or the synthesis of virtual and real art bends the rules of how we define reality and how artists create images/objects. One of the qualities of immersive 3D art that would be difficult to re-create or simulate in material space is flight. DC’s Tower of Light is hundreds of meters tall. SL artists are encouraged to push and revise the fundamental constructs of plasticity through the use and control of the avatar. The plasticity of the brain replaces real life action with avatar movement to create real feelings of flying or falling while in virtual 3D space.

Of course this experience could be simulated using various devices but some might ask: What is the point of doing that in material space? Wouldn’t it take more time and resources (money) than in virtual 3D space?

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