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Second Life on Artblog


The Weekly has a cover story on the next new thing and I wrote a piece about Second Life, the online community, as the next new art scene. Unfortunately, because of a printing glitch, the page with my piece (and two pieces by Matt Prigge) got left out of the print issue of the paper. Oh well. But because there is truly second life on the internet, my piece (and Matt’s pieces) are available at the Weekly’s website. Below is what I wrote. And stay tuned for a Q&A with a Second Life participant, artist Darlene Charneco.

Next Art Scene: Second Life

keenag art galleryopening
Keenag Gallery in Second Life, Raoul Weiller’s opening, Jan. 14, 2007

Visit the cyber gallery Keenag in the synthetic online world of Second Life (SL)— it’s a virtual art gallery in a world that’s a complete computer construct. The art is bad, and Second Life graphics are, in general, extremely unpleasing and limited. So why would someone create an art gallery in such an aesthetically crude environment? Take a look at Keenag’s photos from the openings and you’ll understand. It’s all about fantasy and wish fulfillment. Keenag’s avatar gallery-goers all look like Lara Croft and Neo, and the gallery space is bigger than Gagosian’s in Chelsea. Utopianism is one reason artists and others participate in Second Life. Another is networking. Artist Darlene Charneco, who makes pretty resin-covered aerial maps (see them now at Pentimenti Gallery) also participates in new media conferences in a place called BetterWorldIsland. “BetterWorld-Island began as an experimental project space … to envision how Second Life could be used for social good,” she says via email. So SL is itself a utopian art project. Millions of people participate, and real-world art museums hoping to attract buzz and members have real estate in SL just as they do on MySpace. The Island of Svarga is one of Charneco’s favorites in SL. The “fully functional artificial ecology system” is actually kind of interesting and lush for a universe that lacks oxygen and a sense of humor.

keenag artist RaoulWeiller
Raoul Weiller’s art, from Keenag Gallery