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October 09, 2007

NMC Teachers' Buzz with Dancoyote Antonelli

Last Monday night I attended a meeting of the New Media Consortium's Teachers' Buzz Group in Second Life. This was the first meeting of the group I had attended, and the guest for the meeting was Dancoyote Antonelli (RL: DC Spensley), a digital artist working in SL. The meeting (report by CDB Barkley, transcript) took place at the site of Dancoyote's “Full Immersion Hyperformalism” exhibit, hosted on NMC's Arts & Letters sim. Dancoyote gave a guided tour of (a small part of!) the exhibit and then there was a short discussion.

I'd already visted the exhibit a few times - I think I first saw it mentioned in one of the "top 10" lists on New World Notes (and I scribbled a few thoughts about the experience over on Peregrinations). I'm not at all versed in art theory, I hasten to add, but it's difficult not to be impressed by the ambition and inventiveness of the exhibit. And it seems to me it also really does exploit SL as a "medium" in its own right.

What also struck me again the other night is the social element which virtual worlds like SL bring to these "digital exhibition" experiences, the capacity not only for multiple remote "viewers" to share their thoughts with each other, but also - as in this case - the opportunities for dialogue between artist (performer, producer etc) and viewer (audience, consumer). Certainly, there are issues of scalability - and the current SL infrastructure wouldn't have supported the participation of a large number of avatars (at least not without some sort of replication across multiple SL locations) - but it was quite a compelling example of some of the possibilities offered by virtual worlds.

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