Second Life: Performing the Real in Digital Arts

By Leman Giresunlu.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Second Life is an online simulation environment for digital artistic expressions to emerge at the cutting edge of originality, and newness. In a simulation environment real life forms as artistic expression are adapted as well as transformed. In Second Life, interactive art works as well as avatar interactivity heighten digital sculpture and installations’ effect. In this respect avatars are artistic creations themselves painting Second Life’s ever expanding canvass with their diverse colors and shapes rendering it a unique global performance. Thus digital arts adaptations undergoing a creative transformation from real life to a simulation environment open venue for their aesthetic and ontological reevaluation. Therefore in this study Second Life’s art scene will be analyzed: from real life artistic adaptations to transformative interactive art presentations along with their commercial as well as non-commercial aspects. In this respect Second Life’s reintroduction of the California based annual art event “Burning Man,” renamed as “Burning Life” is a global stand against art works’ commercialization. That is, all artistic creations which are erected, and displayed during the real life art festival receive an equally festive ovation in their demolition. Thus Second Life in the same spirit recreates the annual real life art event in its simulation platform. While the actual event of creative destruction opens space for the following years’ art presentations, the techniques of simulation in Second Life also enable for the preservation as well as reinvention of these digital art works for future displays, as in the festive event called: “Afterburn ART project.” In this respect, “Burning Man” festival in Second Life is not only an adaptation from real life, but also a creative transformation, a performance enabled by means of digital techniques and avatar interactivity generating a variety of shapes and meanings in their absence and presences.

Keywords: Second Life, Performance, Burning Life Festival, Afterburn ART project, Simulation, Avatar, Digital Art, Installation, Interactive

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.251-272. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.218MB).

Dr. Leman Giresunlu

Assistant Professor Doctor, American Culture and Literature, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey

Leman Giresunlu is Assistant Professor at American Culture and Literature at Dokuz Eylül University. She has degrees from Ege University, Michigan State University, and Bowling Green State University. Her recent publications consist of “Cyborg Goddesses: the Mainframe Revisited” in Ricardo, Francisco J. (Ed.), Cyberculture and New Media. At the Interface/ Probing the Boundaries Volume 56, (Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2009); “Blogging as Cyber-Autobiography”, Melikoglu, Koray (Ed.) Life Writing: Contemporary Autobiography, Biography, and Travel Writing, Ibidem, 2007 Proceedings.


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