Work is judged by results. The most read articles in Sim Street Journal are about visual art, which also is my education and background. Though I write about many other professions, perhaps there is a deeper passion when I write about art.
Now with six episodes of The Aesthete and the Amateur under my belt, the fiction is an experiment between me and a friend in Romania. The two of us have visited galleries and shows in Second Life® for years, and our banter always inspires. So turning this into a story came naturally to our mutually literary viewpoints. However, who could be so different? He grew up under communism in a very different culture, though it now boasts transformation.
We both exaggerate our roles. As the aesthete art critic Eleanor Medier, I load my speech with Ivory Tower vocabulary; Heavy Writer embellishes his with the guy-on-the-street boldness. We have also carved a humorous back story, like a television series. So far, we have taken turns writing this portion, so it expresses each personality.
What comes through supports my article on “How to See“—it challenges the reader’s opinions and insights. Much of the art that we review can’t be seen outside of SL, and part of our aim is to introduce the possibilities. The UWA, our most read episode (maybe because it is the oldest episode), exemplifies this the best because their mandate is 3D immersive art. Writing about this art to a non-SL audience is purposeful. Art is perhaps the best bridge of relevance between the real and the virtual—music being the easiest form for universal translation.
Visual art, being so situational, presents a harder challenge for communicating to those not in the environment. Yet, this series, A&A, through discussion, gives you a sense of its purpose and accomplishments. It is the difference between seeing a video of Venice and actually going there. The video gives a glimpse, which is better than no knowledge. And, should the opportunity arise, is an introduction.
The major goal of A&S is to be an introduction. It expresses the range and culture contained within the virtual world, as it expresses the personalities of two role playing residents. Taking on a persona of another profession, time frame, or situation is one of SL’s greatest teaching mechanisms. The best way to learn something is to do it. Before doing it, homework offers preparation. For those wishing to visit virtual galleries and sample various artists’ work, or for those who wish to expand an ability to “see,” you will notice that the two characters are hypocrites by asking you to do what they do not.
Unlike an interview or a profile, the fictional couple does not know the artist or do any research. They only react to the art. Yet, as you read this, you can’t experience this art yourself, unless you go in-world. So, we ask you to read about what you can’t see other than the photographs we provide. What we seek is an overall vision of what to look for, and constructive suggestions of clarity. Art must communicate or it is just a personal exercise, even creative masturbation. So our critiques are the most valuable because we are willing to ask the questions of validity. We don’t just look, pause, and walk by. We challenge the other to see deeper. We challenge you to do the same. In our discussion of only what we can see, we ask that you look for that first, and be willing to ask the hard questions of validity. —always inspired, Liane (aka Eleanor Medier)