The issue at hand of late is of course the Open Sim problem. Now I know everyone is sick and tired of hearing about this issue, well I promise to take this read a bit further then that. In fact I plan to take this read into some ideas and beliefs I’ve had about this place called SL and the art we find in it. I’m not one to usually expound upon my ideas, especially ones I hold dear to my heart as I participate in this art, but I felt it was time to give my two cents about it and hope it might make someone stop and think.
I’m not happy about Linden Labs decision with the Open Sims. Who is? But you see its what I choose to do with that “unhappiness” that is defining how I’m handling the situation. I have an OS (Open Space Sim) and on it is my dream. A place that holds over 120 pieces of art each month from 6 different artist. I’ve been in SL for over a year now, and that gallery, that place, was in some aspects the apex of my career here, more on that later.
So yes, you could say Linden Labs is destroying something I hold dear, and well… they are. But I’m not going to start yelling about it, I’m not going to start getting angry over it, because I just don’t see the point. Linden Labs is a business, and they make business choices, I can’t change that so I’ll deal with it. But amongst this distress over the issue has arisen concern and anger because this will cause a great effect on the art world in second life. Countless galleries, exhibits, and creative residences are on Open Space Sims. What will happen to these? I don’t know for certain. I can tell you right now that I can’t keep Twilight, so that is one gone.
The anger and disgust I see over LL decision and the fear of art disappearing has brought me to think back on the very idea of art in Second Life and the way I have come to understand it and respect it, and it is through this thinking I have my hope for the future. It is in these believes I find peace that everything is going to be okay. Let me share them with you:
I’ve encountered a lot of photographers in Second Life and I call every one of them artists. Now when I say this the usual response back is, “I’m not an artist.” Okay so to understand my belief on Second Life art, you need to understand why I think everyone is an artist in his or her own right. Being an artist is not the measure of how well you use Photoshop, a pencil, a camera, or a paintbrush. Being an artist is measured by the amount of you that you put into your work. See the creative mind works by influences, from a food to some profound philosophical thought, whatever it may be your mind will interpret it and put it into some medium. All of you do this! Whether you know you do or don’t, trust me, you do.
We all see each others work through sites like Flickr and so constantly people are saying they are not as good of an artist as someone who is amazing at Photoshop. Well sure we all have different technical skill levels, but we are all artists. It is my personal belief we should never compare work to others, because well, it will just make us depressed. If I was to take one of my RL black and white photos and put it up to my idol Ansel Adam’s photos and use it as a judge to my skills it should make me want to crumple up my work and never touch a camera again. But I don’t let it do that. I am myself, and nobody’s work will change what I do.
Okay so we are all artists, we all take inspirations and funnel them through ourselves into a medium like SL photography, this then brings me to the very nature of SL photography. For all intent and purposes lets just go off the theory you can do ANYTHING in Second Life. You almost can, but for the sake of this example just believe you can do anything. The number one big problem I have with RL photography is I could think up so amazing photo but the question is do I have the gear to do that, do I have the location, the money, the lens, the lights. There are just so many constraints on making that idea, that thought, a reality. In Second Life that doesn’t exist. You or I can think up the craziest idea in the world and you can make it through in world techniques and Photoshop. This by far creates the most amazing environment I’ve ever seen.
I can go on Flickr and see the work of many artists, and every time I look at a photo I know I’m looking into that persons mind, their soul, their life experiences. They can be sad, they can be happy, they can see someone get killed, and they can get those feelings out so easily in Second Life. That doesn’t happen in RL, it’s just not possible unless you’re rich and a famous artist. But here, here in Second Life, I see the world through so many different eyes, minds, hearts, and souls and it amazes me. It amazes me everyday and puts my life in perspective.
My friends we have a world, a world unique beyond anything imaginable. Just think about it, think about what I said. Walk down the street and you see a homeless guy pushing a cart and it creates a feeling of sorrow in you and in an instant you have image in your head that comes from that feeling, you can go home, create something and show the world what you felt. That is amazing, that we can see 100’s of new works like that everyday. That is why I had my dream for a gallery. I had been in RL art for 7 years already and when I got here, I knew, I just knew I had to show this art, create a place where anyone can walk around and feel those feelings the artist had and maybe changed.
So that is why I don’t get mad, or angry. Yes my dream will be “destroyed” but the reason I had that dream won’t. Don’t let this situation with LL cause a bump in amazing artistic community. I look forward everyday to being amazed and changed by your art, and that’s why I know everything will be okay. Because your art will still be there to open my mind and my soul to the world around me, to feel what you feel, to understand what you understand.
There is hope, I know I can’t turn of this creative drive in my head, I’m sure you can’t either. So keep smiling, keep plodding on, and keep making art… you artists :).