25 November 2011

Happy Anniversary! with Artistide Despres and Eupalinos Ugajin at Split Screen in December

Artistide Despres and Eupalinos Ugajin are December's artists at Split Screen. As one might expect, their works contrast artistically as thoroughly as one can imagine!

Artée's Let These Facts Be Known brings the Occupy movement to Split Screen. Although it's not Artée's first political work in SL (for example, her Alea Fukishima concerns the nuclear disaster in Japan), it is a highly direct artistic response and I'm proud to have it as the first political artwork at Split Screen. The title is taken from the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, which presents a list of 23 realities of political and economic life in the US and often paralleled elsewhere, ranging from the foreclosure crisis to bailouts to the commodification of privacy to torture and more. The list, although lengthy, is far from complete (one of the Occupy movement's points). One thing a list doesn't easily show is how the realities behind these grievances are interconnected, and Occupy Wall Street's Arts and Culture Group has given the Declaration a visual representation that literally draws the connections among the grievances and beyond -- in many ways it is superior to the textual Declaration itself. You can see the drawing at the link above, and Artée uses it as the artistic, moral, metaphoric and physical foundation of her installation.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Artée has not just quoted the Occupy declaration in her piece. As you walk around, you hear the sounds of protest. Not satisfied with the pleasant clouds supplied by the standard viewer settings, she has added smaller, darker clouds that dim the city and suggested a polluted earth. And then there are the buildings ... which don't simply represent a city. Artée exploits a bug in SL's implementation of transparency so that the skyscrapers seem to slip in and out of each other, far and near trade places, and as soon as one leaves the work's literal and ethical center, you are lost. This detail brings Let These Facts Be Known to surpass the blunt, pedestrian hammer of so much "committed" art and propels it into the realm occupied (sic!) by such works as Picasso's Guernica and Goya's The Third of May 1808. Artee's installation is as immersive as one can imagine: photos cannot do it justice.

In late October, when Miso Susanowa was planning to occupy the LEA sandbox (to the extent one can "occupy" in SL), she joked to me that she wanted to occupy Split Screen too. "Go for it!", I said, or words to that effect. It turns out I got my wish!

NOTE: this is a MESH build, so you will need to need to use a mesh-enabled viewer.

Eupa's D'ailleurs grace au Soleil... is ... well the first thing you'll notice is that it's enormous! You land at the top on a large disk with a sort of iris, jump down the enticing hole in the middle, and ... welcome to Eupa's world! Anyone who's visited his One Day My Cow Will Come -- and you have, haven't you? -- will recognize his characteristic loopy surrealism, his curious machines and objects that sometimes seem to have minds of their own. One occasionally sets off to terraform the place. Eupa's notecard has a "spoiler alert" section so I won't put spoilers here. One word of advice, be careful where you step or what you click on. Oh and don't bother Valdrade, he's concentrating on doing his job.

Be sure to check "Allow Media to auto-play when entering a region" in Preferences for this installation.

Let These Facts Be Known and D'ailleurs grace au Soleil will be showing at Split Screen through 31 Dec.

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