Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —
Previz #55 / VB31 – Demo Days
Saturday 21 January 2012
10am – Noon SLT
6pm – 8pm GMT
Gallery Xue / Palestine
Our own Agnes Sharple has invented an event she calls “Demo Days.”
Whenever we decorate or design our avatar… our physical “avatar” in the dressing room of a clothing shop… or a color of nail polish or hair… we like to “try it on”… to see a preview of what our being or presence or instantiation will be like with this dress or nail color or haircut.
The virtual world is no different. We still want to know how we’ll look in those shoes or that bling. Of course in virtuality, procedures that used to be surgical, requiring a commitment of money, time, risk, pain, are all reduced to the simplicity of Fotoshop by Adobé
The physical world is a world based on objects and scarcity. Many of the battles being endlessly waged today, from every YouTube take down to the current fight over SOPA and Protect-IP, are essentially a battle over whether or not the coming age of post-scarcity will be defined by government enforced scarcity. The copyright cartel has one vision of the future, and the sharing impulse so motivated by both the qualities of digital objects and the internet as well as the long history of human creativity, often pursue another vision.
So how does the designer of virtual goods enforce scarcity over an inherently reproducible virtual object? By plastering “DEMO” all over it, of course! By making it so that you can simultaneously see how it will look on you, but also be so ugly that you can’t wait to buy the “real” one.
When you try on hair and have a giant “DEMO” box above your head or circle orbiting your face, it boldly breaks reality. The key element to conscious immersion in a dream or film or novel is the suspension of disbelief. The idea that we know on some logical level that some aspect of this narrative is impossible or unlikely, but as long as there is an internal consistency, we will suspend our disbelief and go along with the ride. When a story breaks its own reality too much, we are drawn out of the experience and see the artifice in stark relief. In Inception the “dream collapsing” is the experience of “waking up” to the contradictions.
For some the virtual world is a silly cartoon, but for others it is a rich, immersive space. But our willingness to project into that space, to suspend our disbelief of that space, is broken by the giant “DEMO” box bobbing awkwardly in space.
But not for Agnes.
She’s embraced the artifice of the artifice and created Demo Days. Demo Days while undeniably silly and fun, simultaneously explores the meta-consciousness of our meta-consciousness. It is a lucid dream in virtual space.
And so, YOU are invited to join Vaneeesa Blaylock / Company in our performance of Demo Days at Gallery Xue / Palestine.
All you have to do is travel the virtual world and collect, typically free, “DEMO” versions of everything… skin… shape… hair… eyes… shoes… clothes… tats… whatever you like…
Agnes says if you want to be a purist about your Demo experience… and who wants to have a fake virtual demo experience!? That you should only use products that have the word “DEMO” and nothing else… no logos of the brand that makes the Demo… this is true for a surprising number of things… but not for everything… we leave this choice up to you… design the Demo Avatar of your choice!
Whether you choose to create your Demo Avatar, or simply to come view the creations of others, we hope to see you at Gallery Xue / Palestine on Saturday 21 January at 10am SLT / 6pm GMT.