Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
Mila Kunis was not impressed when her presenting partner Justin Timberlake declared at the 2011 Academy Awards, “I’m Banksy.” Apparently even the man who “brought sexy back”… not cool enough to be the world’s greatest living artist….
What do Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and for that matter, Mark Zuckerberg, have in common? They changed the world… without getting permission from anyone.
The pros and cons of street art can be debated forever, but it’s undeniable that illegal, stealthy, fast street art has an urgency and compelling power. Shown in a gallery, the aesthetics and virtuosity remain, but the in-your-face urgency is laid waste.
VB14 – Gingham
VB Duet C – Art / War
In our 24 major in-world performances, VBCO Multiverse has, especially in our earlier days, performed in a number of gallery and museum settings. Marvellous spaces managed by visionary curators. These were wonderful experiences, but still, it was all about permission. Even when we performed at the home of edgy performance, Odyssey, we had to ask Liz & Fau for dozens of things. It’s funny to think of Eva & Franco Mattes, art thieves, pranksters, and hacktivists, negotiating with Fau for the details of a performance at Odyssey.
SaveMe Oh doesn’t ask for permission.
SaveMe appears and performs intensely personal responses to environments. At least until someone bans her from the sim.
I was at an informal gathering the other day when someone started throwing a bunch of colored cubes our way. It was, I thought, a lot cooler than what we were doing. It wasn’t, to my mind, particularly disruptive. Then there was a big pencil. Then they were banned. Then there was much chatter about those horrible griefers.
VBFM #3 – Starlight Flashmob
It occurs to me that SaveMe is the closest person to Banksy in all of SL. Of VBCO/Multiverse she said “just a thin excuse for parading naked.” IDK what she thinks of the myriad 2D exhibitions around SL.
In a world that is even more permissions based, even more regimented than FL, SaveMe is the one person who doesn’t ask permission. I don’t necessarily think her insights are genius. There’s certainly a repetitive quality to her work. But if street art is the lifeblood of the 21st century… then who is living that impulse in this world more than SaveMe and the other “griefers.”
It is true that “griefers” can expend a small amount of resources and disrupt a project that others have spent substantial time and money creating. No that doesn’t seem fair. Yes, negotiating the dynamics of street art is complex.
But in a fake world that is starving for authenticity… in a world where we define our individuality by the selection of corporate logos we choose to wear… it is the street artist… it is the griefer… who powerfully challenges our assumptions… who asks us to think differently.
In the physical world some street artists have codes such as “don’t go up over anything you can’t burn (do better than)” or don’t write on churches or schools or homes… or Write on Public Property…
I’ve said before that while I appreciate “application art” like Lady Gaga, it’s “research art” like John Cage that questions our assumptions, expands our definition of music, art, and ultimately life. There’s some amazing 2D art in Second Life, I love a lot of it, I’ve bought some of it, but no one neatly hanging rectangles where they were told to hang them knows the power of SaveMe running shreiking thru a room and leaving a chaotically terraformed world in her wake.
Do we underestimate how much we owe the “griefers?”
Have you hugged a “griefer” today?