Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —
OMG, so much IDK if I’ll ever wear a system or prim dress again! This makes me think about amateurs and ghettos.
The beauty of a “building” oriented virtual world is that anyone can, with moderate ease, make anything. It’s not hard to take an image or slogan you like and have your avatar walk around wearing it on a t-shirt a few minutes later. I love this new dress so much, I MAY NEVER TAKE IT OFF!! But like all “beauty,” it’s dangerous. It means I’ll be less likely to wear a crappy t-shirt that says something I care about, and perhaps more snotty when I see someone in one of those, what did they used to call them? “Prim” dresses. OMG, poor, clueless thing!
For me the culture of a sharing-oriented place like OS Grid fits my ideology so much better… but I have to admit that the fashions in a consumption-oriented place like Second Life do tingle my aesthetic sensibility. Putting this dress on felt like trashing a lifetime of cheap, crappy fabrics, and putting on one great dress made of remarkable, supple, flowing, fine fabric. Am I selling my soul for a pretty dress?
For a long time I felt that VR Art didn’t need validation from physical world galleries. That a show or other recognition there was nice, but that it was neither necessary, nor sufficient, for “success” as a VR artist. I have come to see that the problem with this perspective is that your audience is too small and many of the culturally critical thinkers you’d like to interact with aren’t focused on your venue of choice. A “small” virtual world, no matter how creative, is ultimately a bit of a ghetto in a cultural margin.
The great thing about Mesh, besides the ability to bring “better” dresses and buildings into virtual space, is that engages a wider 3D Modeling community. This strikes me as both good and bad. The great part is expanding the community to more creators and more creative media. The less part is that once again, it moves further away from that “anyone can create” quality of simple in-world tools. In the physical world, you can grab an inexpensive pattern and some fabric you like and make all sorts of things. Or skip the prefab pattern and just cut and sew. Over time however, most of us let someone else handle all that creativity, and we become consumers.
I love that mesh clothes and mesh architecture make a deeper, richer, more glorious, more immerse, more complex world. But I’m sad that they’ll tend to push us a little further away from DIY aesthetics and from beautiful paradigms like OS Grid. “The professionals” can give us beautiful things… but I wonder if “looking like crap” (and loving it) might not be part of the price of freedom.