VB49: SPF50

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes — Performance document for VB49: SPF50. Performance artwork about skin & sunburn. In VB49 virtual performance artists present a tableau vivant of sunburnt bodies.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —

Poster image for VB49: SPF50 featuring [Anonymous Avatar], Scarlett Luv, Harmony Sandalphon, Agnes Sharple, Lizzie Gudkov, and Vanessa Blaylock standing naked on a beach showing different degrees of sunburn skin damage

[Anonymous], Luv, Sandalphon, Sharple, Gudkov & Blaylock


VB49: SPF50: In the physical world beauty is forever elusive. A precious few seem to effortlessly posses it. For the rest of us finding the time or the money or summoning the bone structure or the poise is a challenge that can frustrate, or that we can try to ignore. We humans come hard wired to crave whatever the beauty norms are. Then on top of that the beauty industry piles countless millions in marketing. Beauty is madness. Beauty is futility. Yet not so many of us are willing to 100% ignore it.

Enter the virtual world. A world where suddenly, beauty is free. What is the price of not being beautiful in a world where beauty is free?

Virtual Beauty

Victoria’s Secret sells Pink. Their product is incredibly popular. So popular that when they release new model pix, the traffic spike on their web servers looks like a DDoS Attack to sysadmins! But few of us can look like Victoria’s Secret models. They’re beauty, at least in terms of real people, is “fake.” In VB49: SPF50 we decided to look at “real” pink. The pink that far more humans actually experience: too much time in the sun without enough sunscreen.


It’s remarkable how difficult some of us found putting on these burnt skins. Is it because avatars are “real”? Is it because in a world where beauty is free we don’t want the vagaries of physical life? In VB49: SPF50 we presented a tableau vivant on the fragility of human skin, and the carelessness of human pleasure seekers.

And then we had a dance party. Sponsored by Sunny Day Suntan Lotion!

VB49: SPF50

Saturday, 6 July 2013, Sunburn Beach, LEA11, Second Life
Agnes Sharple
[Anonymous Avatar] (Identity withheld by request)
Harmony Sandalphon
Kim Link
Lizzie Gudkov
Scarlett Luv
Vanessa Blaylock
& friends

Here then is our VB49 collection of real avatars baring their sunburnt, pink skin, paired with their fantasy avatars in the dream world of RL.

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L i n k y . L i n k y

• Previz 73 / VB49: SPF50
• Tumblr / VB49: SPF50
• Wikipedia / Victoria’s Secret
• Victoria’s Secret / Manage Your Angel Credit Card
• Chilling Effects / Victoria’s Secret Uses DMCA To Suppress Public Criticism


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7 Responses to “VB49: SPF50”

  1. lizziegudkov
    2013/07/10 at 08:56 #

    I have always believed that a virtual world is an environment where you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be. Although I mostly have a human shape in Second Life (SL), I add elements that often are the opposite of what/who I am in Real Life (RL) – a cigarette, I don’t smoke in RL, for example. In SL, many create an image that reflects their ideal RL self (mostly physical self) and, as a result, extremely thin and tall avatars (guilty of the latter, though, in my defense, I must say that I felt the need to create an extremely tall avatar when I became a resident simply because dimensions in SL tended to be oversized).
    Considering this premise, I was very surpised to feel awkwardly uncomfortable with the skin I was wearing for this performance. Someone used the word “painful” and I agree 100%. Living in a country where there’s a lot of sun and where people spend too much time in the sun, this was very close to home. Who says SL and RL don’t mix? Body image, self-preservation, recreating the self, self confidence, empowerment, self-esteem. Fascinating!

    • Vanessa Blaylock
      2013/07/10 at 09:21 #

      Thanks so much for being a part of this piece Lizzie! You’ve been a huge presence at iRez for some time now, but I think this was your first appearance in a VBCO “performance.” (I seem to be moving away from these more formal “performances” and toward “activities” as we’ve been having at LEA11)

      I think avatars are real. We feel what they experience. I don’t think that badly sunburnt skin “hurt” nearly as much as it would have on a physical body, but the virtual experience still maps a part of that.

      And I do think we identify with the human figure. If your avatar was the planet Jupiter, and you changed the great red spot out for sunburnt skin, that probably would have “hurt” less.

      Perhaps because we are doing more of the “everybody do your thing” activities these days, it was nice to go back and do a simple, sustained, living sculpture or Tableau Vivant. We’ve done many over the last 4 years, but it’s been some time, 50 weeks, since we did something this formal, also coincidentally enough, taking place at an LEA sim: VB39: Pink & Blue at Mikati Slade’s Pico Pico Life at LEA19.

      • lizziegudkov
        2013/07/10 at 10:10 #

        You’re very welcome, Van. I think it was my first “performance”, yes. I remember taking part in one or two Parades, trying to keep up and not losing you or Yordie in the minimap (yay for yellow dots). I enjoy taking part in anything that triggers questions, in our minds or everyone else’s. It seems like a great start to something, that undefined something that often makes us grow/change. I took a look at the link and I particularly like https://irez.me/2012/06/03/vb36-dance-anywhere/ It made me think of the more prosaic and small-scale flashmobs. I wonder if the flashmob concept could work in SL.

  2. lizziegudkov
    2013/07/10 at 10:14 #

    And this resulted from the pic I took during the performance plus the daily prompt word fom the Virtual Writers site – http://lizziegudkov.blogspot.com/2013/07/deciduous.html

  3. Scarlett Luv
    2013/07/11 at 02:02 #

    ok admittedly, I cant say it was altogether that hard to put a sunburn tattoo layer on my skin as it may be for others…although I am known for zany things like walking around with a blender on my head too, so not toooo different to me to throw on some good ole burned skin, ya know what i mean? Either way it was a total blast an always love to be doing my multitasking while in the presence of others so I dont feel so alone in a way. Hugs all!