French artist Olivier Garraud has created Second Life, an installation that encapsulates the life cycle of flies in real time. The piece consists of two parts: an apparatus that allows flies access to food, and a tube filled with maggots and flies connected to an amplifier. Second Life allows us to examine the relatively short life-span of an insect on concise, bare bones terms, generating a context which can be applied to personal events. More images after the jump, and you can also check out a video of the installation in action here.
The embedded video above comes from the latest project by Montreal-based media artist Jon Rafman. Kool-Aid Man in Second Life offers to give Internet users free guided tours of Second Life by Rafman’s avatar, the Kool-Aid Man. The aforementioned video is a promotional video showing scenes of the tour (by the way, apparently some of this may not be NSFW, though I watched the first minute or two and didn’t really notice anything bad). The subtlety of the video, and the entire project, is what makes it so engaging. There are all sorts of questions raised here: about the role of crafted pop culture icons in the new era of user generated content, about the nature of scenic beauty, about our interaction with kitsch. Someone take the tour and let us know how it is!
PS: Check out this essay Rafman wrote on Google Street View. Very compelling stuff.
Export to World (Linda Kostowski and Sascha Pohflepp) seeks to comment ironically on the design and production of merchandise in virtual worlds. At Ars Electronica in Linz, retail space on Marienstrasse was temporarily converted into a shop like those found in Second Life. Large scale display ads showed what’s for sale: custom-made or purchased virtual objects that shoppers could buy at a price determined daily by the current Linden dollar/euro exchange rate. Instead of the acquired object suddenly appearing in the purchaser’s inventory, though, the proud owner received a a two-dimensional paper representation of it which he/she could manually fit together into a three-dimensional object on site. The final results are paper representations of digital representations of real objects, including all the flaws that copying entails.