Saturday, February 2, 2008

'Second Life' now an Unpopulated Wasteland of Corporate Advertising
...and hilarious works of Surrealist Hacker-Art


Virtual Social and Commercial Network Environment 'SecondLife' is proving now after its initial hype to be just as
fabricated, intangible and vapid of a experience for its participants as the premise suggests. Some years later, its
become a predominantly desolate, unpopulated virtual-environment defined by omnipresent corporate advertising,
empty streets and vacant storefronts. Wired did this pretty great article on the desolate 'uninhabited' wasteland its
become since its inception. Check those images on the second page for reference:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-08/ff_sheep

Remember not-so-long-ago when corporations and private investors were buying 'real estate' in Second Life
for thousands of dollars to promote their consumer products and agendas? Look what's become of all those
investments just a scant few years later. This may redefine the word 'Dystopia' entirely on its own... or at least
a prototype for Dystopia: Corporate entities scrambling to fill every last visible 'surface' with advertising in a
world predominantly devoid of participants... and a absence of any culture outside those that commerce produces.
But! there is hope. Hope in this little nightmare of a virtual anti-society comes in the form of those participants
who are discontent, and some of these 'discontents' have chosen to 'act' in the digital virtual-sense by remaking
their world around them. In the shape of totally hilarious works of Surrealist Hacker-Art:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/vandals-bomb-abc-island/2007/05/22/1179601400256.html

http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/good-grief-bad-vibes/2006/12/21/1166290662836.html

Wired article on the artists/'Griefers'/perpetrators. Read at least the first page for descriptions of some
of their other finest 'works' to date:

http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/magazine/16-02/mf_goons

Well, if this says anything about the social values of the world we live in today; seems the consensus is that
people would still prefer to live out their lives in the 3rd Dimension over the 2nd. Even if on the internet you
can make a avatar for yourself thats significantly sexier, more commercial-cool, has tighter fitting jeans and
a better haircut that you do in 'reality'. Or is a fire-breathing fairy-princess with a sword ...that flies around
on a oversized magic mushroom. Either way, the enticement, by this example at least, suggests its not
significant enough for the general tech-informed populace of the modern world to perceive a need for a
'SecondLife' outside the one they live in the tangible shared space of the 3rd dimension.

And as a response within that digital social environ I'm awesomely glad to see hacker crews putting
those skills toward reclaiming some our virtual-psychological landscape! They're refered to as 'Griefers'
for the miserablism they inspire in regular online participants, but this seems a pretty optimistic / joyously
antagonistic / playful / highly inventive way of expressing their malaise/discontent to me - in the best
possible sense. Some of it political, some of it just for the insane fun of it all. Either way, it fills me with
happiness and hope. ...And a good laugh. I usually wouldn't write on 'virtual' art but these are such
inventive, playful, sometimes political, often hilarious and *insane* works of surrealist narrative
virtual-situationalism - that they may very well be creating a new form of 21st Century political
post-surrealism here all on their own. And more power to em!