(that time of the semester)

April 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, second life, secondlife, teaching, thoughts)

Confession: I need to go draw. Desperately. It’s killing me not to. But I am so exhausted from a variety of school/life stuff, that I just can’t get it together to actually make something. I keep promising myself, “This weekend… this weekend…” I never have a problem with drive or desire or not having enough ideas. In this case, it’s purely energy that’s holding me back.

Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to teach my Kitsch class, I got an email from the department chair asking me to fill in for her in one of her classes, and to do a section for the class on Second Life. As tired as I was, I made it work and before i knew it, her students and I had spent three hours in SL. By the end of the class, she invited me to propose a Second Life class for her and this morning I spent some time working on that proposal a bit. I’ll post it here as soon as I’ve had a bit of time to think about it.

Usually, as a teacher, you get excited about what the class gets excited about. There’s an artist somewhere that you mention to a student; next thing you know they’re raving about it to their classmates and suddenly you see things in the work you never saw before. They get excited and you get excited – and you see the world through their excited eyes. My experience yesterday with the class in SL was a little different.

I could characterize the students’ reaction to SL (and it was the first time most of them had ever seen it) as “fascinated but repulsed” – probably the best reaction I could have hoped for, although I hadn’t realized it before. I tried to be as cheerful and bubbly as possible, showing them a variety of sites in world; they reacted with a mix of disgust and horror. Almost immediately, they started questioning the ownership of the space, bringing up questions of censorship and the intrusion of branding, wondering aloud about morality, responsibility, scarcity and the inherent conservatism of the space. It was amazing. And the more they looked at me with total and complete horror and fear in their eyes from seeing this “new world” unfold in front of me, the more I wanted to show them.

They represent exactly what SL has been missing – they are, individually and as a group, a critical voice. SVA students are wonderfully anti-corporate and distrusting of (and very savvy about) marketing campaigns. They’re artists; they know all how images can be manipulated. So their very anti-SL reaction is what has now convinced me that SVA really does need a presence there. If this really is the future of entertainment, advertising, etc., then I want a group of smart naysayers in there, questioning everything and raising hell. And, of course, I would be thrilled to help lead them there.

So, keep your fingers crossed. I really have to see how my schedule shakes out over the next couple of semesters, but I would like to do this.

And on that note: in lieu of showing a brand-new drawing, here is one of my SL drawings. This one is of a nude beach… at which most of the avatars were wearing clothes (go figure):

beachsm1.jpg

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3 Comments

  1. Andrew said,

    I know what you mean about it being that time of the semester. I haven’t slept in days and there’s all sorts of miscommunications going on about due dates and presentations and papers, but it’s amplified to like 150, instead. Yuck.

    I am mildly curious about the Second Life world, however, I just don’t have time or energy for it. Then again, I’m leaving school shortly, so perhaps I’ll join up. But I doubt it. I grew up and experienced the explosion of the internet and was addicted for years to chat programs and the early incarnations of avatars. It’s addictive and not necessarily fulfilling in what I would consider a meaningful way. But who knows… my feelings could change …

  2. Andrew said,

    YO! I was just walking through your freshman classes drawing “show” up in the hall on the 7th floor and thought the drawings/collage on the pieces of book pages was AWESOME! I really like them quite a lot. Good job, Teacher Lady.

  3. amywilson said,

    thank you!! 🙂

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