The Political Culture in Second Life

…shown by an Example in the Art World.

Is that accepted art? (with the beautiful avatars of Cherry Manga and Anley Piers)
We all know that Second Life is no democracy, but something like an absolutist system. To me it is a bit like China. Freedom in economics, but the rest.... We, the residents, have no other choice to complain about the incomprehensible decisions by LL that affect our lifes here but nobody cares.

A good example of it is the LEA's committee. LEA is for Linden Endowment of Arts which enables artists to make use of about 30 sims for a limited time. The great initiative of some has led to the formation of this committee, which approves the applications. Without knowing details, it was certainly not democratically determined. Different approaches of the members have led in the meantime to a deep crack. It is an open secret that this committee is more ore less paralyzed. Those of them I know still do their best. But despite all good intentions it creates an unhealthy culture of favoritism. Some great artists have got no LEA parcel, on others I wonder what them has brought to this privilege. But that's just my very subjective opinion.
Is that Griefing?
Artists are a unique species. I know this too well, as there are some in my closest RL. Dear artists do not be upset with me but most of you are divas, with more emotional and irrational thinking as normal people. Probably exactly that is what makes you creative. But it is also dangerous to live with you; conflicts with you turn much faster to major dramas as with others.

A good example is the everlasting drama about a particular person: SaveMe Oh

When I talk to artists, SaveMe is almost described as the devil himself. She is blamed to satisfy her huge ego on other artists costs. And above all, she is denied again and again to be an artist.

How is the art world in SL? First of all, it is very small, people know each other. RL artists and RL laymen are appearing here as an artist. There are copyists of their own RL works and there are virtual, immersive artists. There are content creators and buyers of prefabs. And of course there are all styles of art. Between these groups is smoldering huge conflict potential, but gladly one common enemy holds all together: SaveMe Oh.

What is so terribly bad with SaveMe? She walks with giant attachments to particular art events, such as openings. They are usually so large that visitors can barely see the exhibited works. Sometimes she also practice verbal criticism of the exhibition. This regularly leads to the fact that SaveMe is banned or has been banned as a precaution. The results of the discussions are found in SaveMe's blog. The visitors, including myself find these incidents often amusing. And if one feels really disturbed, he just mute or derender her and moves on. But not the artists - oh noo. THEY ARE TERRIBLY UPSET! And gather with friends to verbally incite against this disorder. I understand that an artist gave his heart blood to a new work, but a bit more sovereignty should be possible. And sometimes it really helps to take yourself not so very important. Once an artwork is displayed, it belongs to the public. There is no guarantee of praise and approval. And unfortunately, the prevailing opinion against SaveMe leads to the fact that her supporters are constantly in a defensive position or rather just enjoy silently.
Enioying the Action (taken by Rose Borchovski)
Such a situation can be handled cool and confident. Ux Hax has shown this last Friday at the opening of Anley Piers "The Dark Side". He let play SaveMe a while and has even offered her to get the sim Metales for a monthly display, which she denied. He had the last laugh on his side. And after a reasonable time SaveMe was banned from the event. Obviously also fell no evil words in IM, that it was for SaveMe not interesting enough for a blog entry. Bravo, that way all had their fun!

Now, many readers will wonder why I think these actions are good and needed. First of all, I saw especially in Anley's monochromatic world that these attachments created something new and nice. But there is a much more important reason: Everyone knows almost everyone in this small world. That creates a “kiss kiss society” as we say in German, where nobody wants to hurt the other. There is no real art critic in SL. The small handful of bloggers are so integrated that they keep quiet, instead of practicing negative criticism. But every artist needs criticism to grow. And I say here without any political correctness, that a large number of artists in SL overestimate the quality and importance of their works. They just listen the praise from their friends. SaveMe is a pleasant cure glitch in this world. And her actions are not always, but often funny. Here for example an opening by Betty Tureaud, the only I ever wrote about:
Opening of "The Fall" by Betty Tureaud
And I had tears of laughter at an event where she simply wore the sign “Booooring” . Since it was a voice event, I realized that it was not just me. But with the examples of the openings of Betty Tureaud and Anley Piers it is also clear that SaveMe select the disturbed events according to popularity. I do not write about these actions regularly, because I want to present to the readers of my blog content about places they can see and experience themself. I've often asked SaveMe of giving me a hint before, but that did not happen so far for obvious reasons. Therefore, I would be grateful if SaveMe really would make an installation maybe at Metales. Then could come all the artists of SL, and embellish the work with their own attachments. That would be a great spectacle and something one would talk about a long time!

These actions are an expression of pure egoism and griefing? Would a vain artist write this in his own blog: “…
and then the awful witch SaveMe Oh found it again necessary to say some awful words about it as if she produces herself higher quality…” I think many are not able to see the humour in all that.
The "eye" to my right is Typote Beck
SaveMe Oh is far from beeing a saint. I myself have witnessed personal attacks of her, that were beyond all tolerable. But I also note, that this is as well a question of different communication cultures. More than once I saw that I had to laugh about actions which others found quite horrible. Northern Europeans are simply more direct and harsh in tone. From others often perceived as rude. I spoke to Kiana Writer. She is the owner and creative head of MadPea and Finn. She said: "Northern Europeans definitely have a different way to communicate than let's say Southern Europeans or Americans. We are perceived as cold and even rude, but the truth is far from that. Our humor is slightly different and we do not often just chit chat about things. We say what we mean and stand by our word .. so we may talk less, but it's more straightforward and to the point. I always try to make sure when communicating with people from other cultures that either side is not misunderstood and it's often easier to do that one voice, when you get to hear the actual tone of the voice. "

But now to the cause of this much too long post: Between the Pirats artgroup and SaveMe there is a long enmity, whose origin I do not know and do not even want to know. I am personally a supporter of Pirats because no other group of artists actually brings together so many different styles and artists on one platform. This is actually practiced tolerance. So it is only natural that in each exhibition are some works I like and others I do not. Nevertheless, I agree with SaveMe's criticism that the reconstruction of concrete buildings as virtual walls for copied RL works is not necessarily an effective artistically way to exploit the possibilities of a virtual 3D environment. But SL is big enough for everyone. SaveMe is constantly banned from the Pirats sim. Someone said yesterday in the Pirats gallery:  "Freedom stops where the freedom of others is hurted."  I reply: True tolerance begins where it hurts. And I say, yesterday we saw an expression of freedom of the strongest or lets say the better connected to the force! In such situations my Joan of Arc gene turns active!
Iono Allen, Rose Borchovski, Cat Shilova, me watching SaveMe's action from Pirats (by betty Tureaud )

Pirats had recently financial difficulties and have found after a rescue event asylum on a LEA Sim. Of course SaveMe was banned before it opened yesterday. I appeared a bit earlier and had problems to get into the sim and came by a neighbor sim. The faithful friend of Pirats openings, lag, was already there! The LEA sims are connected, and maybe 20 minutes after the opening SaveMe Oh started on the empty sim behind Pirats an art action with attachments, supported by several colleagues and friends. I would like to particularly mention Kikas Babenko and Marmaduke Arado. It was colorful, funny, friendly and beautiful!

…until Sasun Steinbeck, a member of the LEA Committee appeared in the Pirate's Gallery and banished SaveMe Oh from the neighbor sim. The other artists were spared.

I don’t know Sasun, but I asked for an explanation. Here it is: [05/03/2012 15:11] Sasun Steinbeck: she was wearing a very large prime of some sort that was blocking access by avatars in the gallery here and intruding into their space "
I'll spare you the rest because there were only repetitions of the same content.
Sasun Steinbeck at Pirats (2nd from right)
Unfortunately I have to state very clearly that I can not confirm. I was on both sims. The attachments were as always set on phantom. I could pass at any time and I was able to move freely as well in the Pirats Gallery. For a longer while I stood at the window with others. At no time intruded the attachment visibly the Pirats Gallery. Right at the moment of the ban I was walking through the gallery and was before able to move freely besides the lag.

In this context, I quote myself from a comment to a great post by Rowan Derryth that has been written about another SaveMe drama: "I'm German. My country has a very special story in the oppression of artists. Famous artists seeking as Kandinsky, Munch, Kokoschka, Dix, to name just a few, were classified as degenerate by the Nazi's. 20 000 art works from 1400 artists were removed from German museums and destroyed or given away. Countless are the artists who were killed or simply starved to death and are forgotten today. Who was behind it? An artist: Adolf Hitler. Twice he was rejected for lack of talent at art school in Vienna, Which did not prevented him for painting and worship the romantics of the 19th Century. But that's not the end. I grew up in the West with constant media coverage on artists, who wanted or had to leave the GDR because of suppression of their work. The GDR had a constant leakage of important artists to the west. In my personal opinion the mechanisms of repression under fascism and communism are exactly the same. The GDR leadership was even with her bad taste in art in the tradition of the Nazis. Shortly after the fall I moved to East Germany and saw partly personal, partly through media more personal tragedies in the art world, which are attributable to differing opinions about art and its role in society. They were always held with a special passion and hardness by artists. I could write about this topic alone a whole book. I'll spare you now deeper thoughts on that and come to my conclusion: Legal certainty and freedom of expression / art are the largest and most sacred treasures of modern culture and must be defended at all costs. And just in our little global village in SL should be banned because someone else artist feels itself under attack? This is unacceptable for me and the first step to fascism. Who is here to determine what is art and what is not, who may exhibit and who not, how shall be presented and how not? "
The rest after SaveMe was banned
A creative and humorous counter-demonstration by artists was simply eliminated by favoritism. The action yesterday was a dark hour for the art world in SL. I think it's really high time that the residents should think about democratic structures in SL.



Rowan Derryth said...

Great post about a tricky situation. I unfortunately couldn't make the opening so can't speak to the situation, but I've made my views clear elsewhere. I can see both sides of this one. But I'm pleased you said what you did about how we are afraid of being too critical, which we've talked about elsewhere.

Rowan Derryth said...

Oh! But I've just looked through this again, and I want to respond to one point. You said: 'The great initiative of some has led to the formation of this committee, which approves the applications. Without knowing details, it was certainly not democratically determined. Different approaches of the members have led in the meantime to a deep crack. It is an open secret that this committee is more ore less paralyzed. Those of them I know still do their best. But despite all good intentions it creates an unhealthy culture of favoritism.'

So, I've recently been asked to be an LEA Advisor - non-voting committee member. I obviously wasn't there for the last round of selections, but I am watching the current round which is being run the same way - democratically. I've also been very impressed with how much work they've done and are doing, so I don't think it is fair to characterize them as paralysed. Perhaps, as everyone has been so busy, what is being done isn't as transparent, and I know some are working hard to get more marketing out. But any walk through the LEA sims shows that there is a lot going on.

There are all kinds of cliques in the art world, and all of SL... it's pretty difficult to be neutral for anyone, and as you say, we should perhaps all be more critical. One might even argue that those who do not appreciate SaveMe's work are exercising their own voices in that aspect.

But again, great post - you've opened the door for discussion on some interesting and important issues as ever!

Rose said...

Quan, I admire how you have explained the event of last night and your opinion, ty)

My reply to Rowan; I also expressed an interest to be part of the Lea committee.
Because I felt: that when I shout, I also should take responsibility and spent time and energy on it.
The reply I got back from the member, which proposed me to the committee was: that one of the members had huge problems with me and could not bare me inside it and after that silence! I have heard nothing else. So that is how far democracy goes, it is personal likes and dislikes. Friends holding friends hands.
It has nothing to do with my qualities and vision!

Anonymous said...

Quan I apreciate so much that you explain the last-night-event and your opinion so clearly. I personally agree with your point of view but what I really like is that you was so brave to tell what a lot of people/artists think about this question : ''despite all good intentions it creates an unhealthy culture of favoritism''and more ''Some great artists have got no LEA parcel, on others I wonder what them has brought to this privilege'' and this detail includes a lot of names.
I did not ask nor I need a space at lea because i do not build any-art-anymore so, good for me in this case... But infact, as Rose writes, the choise is not a question of Art but a merely a question of ''nuances''..., so for that, for example, Rose did not get the space and etc etc ..! Ty Quan! Luce Laval

Solo Mornington said...

Actually, Rose, what happened with your nomination was what happens with all such things: the committee voted.

No doubt Rose and others have received criticism for their work. Not in an institutional way like Rose's naked distressed children imagery getting the banhammer from LL, but in the sense of being rejected or criticized in a negative way. You work your ass off on something and some twit comes along and says you're stupid for even trying, or you get rejected based on practical concerns, like not getting a grant or residency or whatever because there's just not enough room. It's natural for a lot of people to lash out at the first easy target that comes along, rather than keeping perspective.

Well, the LEA is a resident-run community group. We're all busy volunteers trying to do stuff that benefits as many as we can. Despite having lives outside of SL, we work really hard to keep LEA going in a good direction. We want everyone who comes to the LEA to have an enjoyable experience, and be able to make up their own minds about the art. And that's a real problem when you have someone wearing giant prims with the intention of making it difficult for you to even *see* the art, much less understand it.

So therefore: Art at LEA gets preference over 'art' intended solely to annoy.

SaveMe Oh and Rose and anyone else is welcome to apply for a residency when we're taking applications. We will evaluate the application based on its feasibility and merit and verve and rock and roll, and then vote on it. If it works out then yay. If it doesn't, then I suppose the scapegoating starts.

And as to Quan: "A creative and humorous counter-demonstration by artists was simply eliminated by favoritism." Actually no. The comparisons to Nazis and the GDR do not apply, unless you want to compare SaveMe to the ones dictating who can and cannot show their art without disruption. I mean, sure you can show your art but a Brown Shirt will show up and denigrate you while you look at it. Yay freedom!

The problem with SaveMe's antics is not that it's critical of the art. The distinction is that one can be critical without defacing the art before it's even seen. That seems to be SaveMe's goal. 'A counter-demonstration obliterated the voice of the artist exhibiting,' is a more fair way to state it. Your coverage of the event doesn't even mention who was showing at Pirats, what you thought of the art, or any such. You were distracted by ShinyThing Oh to the point that the art became irrelevant to you.

SaveMe is a troll. That can be amusing. But it's also just trolling.

-- Solo Mornington, LEA Committee member

Rose said...

Solo I appreciate you spent so much time on your work for the LEA committee. I cheer for you and thank you with great gratitude.

When I was rejected for a lea sim to start and develop my new story, you and some other members of the committee never took the effort to come to ‘Two Fish’ and investigate what I make.

You only had heard about me because of the “nipple gate”.
For your information (because you still do not understand what I make):
The Susa story is not about naked distressed children. It is fundamental deep story, with several layers and does not only exist in SL.

Art is not a “hobby” for me, it is for more then 25 years my profession and in my RL art I have found a way to successfully embrace the language of SL.

Certainly in Europe we (and I say “we” because I have a great team of collaborators), we have been a pioneer in using new media in our work:
performances, installations, video mapping and film.

I hope you can understand that I raised my eyebrows, when you personal explain to me that I was not allowed to work on a lea sim, because my art is not interactive and meaningful enough!
You gave me an encouraging tap on the shoulder, with the fatherly words that I should not give up and try again next time!
The last advice you gave to me: “ you can try to rush for land”

With my application of the lea sim I gave the committee a full résumé of my RL achievements, but you had not even looked at it.

And now again you show to role of the understanding mentor.

I do not need a mentor and I do not need your encouragement, I know very well what my capacity and limitations are as an Artist in RL and in SL.

My performance the “blue Planet” which I created with SL content for the expo in Spain is now going to China and will be performed in two big theatres in Hong Kong and Macau. The publicity of our performance in China is starting now and will be not unnoticed.

You spoke very patronizing about that and my heart sunk. For me it was clear you do not really understand about what you are talking and what the function of the LEA can be: Seriously promoting Sl art around the world (also outside SL), creating a platform for professional new media artists and a breeding place for new comers.

I can understand you personally do not want me in your LEA committee, because I will be a huge pain in your ass. But I find it very difficult to find another motivation why I was not allowed.

And….maybe next time when you reject someone for your lea committee you can show some courtesy and inform that person about the rejection and take the effort to explain why and not use a public blog to do this!

I understand very well why Quan made the relationship with the GDR.
It was not allowed to be different and you had to step inline.
I shiver when you say: “Saveme is a troll. That can be amusing, But it’s just trolling!”
As a member of the committee you should refrain yourself of making remarks like that, it is out of place. You are no Judge or ruler who can decide who is an artists or not in sl!

I understood the Pirate staff did not ask for Saveme to be banned from the land next door of their gallery. It is police work of a LEA member.
The lea committee should stop acting like linden police or babysitters.

Quan Lavender said...

To Solo: As I have written in my post I keep quiet to exhibitions I find not interesting. Sorry to say, but that was the fact with the works I found there this time. You might not know about the history of this blog. The large majority of readers ist not the art world, but people who have fun travelling around in SL. My goal is always to show that art is NOT only for a small circle of insiders or some kind of elite. A gallery like this as a temple of the well educated bourgeoisie is exactly that what many people fear in their RL. I added the LM as always give everone the chance to form his own opinion. And regarding SaveMe: I think you should read my whole blog post. I wrote clearly that I think banishment is an appropriate way - but this time ist was on a neighbor sim on a group of sims which has to be regarded as public and was not effecting the Pirats event. That was was simply an act of dictatorship!

Luce said...

I would very much like to read the curriculum of the LEA mentors Rose this would clarify the matter of the whole question. :-) Luce Laval

Marmaduke Arado said...

Good point Luce! I started by checking Mr. Solo's.

His profile:


His store at SL's Marketplace:


Can't say I'm terribly impressed by his credentials to be a LEA Committee Member and have a final word on what is art and what isn't!

Anonymous said...

No time to write much right now, but standing applauses to Quan's post, and many thanks for bringing this in the open air. Then, again standing applauses to Quan's answer to Solo. And even more standing ovation for Rose's reply. I hope this will bring some people to think twice before patronizing.
And, no, I am not an rl artist, just an educated art lover. But, too,a respected professionnal in my field of research, with several acknowledged large publications and speeches to international numerous audiences to present my works. Just for you to know, Solo, and other discrimating people, that friends around Saveme Oh are not total idiots. With enough intellectual abilities to build their own opinions and to know why they are where they are. What happened 2 days ago is a totalitarian attitude. Shame on those who decided it. This is only a small part of what I wish to say. Next time...

Cat Shilova

Anonymous said...

During the time this discussions go on I asume I just continue until the avatar is free, free at last!

Luce said...

@Marmaduke.... looking at his marketplace we can clearly see what art is... my compliments to this artist he deserve a Lea sim forever....
Or may be im not so good as he is and cannot opinion about art...

Ux said...

freedom or Debauchery ??
SaveMe are two different things, you know what you talking about?, seem to hear what I say and repeat like a parrot, because they do not even know the true meaning of freedom! to start first thing is the respect!
for everyone else what you practice is the debauchery!

Quan Lavender said...

Ux, is that a reply to SaveMe?

Ux said...

Yes, if it is a response to the words that has SaveMe

Anonymous said...

I have no respect for self acclaimed judges, policeman, guarddogs, artists,artcritics, gallery owners, people who are religious and hate drama, people who pay and think they own everything and people who claim they know what freedom is. Debauchery I respect a lot as it is free, wild, exiting, crossing borders, tickling creativity and inspiring.

Solo Mornington said...

Quan, I appreciate your perspective on showing that art is interesting to people other than snooty artists. LEA is trying to do that, too.

But I have to say... The neighboring region you mention is not 'regarded as public' in the way that you mean. We manage these regions, and they're not up for grabs for anyone.

We have an Art Sandbox and Self-Curating Gallery, by the way. LEA5 is the region, and anyone can place their art on it, and it will stay for two weeks. Even SaveMe Oh has exhibited slags on the LEA there, without censorship. It's a mixed grab-bag of all kinds of works, and constantly changing.

But I guess we're all just dictators at the LEA.

Rowan Derryth said...

Rose... I can only say that I personally would have loved to have you there, and sorry to see you are not.

I can also say that I am not really 'friends' with anyone there, except perhaps Bryn, and she and I have mostly only chatted in a professional sense and have become friendlier of late. So I for one am not holding anyone's hand, and will continue offering advise biased only by the opinions of one person: myself.

And I have notoriously snotty views on what we should be promoting in terms of virtual art - and what we should not. ;-)

Rowan Derryth said...

My goal is to be Switzerland for the sake of artistic practice, which isn't always easy, but I must also come in briefly on the comment about Rose's work being 'naked distressed children'. For ANYONE who thinks this about Rose's work, please go read my 'nipple gate' related post, which I was moved to write when everyone was freaking out and taking sides instead of considering the actual WORK. Which drove me a little nuts: http://primperfectblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/ekphrasis-extra-bursting-the-susa-bubble/

And perhaps that might go some way to hinting at my own credentials for anyone curious. But then again, I just advise, I don't vote.

Apologies to Quan for the self-promotey bit but hopefully my intention in posting that is clear.

Ux said...

Replay SaveMe
freedom is to be where you want and when you want, but you with your actions, you lock yourself and cut your own freedom, because you want to be with us and on our sites? we are not interested in your presence, buy a SIM and get together with people from your poor philosophy. misconceptions of your life, if an artist is an artist, is leaving the skin to be, you want everything for free? or prefer to pay others and is yours?
SaveMe work, work hard, and you can also have your sim :P
poor you ... I feel sorry .. 're so so wrong
are aware that people do not laugh for your actions, but it laughs at you?
ever thought in spending the soaps?

Quan Lavender said...

Ux, my opinion is that SaveMe's actions are not meant to be and she does not want to be taken serious. The funny thing is that so many intelligent people do it anyway and that causes dramas. Doesn't SL write the best soaps?

Anonymous said...


Feel us free said...

good article))

Anonymous said...

Ofcourse this is the most populair post of all time. It's the only post that has a content!

Quan Lavender said...

Wow SaveMe, thank you! I am still waiting for a post with content in your blog.

Apmel said...

Don´t ask for the impossible..