The Art of Protest And The Hobby of Protest

…or Audience Offending.

The only gnome, I ever had in my garden (http://www.gartenzwerge-manufaktur.de/)
Naturally, the current contest at Art India Gallery ‘Art of Protest’ made me thinking about the role and function of protest in SL, not only in art. The theme was already given when I took over the curating and it is smartly chosen. Art always played an important role in protesting. It has the ability to attract interest for a theme and hopefully make the “art consumer” thinking. And as we see from the interest and number of visitors it is appreciated. But is that enough? Why do we express protest? Obviously when there is an unacceptable situation; something that has to be changed. Is it changed by the artwork itself or by the appreciating visitors? Obviously not! Or is the appreciation of protesting art just a cheap excuse not to do anything because the artists already did and we are not urged to leave our comfort zone, but can feel cool and critical? And we leave the dirty job of working on changes to others…

Protest usually is against power-holders, groups or single persons, which are using their power to the own benefit. Of course they use their power too, to suppress protest. Usually there are only a few who express their opinion, the large majority just steps back, hoping that the protest will change the situation to better for all, but does not dare to say it openly After the Fall in Germany we got much media coverage about the mechanism of a Revolution. I learnt from social research scientists that the majority starts to work actively for a change when the risk of getting punished is lower than the risk of the personal outcomes of an ongoing old system. Or in other words, the large majority decides only under the perspective of the own benefit to support a revolution or not. With this background the gnomes has been chosen as symbol for the contest. They are cute and don’t hurt anybody. Upon that, in Germany they became a symbol for philistines, for people who do not want to change anything.

At the beginning of the revolution in Eastern Germany a small minority dared to express that what everyone was thinking, dared to go on the street, dared to film it and dared to pass the material to Western media, risking their life. Without these people probably the GDR still would exist. Those people are different, they are able to set back their own interests in order to follow a higher goal; people with ideals and courage. But beyond that, some even seem to love protesting and one can suspect that a goal with sense has a minor priority. Negative examples of this kind of persons are Hooligans.

Selby Evens explained recently in a blog post, why SL is not a game, but a hobby because it has no given goals. Especially that is what attracts the average resident. Fast we start to work on goals which we had to give up RL or as an addition. Since we do not proper money in terms of RL, if even, we have to regard it as hobby. But it means as well, that most residents are taking their virtual life more serious as they would feel in a game. And obviously there a people in SL, who have the hobby to protest or play protest. I talk about Her Who Must Not Be Named: SaveMe Oh. And of course a bunch of people more, which are far from being obedient servants, but are smart and strong people with a free mind. I usually respect what they are doing as already expressed in this blog. But I cannot deny, that I myself sometimes ask for the sense of actions, for example when SaveMe appeared at the opening of a MadPea’s game opening to beat the opening-awaiting crowd. And I must admit that I absolutely do not get the purpose of the current actions at Burn2. This event lost much of its importance and is just one of many. And it is completely organized and paid by a group of residents which of course have the right to create rules. As long as they don’t hurt basic rights, criticizers have no more right than to express verbally or just to avoid that event. 

Taken by Apmel Goosson
After reading the above you should understand why for the opening of the Art of Protest Kikas Babenco and Marmaduke Arado has been invited for some action. There was no need to invite SaveMe, because her appearance at such events is unavoidable like a flu epidemic in winter. And they did a good job. I could not even find myself in the mess and started to derender some attachments of SaveMe as I always do in such cases. But many prefer to become upset instead of doing the same. I received a flood of IM with complaints about her. I asked everyone to mute or derender and to take it with humour. But it was obvious that quite a few preferred to stay upset and to get me and the sim owner to ban SaveMe; for me a ridiculous idea on an Art of Protest event.

I was exhausted that day and of course wanted to have every visitor happy, so that it took me a good sleep to witness the game that the visitors played with me at this incident. After I worked hard to get a good exhibition for the visitors they expected me to do the dirty job of getting rid of a person that THEY did not wanted to have there! I sent SaveMe an IM to ask her, if she got critical IM’s during that opening. NOT EVEN ONE WROTE HER OR COMPLAINED IN LOCAL CHAT! I can understand if people act spineless when they really have something to loose; the job, home or the grant of studies for the children as happened in GDR. But to do the same when there is really nothing to lose than just some personal convenience by beeing offended or posted in her blog… Now I suddenly understood why SaveMe is thinking that almost all SL is behind her, which I seriously doubt. 

SL also should be a platform to try new things such as civil courage. I already had this idea before the exhibition started and asked SaveMe to participate. She was not interested. But did she ever ask others before she acted? Therefore you find now two boards at Art India Gallery:

Why I love SaveMe Oh!

Why I hate SaveMe Oh!

You will find contributions by me on both boards and hope now for yours. You can pass me textures which I will place there and of course, named is most appreciated. Or you just send me a sentence and I create the texture. In case you wish to contribute in anonymity it is granted this way. Nobody else will ever know. Promised! Goal is to make critics thinking of her positive social function, to make SaveMe thinking about her mistakes by getting open critics and to make us all thinking about the mechanism of change in society and what our own part can be, especially when we are not alone!

Come, vote at the contest and show together with others SaveMe Oh what you think about her!

Taxi:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Shekhawati/215/28/35 Take the tp at the gnome's display!


Anonymous said...

When you are not noticed in the world you can always use the fame of SaveMe Oh! And you know what Quan? You can have me completely. I am actually quite happy for you that only your articles about me are really blockbusters on your blog.

Kikas Babenco said...

Like Fernando Pessoa said:
Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se...

my bad translation
First you think it weird then you get addicted...

Marmaduke Arado said...

"I absolutely do not get the purpose of the current actions at Burn2"

I'd worry more about the REaction — at least 16 people banned (not including alts) without explanation from Burn2, some just for watching an improvised performance at a "fertile chaos zone" ruled by a First principle of "radical inclusion".

Rose said...

Was burn a private payed event ? Not sponsored by Linden?

Quan Lavender said...

Yes, completely payed by donations.

Rose said...

I still find it remarkable how they policed this event, but in the end it is their playground
and they are free to role-play their rangers part.

It is a pity and confusing that the name is associated with the old " Burning Man", because besides the ground texture and probably a burning man at the end, it does not breath the Burning mans atmosphere, crazy creativity and openness.

Marmaduke Arado said...

"completely payed by donations"

"it is their playground"

of course, but still they proudly profess to adhere to "The Ten Principles", in which you can read things like:


Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic.



I mean, this was far from being similar to Pussy Riot playing at the altar of a church...

And I won't go into the disgraceful reasons why the "protest" came about (they're pretty well explained in Apmel's blog).