Mantis Oh: Ascension

Looks as if fellow co-blogger Ziki Questi and I follow the same paths currently. When I finished taking pictures at Ascension I saw that she already posted last night. I am actually grateful for her post because it gives me the chance to discuss some topics. And please have in mind that this is my personal, politically totally incorrect opinion. I am neither scientist, nor art teacher.

Please read Ziki's post. It is as usually well written and should mirror the opinion of the majority in the art scene of Second Life. And to an extend I agree with her. To me, it is very well built, I like the play with sounds and lights. The visitor should take the time to touch all pads, try all items and to watch and hear. And I like too the artificial, futuristic architecture in a unreal looking world. But there is a bit to much advertising for the inworld shop. I don't need in every bloody corner a board with LM and always the same artist statement note card. And I missed a bit more ideas in the work, I saw a bit to much repetitions just in other colors.


Although Second Life is a virtual world, it is very much vintage. Roleplay sims often have a historical background, virtualised novels usually refer to books which are 100 years old or older. Just think about Lovecraft or all the Alice sims. I am already that much fed up with Alice that I will soon write a post about it. Maybe this virtual vintage world is due to the fact that most of us are in the second half of our real lifes, to say it nice. The same with art. Don't we all agree that VIRTUAL ART IS THE FUTURE OF ART? . But what do we see? Uploaded handpaintings, conservative 2D art made 3D, lovingly reproductions of historical buildings.

How many artists really use the possibilities of the virtual worlds to explore new ways of art creation? Of course, some do. To name a few which come spontaneously in my mind: Betty Tureaud, Thoth Jantzen, Oberon OnmuraPol Jarvinen, Giovanna Cerise, Solkide Auer and yes, Mantis Oh. And there are more, but I think you understand where I am going to. The wonderful Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser created a lot of buildings with a vision of a different kind of houses, as you might know. Long ago I saw an interview with him where he was asked why he as painter came to construction. He answered: "In the old times houses has been so nice that painters painted them. Nowadays they are so ugly that we must create them.” I wonder why so few visionary force in Second Life goes to ideas of our future life's instead of always looking towards the past and to try the best possible idealized virtual copy.

And with our conservative view on art here, do we get young people interested in virtual art? Not really! They can be found in clubs, if even in Second Life. And as well as Mikati Slades's great pop art sim attracted other people than the usual art community (more or less are we all born RL shortly after the Stone Age) I am convinced that Ascension will do too.

But there is another, more important reason why I think that Mantis Oh deserves a place at a LEA sim. Let's talk about music in Second Life. Same game here, full of oldies: Blues, Jazz, Chanson Singers and most of all Rock Oldies to the extend. The musical structures of this kinds of music are the same as with Pop music: very simple. There is only one exception, Prog-Rock has roots in classical music, but is never heard in SL. Mantis Oh is RL Cari Leckebusch, the most popular Techno/Trance producer and DJ in Sweden and an international Star. Now I see many of you rolling eyes and thinking of bulks of party-kids filled up with drugs. Of course, there is a Pop scene in Techno too. But lets have a look to the origins of Techno, which are actually in the Avantgarde. Composers like Arnold Schönberg and Oskar Sala are seen as the ancestors of Electronic music. And the Avantgarde moved ahead. I was a child when Kraftwerk 1970 came out with their first disc and I was immediately hooked by this piece:

Luckily a friend had a record of it and I could copy with the huge tape recorder of my father. I heard it to the extend and since then I followed the avantgarde scene losely. Later I understood that Kraftwerk was following the movement of Minimal Music, represented i.e. by John Cage or nowadays John Adams.  I was lucky enough to live in Berlin during the Love Parade years and saw by myself that the commercialization of Techno started in the 90ies and partly became pop culture. But still a part of the scene is not and it is still a music of massive complexity. To digest musical complexity has to be learned, which many never could and Techno is for me the most contemporary music.

Writing about this memories are coming up. In 1994 I saw in the Academy of Arts in Berlin "Futura", a Techno Ballet written by one of the most genius Trance producers ever: Cosmic Baby (Harald Blüchel). I still love, love, love that piece as all of his music:

Alone from the poster you see how much this ballet was rooted in the Bauhaus movement (Triadisches Ballett) and far away from Pop Culture.

The best musicians of their times always used technical innovations and I am convinced that Bach today would be a Techno producer. Just think about his composition “Das wohltemperierte Klavier, which referred to a just invented method of harmonizing the tones, that made it possible to play a keyboard in all major and minor keys. Not to forget, Bach was not very popular at his time. His geniality has been discovered by later generations.

My personal believing is that a progression of all kinds of art always goes hand in hand with the technical development, while the mainstream is naturally behind. Therefore I believe more in a future of virtual art and Techno as in handpaintings and Rock unplugged. And we should be proud to have one of the best European Techno DJ's in Second Life who is a skilled builder too!  Linden Lab did right to put the build into the Destination Guide as Editor's Pick. I hope for some great Trance mix ups.

 Don't forget to take the gift at Level 7, which contains jam units to play with sounds. I love them.

Link to Cari Lekebusch's homepage: http://www.lekebuschmusik.se/

Taxi: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA16/128/126/34

Some addings:

Looks as if this topic is discussed in the posts. Ziki Questi gave some comments om my post. Regarding the addition of musicians she is right, I just did a very personal choice not to throw to much names against the readers. But I disagree with the distinction between classical and popular music and I am actually surprised as I was thinking that it is only a German issue. Looking into the past we have too admit that Mozart was some kind of pop star at his time. Does this reduce his quality of his music? Only the test of time will prove that, nothing else.

Also Inara Pey wrote a post which you should read. An also on this I have to comment: MUSIC IS ART! Therefore it is wrong to say that music is a nice addition to art. And secondly we cannot say that only artists are acceptable at LEA who don't promote their RL work in SL. Because every artist who exposes his RL name in Second Life or who loads RL works up promotes his work and the LEA sims would be very empty if we would wipe out them.

I really enjoy that discussion :)


Anonymous said...

Dear Quan.
Slowly your eyes are opening up, I finally see some results of all the hours I invest in your education. If you now stop spending most of your time on handpaintings and Rock unplugged and reports about every week another new Alice in Wonderland sim we are going in the right direction.
And better a good techno tune of my brother Mantis than a bedtimestory of my sister Bryn.

Quan Lavender said...

Luckily I can think by myself ;) and I should have added that I don't believe in a future of bad manners. Exchanging different opinions in a respectful way is much more fruitful for all as we see here.