It came at the end of a conference on the future of cinemas and other artistic venues in a digital world, while we were enjoying a DJ set from Captain Buck Rogers. The music we were listening to was being streamed live into the virtual world of Second Life, and being played out in replica of the renowned Baltic Mill gallery, situated on a newly-opened virtual Tyneside island developed by a local company, Vector 76.
Avatars from around the world were dancing to the music we could hear, while we watched them projected onto the wall of the cinema bar, so I got out my laptop, logged in to Second Life and made my way to the virtual Baltic, where I joined in the dancing.
I could see my avatar moving around on the screen of my computer, but I was also clearly visible among the crowd projected onto the wall, dancing like every teenager’s embarrassing dad in cyberspace while drinking a deliciously cold beer in the real world.
In the new digital world I suspect that artforms, artists and cultural organisations will succeed by occupying the liminal space between offline and online, building a compelling presence in both that allows something unexpected to emerge where they meet and blur together.
Rather like dancing in Second Life while drinking a beer in the the first one.
As reported by the BBC.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that technology and art rank pretty high up in my interests. And while I wholely agree with the end point of the article, I think what artists really need to do to succeed is involve the consumer. Artistic expression will have to universally become more than a uni-directional flow of creativity from the artist to the viewer.