Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gazira Babeli's 2nd Solo Show - 1st in RL!

Find more videos like this on Museo del Metaverso

This opening night video footage is by the Curator of the Museo del Metaverso, Roxelo Babenco. This opening was so fabulous, I wish all RL opening nights could be as surreally sublime and aesthetically pleasing as this!
Seriously, you just HAVE to check this video out! I can watch this over and over and over! This is one of the most fantastic documents I have EVER witnessed!

Here is the official exhibition poster. As you can see, it is Gazira's first show in RL. It looks like the curator Domenico Quaranta is making an official catalogue for this exhibition and I think that my Second Front colleague Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty in RL) as well as performance art legend Alan Dojoji (Alan Sondheim in RL) . I hope I can read a copy in RL :-)

Hey there Gazophiles and Generation-Idol Idolaters!

My Second Front colleague-in-crime Gazira Babeli just had a legendary retrospective show in both Odyssey Island and in RL at the Fabio Paris Gallery in Italy.

Here is the official press release for this show:

Saturday, March 15th 2008

'Real Life'
fabioparis artgallery, 6 PM
Catalog curated by Domenico Quaranta

'Second Life' - Locusolus 9 AM SLT

Gazira Babeli is an artist who lives and works in the virtual world of Second Life, where she was born on 31 March 2006. Like all inhabitants of virtual worlds she is an identity construction known as an avatar, but unlike them, she does not acknowledge the presence of a “human” controlling her. In this short space of time she has earned attention and respect with her provocative performances which explore the issues of the body, space and identity in virtual worlds. Babeli acts like a virus, unleashing earthquakes and showers of icons extrapolated from pop culture, or spreading epidemics which deform the bodies of other residents of Second Life. “Gaz” has become a multivalent term, and a household name in her virtual world. The aura of mystery that surrounds her has engendered a kind of legend, which quickly moved beyond the confines of Second Life.

Gazira Babeli is a “virtual” artist, but her work is “real”. She explores the body, space, identity. She compares her oeuvre with art history. She talks about us. She is closer than we think, with our multiple identities, our way of representing ourselves, our lives in front of the screen. To those who ask her if there is a point in living in a virtual world, she mockingly responds: “What about you? How’s life in Microsoft Office?”. Seen in this light her work acquires meaning and efficacy even outside the world which generated it, as her numerous appearances in shows and festivals demonstrates. Now, in this solo exhibition at the Fabio Paris Art Gallery, the artist presents a selection of works that reflect the two fundamental poles of her oeuvre: her world and her identity as a virtual artist. Babeli lives in a simulated world, a realistic, 3D universe generated by castles of computing code, yet “inhabited” and experienced on a daily basis by millions of people. Her work explores the conventions and contradictions of this world, addressing concepts like time, space and the body by simply manipulating language. Her work is ‘performance’ in the purest sense of the term: language which generates action. Bodies change shape and come alive; giant towers collapse and then rise from their ashes once more; mysterious forces and objects take possession of us. But Babeli’s main work is Gazira herself, and the knowing manipulation of her legend, as shown in the video triptych Saint Gaz' Stylite and the movie Gaz' of the Desert (March 2007), the first high definition film entirely shot in a virtual world. Babeli mixes hagiography and slapstick, surrealism and country music, to tell the story of her life behind the screen, midway between isolation and sociality, asceticism and temptation.

Gazira Babeli has taken part in festivals and exhibitions in Italy (Peam 2006 - The Diamond, Pescara 2006; V07, Venice) and abroad (Deaf 2007, Rotterdam 2007); and with the collective Second Front she took part in Performa 07 (New York). A year from her birth, the retrospective Gazira Babeli: [Collateral Damage] (10 April - 31 May 2007), put on in Second Life in a museum-sized venue, represented a definitive confirmation. In the space of two months the show attracted more than one thousand visitors. Her work has also elicited the attention of publications like El Pais, La Stampa, Liberazione, Exibart, Der Spiegel and Kunstzeitung. Gazira Babeli is her first solo exhibition in the “real” world.

The exhibition will also see the publication of a book, Gazira Babeli (edited by Domenico Quaranta, with essays by Mario Gerosa, Patrick Lichty and Alan Sondheim).

And.... Here is the other press release for the show...


Saturday, march 15, 18.00 pm

Fabio Paris Art Gallery
via Alessandro Monti 13 - 25121 Brescia
tel. 030 3756139 - Skype: fabioparisbs
From march 15, to april 30
15.00-19.00 pm everyday except holidays

Second Life, Locusolus simulator 9 AM SLT
Second (Real) Audience vs. Real (Second) Audience
Anti-Invitation (No Invitation Needed)
Crash the party! Crash your car! Crash the Sim!
All Live!
Eat! Drink! Barf! Love! Hate! Sleep! Dance!
Do Art! Think! Fight!

Ok, I know you really only wanted to check out this blog to look at the photos from the opening day/night to see if your avatar appeared in one of the is all about "see and be seen" anyways you go...lets hope/pray, you were visible enough to blogged about at Gaz's show...

Worship the Golden Gaz! Here I am with Gaz impersonator, Violette LeShelle. I must say though that she was not the only impersonator that evening. Not to be outdone at the opening, I realized that I also had to fit in to some degree and at least wear an official Gaz hat for solidarity ;-) I think the official golden Gaz bust set the tone for the whole evening and for her place in virtual history. Overall, I would say that Gaz has reached the point of absolute deification which is perfectly fine in my books since Second Front is also along for the ride ;-)

This is the closest I was able to get with showing the entire audience that managed to attend Gaz's show at its peak. Gaz herself guestimated that about 65 people were stuffed into this Black Cube Aquarium. Well, at least it was white inside enough for all the conversative art critics...heheheheheheh ;-) I am glad that Olga took pictures of the gallery cube itself because I had no idea what kind of space I was hanging out in...I was so strung out from the art strung onto the walls to notice...WHOA!

This pic shows the a special camera angle that I took that illustates the intermediary space between gallery-space and ummmmmm.... "art"-space....I mean, life is art and art is life especially in Second Life, right? SIGH! Well, on Locusolus the whole area is self-consciously arts-infested and that is a good thing, right? On another note, I hope you like the coloured orbs that people were playing with inside the gallery. All I had to bring to this event was my token Toyota Scion...ooops! I did not mean to make a product placement...if only I could invoice Toyota for this...SIGH! Yes it is true that my avatar was nodding off throughout the exhibition. This had nothing to do with my interest in the show, for the record. In fact, it even had nothing whatsoever to do with drug use (honest)!!! Rather, my RL duties happened to siphon off my attention span at the same time the peak of this opening occurred... TRIPLE SIGH!
Oh, I should also mention that another Second Front colleague was in attendance and this was none other than Bibbe Oh...Yaaay!

Here is a side view of the gallery crowd and (yes, of course) my Scion. Also featured in this gratuitious group photo is the curator Domenico Quaranta's new look and Olga's own Gaz impersonation.

Here are some great examples of Gaz's trademark deformed avatars that Second Front used for the Spawn of the Surreal Performance a year ago. I loved the highly detailed pictures that Gaz had produced. The detail was so high, we could just about see our own reflections and Great Art, of course is entirely based on the degree to which we can gaze at our own glamourous reflections, right? I also loved the gold SLeaf detailing on Gaz's bust statue... I guess Gaz has truly entered the lapdance of luxury this time and has rezzed at least one brass ring...woo hooo! I am truly happy for her as everyone knows in SL, wealth = total happiness :-)

Here is a picture of myself with Man Michinaga who is also a colleague with me in Second Front. Man is in his/her trademark incarnation of Ciccolina. Behind us, you can see more reflective paintings that Gaz had made. I love the Goth poses! The whole show was truly amazing...I was in awe of all of the images and this is coming from someone who usually only cares about Performance Art.

Here I am with a deformed incarnation of Odyssey's curator, Sugar Seville as well as another Second Front colleague Fau Ferdinand who sported her own golden avvie. Also included in this scene is a piece of holographic sirloin steak...well, it is a hologram of some kind of meat offering...hmmmm.... Maybe it was the meat-confusion or perhaps the proliferation of biohazard signs but Sugar Seville seemed to remark, "I cant see anything with this mega prim twirling around".

Once again, we have a richly detailed (but necessarily gilded) group portrait with the understated and unrezzed Gazira Babeli herself with our favourite videographer nearby - Evo Szuyuan.

Congrats to Gaz on yet another mindblowing and overflowing retrospective show!

Please stay tuned for Second Front's next performance at Dorkbot Paris this friday at 12:30 PM SLT....


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