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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Role PLEA

          Maybe this is what we need. No more raging against the absurdity of institutions and form-filling-in in a virtual world. Maybe we should all just step away from competitions and workshops and discussions. And by we I mean you, naturally, because that's the kind of crap you get caught up in while the rest of us are building the future in open sim where you don't have to compose a proposal and send it to a committee just to get a few paltry prims to play with for free.
            Anyway, no point in pointing this out, you guys are trapped inside your own egos and won't be helped, and it's fun to visit the mad house once in a while though god knows I'd never want to live there again.
          Surely of all the screwed up activities SL has to offer, role playing is pretty high up there, whether it's playing traffic warden or pretending to be Scandinavian. So naturally, when a RP sim is thrust in your face as
a Destination Choice, it's irresistible, isn't it? Grimmrfell is a Norse Roleplay and nothing stirs your latent Norse blood like the idea of having to listen to people describe what they are doing:
Bernt Limpwicket: smiles in welcome at the beautiful stranger 
Bernt Limpwicket: "hello Thirza"
Thirza Ember: no ingliss sorry
           If you want to smile, use a smile gesture. It's not 2005. Or don't smile. Or don't talk about whether you're smiling or not. Or at least learn to put /me in front of what you're saying to turn it into third person dialogue. Because the alternative is incredibly lame. 
Eir: feels a spiritual zing from wearing the magical huldra's throwaway
tahnee (tahnee5): feels the soft bump of the boat hitting land
tahnee (tahnee5): "nice work aldo"
          ...how is that supposed to create an ambiance? I won't even start on the whole '4 people got in there ahead of you and you still went with tahnee' issue. And since when were there Vikings called Aldo.
          TP here, and you'll find yourself penned in on a little stone platform where you're expected to read all the instructions and put on the appropriate clothing. Turns out, with a little bit of cam work into a nearby dwelling, it was easy enough to tp out of there without putting on freebie clothes or being depressed by the backstory and rules. Not because rules aren't good, but because when it comes to historical re-enactment, SL always takes the Midwestern Renaissance Fayre approach, and it seemed a huge shame to ruin the effect of this astounding build by reading something mediocre. But maybe we should take a quick peep at the Notecard? Maybe it's not that bad? I have three words for you: "Adult Viking Narnia". In local chat they were discussing the relative dimensions of ravens. Time to move on.
          There is an army - not not here on the sim, in SL in general. An army of volunteers, who do not have enough health or youth or money or work to get much done in the real world, so they throw themselves into the virtual, and it's a great thing, a good thing, for we all need second chances to be more than our first life allowed. LL has shrewdly exploited this will to live, and willingness to be involved in loads of festivals and events, and nobody can blame them for what amounts to a shepherding of free resources to their advantage. They are a business, after all.
          When the LEA started, it seemed such a bad idea, for four reasons. It happened around the time land prices went up and discounts for educational sims were slashed; LEA was supposed to be in part a sort of concession to Virtual Art, in recognition of all the good press it had generated SL. In reality, it merely squeezed out independent galleries, financially and morally. Many of those galleristas have gone for good, and they were people who took a chance on new artists and dangerous topics, and the weight of innovation, imagination, crappiness and art cliques was spread out across the whole grid, not shunted into a ghetto, however large and well organized it may be.
          To a great extent, it shifted the balance of power from dozens of individual voices expressing an equal number of different cultures and backgrounds to a relative handful of 'deciders', in the dwindling number of art spaces left. It created a role that is damaging, dangerous, for art but also for the person who fills it - the aesthetic policeman, or art-sitter, if you prefer.
Nothing says Viking more than 7 Seas Fishing
            And even worse than that, LEA spawned one of real life's least attractive beasts - the committee. It seems inconceivable that there are people who haven't been on enough BS committees in their professional life that they would choose to sit on one in SL. Maybe it speaks to some failed RL careers, or an unsatisfactory home life. There are so many better ways to not feel lonely! But of course, someone has to run things, and this is not an attack on people like Oberon Onmura, whose reputation as a person and as an artist speaks for itself. It's not even an attack on people like poor old DC, whose art is horrible and who must be amazingly annoying to have to deal with on a regular basis. It's the institutionalization of virtual art that is the problem. The idea that you have to submit a proposal, that everything is regulated - this belongs to real  life! we were supposed to be more than that, different, more free, more fluid... remember?
          We were going to sail away to a freer society, we were going to escape this nonsense of politics and squabbling and selfish rivalry... and now we have artists who consider themselves liberal, boho, punk, counter-cultural, reaching out to the limits of absurdity - while all the time gratefully defending an institution, whispering their protests so as not to get banned or muddied by contact with nay-sayers, and generally kow-towing to 'the committee' as a concept, if not to specific individuals.
          It's not their fault. SL is an elbow society so it's no surprise to see, among the members of the LEA committee past and present, names of people whose main credential seems to be their ability to jostle to the front. The concept of artists managing land in a sort of a co-op in conjunction with other artists doesn't appear to have taken off. Where once you had experienced curators, now there are mere bloggers calling the shots. Such a shame, but it was inevitable perhaps. Committees draw that kind of politicking dross to them. On the upside, I do have a LM to give those who are determined to beat their own drum whatever the cost.
          All good sims come to an end, even this one, and inevitably, too, LL will shut LEA down. Oh, you say, that won't happen, it can't happen, but of course they can do what they want, it's their grid and eventually (having backed up all your innumerable brilliant OARs) they may simply decide it's not worth the server space, and point to the bickering, and close it down. These things have happened before.
          Luckily, you can still eat, drink and be merry at Grimmrfell. Erein Dragonash was there, maintaining a level of grundfellichness that you rarely see this side of Fyllarloekr.
Thirza Ember: what made you come here
Erein Dragonash: it was advertised on the start screen before I logged on earlier...got a free outfit - hence the furs
Erein Dragonash: and I always wanted to pillage and ravage like a viking
Thirza Ember: i like an honest pillager
Erein Dragonash: so I am looking for something to pillage
Erein Dragonash: know any good pillaging spots?
Inventory item offered
Thirza Ember: i got a free dance, you can pillage that
Erein Dragonash: I need to get my wode on (need it to pillage)
Thirza Ember: yeah you're not looking nearly blue enough
Erein Dragonash: I am just slightly depressed
Thirza Ember: why slightly?
Erein Dragonash: not completely blue
          Sometimes this place is the best.

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