[iDC] The SL Unleashing.

Patrick Lichty voyd at voyd.com
Sat Jan 9 12:24:35 UTC 2010

Ricardo - 

Not sure where you're going here, but in much of my work in SL, interviews,
etc.  I have always been pretty up front about stating that my involvement
with SL has been the take of the Dadaist/Surrealist.  I think this is why I
have done well with curators, but perhaps not so well with the SL community
- we have a sort of intellectual détente - I make it clear that my presence
and critical tack is that the whole situation is a funhouse mirror, and go
from there.

If you're looking for me to say "Linden Labs Sucks", I could, but I think
there are larger issues at play, like the general Web 2.0 model that
ostensibly extracts cognitive playbour from its participants, and even if it
is to force them to accept advertising, it in effect charges its audience.
I realize that we are talking about cognitive labor as exchange of service,
but still...

Well, in the case of Second Front, there are several pieces that are
critical, like the score Scott Kildall developed - Grand Theft Avatar, where
we hijacked people's identities and knocked over the "Lynden Treasury" as
robbers to question the idea of the arbitrary currency exchange.  Also,
Breaking News was a piece where we confronted the silliness and solipsism of
in-world culture by invading the Reuters News Service and making up
headlines of our own.

I love Stephanie & Jeff's sweatshop in that it sends the message about labor
exploitation home pretty directly.

My own criticism stems in the form of my work as Virtual Cicciolina, where I
merely parade around demurely as the Italian porn star in ridiculous
situations, and no one seems to care.  This is the Kool-aid test, to me.  

In addition, my involvement in a group called "Not Possible in Real Life"
was predicated on my criticality of the milieu as a whole, but not wholly
critical.  More or less, I've been valued by the communities I've been part
of because of my critical voice.

Yes, there is an acritical aspect to the whole place, and that is the
pervasive power of Linden's PR as necessity to keep it going.  If you spend
time in the community, there is a generally upbeat, supportive atmosphere,
that champions "creativity" in all its forms, which is often a 3D Deviantart
meltdown. Look up someone named Torley Linden, who is a lead evangelist for
the platform. And you'll get an idea.

The secret to much fo the SL blogosphere that is given moral support by
Linden labs is that it is part of the cyberspatial consensual hallucination
that is dedicated to the maintenance of the SL PR image as a hypersupportive
utopia where everything is possible, everyone is supported to the level of a
12-step group if you get in the right circles, but only certain things are
allowed.  In a way, it's Chomsky's idea of self-imposed media

To be brutally honest, I understand that I live in an aspect of American
"yes" culture, and in order to get what I want done, I have to acquiesce to
it at times.  This goes from being an academic to figuring when to criticize
and how to criticize.

So my questions:
What are the best ways to criticize Linden labs in a way that does not
simply create an automatic shutdown of any resident who sees the message?

How do you get that message across, wither offworld or inworld, and more
importantly, how do you get that message across inworld without
automatically getting that material pulled my LL (They have absolute
authority over content)

What are the mechanisms of dissent that are possible in virtual worlds?

Is LL the proper target, or should a broader criticism be leveled at virtual
worlds or even Web 2.0?

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