Sunday, November 21, 2010


Installation for the Second Life part of the Cyberfest in St. Petersburg, curated by Pinkpink Sorbet. See Pinkpink Sorbet's blog or the Cyberfest page for info.
The installation is a simple white box, which makes extensive use of Second Life's shared media feature for presenting sound (a computer-generated voice reading a book from the project gutenberg), video, and text display on the walls. The text chat of the visitors is answered by two instances of a pandora bot, which is listening and responding to itself in a positive feedback loop.
A discussion at a forum dedicated to chatbots mentions the pandorabot Identity Absent several times.
The behaviour of the chatbot was slightly changed following a mail from Richard Wallace:
Hello, your bot Identity Absent is taking up a lot of resources on our community server at . Please contact us at or call me to talk about how we can better assist with your project.

Best regards,

Richard Wallace
Chief Science Officer
Pandorabots, Inc.

Friday, November 5, 2010

changing room

Collaboration with Arahan Claveau, part of Michael Takeo Magruder's Changing Room project. See Arahan's blog, his slideshow, and his machinima for more info and visuals. See Michael's documentation about the event with even more pictures! 
And here is a text written by Nusch Ray specifically for this occasion:
We, the visitors in the virtual world, are not the audience of this collaborative work of Arahan Claveau (Steve Millar) and Selavy Oh. In fact, we do not even know what the audience outside was experiencing, or whether there was such an audience at all. The changing room does not exist, even though it is documented. Changing Room is a conceptual work of Michael Takeo Magruder, who invites artists to work under heavy restrictions for a very brief time and remix a virtual space, that is, change the space by using only the virtual objects that are already present in that space. The visitors in the gallery, here it was a space in Belfast, can watch the transformation on a big video screen while it happens: a performance of restricted creativity.
Arahan Claveau and Selavy Oh used the time and space for a Warholian composition on the role of the audience: the space, which was supposed to be seen by the visitors in the gallery, was transformed in a non-space, an auditorium full of empty chairs, while semitransparent screens featured a film by Claveau, a succession of avatar portraits, clearly inspired by Warhol's screen-tests. Claveau and Oh not only changed the appearance of the virtual room, but also the function of the real gallery space: the virtual room became the auditorium for watching the visitors of the gallery at the other side of the screen, who would see the screen as projection surface for Claveau's 'screen-tests'. And to make these changes completely confusing, we can think of it as the artists' work within the work of another artist for an invisible audience, which then became the subject of observation, referring to the work of an artist who reflected on the relation of artist and audience ...
Nusch Ray, November 2010
Changing Room was a very challenging experience, it pushed us as artists to work within constraints that were in direct conflict with our usual practise, but it was these limitations that really defined how the space evolved throughout the construction. The inability to reproduce objects in the usual way forced us to approach the build differently, and we had to work closely together to overcome certain obstacles that would normally not be an issue. We started with some initial ideas which developed throughout the day, because there was a time limit and much of that was spent making and positioning objects and experimenting with scripts, we really had to focus on creating a space that would be visually strong but still use the medium of Second Life to its full potential. The end result we felt successfully conveyed our concept; a deconstructed cinema where real-world rules such as physicality did not apply, and when that was taken out of the equation it allowed for a disorienting environment that was contrary to conventions and expectations, something that was importantly in tandem with the spirit of the project.
Arahan Claveau, January 2011