The eye of the beholder

Now I try to be reasonably open-minded about art in general, and SL-generated art even moreso, but two recently-hyped projects make me take pause.

First, the RMB City project by Cao Fei that is well-hyped on a number of other blogs.  As I understand, it’s the artistic interpretation of the many aspects of Chinese urban life.

I’ve been wandering around it for over an hour now, and I see a rough concept that might be worth pursuing.  The quality of the builds, however, well….I could build this well in my second month in SL.  I’m presuming that the “clutter” approach to building is supposed to be symbolic of the density of Chinese cities, but it just comes off as junky to me.  The topper was the rather novel lighted tunnel through a mountain…that crashed my browser due to the overabundance of glow, full bright and WAY too many light emitters.

The photo here pretty much tells you what you need to know.  If this is art, it’s lost on me.  What really surprises me about RMB is that so many SL bloggers, people whose opinions I generally respect if not agree with, have been sucked in and suggest that this is some incredible artistic achievement.

Next up is “Broken-Fixed,” a stop-motion machinima by ColeMarie Soleil:

It comes off as strange to me that the creator of this animation would turn their back on the tools that allow the likes of Dizzy Banjo and Lainy Voom to create works of such incredible artistic depth and instead go with a choppy format like stop-motion.  It even surprises me more, again, that SL artisans and bloggers are so impressed with this.  It’s not the mess that RMB City is, but it’s not what it could be.

I’ve had this blog for some time, and there’s a LOT to celebrate in the Second Life arts world.  I wouldn’t make a big deal out of these two examples except that so many others have wildly praised them…and I just don’t get it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder in the virtual world, too, I suppose.