9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Arts and the Virtual Space Building II, C6.10

Art Experiences and Participatory Culture: the Perfomance Paradigm in SecondLife

The aim of this speech is to analyse SecondLife as a privileged place to observe the evolution of the art system in contemporary society (Luhmann). The art function, that is its ability to produce new forms, to communicate observations, to carry out removed possibilities, has always found its most interesting challenges in technological and media languages. On the one hand, they are the places for an artistic experimentation but, in the other one, art is a context where to experiment with media and technology potentiality.
In particular it twill be underlined how within the online world art territories are more and more expanded towards the last boundary of the overcoming of the difference between the artist's acting and the audience experience in the name of the mixed-media performance and of centrality of the participatory and co-productive dimension to the process of the event creation.
This paper shows the outcome of an "in world" ethnographic research about art and performances concerning with the works of some of the most important figures of the artistic research in SL (Gazira Babeli, Second Front, Moya, 01.org, etc.). That research underlines the relationship between the avatar/spectator, who becomes a part of the performative mechanism, and the participatory cultures arising around the performative works/actions and generating widespread creativity as User Generated Contents: posts, books, videos, photos. Those "grassroots" contents of the artistic experience circulate outside SL through the web networking the possible experiences of the spectators/performers.
Art in SL seems to accomplish one of the main aims of the Historical Avant-Garde: art as life, a central and "active" - at a cognitive and experience level - role of the spectator. From the representation to the performance (Turner, Schechner).
That is an important example to understand, through art as a social system and a place of observation of society itself, the evolution of the communication and the audience's change of its positioning perception in communication, therefore the relationship between individual and society.