Friday, January 26, 2007

Hazardous: Second Front watches "Strange Culture"

Monday afternoon screening attendees, from left-to-right: Gazira Babeli, Wirxli Flimflam, Tran Spire, Great Escape and Lizsolo Mathilde.

This week we were invited to attend the premiere of "Strange Culture", an independent film by Lynn Hershman which discusses the infamous case of the arrest and pending trial of Steve Kurtz from the Critical Art Ensemble. The film will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival this week and has the distinction of being the first-ever feature film shown in Second Life.

It seemed altogether appropriate to have the first-ever performance art group in Second Life present at opening night (afternoon). We decided to don hazmat suits and gas masks to show our support for the defense in the ongoing Kurtz case.

Wednesday afternoon screening attendees: Alise lborg Zhaoying (left) and Man Michinaga (right)

(Tea Chenille was unable to attend due to some RL obligations)

Second Front was unusually subdued in its urge to create a large-scale performance. We sat quietly and watched the film. The only sound besides the movie soundtrack was the constant clicking of the Second Life cameras as we documented this historic event.

Watching a movie in Second Life was totally weird. When you get to the movie theater, you hit the play movie control on your SL window. We're all watching the same film, but a different times! That seems like the most significant difference from a traditional cinema.

So, we all sat (mostly) in silence while the movie played, each in our own avatar bubble-world. All the involuntary sighs, gasps and laughter during films don't happen in Second Life. And because we were all watching different points in the movie, there weren't common areas for response anyways.

I decided to have a cocktail and was sipping on my rum punch in the back row until I was asked to put it away because it was bothering the other movie-goers. Just like real life!

After the movie, we got up and moved around, chatting to one another. Steve Kurtz was on an audio feed answering questions from the avatars. That was great. Thanks, Steve!

During the Q&A, we did some mini-performances. Here, Great Escape acts as a corpse with buzzing flies. Kurtz made a comment at one point about the hazmat suits and McDonalds logos in amusement.
After the Q&A session on Monday's show, Gazira Babeli dropped questions and logos from the sky while Great Escape demonstrated his love of fire.

Second Front's HAZARDOUS - Double Bill at screenings of Lynn Hershman Leeson''s "Strange Culture"

Wednesday's screening: AliseIborg Zhaoying (left) and Man Michinaga stage their 'sit-in' in the backrow. Lys Ware in the next chair over is keeping a watchful eye.

Dear Performance Art Fans!

Second Front members were conspicuously present in full hazmat gear at the January 15th and January 18th screenings of Lynn Hershman Leeson's 'Strange Culture' at the artist's residency complex, NEWare island. Thanks to Lys Ware, curator and archivist of L2, for sending us the coveted invitations to this much anticipated event that included a live audio stream from Sundance where the film debuted.

'Strange Culture' is a docudrama about the case of American artist, Steve Kurtz, whose bacterial cultures that he was growing for a show prompted a FBI investigation of Orwellian proportions. In America's post-911 age of terror and paranoia, the biohazard unit raided his home believing the petri dishes of food bacteria were weapons of mass destruction.

Multiple images of RL people wearing hazmat suits created an atmosphere of 'strange reality' at Monday's screening.

Perhaps the seriousness of the film's subject added to the strange reality of the screenings themselves. While nobody actually came up to Second Front members and asked them if they should suit up themselves, members, Man Michinaga, Tran Spire, Wirxli Flimflam and Gazira Babeli who were in attendance at the first screening were asked to refrain from consuming alcohol on the premises.

A close-up shot of Wirxli Flimflam in biohazard headdress. He was also asked to refrain from wearing flames.

Alcohol was not the only banned substance. Great Escape was ordered to remove his buzzing flies and smoking skirt. Great Escape along with Man Michinaga were also asked. albeit politely, not to wear their signature flames though Great Escape refused to extinguish his and can be seen flaming throughout the screening. The reason for the all-substance ban, we can only surmise - perhaps a fear of igniting an unknown biohazard agent on the island? It's anyone's guess. Has RL's post-911 paranoia leaked into SL? We hope not!

It seems Lizsolo Mathilde who was also at Monday's screening was the most well-behaved member of SF and did not illicit any reprimands. But this definitely didn't mean she went unnoticed. Lizsolo Mathilde and her gossamer wings garnered the attention of Red Herring reporters who in an article about the event, referred to her alongside a "giant fox" as "a creature in dragon fly wings". Maybe the reporters saw her 'creature' as contributing to the 'strange culture' of the event? Seems like Red Herring wasn't the only paparrazi with Second Front on its radar - Metaverse Manager took a photoshoot of Second Front members near the end of Monday's screening.

Lizsolo Mathilde, the "creature in dragon fly wings" standing next to Tran Spire.

Here is Wirxli Flimflam sitting next to famous VR pundit, Howard Rheingold who is wearing the tan hat.

Man Michinaga and AliseIborg Zhaoying doubled up at Wednesday's screening. AliseIborg Zhaoying who arrived a few minutes after the start of the screening was still rezzing when she was asked to take a seat which was hard to do since the theatre was almost at full capacity.

She managed to locate a seat in the back row where Man was already comfortably settled in.

AliseIborg Zhaoying (left) and Man Michinaga spotted in the backrow at Wednesday's screening.

The audience which at times looked like a noncholant Crit 101 class were actually quite engaged with the film, given the questions asked in the post-shows Q&A session which included Steve Kurtz himself in a a live audio stream from Sundance. With Lys Ware keeping everything in check, there was no evidence of drinking or aimless wandering of aisles.

"Crit 101 class" in session.

But don't mistake immobility for inactivity, for in the backrow, Alise and Man were staging their hazmat sit-in.

Here is Man Michinaga, unaccustomarily still and looking cooly authoritative without his flames.

A zoom-in on AliseIborg Zhaoying. Notice how the hazmat headgear highlights her riveting violet eyes. Perhaps scanning for petri dishes cultivating biohazard agents?

Second Front members were not the only attendees staging sit-ins at the screening. Midway through the screening, a man still in his chair attached himself to the upper-left section of the screen. It took only seconds before an audience member asked him to "Please move".

Sit-ins aside, during the Q&A session Man posed a strategic question about the CAE (Critical Art Ensemble). Seems like our hazmat suits did not hamper our social ranking as rumor has it that the CAE is thinking of opening up their Second Life office in Man's BitFactory.

For the final act, AliseIborg Zhaoying and Man Michinaga performed a stand-in, taking photos with NEWare official Lys Ware, wrapping up what was a very hazardous and strange Second Front intervention!

AliseIborg Zhaoying posing next to Lys Ware after the screening.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Second Front celebrates Art's Birthday - Western Front - Vancouver, Canada

Great Escape and Gazira Babeli doing the "twist" for Art's Birthday.

Left-Right: A UPS delivery Van, Bryan Dix, Great Escape, Wirxli Flimflam, Gazira Babeli, Tran Spire, Westernfront Obscure. The pix on the wall (with the exception of the Last Supper mural) are by Chi5 Shenzhou. The Last Supper embedded video is still rendering in this pic.

Greetings Performance Art Fans!

On January 17, 2007 - Second Front performed for the Art's Birthday festival. This performance was webcast and projected live at the Western Front in Vancouver. Thanks to the media curator, Peter Courtemanche for allowing us to officially perform at the Western Front.

Admittedly, these are far from the best documented images from the performance.

For example, there is this fantastic blog posting by one of our groupies from Oslo (Norway) named Plurabelle Posthorn. She took some excellent photos of us during our performance! Check out her blog posting here.

There will be some uploaded video soon from the Western Front itself and even some hi-rez images on its way to this blog very soon so stay tuned...

In the meantime, check out a few more of these in-world photos:

Left to Right: Lizsolo Mathilde (below), Gazira Babeli (above), Tran Spire (above with pink flamingos), unknown avatar (above), WesternFront Obscure , Wirxli Flimflam, Great Escape (with Art’s Birthday Cake) and the UPS delivery van.

Left-Right: The UPS delivery van, Tran Spire, Wirxli Flimflam (in front of Tran), Lizsolo Mathilde, unknown avatar, Gazira Babeli...

In this pic, you will notice that Chi5 Shenzhou's photos have rendered and that the Last Supper mural is still in the process of rendering...

Left Right: WesternFront Obscure, Tea Chenille (with a chicken), Wirxli Flimflam, unknown avatar (above Wirxli), Tran Spire, Lizsolo Mathilde and the UPS delivery van.

Left-Right: The UPS delivery van, Great Escape, Lizsolo Mathilde, Gazira Babeli (on the bed), Wirxli Flimflam, Tran Spire, Bryan Dix (special guest as Mr. Kool Aid), Tea Chenille, and WesternFront Obscure.

Left-Right: The UPS delivery van, Unknown avatar (on the bed), Gazira Babeli (also on the bed), Wirxli Flimflam, Bryan Dix (Mr. Kool Aid), Tran Spire, Tea (in front of Tran with chicken), Great Escape (still wearing the birthday cake)and WesternFront Obscure.

Left-Right: Tran Spire (still wearing that spectacular mass of pink flamingos), The UPS delivery van, Wirxli Flimflam, Unknown avatar (on the bed), Gazira Babeli, Tea Chenille, Man Michinaga, Great Escape, and our special guest, Bryan Dix aka. Mr. Kool Aid.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Second Front in the SLEnquirer!

Here is a pic of some members of Second Front partying with the SLEnquirer staff in Aidan Aquacade's office. From left to right: Gazira Babeli, Aidan Aquacade, SLEnquirer CEO Lanai Jarrico, Wirxli Flimflam, Lanai's friend "Quakeworld" and Man Michinaga. You might recognize Lanai Jarrico's own portrait on the wall as this is a famous portrait made by by Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG)

Hello Performance Art Fans!

Second Front (via the "PR Face" of Wirxli Flimflam) has just been interviewed by the Second Life Enquirer

We do not have a direct link to Aidan Aquacade's interview article called "Performance Art in a Virtual World" yet but we plan to get that for you very soon!

For now, just click on the link here and scroll down the headlines until you see Aidan's new article.

Best regards,
Second Front

Thursday, January 18, 2007


THE LAST SUPPER by Second Front, 2007.

If you cannot see this video above, click on this link here.

To see the YOUTUBE version, click on this link here.

And now, here are a couple of deleted scenes...

Last Supper - Deleted Scene #1.

Last Supper - Deleted Scene #2.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Second Front celebrates Art's Birthday tonight!

Second Front in chill-out mode at tonight's performance location. Not pictured in photo = Gazira Babeli.

Dear Performance Art Fans,

You are invited to attend our performance-party this evening. The "Binge" performance is taking place in Man Michinaga's BitFactory. It will be broadcast into Western Front for Art's Birthday. Although the party's duration has not been strictly determined, the Western Front will be projecting the party in RL from 4-6 PM PST.

We hope to see you there!

Second Front

Ars Virtua Performance video, Lythe's Witte's review and Ava-Star celebrity feature now online!

Not pictured in photo, Gazira Babeli.

Greetings Performance Art Fans,

We now have some additional online documentation of our Ars Virtua performance from Jan 05, 2007.

First of all, Great Escape's friend Dante took some great video footage of our performance.

For Great Escape's edited version with audio, click here.

For Dante's raw footage without audio, click here.

For all those who do not know this already. Ava-Star #4 has hyped Second Front.. Ava-Star is a celebrity only magazine owned by the RL Die Zeit newspaper in Berlin. The front page is about the RL Mia Farrow...We are on page 8.
You might want to a print a hard copy :-)

Also, be sure to read leading SL Art Critic, Lythe Witte's review of our performance for SLatenight magazine. We are very curious to read any posted comments you might have about her article review. We think her opinion is definitely worth opening some kind of public discussion and debate.

Also, stay tuned for a last-minute blog about tonight's performance at Man Michinaga's BitFactory. It will be broadcast into Western Front for Art's Birthday.

We are not publizing the exact location too much as we do not want the lag from having too many avatars present affect our performance...having said that, we hope you stay tuned to this blog for one last minute posting about the event...

Monday, January 8, 2007

Second Front's Ars Virtua Performance Photos by Marco Manray!

Here is Man Michinaga doing aerial surveillence for the Second Front Border Patrol. I am not sure if Mr. Manray has a pic of Man at the end wearing a cruise-missile on his head and threatening to nuke the whole Ars Virtua gallery to smitherines!
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Hey Performance Art fans,

This is Wirxli Flimflam here. Marco Manray just gave us permission to post some of his photos of our performance! The video is also coming very soon... The performance for JC Fremont's installation was a smash-hit! We filled Ars Virtua to capacity and so be sure to return to this blog frequently as we should expect to hear some SL and RL press about the event very soon....and now, here are the rest of those photos:

Here is Wirxli Flimflam (yes that is me, the blogger of this posting)wearing a heli with my hair on fire (my head is above the heli's cockpit so you cannot see what I look like here). It looks like the heli-tar managed to shake of some sort of business executive and/or critic who seems desperate to hang onto the heli for dear! If you zoom in and look carefully, you will also see Tea Chenille wearing her spotlight in the bottom right and Great Escape peeking into the photo on the bottom left. The bald headed guy next to the avatar with the red shirt is the curator of Ars Virtua, Rubaiyat Shatner. I think you can see the back of JC Fremont's t-shirt as well but I (the blogger) am not positive it is indeed him.
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Here is a different angle of roughly the same point in time early on in the performance. Tea has been foregrounded here but we can still see Great Escape and Man Michinaga in this pic...It has been confirmed with this pic, that was JC Fremont wearing that T-shirt...The viewer can detect his hat (or is it his hair?) a mile away ;-)
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

You can almost see my (Wirxli) flaming hair from this angle...I also forgot to mention that I (the blogger) found it interesting how the avatars are standing on an invisible floor...I do not think they are hovering in these above pix, are they? It looks like the floor has not rezzed yet ;-) I was too busy performing to pay attention to the quirks of the architectural space.
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Here is an extreme close-up of Great Escape's snazzy outfit! His "skirt" or whatever it is has a lovely transparent texture to it. Great Escape's role in the performance was to walk around the perimeter of the gallery space and drop off refugee tents.
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

...and here we can see those refugee tents created by Great Escape. We can also see Lizsolo Mathilde wearing a massive and intimidating panzer-esque tank! In this pic, you can also see the hovering Man Michinaga nearby JC Fremont's hair-hat in the background. And yes, there is ol' Wirxli again with his crop of flaming hair ;-) The stylish gal with the short-cropped black hair on the right is Chi5 Shenzhou. She is a good friend of Second Front...I am sure this blog will be posting much more about her in the near future (stay tuned).
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Well, this pic illustrates well the fact that the room was so full of avatars and objects, nothing would reveal its texture fast enough to always make our performance an obviously "aesthetic" experience. The barricades look like they are virtually made of wood in their unrendered and unadorned ornament the highest form of crime in the high-art movement of Second Life? Heh heh! The visible avatars from Second Front in this pic from left to right are: Gazira Babeli (with her hanging and hovering noose), Tran Spire and Tea Chenille. That is possibly Man Michinaga hovering above with this back turned to the audience but one cannot be so sure.
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Ahhh...the barricades have finally rendered! This photo must have been taken shortly before the end of the performance ;-) If you zoom in, you can possibly see Alise Iborg Zhaoying with her slender figure and spiked black hair. Alise was wearing an attack helicopter behind the barbed wire while interrogating and intimidating guests who felt too timid to cross the border into the gallery space. Speaking of zooms, we now have a closer look of Tran Spire and in the far right, Wirxli (yes, me again) running off with my barricade. I must have found some new victims to mow down! ;-) Tran Spire has an important role in this "phase two" of our performance as he inherits the er... "torch" of commandeering left behind by Man Michinaga.....the next pic is an intense close-up of Tran...
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

"RED ROVER! RED ROVER! BRING THE DETAINEES OVER AND MOW THEM DOWN!" This is the most intense close-up of Tran Spire's face that we have seen thus far! The rest of Second Front never imagined in their wildest dreams that the usually contemplative Tran would be capable of such raw emotion and rugged discipline! This must have been just at the point when Tran gave the orders to mow down the masses and reduce the rabble to avatar rubble! Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Here is yet another detail of the barricades from Phase Two of the performance. On the left you will see Social Signaller, Pravin Pillay. He helped Wirxli Flimflam (yes, the blogger, third from left) rehearse the night before...One must assume that Pravin was not too traumatized from the post-rehearsal training session as this is compelling evidence indicating that he has returned for another helping of aesthetic abuse! Also featured in this picture is Tran Spire and Tea Chenille.
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Marco seemed to enjoy taking photos of our barricade phase the most. In this pic we have: Wirxli Flimflam, Gazira Babeli, Great Escape and behind him, Man Michinaga. It is in this pic that we see Man's personal product placement most clearly ;-)
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

This pic was taken minutes before Man Michinaga tried to nuke the whole gallery. This fire was set ablaze by one of our chief arsonists, Great Escape. I hope those refugee tents were fireproof ;-)
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

I have heard of "nosebleed seats" for big ticket sell-out concerts before but in SL, this concept is somewhat more surreal. There were so many audience members eager to watch our performance, the crowd spilled out of the gallery space and lined up above the gallery. Yes, only in SL can you line up to get in by hovering above the space rather than waiting outside the front door on the ground level. I guess this allows the overflow crowd to peek into the gallery using a eagle's eye view. Here is a good shot of some performance-art pilgrims traversing the terrain to get a better view of the action down below in the gallery...good thing Ars Virtua left the roof open!
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

And for this last selected pic, we are showing Gazira Babeli and her good friend Chi5 Shenzhou at the afterparty held at Man Michinaga's penthouse suite. It looks like Gaz was feeling the time zone difference as she was hurling her guts out! Well, watcher her barf all over the place gave us an idea - and some foreshadowing for our next performance For Art's Birthday at the Western Front on Jan 17th from 4-6 PM PST...Stay tuned...
Photo by Marco Manray, 2007.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Second Front performs at Ars Virtua's Gallery 2 tomorrow at 7 PM SL time!

Promotional Pic of Second Front - Brand new Co-member Gazira Babeli will be added in a future photo.

Sorry about the short notice but we want to officially remind you that Second Front will be performing tomorrow night at 7 PM SL time (PST) at Ars Virtua's Gallery 2.

New World Notes have blogged this event so it should be very exciting!

This will be part of an installation by JC Fremont and Rain Coalcliff relating to the theme of "Borders" so be sure to mill around and check out the space once we are done performing in it.

Best regards,

Wirxli Flimflam on behalf of Second Front.