Friday, January 26, 2007


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.


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