Sunday, May 31, 2009


sometimes, a piece is overlooked, even though it is set up at a prominent location. this one, a white featureless cube, is such an example. it has been at the kiss the sky exhibition curated by dc spensley at one of the NMC sims for several weeks , but it perhaps looked too simple and unspectacular. it is one of a series of works playing with the aspect of freezing time or taking a 3D snapshot, but also belongs to my examinations of the cube as a metaphor for three-dimensional space. once touched by the viewer, it exploded into 125 small cubes, which stopped their travel in mid-air. touching any of the small cubes again reverted the work, just like pressing an undo-button, so that the visitor determines the appearance of the work, and leaves that as initial appearance for the next viewer. bistability can now be seen at the museum of hyperformalism curated by dc spensley, and here it is noticed: bryn oh was so kind to write about it.

Friday, May 29, 2009


all black and white
environment (see more pictures here) was created for nur moo's poetik party at the sintetika sim as commissioned work. it consisted of a dancefloor inside a large box with several interactive elements, which allowed the party goers to actively participate in forming the appearance of the environment. so-called dance balls, which allow the avatars to dance, were positioned at the walls in various orientations. one lounge with furniture was placed on the wall, another one hidden in the cubes, which formed the walls. the whole installation was laid out like a labyrinthine cave, with many enclosures and hidden elements. it was covered by many bloggers, just to mention a few: don hosho, soror nishi, comet morigi, hamlet au, and a video by opensource obscure.
for comet's blog, i gave some additional comments:
just a few additional comments about the environment for the "poetik party". i transferred some of the conceptual ideas that i'm using in my work to this installation. of course, first of all, i'm playing with the notion of "virtual space", when i make the visitors dance on the walls or even upside down, or when i put sofas at the wall where you can sit. the orientation of the avatar while walking or running is defined by the rules of second life, but there's no reason why avatars shouldn't, for example, walk on walls. a virtual world is not about recreating reality.
another point is interactivity (see also, for example, my nested cubes): the interactive nature of the space makes you a participant in defining how the space looks like. you as visitor can change the light effects, click on the cubes which make up the wall, some of them will start changing color, or start flickering, or even explode into smaller cubes. click again, and it'll revert back. i just give the structure, you can change the details.
finally, a note about the way in which it is built: it started off as a solid structure without any space inside, a block of regular solid cubes, and then i carved it, i removed cubes instead of adding them, just like a sculptor would do when she makes a sculpture out of marble, and quite the opposite of how an architect would work. when building in a virtual world, there's no need to follow any of the rules that hold in reality.

spiral reloaded

the spiral was shown at the ARENA event for one week. it was an interactive installation with 1001 cubes in a spiral pattern (see spiral at BiW) slightly above ground. when an avatar walked into a cube, this cube would gently fly away. every 15 minutes, all remaining cubes started to fly away, forming a spiral pattern in space. after that, the spiral was reconstructed automatically, and the lifecycle of the installation restarted. helfe ihnen videotaped the spontaneous opening performance by Gumnosophistai Nurmi and Humming Pera from the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse.
the spiral was shown again as part of the OPEN GARDEN interAction curated by arco rosca, which is currently part of the Museo del Metaverso.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


portraits with shadows
portraits was shown at Brooklyn Is Watching for about one week. each avatar, who accepted the offer, received an object, the portrait. upon rezzing, this object assumed the size of the avatar and called itself "portrait of ..." with ... being the avatars name. a notecard accompanied the portrait:
Dear Owner,

Congratulations! You are now the owner of an original artwork by Selavy Oh.
This object is a unique portrait of yourself, an accurate rendering of your “bounding box”, your physical appearance in Second Life.
You may give it to others, but it will remain your portrait.
But be aware that this is an original, uniquely created for you by Selavy Oh.
You will not receive a second version of this artwork.


Selavy Oh, October 2008
each avatar received only one offer. for a list of avatars that accepted the offer and actually rezzed the portrait, see here. for further explanation see my comment to jay's blog on BiW.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

sketch book

a sketchbook for the exhibition rinascimento virtuale at florence, italy. my first work as selavy oh, which did not use second life as medium. see also fabio fornasi's blog post featuring my sketchbook for a poster.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


the chain was an installation for brooklyn is watching, and it had a big, yet unintended effect: because of this work, i was banned for one day from second life. more about this incident on my flickr page and at the BiW blog post, where lots of people commented on it. the picture above was featured by beth harris in her blogpost About BiW.

attractive art

temporary installation at the corner of the "Brooklyn Is Watching" sim, see the blog post by jay newt, where i left some comments to explain this work, and the video podcast at smARThistory by beth harris and steven zucker. the list of attracted visitors can be found here. attractive art is certainly among my most important works so far. it has been chosen among the 30 best works shown at Brooklyn Is Watching during the first year.

systems of reference

systems of referencesystems of referenceshattered
systems of reference was shown at arthole gallery, which is run by arahan claveau and nebulosus severine. orginally, the show was supposed to be a collaborative work by ichibot nishi and me. but, due to several cirumstances, the collaboration did not work out, so that it ended up as a solo show. listen to the podcast accompanying this blog post by amy freelunch, watch the video by arahan claveau, or look at my own documentation video.
video by arahan claveau
during the last week of the show, i gave a lecture on some of the references associated with my installation. here's the list of slides:
  • Man Ray: Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp), 1921
  • Marcel Duchamp: Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)
  • Gerhard Richter: Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe) (1966)
  • Eadweard Muybridge: Woman walking downstairs (late 19th century)
  • Sol LeWitt: Schematic Drawing for Muybridge II (1964)
  • Sol LeWitt: Corner piece #4 (1976)
  • Sol LeWitt: sketch in a letter to Thomas Dreher (1986)
  • Sol Lewitt: Incomplete Open Cube (1974)
  • Dan Flavin: "monument" 1 for V. Tatlin (1964)
  • Vladimir Tatlin: Monument to the Third International (1920)
  • Dan Flavin: untitled (to Janie Lee) two (1971)
  • Bruce Nauman: Corridor with Mirror and White Lights (1971)
  • Bruce Nauman: from Studies for Holograms (a-e) c (1970)
  • Bruce Nauman: from Studies for Holograms (a-e) e (1970)
  • Marcel Duchamp: Why Not Sneeze Rrose Sélavy? (1921/64)
  • Marcel Duchamp: Exterior view of Etant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall /2. The Illuminating Gas) (1946-1966)
  • Marcel Duchamp: Interior view of Etant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall /2. The Illuminating Gas) (1946-1966)
  • Gustave Courbet: L'Origine du monde (1866)
  • Albrecht Dürer: Der Zeichner des liegenden Weibes (1538)
  • Hans Holbein the Younger: Double Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve ("The Ambassadors") (1533)
  • Hans Holbein the Younger: Double Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve ("The Ambassadors") (1533) (anamorphic skull)
  • Marcel Duchamp: book cover for Andre Breton (1946)
  • Marcel Duchamp: Rotorelief, Spirale Blanche (1935)
  • Marcel Duchamp: Anémic Cinéma (1925/26, Filmstill)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

nested cubes

nested cubes invite II
helfe ihnen invited me for an exhibition at DESign Island, and after some considerations i came up with the nested cubes. here's a text about it, written by nusch ray, for a subsequent show of the nested cubes at angelgate:
There is a huge white cube, floating in mid-air, featureless, without any texture, like a forgotten artefact of an unknown civilization. Or is it the leftover of an oblivious builder? A skybox that has not been moved to its destination? And what about the geometric shapes in the water below, almost like holes in the sea?

These might be some of the thoughts rushing through your head when you arrive at Selavy Oh's "nested cubes". But you might as well encounter something different: an arrangement of walls and holes, gaps, breakthroughs and perforations, slightly glowing from inside in subdued coloured light. You might see white bricks gently falling down; sometimes one of the geometric holes would flash in glaring white glow, and below, under the water surface, a pile of white bricks, chaotic debris of disintegration.

What happened?

Selavy Oh has created an installation which is shaped by the intervention of the visitor, which only makes sense if you engage. You are invited to fly up to the white cube, straight into the featureless wall; your movement creates the holes and perforations, you fly through self-drilled corridors shining in rainbow colours. Selavy provided the material, you have to shape it, leaving your trace, trying to unveil the underlying structure, the light inside. But your intervention is destruction; you are subject to an observer effect. While you are intruding to view the work, enjoying the playful interaction, watching the bricks slowly sink like cubic snowflakes, you destroy the perfect arrangement.

The "nested cubes" never become visible. Only their shadow, the inaccessible negative space that is cutting holes in the water below, provides an idea about the interior structure of the white cube.

Nusch Ray, October 2008

the nested cubes have been shown at
  • DEsign Island (curator Helfe Ihnen), July-August 2008
  • Angelgate (curator Nepherses Amat), October-November 2008
  • Magoo (soup project by Mab Macmoragh), June 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

frozen moment

cubic tower - frozen moment
the first work of a series on time. well, not really, since time was the topic already in cube descending. again, i used physics to generate the movement, but instead of only turning the structure physical, as in the cubic fragments, i stopped the movement in mid-flight by changing the properties of the prims back to normal. i first had serious doubts whether it is possible to program such a three-dimensional snapshot, but it worked perfectly.
below the playground
my first collaboration with ichibot nishi, and i have to admit that it was much more his work than mine. it was based on constructing identity, and my part mainly consisted of the image, a couple of cubes to play with, some scripting, and a structure below the playground in ichibot's blue.plane.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

cubic fragments

physics again. as mentioned before, in several of my works i'm using the inbuilt physics engine of second life to create dynamic systems and exploit the complexity of the environment for unpredictable configurations. here, about june 2008 at BiW, it is a very simple effect: when you touch the white cube, composed of 8x8x8=512 small white cubes, it is set to physical, and due to the minimum required distance between physical bodies, it starts almost instantly to explode. the small cubes are scripted to return to their original location after a certain time, so that the work essentially becomes self-regenerating.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

the conditions of discourse

the conditions of discourse
you here now. the conditions of discourse.
inspired by an article about the work of sol lewitt.
implemented by an invisible moving object, which leaves traces, so-called particles, in mid-air.
on display at the museo del metaverso, together with cube descending.

Friday, May 1, 2009

15 seconds

a small work on privacy and public fame, only shown at BiW. it shows the avatar's profile picture for 15 seconds, and shouts the profile text. i integrated it in a scene set up by ford heberle, and ichibot nishi was the model for the image above. discussed in BiW podcast 15.
a modified version, integrated in a projector designed by dekka raymaker, was shown at arahan claveau's show Empire at season 3 of the Arthole Gallery 2009.

facial distortion

my first micro-performance done at BiW was a temporary distortion of the avatar's face, effectively disrupting the attribution of embodiment. one of the first viewers was jay newt (jay van buren), and he wrote an excellent blog post about it. since then, i used this work in slightly different form for my chairs, for example, in systems of reference, where the face of the viewer's avatar becomes distorted after sitting down.