Visual Music: An Evolved Interaction
Traditional division between musical and visual art forms is discrete. A small number of creative individuals may pursue both, but one direction is always more dominant than the others. Few musicians are equally talented visually, and almost no visual artists are equally talented as performers.
However, fusion is the opportunity and the direction of the virtual platform—blending together what are divided media, and adding the transforming level of interaction. A new form of artist emerges: one that recognizes and enhances the talents of others, while contributing original approaches within a defined strength, who can find the overlaps between forms, using each to make a greater whole. To bring music and art fluidly together needs something besides putting them in the same place at the same time. It needs an equally creative setting that makes what was once separate come together in an ambient context. The Dirty Grind has this balance.
Sim Street Journal wishes to do the same in publishing: to bring music and visual art together within an equally creative context. This issue offers a continuum: beginning with a portrait of Lisa and Ian Witt from The Dirty Grind. One of their exhibits featured works by Sina Souza, a visual artist reviewed in Sim Street Journal. This work directly demonstrates the principles of Symbolism, the current critical pursuit by Eleanor Medier. Gathering nine more artists to exemplify these elements, two emerge that inspire discussion for The Aesthete and the Amateur: Moondrift Tomorrow and Talullah Winterwolf.
Additionally, there are links to artists’ sites, LMs in-world, and resources for more information. The publication uses two platforms that extend reader involvement: the in-world edition that is different, but complimented by, this online edition.
When putting all of this together, it was hard to encapsulate the theme into words. Struggling for weeks to think of the right six words for the cover, finally, one bright morning, the three underlying concept titles surfaced:
• Symbolic sensibilities
The arts inspire several ways of thinking, several lens by which to perceive. In a world where creators can spend a higher percentage of their time creating and less time on the mundane, the ease of construction and the expanded reach make the virtual world the greatest fusion of culture. Yet, universally, artistic approaches fall into four camps: abstract, symbolic, figurative, and dimensional. Of course a work of art can fit more than one category, so the creator has a greater repertoire. Also, the lines between them are fuzzy. But, they give a framework by which to expand as a viewer.
Simply, a symbolic approach to art can be most linked with survival. It is also the starting point for art education. To find meaning in objects makes a leap from basic necessities. For humans, art is a necessity.
• Virtual virtuosity
The most powerful works of art have integrity; they fuse content with technique and medium. An artist will choose the technique to use based on the concept, but if always a painter, then ideas are always painterly. Yet, most importantly, an artist must be influenced by surroundings. If exhibiting in a virtual world, there has to be more that happens creatively than just uploading paintings from real life. The environment of viewing, the properties of visual structure, and the interactive nature of the metaverse exert a unique influence that adds to the impact of expression. These are the works worth discussing.
Two-dimensional visual images, that get their start in reality such as a drawing or a painting, gain a control of components and a scale digitally that can change the way they are perceived. The artist has more tools. But there is a translation. Art does not look the same in the virtual world as it does in the real. Concepts must conform to how the viewer perceives. Subtlety is less rewarded. Series have more potential. And, editing, unfortunately, becomes more necessary. Editing is a rare craft because variations are so easy, and artists can be indecisive. Experimentation, also much easier, can make commitment to a signature style harder.
Musically, live performance in SL also, of course, has its origins in the real world. The artist sits in a living room anywhere in the world, with a computer, an instrument, and a microphone. The performer can reach an international audience without leaving home, much like other broadcast media. But it takes different skills to deal with an audience that talks and shares.
• Artistic ambience
Artists ignite the eras of renaissance cultures throughout history. Whenever diverse ideas come together, mankind takes a step forward in creative evolution. The Italian Renaissance has its origins in the discovery of antiquity and in the influence of international trade routes.
The artists move into opportunity faster than the rest of the population, with the exception of the scientists. Both two groups gather at the gates of change like race horses, ready to pursue the innovative. Ideas build on ideas. In SL, the gate of change is less competitive. That is changing, however, as more artists join and the culture becomes even more diverse.
Competition fuels renaissance thinking—it requires an openness to find new answers to old questions, and to add new ones. When artists from other places come together, it is inevitable that they find new directions. In the virtual world more than the real, artists can create the entire environments of experience. From building installations to controlling even small viewer space, from fusing various media to pushing the limits of single ones, the multi-talented have an edge in this world. Ideas that can’t (yet) exist in the real framework can be tried in the virtual.
Mastering the meta space creatively has the same learning curve as any medium. But it also builds community more powerfully than any other. Expanding even on social media, the immersive nature of virtual worlds is a garden for creativity, even a haven for those battered in the brutality of real competition. It is a place to expand skills and hone others, a place to share ideas and get feedback, and a world to explore containing other creations. The artists move progress forward, and it takes time for the rest of the world to catch up.
Publishing is a creative medium undergoing interactive transformation, as well as all the other art forms. The article on Symbolism is presented in two parts: one in-world and one here, online. Each edition can be read separately. But each echoes the other, and presents a different set of complementary features.
How does the content vary via the presentation platform? The advantage of in-world publishing is it is more visual, but a disadvantage is a seam down the middle of every spread. Online, the images are determined by the screen, and connect less with other images, the typography/layout is more restrictive, but the links between topics is fluid. The reader has more freedom online. But, the reader is more likely to see the unexpected when flipping through the pages, first released in-world, and then available online as downloadable PDFs.
Publishing has to be multi-platform. Weaving together the in-world network, the online subscribers, and the social media community are what fuel the topics and momentum. Presenting the contributions of virtual culture can support, and hopefully enrich, the magic of creative evolution.
— Eleanor Medier, publisher, Sim Street Journal
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Please see the in-world edition of Sim Street Journal #16 with comparative and critical articles that add to this online content. Available in kiosks and at the Sim Street Journal SL Office (Innu 40, 36,1649) or download PDF Sim Street Journal #16.
Back issues are available on MARKETPLACE.
— The in-world magazine has topics that relate to those who understand the virtual context, including photographs, parallel articles. It has tabs for information landmarks, and web links.
— The online magazine expresses what the virtual world offers the real one. It is a mirror that reflects parallel articles, hot topics, and provides more links.Contributions are encouraged if covering topics relevant to real world readers.
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PLEASE THANK THE SPONSORS FOR SIM STREET JOURNAL #16
INDEX for all contributors and articles
Sim Street Journal #1: Virtual Reveals Real
Sim Street Journal #2: The Old in the New
Sim Street Journal #3: Magicians of Meaning
Sim Street Journal #4: Telling Stories
Sim Street Journal #5: Champions of Expression
Sim Street Journal #6: Overlapping Realities
Sim Street Journal #7: Luck Created
Sim Street Journal #8: Facing the Inevitable
Sim Street Journal #9: Motivated Learning
Sim Street Journal #10: Serious Fun
Sim Street Journal #11: Fantasy Fulfillment
Sim Street Journal #12: Insights from Extremes
Sim Street Journal #13: Bridging Boundaries
Sim Street Journal #14: Realities Blend
Sim Street Journal #15: Creative Collaborations
Sim Street Journal #16: Visual Music
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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.
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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)
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Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.
Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of second to first life.
© 2016 by Liane Sebastian/Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal.
Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.