The art of DB Bailey- ‘Windows’
I generally just click out of art show group announcements knowing that if I even attempt to take a peek during the opening I will be lagged the hell out of, annoyed by blingtards and end up hating the experience. This time around, I must say I am truly happy I have not simply disregarded the announcement made by Jenn Hienrichs in Things To Do group.Windows by DB Bailey, showing at the Bomb Factory.
I saved the landmark and and hopped right over not knowing what to expect, though I must admit I had a negative attitude in the back of my head after visiting a (f)art opening of ‘Cosmos’. Landed on the stairs. There was something ‘unusual’ with the picture. Colors of the gallery matched. Stairs did not have seams. No tribal/sacrireligious jerkoff, pavement of angelic clouds tumoresque gallery ambiance which is so shamefully common in Second Life. It looked plainly and simply GOOD. I surged through the big entrance towards beautifully arranged orange trees. They matched the floor they hovered above. I looked up and saw Windows. It looked like there were thousands of them at first, though I did not count. Emotions started rolling in. I nearly wanted to reach for my childhood slingshot. Who was inside the windows? Where were they open to? This tasteful multi layered walk/fly-in collage that kept my eyes focused simply made my brain tell stories to itself. I was observing myself place ‘images’ into those windows. I saw Duchamp, I saw a lady shake crumbs off her kitchen towel through, I heard mom yelling ‘supper-tiiiiiiime!’ and the tune of Lili Marleen repeated over and over loudly trying to cover up neighbors fucking….all of that..and then, silence. Second Life breeze gently blowing into my head phones. Through the ‘Windows’.
The artist, DB Bailey (RL architect David Denton), stood there as I pleaded to wish to see and know more despite the lag rooted into my 512 machine. I crashed and came back. DB was very generous with his time to take me for a full tour of a few more of his pieces.
Space created in space without ever-earthly floor-wall-roof assembly. No reason for that either. I observed and tried to ask questions, but they ended up being queued. Best for last, DB simply wrote a nice email to me to put all of this together which I am sharing with you. Enjoy!
“Architect well into middle age with early on set Parkinson’s disease. Still able to work but waning. Read about SL in New York Times and was hit by bolt of lightning! This I knew was my future as designer with Parkinson’s. I still travel on business, to the Middle East but know the day will come when that becomes too arduous. So I’m preparing to end up on a mountaintop with a great view and my laptop! I’m a great believer in this medium and think it has the potential for being environmentally significant. So I am very committed to exploring this full potential and help raise it up a notch or two aesthetically, or at least a bit more appealing to adults.
I started about 8 months ago and did what everyone seems to do at first and tried to recreate rl in sl. Then I thought no this is not taking advantage of this unique potential. So I started exploring what I could do if I ignored things like gravity (series 1 the upstairs project). The first visitors hated it! They complained it was disorienting and made them sick. So I had to put in a glass floor to make it less disturbing. People also complained about getting lost. I thought that’s it with the appeasement, they’re a supposed to get lost. That’s part of the experience, opening up to that unknown. After all there is that little exit button!
The most common question I get about these spaces is “what is it?” I have no idea how to answer that question. So I just say it’s a sort of art thing. They’re never satisfied with that. I think what they are really asking is what in rl can I relate this to so I can understand it. But of course we have the potential here of going beyond anything related to rl. So it seems like an irrelevant question.
Theses spaces seem to be more about enclosure than objects inside enclosures. I suppose that is the architect at work. And maybe people get confused when they see a sort of room with nothing in it other than just the room. They want to know what is going to be in it? So here’s the point, I am trying to not do art or architecture in the familiar way. Does architecture continue to exist when you have no gravity, no structural needs, no weather, no budget, no lawsuits, no lawyers…. etc. Does art continue to exist as we know it when their are so few physical bounds, material limitations, no real value with unlimited copies, no such thing as an original…. etc. It drives me crazy to walk into a gallery in sl and see paintings hanging on the wall like rl. Really you can’t appreciate the subtleties of the original in rl, brush strokes and what not. So why not find a new art form only possible in sl?
Now having said all of that I am also returning to the recreation of rl realism in sl. It’s such a strong urge I just can’t leave it alone. There seem to be some very strong feelings going around about this being really bad in SL. And I have certainly been of that opinion but I am changing my mind. All the same criticisms were made about photo-realism in the 1970’s and yet some really beautiful paintings came out of that. We are not in any danger anytime soon of SL looking just like rl. For a while to come it is going to be interpretive realism, of which there are many examples throughout the history of art. I think its Ok to create in SL while referencing rl. The challenge is how to use the medium of SL to show rl in a different way than we are familiar with. Something like what the impressionist did. I haven’t really seen this done yet in SL but it’s just a matter of time. I’m thinking about it and want to try it soon.
I think the bigger danger is being sucked into the morass of surrealism. It would be so easy and the wrong way to go with this even though I see a tendency in my own work. Lets just leave Magritte alone!
So I still haven’t addressed windows. Let’s just say this about that. My work is very intuitive not at all cerebral. In my own head my thinking rarely gets any deeper than “oh that looks good or that’s terrible’. I think that is both a strength and weakness. So why does windows look like that? Just because I liked the way it looks, it makes me feel good to be there. Windows don’t mean anything other than I came across them in a digital window catalog and thought they would be interesting all together. The gallery room seemed small so I played some games with illusion (I live in Hollywood culture) to make it seem bigger. People comment on how much work it must have been but if you look closely it is the same texture map used over and over. I have always been fascinated by film studio back lots where things are made to look substantial yet with flimsiest means. Can’t say why I find that so interesting. If there is any meaning beyond this it was only intentional on some level beyond my recognition.
So that’s all I have to say, not exactly searing revelations! Do indeed write whatever you feel appropriate. I’m sure at least some of it deserves a good trashing. Like to hear the critiques. I learned more than from the nice comments. I feel pretty secure about where I am going with this and I am fairly thick skinned so have at it. But if it’s really bad be sure to mention I don’t beat my dog.
PS: and please tell your readers in SL to please stop using those hideous default trees, especially the shaky ones!
Well maybe I can blame the typing on Parkinsons but not the grammar. I grew up in Hillybilly country in Tennessee and ain’t got no proper learnin’”