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Saturday, August 12, 2006

An Interview with Dan Coyote

Dancoyote Antonelli: I call this edifice Modernist Marvel. It is 200 meters tall. I worked with 3 architects to get what I wanted. I call my work Hyperformalism. I build my own museums because galleries are too small for my work. I think many artists make a mistake with scale in Second Life. The proportions compared to the avatar figure are not the same in Second Life as in Real Life.

DC: Much of the work I am displaying here is in private collections. I do not sell copies of my work, so it appreciates in value like real art. Because it IS real art.

EC: Of course it is.

DC: I have sold nearly half a million in 4 months; all original work.

EC: People rip off art all the time here, not to mention textures etc

DC: I have countermeasures.

EC: What do you do?

DC: For instance, [someone] has been photographing my work in Second Life and publishing the photos.

EC: Yes?

DC: I have asked her to stop twice; but now let me show you what I made. See that?

EC: Ah, a watermark.

DC: It is a script. It detects her avatar and puts up the shield when she is around. However I have levels of countermeasures, down to Adobe watermarks embedded in the work. This is the painting she photographed last. See the moire? It is [there] for two reasons: an aesthetic layer, and for copy protection. It gives it life in a way, and protects it in a way too. Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not paranoid, I just aim to be on top of this issue in Second Life, as I am in RL. Professionalism is very important to me in the arts. I have to do both [business and artwork] and do them well.

EC: This [painting priced at L$65000] is only $216 in Real Life money, which seems really reasonable for an original piece.

DC: Thank you for understanding.

EC: how would someone keep it in Real Life? If something should happen to Second Life, for example?

DC: How would someone keep a Real Life work after a fire in their home? It is the same thing. Collectors have rights in Second Life.

EC: Do you construct ways to show this sort of work in Real Life?

DC: I am working on museum shows. I do not fancy the Real Life gallery scene for this work

EC: These would be outstanding in Real Life, large size.

DC: I am a museum artist. It is cost prohibitive; a 42-inch Plasma is 10K, way too much.

EC: Yes

DC: … and I do work in Real Life; other work.

EC: What medium? Or media?

DC: I am a polyartist, Enjah. I work in all mediums: audio, video, performance, conceptual, etc. I am a 20-year dilettante.

EC: I feel a bit intimidated. I am just a simple painter. My family and I have had health problems, so painting has not been really feasible recently and I miss it.

DC: Health trumps art, sadly … and make no mistake; I put my relationships before art.

EC: I think it is better that way … for me it is. People talk about artists who wrecked the lives around themselves, like they deserved to do that, which I think is absurd.

DC: I don’t subscribe to that bunk. Your responsibility as a human far exceeds your mandate as an artist.

EC: I guess when I said I was intimidated, I really meant I am intimidated by conceptual art itself; I don't know how people come up with the translation between a philosophical concept and the actual event or piece. I have plenty of philosophical beliefs, but I have NO CLUE how to put them into images.

DC: I am a new breed of conceptual artist; not like the mean spirited. I put them in action in a simple way. Hyperformalism is about wonder; it is about transcending anthropomorphic concerns. [It is] about optimism and [the] hope that there is more. It is not mired in the sordid human condition. It reminds us that we can be lovely, we can be ethereal.

DC: See the yellow bands on my arms and legs? They are a symbol of emancipation.

EC: Emancipation of whom, from what?

DC: From Real Life; from the bonds and limitations of our Real Life preconceptions and prejudices. We are born without gender or race in Second Life. I like that very much. It is a teaching place that clearly illustrates that gender and race are constructs. Do you know Judith Butler?

EC: No.

DC: She's a philosopher at Berkley [whose work] I read and study. [It] is all about the gender construct and debunking it.

EC: Well there are biological events in the lives of men and women that are different.

DC: Your sex is one thing … gender is another.

EC: I really like a lot of these pieces, but I doubt I could spend the kind of money you ask; I would have to think a long time about it.

DC: People do … and I put everything back into Second Life. It is not about the money for me. I employ a dozen people. I employ scripters, builders, architects, publicists. I have work in 50 locations in Second Life. I have been inworld for 4 months, but doing digital art with fine art intent since Photoshop 1.0. I am on fire because in Real Life my digital work is misunderstood. People think it is files or graphics. In Second Life my digital work becomes the fine art I have always intended it to be.

DC: Have you seen my logo? See the 6th finger? It symbolizes the mouse cursor; our intervention into the metaverse. The black hand is something from cave paintings Lasceaux 16,000 years ago.

EC: Black? I remember them being red,

DC: Hehe, black shows better. The ancient artists were just like us, using new technology.

EC: The hand is an important symbol.

DC: and the sixth finger is crucial. It represents scripting.

DC: I perform as Dan Coyote. I love coyotes and what they symbolize, and try to do honor to the name. However it is also a narrative pun, as you must realize already.

EC: Er, um, no.

DC: … for Don Quixote. I am also a knight errant

EC: … and you are tilting at …?

DC: I am tilting at Intellectual property

[Dan demonstrated part of his Second Life dance performance, which is described at sl-art-news blog.

DCi: I am performing at Fryes museum in Seattle and hope to do so at the Queens museum in October In NYC.

EC: Wow, thank you Dan, I really enjoyed my tour and interview

DC: I am honored to meet you Enjah

[EC: Aw the honor is mine

DC: thanks for supporting the arts in Second Life.

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