VB Previz #33 – Naked Men

A previz & some conversation reconstructed from Avatars United, rip

Agnes gave me a couple of “shouts”:

Agnes Sharple:
Vaneeesa, i`m shocked by the sexification and pornofication all around in SL and still, a nude body(which has nothing to do with sex or porn)
presented in an art performance makes ppl react that hard. This must be an american phenomenon? I guess europeans are more liberal… My favorite Butoh teacher and dancer performs nude “all the time” all around Europe and nobody raises an eyebrow. Hm, i`m just trying to understand it…:)

about 2 hours ago

Agnes Sharple
Hm, now i wonder how ppl would react to a nude male performance… Will they react the same? Or would the sent out signals be somehow different? I think i need to figure that out!
about 2 hours ago

Vaneeesa Blaylock
Agnes — Oy, what a topic! As you know, for DUET C – ART / WAR, I wanted to recreate Eve Babitz & Marcel Duchamp’s legendary chess match at the Pasadena Art Museum:

but I thought it would be nice if this time, for once, the woman wore the suit and the man was naked. I asked a number of SL cool/art guys to do the piece with me, and to my surprise no one would do it, in fact of the progressive SL guys I asked to do the piece, not one would even reply to my question. In the end I was only able to do the piece by getting my husband Marky Mark to do it with me:

SO many SL women have been willing to be naked on “stage” with us, for example, VB03 VEINTICINCO MUJERES, where 25 of us stood unapologetically before the world:

In our original, ambitious previz for the 2010 season there were a number of performances that considered this area:

In VB08 – TWO WEAR MY SKIN and VB10 – DRESSED / NAKED, we explored the idea of twins or clones in a way that only SL could. Like RL Identical Twins, our twins were of a single gender. In FRATERNAL / IDENTICAL, we will create a new generation of twins by matching male and female cast members. Their “progeny” will wear the shape of one, and the skin of the other.

On Saturday, 18 April 2009 VANEEESA BLAYLOCK / COMPANY took it’s first breath of life and presented VB01 – GIRL NEXT DOOR at the Vista Hermosa Art Center. This April we return to the noob avatar that my own anecdotal evidence suggests is the most popular. This season, our male & female cast will merge their own shapes & skins with the familiar ponytail, dress, and pumps.

In VB01 – GIRL NEXT DOOR, VB02 – PEGGY SUE, VB03 – VEINTICINCO MUJERES, we followed the cycle of life, from “girl” to adolescent teen, to woman. This year we present a new trilogy of moments from the cycle of life. In THIRD TRIMESTER we present our female & male cast in the 9th month of pregnancy.

In BETHLEHEM we travel to that small town 8 km south of Jerusalem where, as legend has it, the hopes of a world were given new life. Our flickering star will guide us not to a geographic Bethlehem, but to an institutional one: the Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit, where some of our twin couples from VB08, VB10, and VB15 will stand in silent vigil over the teetering life of their own tiny progeny.

Having survived the Odyssey of the NICU, each member of the VB cast will stand proudly, cradling in their arms that unique entity of the SL world, the Prim Baby.

Of course GIRL NEXT DOOR 2010 became VB16 AU PAIR NEXT DOOR which we did perform with a few of our new male cast members, and BETHLEHEM and PRIM BABY have so far survived on our calendar:

• 7 Aug 2010, Sat Noon SLT – VB19- Prim Baby

• 11 Dec 2010, Sat Noon SLT – VB21 – Bethlehem

In light of your comments, it seems as though we really need a way to put the ideas from FRATERNAL / IDENTICAL and THRID TRIMESTER out there. I would LOVE to do FRATERNAL / IDENTICAL, but we really only have about 2 male cast members now – that’s 2 more than we’ve had in the past, and one of them is our new, MALE, Casting Director macar00n, but I don’t see how we could exactly do F/I, although we could approximate the process of it by having our female avatar cast pick some male shapes & skins and go thru the process… or perhaps we should simply perform VEINTICINCO HOMBRES with whatever collection of men and women are willing to do the piece.

For a century-and-a-half now, since Victorine Meurent’s 1863 reinvention of the objectified female nude in painting as the empowered naked woman, women and art have considered the nature of the body and the gaze, with respect to women’s bodies. The male body has been largely absent in this conversation.

Artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and many others have in fact considered the gay male body, but I think less attention has been paid to the (heterosexual) male body along the lines of the myriad considerations of the female body.

I don’t think we’re likely to find a bunch of male avatars to perform naked with us, but I imagine we might be able to get our female cast members to wear male shapes and skins (for a piece like VEINTICINCO HOMBRES or FRATERNAL / IDENTICAL)… or can we?

Your question does beg the question… it seems like we need to think about performing a piece that considers this area. And if Second Life is not yet ready for our naked female bodies… what will they think of naked male bodies?

What do you think?

PS: it’s worth noting that three years ago Eva & Franco Mattes reperformed Marina Abramovic & Ulay’s Imponderabilia in Second Life:


(link has images of both works and a really nice article by Domenico Quaranta – please read! 🙂

Agnes Sharple
Funny, ive met so many nude male avatars, showing their prim “thingy” proudly? in public places, especially when i was a noob, it seemed like they were all over.

Ive met so many guys who really wanted to take off all their clothes, but i guess that was for just one purpose. Now, why is it that so many guys (not all of course) are more than happy to take off all clothes as long as it is in a sexual matter, but when it comes to art they wanna keep the clothes on?  ………..

I`d love to do FRATERNAL/IDENTICAL and its no problem for me putting on a male shape,but i do believe it is possible to get male avatars to perform on that one! Yep, i`m an optimist.

I`d love to hear what the male members of VB group thinks.

To be continued…
about 1 month ago

Tessarah Zeplin
Sexuality is accepted openly in Europe and in other countries more so than in United States in my opinion.  I say this only after having observed billboards of sexual advertisements in Paris and having heard that soap operas in South America go ALL the way into the revelation of couples interactions on screen.  Nudity is accepted in SL in designated areas.  Not all male avis are inclined to be public “thingy sporters”.  What does a person bring with them into SL?  Respect and curiosity within the norms of social standards of behavior or the approach of entering a “free for all” with no boundaries.

Absolutely I believe that we can recruit male avatars for the Fraternal / Identical performance .  For men to perform in the nude as males may perhaps be be more comfortable for them  than to perform as female, or perhaps that gender has not been recruited effectively for performances.

*Raises hand, I too would be happy to perform in a male shape.
about 1 month ago

Agnes Sharple
It seems to me nudity is accepted more openly in Europe, than in US.

I understand that goes for sexuality too.

A paradox to that will be the “entertainment industry”, especially music videos made by americans. I think american music videos are the most sexualised in the world. No more words needed on this…

I can understand why people react to openly sexualised situations, what i dont understand is that it seems like nudity and sex is the same thing. A nude body is just…nude. Its all natural, the way we were born.
about 1 month ago

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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