Once upon a time the roads all led to Rome.
Once upon a time the sun never set on the British Empire.
And today, if you’re workin’ the net in the virtual world, sooner or later you’re going to run into Ze Moo.
Ze Moo’s most recent contribution to VB/CO is… well… this blog you’re reading! I actually knew that all the cool kids used WordPress, but for reasons I don’t exactly recall, when I wanted some online way to post a few images and a few credits for VB01, I made a Blogger blog.
One day a few months back Ze started bugging me to move the blog from Blogger to WordPress. Since I’m already so overwhelmed trying to produce and document our new performance artworks, the idea of setting up a new blog and transporting 100+ existing posts over to it really didn’t sound like my idea of fun.
Ze and I are both friends with Odyssey Performance Sim and it’s artistic directors — who happen to do their Odyssey blog on, uh, Blogger! — so I attempted to parry his attack and indefinitely postpone this new chore with “get Odyssey to move first, then I’ll do it,” but Ze instantly riposted, “You’re more about Open than they are.”
You don’t have to read that much of this blog to hear Ms. Vaneeesa prattle on about Openness, still, I was impressed that he’d actually seen the blog, read enough to understand my ideology, and make an on-the-money, if more work for V, infrastructure suggestion.
So, with a bit of stalling via a dubious flirtation with an interesting yet problematic platform called Avatars United, I moved I Rez, Therefore I Am, to WordPress. (of course, I “accidentally” moved it to WordPress.com, and now peeps tell me I “have to” move it to WordPress.org — uggh — you might chime in and give me your opinion on that, but anyway, this post is actually about Zeeeee, not about Meeeee!)
Ze was really right, WordPress is more open. He was also right, the “one-button” import of your existing blog, works pretty well. What he didn’t say so much about is how great WordPress is! I do still like Blogger, but WordPress – wow! So much functionality, features, integration, connection!
Thank You Ze! (I once promised him I’d jump out of a cake for his rezday… which I’ve never actually done, so when it rolls around again on 11 January, I guess I really owe him this year)
Ze and I met 10 months ago, on the 21st of September 2009. I’d been thinking about the Virtual nature of culture, and I took an image from VB03 – Veinticinco Mujeres, and put the typography on it “CULTURE IS VIRTUAL” and a notecard inside that read:
I was thinking about Culture today… our many RL cultures… the many SL cultures that we are weaving.
For a century or two now, RL culture has not been defined by you and I hunting the same animal or plowing the same field together. Not by us sleeping within a meter or two of each other.
In the modern age RL culture has been shared, people have been united, by newspapers, by magazines, by telephone, by radio, by television, by internet. For over a century now, RL culture has been created and defined by Virtual media.
Now in our virtual world we are beginning to weave new communities, free of the tyranny of geography. Even our own tiny VB/Company has members on 4 of the 7 continents. This is extraordinary. This is the 21st century.
Culture wants to be free.
Culture is virtual.
I sent a copy out to the Open This End SL Group, and Ze IM’d me about it:
[2009/09/21 16:23] Ze Moo: Very good! Thanks! Culture is Virtual, SL is real!
[2009/09/21 16:23] Vaneeesa Blaylock: Hello Ze
[2009/09/21 16:23] Vaneeesa Blaylock: yes it is “real”
[2009/09/21 16:24] Vaneeesa Blaylock: “ALL information is real!”
[2009/09/21 16:24] Vaneeesa Blaylock: ((or so I have read! 😛
[2009/09/21 16:24] Ze Moo: 🙂
[2009/09/21 16:24] Ze Moo: all art is real
[2009/09/21 16:25] Vaneeesa Blaylock: and… many works of fiction contain more truth… than many works of “fact”…
[2009/09/21 16:28] Ze Moo: true
[2009/09/21 16:29] Ze Moo: so this was not an annuncement of an exhibition?
[2009/09/21 16:29] Ze Moo: just the art itself?
[2009/09/21 16:29] Vaneeesa Blaylock: yes, not pimping anything… just ideas…
[2009/09/21 16:30] Vaneeesa Blaylock: and a nice print for your wall! 😛
[2009/09/21 16:31] Ze Moo: 🙂
[2009/09/21 16:37] Ze Moo: it is hanging
[2009/09/21 16:37] Vaneeesa Blaylock: oh fabulous!
[2009/09/21 16:38] Ze Moo: Amsterdam red Light district
[2009/09/21 16:38] Ze Moo: on our office-lab
[2009/09/21 16:38] Ze Moo: 1st pick in my profile
[2009/09/21 16:39] Ze Moo: streetside
[2009/09/21 16:39] Vaneeesa Blaylock: oh wow…
As he said, he’d put a G-I-A-N-T version of our “billboard” up on the side of Meta.Live.Nu in Virtual Amsterdam!
In the past 10 months, Ze has had a lot to say about art & ideas, and he’s exhibited a lot of our art. He made me change the rating on our VB16 Flickr photo contest (and helped me navigate the somewhat Byzantine way Flickr rates group images, which is, unfortunately, not exactly consistent with the way they rate individual photostreams)
He weighed in with thoughtful considerations on both sides of the Rosegate debate, as well as making some offline connections to soothe that stressor.
And meanwhile, he’s taken his “VB/CO Billboard” and turned it into a small gallery in a shop at the back of his Meta.Live.Nu headquarters in Virtual Amsterdam:
Now in 2010 Ze’s moved from advising, supporting, and exhibiting VB/CO works, to joining in! He loved the idea of, and participated in our NY Eve “ARC-1 Flashmob”… he wore a “pink” polka-dot dress and dutifully washed customer clothes in our VB16 Laundromat, and when he showed up to VB17 – Dark Side of the Moon in a latex skin with chest hair… he apparently underwent a painful full-body waxing at the hands of our no-nonsense stage manager Forceme Silverspar.
For almost a year then, Ze’s been first a supporter, and now participant in our performance artworks across the virtual globe.
But really, we are just the tip of the Ze Moo-iceberg’s world… the number of Live Broadcasts, Special Events, Websites, and other projects he’s produced or participated in is daunting!
Here’s a few places for you to start:
On Ze’s blog you’ll find an amazing mix of posts covering Openness, Freedom on the Internet, The nature of “reality” and Virtuality, his tangles with Bill Gates, and his collaboration with Chantal Harvey et al to recreate/machinimate Monty Python’s Second Life of Brian. As Ze writes:
A tribute on the best film comedy or all times (IMHO). A thirty year anniversary machinima remake of the original opening scene of the movie “Life of Brian” (1979) by Monty Python’s Circus Fying.
In my humble opinion, machinima is THE social / technical / economic REVOLUTION in cinema and television of the decade: This Christmas “animation” video was made in the user-created virtual world Second Life, from idea to product within about one days work, for almost no-budget!
Or you can visit Meta.Live.Nu, where Ze streams live, and where he’s got mixed-reality programing booked thru the end of 2012! (I actually thought he once told me we wouldn’t make it to 2012… but perhaps he’s more optimistic than he lets on! 🙂
“Meta.Live Nu is a grassroots art and technology lab using different analogue and digital media platforms. Meta.Live Nu was initiated by Ze Moo in december 2007.”
At Meta.Live.Nu and other sites Ze and his conflux of colleagues have powerfully explored the nature of existence, reality, instantiation, and culture in the 21st century. In blogs, videos, SL events, RL events, and lots of Mixed-Reality he’s brought lots of content, ideas, and debate to the consciousness of anyone willing to invest a few minutes considering it.
Honestly, VB/CO has spent the past 15 months in this world trying to explore and discuss the nature of reality, existence, culture, identity, individuality, and persona not just in Second Life, but in the 21st century more generally — and — I don’t think anyone understands our oeuvre more, or in fact, had already achieved more than we have to date, even before we started, than Ze Moo.
There’s so much content from so many projects on his websites it can be daunting! But if you wade thru it, or just let it wash over you, you will come to understand a lot about the illusions and projections of these lives we live, and you’ll go a long way toward finding where “real” meaning lies.
At MetaLord.live.nu you’ll find yet more festivals, photos, and ideas. As the site’s tagline states: “MetaLord.Live.Nu – MEtaverse Tarzan, YOUtube Jane”
I wanted to include lots of images of the works Ze has produced and / or participated in… unfortunately, while all of Ze’s images are “copyleft,” almost all the colleague images on his websites/blogs are flickr/copyright all rights reserved, and I wasn’t unable to secure permissions to use the images on this blog. Ironic that even in the heart of open one is surrounded by closed. Oh well, please do visit his websites where you will see many event banners and photos immersing you in so much art and culture produced.
And let’s not forget Ze’s flickr account where you’ll find images of all kinds, including, for example, his prize-winning VB16 Photo Contest Entry. Please to notice that his use of the SL Viewer2 border on the image was aparently a bit of mocking of some self-righteous-if-whiny performance artist who wasn’t a V2 fan.
And let’s not either forget GOGBOT, coming up in just 6 weeks!
Our world is richer because Ze is in it. Even more importantly, our understanding and appreciation of our existence in this world is richer and deeper thanks to Ze. Twenty-five centuries ago Socrates told us that the unexamined life was not worth living… Ze’s work helps us to examine our lives every day we live in this world. It’s an extraordinary gift.
Thank you Ze.
(I’ll start shopping for that giant cake to jump out of now)