Thursday, 23 September 2010
Work from Kool-Aid Man in Second Life.
Now giving guided tours!
“…People make crush art about you all the time, don’t they?” That’s the first question I asked Jon Rafman one month ago after he discovered I was embarking upon an ongoing multi-media performance inspired by his work. Our conversation provided my first hint into Rafman’s process. He wanted to know what I’d done between the time I left work and the time I arrived at home, the name of the office building, where my roommate was born, the details of my relationship to certain net artists, and a host of other very specific questions which I later saw as part of his process for, and reverence toward, the construction of one’s personal narrative. The truth, though he wouldn’t admit it, is that Jon Rafman is one of the net art community’s most respected and beloved figures. This prestige, it seems to me, relates to his ability to position himself in shamanistic roles, as director, storyteller, and tour guide, as the middle man exploring essential concepts of modernity/contemporary experience, and then processing and framing them into narratives. His work is concerned with virtual worlds, self-identity, and the collapse of high/low art. He is the artist/curator behind Googlestreetviews.com and the cartoonish internet flâneur directing tours through Second Life as Koolaidmaninsecondlife.com.
Rafman’s Kool-Aid Man avatar is one of his most primary characters, taking appointments and leading tours through Second Life worlds both utopian and fetishistic, as well as starring in a collection of stills and films directed by Rafman himself, which humorously contrast the avatar’s round red body against the super sexy alter egos much more commonly found in Second Life. The tours are primarily directed between virtual avatars, however Rafman also performs the tours live, inviting audience members to directly interact and inform the journey, as he subtly contextualizes and frames the experience. The Kool-Aid Man avatar, as it relates to Rafman’s body of work as a whole, is an externalized representation of Rafman’s honest and committed artistic struggle to construct and examine self in virtual culture….” – Lindsay Howard for BOMBLOG