Gazira Babeli

Gazira Babeli

Work from her oeuvre

“Gazira Babeli is a performance artist and filmmaker and she exists only in a virtual world. In 2006 Babeli was born in the 3-D infrastructure “Second Life”. Since then she created films and performances which can be exhibited in the “real world” as well. Her existence is a play with the myth about the real person behind the avatar. As incomprehensible as the real Babeli is as ambiguous remains her avatar. Babeli consistently brakes boundaries. She is a work of art and an artist at the same time. Her own resources are her virtual self. She does not only exists as a registered code in Second Life, she also writes the code of Second Life itself: many of her art projects are manipulations of the phenomenal world of Second Life and of its virtual nature: Tornadoes are just programmable interfaces. She does not see any difference between programmability and performative act.

As an avatar Babeli can be a productive influence on the world around her and on other avatars which would not be possible in the “real world”. Here art holds the power of possibility. Babeli plays with the boundaries of the tangible but she also reflects the omnipotence of mankind in relation to the surrounding reality. At the same time she confronts the avatars witnessing her performances with the feeling of losing control over themselves when she manipulates their reactions. The virtual world is a kind of a testing ground for Babeli. The controllable reality forged in Second Life by the artist is to explore possible actions and alternative ways of living. Her work could certainly be called provocative.

In the performance “Hammering the Void” which took place at the gallery [DAM] Berlin in 2009, the visitors were confronted with a small army of Gazira Babelis: 14 clones of the artist, with descriptive names such as “Greed Petrovic”, “Sloth Swansong” and “Temperance Navarita”  attacked the avatars of the visitors in the virtual exhibition space with hammers and therefore forced them to react.
In the installation “Gaz of the Desert” the user sees pictures of famous artists such as Francis Bacon, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. But here he is not a passive observer, he is literally attacked by the art and challenged by the conflict: For example a look at the pictures of Bacon results in the deformation of the visitors virtual body. Watching other pictures results in the visitors avatar getting tossed around. Also the pictures themselves are affected by earthquakes and other natural disasters that Babeli has programmed.
Gazira Babelis work has been displaid in many exhibitions in and outside of Second Life, like HOLY FIRE – The Art of the digital age in Brussels. She is a member of Second Front the artists’ association founded in Second Life and member of the artistic community Odyssey, which is also located in Second Life.” – [DAM]Berlin

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