Art Practice in Collaborative Virtual Environments

Catarina Carneiro de Sousa aka CapCat Ragu and Luís Eustáquio aka Takio Ra wrote an article for Uncertain Spaces: Virtual Configurations in Contemporary Art and Museums about Art Practice in Collaborative Virtual Environments.

This article aims to describe the types of artworks one can find in Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE). CVE are virtual, digital spaces where users can collaborate in the creation of diverse spaces and artefacts. Most artworks in CVE resist being compartmentalized into a taxonomic classification given their unstable and fluid nature, often open and participatory. The playful dimension of the creative act also contributes to this, for although present in several types of artwork, it is prevalent in CVE. This playful dimension extends to the enjoyment of these projects, where it can contribute to transform the aesthetic experience into a creative activity, as we shall demonstrate. While demonstrating why the division of such practices in rigid and specific typologies is in essence a fruitless toil, we will provide a succinct description of the various art forms that can be found in CVE. One can start by dividing artistic manifestations in two main groups: those happening in CVE and those derived from CVE. The former is further separated in spaces/objects, avatars and performance, while the latter is divided between virtual photography and machinima. It is important to point out, however, that it is common for an art project to span more than one of these categories since they often develop asynchronously and vary in both appearance and process, throughout the project development, as we shall describe. Although still far from mainstream experience, a growing number of artists is using CVE to develop artistic research and practice, as they offer conditions not found anywhere else. However, emerging technologies such as affordable headset devices might place us on the verge of a new era in CVE, one of new possibilities for digital art.

Kikas Babenco & Marmaduke Arado, performance at Slactions, 2013. Screenshot by CapCat Ragu.

Kikas Babenco & Marmaduke Arado, performance at Slactions, 2013. Screenshot by CapCat Ragu.

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