A Small Interview with Holala Alter about his exhibition Another World, Another Art.
Duna Gant: I met Holala years ago. He called me because a common friend talked to him about Artemis Gallery as a serious project in SL. Since then I have followed closely his activities in SL. He is known for his interest on virtual art as collector and his support to the exhibitions of many artists in galleries or sims. I have found out through Facebook his artist side. His conceptual videos his posts have interested me so much that I proposed him to make his first show in SL. After this, he has gone beyond the role of just being an “art espectator and lover” to the one of creator.
Karlos. In the first place, i would like you to talk about art in RL. Do you have any kind of work as artist or collector in RL? Could you quote some of the artists that catch your attention in RL?
Holala: I come from RL art . Art is my vocation since adolescence, although when I was a small child I always entertained myself making my own toys. After acquiring a theoretical academic background and my independence from the family I have dedicated myself to the practice of art, especially painting, but also I do installation, design, video and music. I feel comfortable before any challenge related to art, both theoretical and practical. I am seduced by good art, regardless of periods and styles. I like art because it is the first invention of man and it marks the final step of the nature towards its intellectual self-sufficiency, and because it thrills us without we know why. To quote very popular artists, I like Leonardo and Warhol; Rembrandt and La Monte Young.
Karlos: In SL, besides collecting art, you also work as artist, having exhibited at Artemis Gallery and at the Virtual Biennale in Cerveira in Portugal. Which media or techniques did you use?
Holala: At Artemis, it was a multimedia exhibition, composed by videos and music. The videos were accompanied by a selection of images from my exploring in SL for my academic studies. There were photographs of projects of houses I developed under a theoretical question: "What is the use of a house for an avatar, according to their needs?" I also selected images related to my fieldwork in different sims, that had the unique characteristic of using some installation's layers as if they were graphic program filters. The art show was completed with images of my avatar, articulating SL, reality and graphic programs. I gave it a significant title: "Art is a poison without antidote", which is my personal definition of art. On the other hand, in my participation at the Virtual Biennale of Cerveira in Portugal, I exhibited works using prim modeling. They were simple works but they required great patience. I used script and sounds, I also manipulated photographs taken in RL. I was speaking of language, its corruption and the weight of legal culture; the return to primitivism that relates art to food, and the slavery which can lead to an artistic vocation, for example, the street musician.
Karlos What did push you to start a collection in SL and when did you start it?
On my visit to spaceXcape, in the fall of 2008, I found my future vocation in Second Life: collecting art. I was much impressed by works and authors reunited there, the installations that you could go through and also go from a dimension to another. A few months later this project disappeared, but I kept intact the desire that I put in march in 2009. During that year I visited many exhibitions and wrote down the name of artists and works that I wanted to acquire, that´s how all started.
Karlos. Your exhibition in Sl is called Another World, Another Art. For you, is a virtual world different from the real one? If is that’s the case, what are the differences for you?
Holala: For me they are different. The metaverse is an experience of life in another dimension. It is living in a reality more real than reality itself, about a source code, in a different physics. The absence of matter, replaced by a mathematical programming, is the key difference. In addition, advanced virtual life or 3D is the culmination of several of the aspirations of man, as controlling the laws of nature, and the man transformed into a work of art, through the control of his appearance; that is, to be as you imagine and want to. I and the world are the same: images.
Karlos. How do the differences between real and virtual world impact SL art? Do you believe, likeyou said in one of your texts, that “the corruption of language caused from new electronic media will produce new genres”? Do this idea also apply to arts?
Holala: The identification between space and time (relativism) makes the art of the metaverse different, an issue expressed in its potential dynamism; with this I want to say that the work can unleash itself over time. The I of the spectator (through the avatar) is part of the work, with his presence, or touching it (by clicking), causing the work to unleash itself. Not touching should be forbidden in SL. At galleries and museums in RL, this is unthinkable. An art based on computer sentences has expanded the imagination. Certainly electronic media are changing everything: in art new approaches in the hands of a select vanguard are already taking place. Writing, controlled by the printing industry lobby, and the nation state, over which is based its own legitimacy, is a slower process
Karlos. Which criteria do you use to select an art work in SL? Is there a main theme that leds you to select an artist or an artistic genre?
Holala: In the first place, the work must surprise me. Later I assess its SL specificity. Learning about the building tool and how scripts work allows me to delve into the value of the work. Taste in art is a very subjective matter. After the attraction that a certain work rises on me, an internal debate begins: What does it say? Which resources have the author used to provoke what attracts me? What is the key to his thinking? Facing an emotional situation that we could be described as outright, I value the relationship between writing and imagination when deciding a purchase. A collector must involve herself attending exhibitions and being at the forefront of what is happening. A firm commitment is essential. I learned very young that a collection can only be done if you bet when the phenomenon appears. A collection is impossible to carry out "a posteriori"; a collection can not be improvised from one day to another, it is expensive and key works are always going to be lacking. This is true for SL and RL.
Karlos. Do you prefer a specific kind of art expression? Sculpture, photography, installation, mixed media, etc.?
Holala: Initially, installation and sculpture. I'm also interested in fractals, which is a widespread trend in SL. Later I have bet on photography, that is a genre that is being imposed itself as has happened in RL. Finally, I have to point out that with great effort I have preferred to make every possible effort to acquire works that I considered relevant in the history of the author, and likewise in the history of the art of Second Life.