[iDC] The SL Unleashing.
ricardo at ambriente.com
ricardo at ambriente.com
Sat Jan 9 17:44:12 UTC 2010
Deanya and all,
Over the last two years, three students that I worked closely with took
jobs at Linden Labs and each described the same working conditions - 70
hour weeks are common, they were miserable, but they did it because they
were afraid to be fired. Two eventually burned out and quit, the third
sticks with it for the money. Yes, it's their decision and certainly
first jobs out of school can be a lot of work for low pay, however their
accounts strike me as highly excessive. I have not researched their
accounts as I have no interest in SL, but they had no reason to exaggerate
their working conditions to me.
In reading about art projects in Second Life, I feel the need to point out
this aspect of Linden Labs, because it is not discussed or people are not
aware of how employees are treated. And in writing about criticality, I
think it's necessary to consider this aspect of SL - the grunts who make
the virtual engine work. Perhaps someone who has worked for Linden Labs
will present a first person account.
Patrick, my response to criticizing Linden Labs is merely to not
participate. I'm a big fan of Invisible Threads/Double Happiness Jeans
for its poignant reflection on maquiladoras as well as it's complex play
between the virtual and real. However, in viewing the project, I always
wonder if in the end it becomes another advertisement for Second Life and
if the real-world criticality of the project is nullified by entirely
being dependent upon a corporate platform.
Indeed, those of us who live in the United States are part of its "yes"
culture (as is increasingly the rest of the world). Maintaining critical
positions while enjoying a good quality of life is difficult to balance -
best to stay informed and make thoughtful decisions.
> Ricardo, the people who are getting paid, even minimally, to do what they
> love are not the people who can work critically on the situation; look at
> college campus adjuncts.
> It's great that you're working outside of the situation (I assume that
> you're working? You're citing some unsubstantiated claims below that I
> assume that you've researched and have backing for?), but in order for
> to be a situation, people have to work inside of it too.
> How is the work for Linden Labs any different from any other first job
> students take? If they don't research the outcomes of any given job, it's
> just as likely to be a dead-end for them; at the same time, I've done shit
> minimum-wage jobs long enough to know that I'd rather teach for $10 an
> than clean bathtubs and toilets for $8 an hour.
> I'm glad that you're working to expose the injustices of the world; I just
> want you to add a little color to your black-and-white picture.
> Deanya Lattimore, PhD candidate/adjunct IFL
> Deanya Zenfold, newbie resident ISL
> On Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 10:20 PM, <ricardo at ambriente.com> wrote:
>> Hello Everyone,
>> I'm not on Second Life although I'm one of those people who created an
>> avatar long ago and didn't return to it.
>> I'm writing now, because when I read about critical artists using SL,
>> dumbfounded by the lack of criticality toward Linden Lab, their
>> toward employees and that artists using SL are uncritically contributing
>> to a commercial product with questionable ethics.
>> I'm largely writing from the position of an educator who has seen
>> talented, young students eagerly take jobs with Linden Lab only to be
>> overworked and underpaid - taken advantage of for lack of professional
>> experience. Linden Lab has a history of hiring young talented college
>> graduates, paying them a low salary and demanding well over 8 hours a
>> Kids stick with the job, because they think it will lead them
>> I find this treatment of young artists entirely unethical. And it's
>> disappointing to here of critically engaged artists using a corporate
>> platform without a critical perspective toward the corporation that they
>> are playing tribute to by contributing to its environment and popularity
>> while it mistreats its employees.
>> > Hello everyone.
>> > I've been reading in on this thread with great interest, and Stephanie
>> > saying back-channel, "When is Patrick going to say something?",
>> > she
>> > knows I will.
>> > There is too much going on to write about - warning - lots of links.
>> > First of all, I'd like to say that although SL has been a primary
>> > for
>> > the past 3-4 years, I still love it as an artform and hold it deeply
>> > circumspect. There is wonderful energy out there, fantastic
>> > abut
>> > also egregious misunderstandings between previously unfamiliar
>> > constituencies. There are also groups, called "Immersives" by blogger
>> > Bettina Tizzy that insist the primacy/importance of SL over the
>> > world, and I have talked extensively with Cao Fei's creative team to
>> > understand that most of the community in-world has no idea what a
>> > Trienniale
>> > is.
>> > But this is also puzzling, as there are immense numbers of people who
>> > trying to become famous there. (That's why I have an avatar called
>> > Rembrandt" that runs the Second Factory. More on that in a few
>> > I think that the article talking about the demise of SL is a product
>> > two
>> > things: First, the failure of SL to take over the entire net (as it
>> > like Linden promised it would, which was impossible), and the
>> > of
>> > social connections/communities. Obviously, someone just coming in and
>> > rooting around for a bit is not going to be swarmed by the community
>> > swept off to all the digerati parties, and they don't happen 24/7.
>> > have
>> > to know who's throwing the party, and when to be there. Therefore, I
>> > think
>> > that the writer just expects the parties to be endless, but I seem to
>> > taking an opposite polemic.
>> > What has been happening? This could be a few pages in itself, really.
>> > A few notes, though.
>> > First for Lynn - Odyssey's administrator is burnt out and wants help
>> > retire, and no one is willing to take it on. It may fold if this is
>> > filled.
>> > Second - yes - Gazira. She's been on extended vacation, as SL burns
>> > out, as time compresses in virtual worlds, due to the degree of
>> > interaction
>> > required to maintain mindshare, and the amount of involvement that
>> > This Fall, Gazira (and I) had a show in Ljubiana, Slovenia where she
>> > some great interventions where she asked people to converse with
>> > and
>> > also showed a video frame version of our piece, 7UP.
>> > http://www.gazirababeli.com/actingasaliens.php
>> > http://www.gazirababeli.com/TEXTS.php?t=canweunderstandavatars
>> > http://www.gazirababeli.com/COLLABORATIONS.php
>> > This Fall, Scott Kildall and I, Aland Sondheim and Foofwa
>> > and
>> > Lily and Honglei did a wonderful mixed reality show at Eyebeam, where
>> > Second
>> > Front unlocked a crypt of Data Mummies, Alan and Foofwa did an amazing
>> > dance
>> > performance (and Sandy Baldwin as well, sorry), and Lily and Honglei
>> > people on a tour of their amazing Sunken City, a critique of the Three
>> > Rivers Project in China. Beautiful work.
>> > vd-at.html
>> > For what I have been doing, I'd like to send you
>> > http://patricklichty.wordpress.com/
>> > This includes a nod by Art21, my retrospective, and new texts in the
>> > Performa 07 catalogue (I wrote the Second Front one anonymously), and
>> > new piece in Public Art Review.
>> > Stephanie and Jeff just had their virtual sweatshop at laboral, Lynn
>> > been ongoing, Cao Fei has been doing great things with RMB, which has
>> > first anniversary coming,
>> > This is just the tip of the iceberg - I'll talk more, but I'm going to
>> > play bingo with joncates at the moment.
>> > What do these people want?
>> > _______________________________________________
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> Deanya Lattimore
> 704/466/3689 home
> 704/406/3209 office
> ABD PhD. Syracuse University
> Adjunct, Gardner-Webb University
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