“If I live my life with passion and meaning, then my life is art” – Monte Wise, April 2009.
I never appreciated this mantra…Life is Art. Monte had adopted this phrase many years ago when he was trying to find personal meaning after our divorce. He put it in cards to our children; his computer passwords were all related to the phrase. In short, it became something that was “stamped” on him (and almost an irritant for me). If he could have tattooed it to himself, he would have. Instead, our daughter tattooed it on her arm after his death.
As someone approaches the moment when they will present their dissertation proposal, they have to give a “name” to their work. I have read the dissertation titles of many and they always sound so official. Everyone wants to solve the world’s problems with their academic work and having a title as weighty as the work seems to be a given.
My gift to the world…my academic statement…is about people who create a digital persona – an avatar – in order to “bare” themselves artistically. They are players on a global stage…they have nothing to offer but their music…and yet they persist, night after night, year after year, in the hopes of receiving the feedback in a virtual world that they may not find in the physical world. They write, they sing, they play an instrument and their virtual fans may not ever know their “real” identity. The more immersed I became in the music community in Second Life the more I realized that “real” was relative – the identity an artist creates in Second Life may be more real artistically than their identity in real life. I finally understood what Monte was talking about – their life had become art, both in their pixilated identity and their performance.
The comps are over, the proposal is underway, and my title has been chosen. The method I will use is Portraiture, where I listen for the stories of the musicians who perform virtually, and intertwine them with my own experience in creating a virtual identity. My work will be about life, about art, and the blurred distinction between the two. This body of work, this effort to launch myself onto the academic stage, will represent my own life…as art.