Stone Canoe promotes artists worldwide via cyberspace with virtual gallery and Internet/Second Life arts journal
Stone Canoe promotes artists worldwide via cyberspace with virtual gallery and Internet/Second Life arts journalDecember 05, 2008Allison Vincentadvincen@uc.syr.edu
Stone Canoe, the Syracuse University-based community arts journal, now entering its third year, has been successful in helping regional artists and writers find audiences for their work-both through the publication itself and a series of related art exhibitions and readings. Now, in an effort to gain yet more exposure for Upstate New York’s arts community, Stone Canoe editor Robert Colley, with the help of an Amsterdam-based designer, has launched a virtual journal called Vitruvius.
The journal is a companion to an earlier Stone Canoe cyberspace spin-off, the virtual Standing Stone Gallery. The journal and the gallery, which has its own bookstore, both have a presence on the Internet and in the fast-growing virtual world called Second Life. Colley envisions the two projects helping introduce Upstate New York artists and writers to a worldwide audience without costing them a penny.
Vitruvius, subtitled “arts journal for the metaverse,” can be seen at http://vitruviusjournal.com and is the first arts magazine to span both Second Life and the Internet. “The mission of the virtual journal is to bring readers a provocative mix of visual arts, literature and commentary from writers, artists and musicians currently working in ‘real life,’ Second Life or, in many cases, both,” Colley says. “We will see more and more of such crossover as artists of all kinds continue to experiment with new media and new ways of reaching a worldwide audience. So our Upstate artists will be featured prominently in Vitruvius, as the current issue demonstrates, but they will also be in the company of other innovative artists from around the globe, gaining exposure to new audiences and learning more about the latest artistic tools and distribution technologies.”
An example of an artist with a foot in both worlds is Dennis Kinsey, associate professor of public relations in SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, whose record company, Hondo Mesa Records, has a studio in Syracuse and another in Second Life; he and other musicians perform in both places. An article on Kinsey’s work is planned for the next issue of Vitruvius. “We also intend to include articles on the extensive and fast-growing virtual arts scene, for the benefit of those not familiar with its richness,” says Colley.
Second Life has more than eight million members and more than 1,000 galleries and poetry clubs. Vitruvius was picked up by more than 2,500 people in Second Life kiosks in its first week of publication. The current issue features Stone Canoe contributors Anne Novado Cappuccilli, Gail Hoffman, Michael Jennings, Elizabeth Twiddy and Leah Zazulyer, as well as other writers and artists from the United States and Europe.
The current show in the virtual Standing Stone Gallery features the photographs of Douglas Biklen, dean of SU’s School of Education, and Bob Gates, professor of English in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Also on exhibit are paintings by Anna Novado Cappuccilli and artists and sculptors from California, Bahrain, Germany and The Netherlands. The Nov. 29 opening featured live music, streamed from a variety of performers, and attracted 200 people-an encouraging turnout for a new space. The gallery is easily accessible to anyone with Internet access and a Second Life account, which is free and can be set up in about five minutes at http://secondlife.com/.
“One of the most interesting things about the gallery is its ability to show three-dimensional, interactive works that can be created only in a virtual environment, along with traditional works that are transported from real life into this virtual setting,” Colley says. Colley and his Amsterdam-based Standing Stone Gallery partner are in the process of creating a catalog for the show that will also be available on the Internet.
Evolving technology is making it possible for Colley to sell Stone Canoe authors’ books in Second Life, either in virtual form or in the original print form. “The project involves having audio samples of the books as well as virtual copies in the gallery store for people to browse, as they would in Barnes and Noble, with links to the original Stone Canoe website or their own sites, if the writers have them,” he says. “We’ll also market Stone Canoe itself in this way. This is a fairly new concept but has great potential in that Second Life has a very literate, international audience and is rapidly growing. There are also other newer virtual sites, such as Open Life and Google Lively, that are attracting people interested in the arts.”
Standing Stone Gallery will host a virtual version of Stone Canoe’s annual show at the Delavan Art Gallery beginning Jan. 31, 2009, replicating all the pieces present in the Syracuse show. Gail Hoffman, Stone Canoe visual arts editor artist and instructor in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, will curate both shows.
“The idea of visiting a virtual world may seem bizarre at first, but futurists predict that in 10 years this sort of total immersion experience will have replaced what we now know as the Internet,” Colley says. “Print will never go out of style, but as a recent article in The New York Times affirms, this is the future of large scale book distribution.”