Taey Iohe

Interview with Lime Galsworthy

Denise Doyle interviews Lime Galsworthy (aka Taey Iohe)

What was it that made you first want to make Artworks in Second Life?

I wonder what would have been happened if I had installed the bed in the here and there rather than having one gallery space. And that would have been a slightly different project. Because the curation on Kriti was for combining other people’s work, but I think initially my idea was that, when I saw the Kriti. It would be nice to see the bed, sort of as a hide and seek, so you kind of come across the bed, and suddenly, wow, what is the story about this bed? So my mind drifted through what would have happened if I had done that concept, but on some levels it did work and I wanted to see how the bed is seen differently in the virtual space. Because my bed was a representation of private space and public space, and taking the bed out of the bedroom and going to different places – that sort of activity or performance itself was interesting to me. So, to put the bed in the virtual space was definitely something I wanted to experiment with.

You’ve just been to Kriti. I would be interested to hear from you what your responses are to the island itself. How familiar do you think you are with Kriti? Do you know how much time you have spent there on the island?

Recently I didn’t really go to Second Life much. But previously I think I logged on almost like every - now and then, maybe every two nights or something.

Is there anything about your internal experience that you want to mention?

Somehow I was still thinking about my dream last night. I had a very vivid dream last night, and I was describing to my friend what the dream was, and I was pretty much still in the dream. Basically it was - there was, more or less two different teams – one is called the East team, the other team is the West team – it was more like a Romeo and Juliette family fight – two different sides. And the East side, the man is black, and the black actor I really fancy from the drama, The Wire, and a woman who was blond – and somehow they did something really bad – so the society punished them. They were basically slaughtered by these judges – so they became meat – so they kind of stuck them together in the meat packaging. So it was really sort of, full on. But after all, at the back of my mind I thought that, because now that technology is so advanced, that if they can extract the DNA from the meat – they can be almost inflated as a human being again? So I was describing this crazy dream and the description didn’t come across quite well – because I had a quite visionary, very strong dream. But when I put it into words, it doesn’t really carry that strong-ness with it.

(Was it that you were reminded of the dream or just that your dream was carried over into the day?)

Yeah, I mean, I am trying to describe that describing Kriti and Second Life gives me a similar feeling that I am describing in my dream, but in some ways it’s different. The dream is not visionary, it is more like a mindset – and Second Life is visionary. So before you think there is vision – there is graphics already. But somehow the description of dream or the description of Second Life are a bit similar - because both of them are not real. So you use descriptive language as, ‘as if’ or ‘as like’ – instead ‘it is’.

Could I ask you to pick out three words which might describe what you have just described to me?

Surreal, Experimental, and blurry, maybe.

And now can you say three words of how it felt to be on Kriti?

Hanging – hanging was a description of my state, but it could be an emotional state as well. What else could it be - Drift away. Or free and warm.

Thinking about the space itself, do you think there are particular ways of creating meaning in the works themselves? I wonder whether that’s associated with this creating of meaning or whether that’s an exploration of that space – or whether they are similar or different?

I think there is still a challenge in Second Life – it is more like a transient space, whereas you explore the 3D space in the real gallery, or real space. So you make an interactive piece, or you are using the sensors to make the balloon to bubble, or whatever. But in Second Life there is a sense that, I as the user – or the audience – am thinking about the physicality of the work – so its not really tangible or I imagine - because I am producing stuff - so I imagine as if I am the producer, that if I go to the gallery space the artist person must have hammered through the wall, but then in Second Life, this person must know about the java language, or you know. It’s a different set of skill to be an artist. Therefore the meaning of the work, there is an intelligence feeling in Second Life - because having the exhibition in the gallery more physicality – you physically need to be making stuff – and conceptually wise is all done before. But making it is just the sweat – but in the Second Life its very intellectually done, – even producing it is done in the desk. So, perhaps the art itself still carries that – I appreciate that more - the physicality of the artwork. And many people still appreciate the tangible-ness of artwork. So, producing the meaning is still quite challenging, because, is it art, or is it knowledge, or is it other? So, creating meaning in Second Life is particularly interesting because there is a lack of physicality of it.

Could you say what the original intention of the work specifically on Kriti was?

I think one of biggest difference from the real exhibition and this one – is the fact that you can actually sit on the bed on Kriti.

Where could you sit on the bed, on Kriti?

Yes, on Kriti – because in the real one I had to it make it hanging in the air – so I used fishnet to make the space under the bed, so it looked liked it was hanging in the air – but if someone jump on it – obviously it will swing or it will not be really safe. So in a way it was big trouble because the museum curator thought that it was, health and safety wise, it was so attractive to want to jump. So for the kids just get in there, and they just want to throw over, and that is exactly what cant be happening in the museum set up. But that’s not what I wanted in the gallery but on Kriti that’s what I wanted – so, the bed is bigger. I said to Annabeth I want ten people to be able to sit on the bed together. So the bed itself is quite big when you get to sit down. I think that part was different from the real exhibition.

So that is what you wanted your audience to do in the space was to go onto the bed?


I have re-read what you wrote about your project in the catalogue, and a few things stand out in terms of the way you are talking about this migration of your project onto Kriti, and the way you express it is that you are exhibiting visual stories in a virtual space. Can you expand on this? What did you mean by visual stories?

Visual stories. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know how much it carries out for the seriousness of the actual intention of the work – when you are going in you have got the Kamchaka Blues first – I don’t whether people clicked that – but it kind of indicates that there is an ‘other being’ coming to my neighbourhood. So that’s the prelude of the work. It doesn’t have to be Na Hyenoek and Mary Woolstonecroft in this context. Even though it is helpful to know that is the backstory of it – but I also realise that it is a big group exhibition, and in the environment like Second Life people tend to skip through rather than, you know, standing there taking a long time of it – so that is one of the reasons why I put the Kamchaka Blues first. And then going in you see the different beds, and then on the right side there is some description – but the description is quite high, like physically – and you kind of need to go and read it – and I wanted it to be like that because after seeing all the bed pictures – I wanted people to see the red thread, the red thread hanging in the space so they – I want people to wondering what is up there. And then people go up and then see the bed. So, all the alienation of the bed, was kind of feeding back to the space again. So was like a small closet that you’ve got the bed elsewhere and then go up and then see the bed and then - Ah ha – so this person, this artist went to travel with the bed – and then if that is much more interesting then there is a story behind it. So, in a way the visual story carries with the space. So in the real space the Na Hyenoek and the Mary Woolstonecroft encounter is more significant, and I draw the story onto the walls, so it’s more like a cave, that people going in and you read the text – but this one is more designed for you to navigate through and come back to the story again.

In your artists statement you said that developing the work on Kriti was a perfect combination of exploring virtuality and physicality, which was a mirror image of what you had created on your street when you took your bed out. Could you say a little more about this idea of the mirror image? Do you think that’s really correct now? Do you think it still holds?

Yeah, I think so – I think it’s a kind of reflective work that I have done – I had a story I wanted to reflect to the street, and then I want to reflect on to the gallery – and the virtuality - what I mean by that – was, that it was my story that I pick it up – and many people, many artists are inspired by other artists or other philosophers – and they want to exercise the philosophy of it or they want to project onto their work. But its not easy from the audience point of view that why this work is relevant to that particular theory or particular philosophy. But, nowadays the contemporary artists, they get so much resource, so much of the footnotes everywhere – so it’s a kind of puzzle work – that you reflect on to everyday, and you reflect on to your artwork – you reflect on to your writing – so kind of a ping pong in a way – so I guess this work, particularly, made me realise this is the one puzzle of the reflection. And virtuality and physicality: virtuality means that the rhizome structure that you get the resources and inspiration from everywhere; and the physicality is the actual production.

Can I ask you why you agreed to be part of exhibition?

Well, I like the idea of how you created Kriti. I mean, my knowledge of Second Life before was you make yourself sexier than real life, or you know, from an educational point of view, or there is some art work that has been done by some other people that I don’t know, or there is like a business model that you can apply too. But its never really been something, or someone who is determined to make the space for art projects – so the idea that you made Kriti designed for this – and you work through to make it happen – I think that was already quite interesting to me. So, it was a long development wasn’t it in a way? And I saw that you got really excited when you designed garden and everything. And then I saw when it was all empty, and my little stupid circles – and these are all of the developments I was witnessing, that I wanted to be part of. I wanted to be there to see what’s happening.

Part Two

Do you think that SL is a place or a playground of the imagination? Or is it taking it too far?

Hmmm, I think that Second Life is one of the places of the imagination. I don’t think that it’s exclusive.

Thinking about the act of imagining. Can I ask you, do you know when you are imagining?

I think so, yeah. Yeah. Hmm, I think everyday. I think imagination to me – just personally – that contemplating the possibility for the future - that’s the one thing – and the possibility can be a bad thing or a good thing – but that is based on the fact, or based on today, so that still includes me and includes my situation, and then you make the imagination beyond of the truth. But the possibility is – I think that the human being has a limit to think the possibility – because we are tied to today – tied to the present – so if there is no present, then probably the imagination can be much more freer. But somewhere like Second Life, which is virtual space that is not necessarily today, or present, or me – it could be someone else like Lime Galsworthy – and I make my own presence with my determination – so I create my own world, then imagination be free, can be unlocked from my situation. So, in that sense Second Life is a good platform for exercising (the imagination) without being handcuffed to your situation in a way.

Is imagination and imagining an imaged based experience for you? Or is it something else?

I think it is a collection of images, and senses, and assets, and states. So I can imagine, I mean I have a folder called 2025, so I am always making a note that in 2025 I have a garden, I have a cat. But you know, that not the image themselves, that the assets I guess. And I am happy because – and that’s the mindset. That’s just the one example. But the imagination contains image and state of mind.

Was it something about the Second Life space that made imagine your own work in a new way?

Yes. Again, I was very impressed by Annabeth’s work – and if I, but that requires an Opening and a crowd. But having said that I think that is the new alternative way of getting internet crowd into the creative space. Its always, always a bit problematic that what kind of crowd you are going to get - because they often come for the beer, or they often come for the networking. But then what kind of experience are they taking home? And in that reason having the experience rather than showing. That is the new thing I want to explore.

Kritical Works in SL II, ISEA 2009 (International Symposium of Electronic Arts), curated by Denise Doyle