LEA and the politics of curating…

As a totally disinterested observer [by that I mean I have not applied to build there] it is fairly interesting to read Rowan Derryth’s post on the LEA. However, it’s also fairly difficult to come to any conclusions other than ‘some people don’t get on’ and ‘egos get in the way of team work’.

I have had the opportunity in RL to curate a series (13) of very large open shows back in the early 90’s, and have my own experiences of group decisions and petty infighting. Previous to that I was a community member of a commune for 7 years that tried many different forms of group management with community involvement.

There is a basic dilemma with any community namely, the ego/identity of the group/community and the individual.

Managing their interaction is nigh impossible as the group can consume the individual and the individual can destroy the group. After many years of experimenting with different configurations of meetings and management councils it became pretty clear that in some things we are all equal and all should have an equal voice… and in other areas we are not equal and ‘experts’ should dictate a desired outcome.

Compare this to the democratic governance of a country and an example could be that while a brain surgeon doesn’t need Joe Public to debate the best surgical techniques in an open forum, Joe might have a general input, (maybe on wages) if he is paying the bills….if he isn’t paying the bills, then he has only ‘wishes’, or preferences, regarding the services he is being given.

Running an art gallery or, in this case, sims has similar elements. If the sims are given by a benefactor who is not hands-on (like LL and the LEA) then obviously the artists who are supposed to benefit from this donation have wishes and preferences. To believe that they should also have the right to decide brain surgery techniques with the administrating council is a problem. The problem arises when the authority in the council is questioned…i.e. when Joe Public is a brain surgeon himself.

To have artists running the LEA is a problem. Far better to have an administrator experienced in organisation and PR in a service-based organisation for whom the aspiring artists would be, rightly, seen as The General Public, i.e. his/her target clients…. their wishes and preferences should be listened to and discussed openly, often.

Example…. Jayjay. For the last few years Jayjay has been dealing with hundreds, possibly thousands, of artists in the monthly competitions at the UWA. He has the added advantage of a sense of humour as shown so brilliantly in his dealings with the eccentrics and prima donnas who make up a good proportion of the artist community. SaveMe, as an astute critic of the Art Business, has a working relationship with Jayjay now, a situation which is a credit to them both.

When I was in charge of curating 300 artists in RL (I did so with a colleague) we saw ourselves as ‘benevolent dictators’… we paid the bills, and we made the decisions, we cleaned the toilets. Serving the public in this way is a pretty thankless task at times as many will know…. allowing the drama queens to tell you how to run your gallery is, however, death on toast…. rule, wisely but firmly …would be my advice.

So… this TL;DR LEA saga should just be seen in this light… part of a process of development towards a useful facility for SL artists, if LL don’t throw too many banana skins in their path and the egos don’t take over.

It will be interesting to see how it all goes…

Personally I don’t like to give anyone enough authority to decide what I do or don’t build, so I fund myself, that way I am in charge of my own production.

“No I in teamwork”…Ha!!



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6 responses to “LEA and the politics of curating…

  1. Polished Thinking!!! Yield only for Fresh Air and Ideas… Social Capitalist anti-ego serum erector CASH!

  2. Very well-written.
    I have had this experience myself, mostly in bands but also in art shows/events. OWS is currently going through this same meditation. There’s something to be said for democratic input… but at a certain point, you need an organized framework to get anything done, and that means structure, which means authority.

    Everyone would like to think they are an authority on their computer, but unless they’ve taken the time to really learn & experiment with it, build a couple hundred machines and made them work when “all hope was lost,” I don’t expect them to argue with me about what needs to be done with a machine to make it serviceable and perform just because they read something somewhere in some populist computer mag. Their “democratic input” is unqualified and will only serve to muck up the situation.

  3. Yes, it’s like these hateful ‘phone-in’ programmes where some radio DJ asks Joe Public what they think should be done about the economy… a complex problem which no amount of ‘opinons’ is gonna fix.

  4. I’m so sorry to see LEA flailing. It’s potential is critical to the future of virtual art. Despite reading Rowan and Soror’s posts carefully, I’m sure I don’t understand what is truly going on, but this much I do know: Too many “leaders,” and not enough worker bees. If Linden Lab has really gotten out of the way, I wonder if there is any chance that LEA might elect ONE chair/leader per year, and the rest of the committee members would help that chair implement his/her vision. Give that chair real authority. Six months isn’t long enough.

  5. Don’t you dare to destroy a perfectly running soap opera with your snobbish remarks how to rule a bunch of pseudo-artists. The blah blah of the Miso’s and Tizzy’s of this world doesn’t add a bit to good dramatic storylines. Better behave like Alizarin and drop in from time to time as her perfect way of crying is deeply missed and by showing up once in a while she gives her fans hope for the future.
    Now Soror, go back to your exile and produce some freaky plastic eggs, stick a toothpic in it and tell us it’s a tree.

  6. @ SaveMe… XXX and hugzzzz.

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