Listen to who sings: there is an avatar in concert

The works are there, the artist’s face is not. Or rather: yes, but it’s an avatar. No anonymity, no need. If you look for the name of LaTurbo Avedon, you will come across the virtual image, in 3D, of a girl with vaguely Caucasian features, with sometimes short hair and sometimes gathered in a ponytail, however always platinum blonde. By his own admission: a bit the pop star Miley Cyrus, a bit Quistis Trepe, the protagonist of the video game series “Final Fantasy”. And that’s enough, not only to define the aesthetic coordinates of the project.

Who is behind this “incarnation”? It is not important, because the art is digital and the artist “native of the Internet”. Translated: not an author who has an avatar, but one who is an avatar. And who – strictly via email – specifies to Espresso: «I have no obligation to represent someone else: I exist as a fully-fledged virtual individual, without physical constraints or“ referents ”». He does not produce canvases or marble sculptures but files that exist exclusively on the web, studying “the ways in which the representation of oneself is expanded through the experiences we live on the screen”.

As, moreover, she induces to make her own identity in continuous “construction”, the point of convergence of a process that started in 2008 with the management of a nightclub in Second Life – an online life simulator in which she became famous through his dj-sets – and subsequently arrived in many corners of the network. In fact, since 2012 she has also started curating the Panther modern exhibition, a sort of hub she founded for the works of others strictly just a click away, while then she took on social media through an Instagram profile that updates us on her life on the web, between images of exhibitions and selfies of releases, obviously in virtual environments, with friends.

And today, finally, he can say that he has exhibited in traditional galleries, including the Transmediale of Berlin and the Transfer of New York, as well as on ad hoc museum-sites, chat-rooms and any other digital space able to accommodate site-specific audiovisual experiences – that is, usable only in the place in which they are inserted, and for which they have been specially conceived – which he designs.

For example, the last one, “Your progress will be saved”, is an imposing – and symbolic – structure of mirrors and lights built directly inside the Fortnite videogame, thanks to the creative mode. And if it is not the first time that the name of LaTurbo has been associated with a game (in the past, among many, it had appeared in Overwatch and Minecraft; it is a long-standing love, he confirms), in this case there is the middle ground. the unprecedented presence of Factory virtual, the online preview of the Manchester International Festival which will open in 2021, for which the installation was produced last summer. Which contains rooms in which to shoot with your character to “collect memories”, and which reflects on the way in which all of us, on the web, are “alone, but together”.

Because – he says – the internet may have isolated us, “but it has still allowed us to be closer in mind, as happened during the lockdown, for example. Of course: it may be difficult for many today to procure virtual experiences as they would in the physical world; but I am convinced that we still have to learn many things about the environments we have created in the metaverse (the virtual world in which we are represented through an avatar, Ed.) ». Exploration, therefore; and look to the future. After all, according to her, it is precisely the concept of digital dualism that is overcome: “My work tries to disprove the still widespread belief of a distinction between virtual and physical reality, to encourage others to reflect on their identity in network”.

And in fact also “Eternity be kind” – his performance-installation presented in Italy, as a national premiere, last October at the Romaeuropa festival – starts from the certainty that the online and offline dimensions, in our lives, are now inseparable. Streamed, the work was created together with Myriam Bleau, a composer and digital artist – she, yes, in flesh and blood – residing in Montreal and specialized in dance music, audiovisual systems and the study of the relationships between sounds and physical places and human beings. It is a kind of concert, although in reality it represents much more.

On the screen the two artists stage, in front of a virtual stage and a DJ console, almost forty minutes of show on the original songs of the Canadian producer, en route to dark electronics, inspired by a dystopian and ultra-pop hyper-pop. synthetic. And with baroque echoes in between that return in the lute samples, stroboscopic lights that mix with three-dimensional graphics, pitchate voices borrowed from trap or k-pop. In addition, of course, to LaTurbo, who dances and sings like a diva, or a new pop star. But, in fact, it is not a simple live: with the passage of time the sounds become liquid, the choruses deep and vaguely soulful, the rhythm of the syncopated, fragmented bass drum; until you wake up directly in a club, empty and seen in first person, and then still suspended in the void, finally surrounded by stars, holograms, other mirrors.

The boundaries between traditional concert and virtual experience jump. And, in the year in which – due to the pandemic – many musicians try to organize live shows specifically for streaming, while rapper Travis Scott even performs in a short show during a Fortnite session, “Eternity be kind” reconnects the wires between online and offline.

However, also stimulating the typical reflections of the house: “The background perspective is critical towards worlds based only on simulation, and in particular on the way in which these could take the place of the physical dimension, perhaps with the time spent in quarantine », The artist specifies. Because in the end “looking at the monitor is like looking at a mirror”: the two dimensions are not mutually exclusive; indeed, they coincide, they are both real. And who better than an artist-avatar can testify to this?

Also for this reason, to get in touch with LaTurbo you can play a video game with her in multiplayer mode, write them on social networks or directly attend a contemporary art installation, perhaps inserted in a traditional gallery. “Working only through intangible interactions, I learned to make my entire creative practice an extension of my virtual identity”, he concludes, noting how, after more than ten years of research, his own online presence is now considered performance, even before individual works. Implied: conversation on Facebook or cathedral in the desert on Fortnite, it doesn’t matter. And in fact, for those who frequent certain network environments, it has now become a familiar face, in the context of a strategy that deliberately dampens every aspect of the extraordinary nature of the proposal. Because behind its exceptional nature, LaTurbo hides a new promise of normality.

Source: Rss l'Espresso by

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