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AUSTRALIA COUNCIL LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE ART PROJECT IN SECOND LIFE

Australia Council chairman James Strong AO tonight will take avatar form to officially launch an exciting new artwork in the virtual world of Second Life – the result of a groundbreaking Australia Council for the Arts residency.

The work – Babelswarm – is a real-time 3-D art project created by the Australia Council’s first Second Life artists-in-residence – writer Justin Clemens, visual artist Christopher Dodds and musician/3-D real-time artist Adam Nash.

The installation, a metaphor for the Tower of Babel, uses voice recognition software that converts the spoken word of real and virtual participants into 3-D letterform images in an evolving tower of words. The artwork is a simultaneous installation in Second Life and in a real world gallery, where visitors can be involved directly in its creation via a computer interface.

The Australia Council supported the work through a $20,000 Second Life artist residency – the first time a government arts funding agency has supported a project on this virtual platform.

The artwork will be launched simultaneously in the real world at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

‘The launch of Babelswarm marks a truly exciting step forward for Australia’s cultural landscape. It is vital that government supports and fosters new digital creative practices and inventiveness in the realms of online worlds, gaming and media arts,’ James Strong said.

‘Virtual worlds like Second Life are fast becoming mainstream platforms for artistic interaction; we are keen to provide pathways for artists to continue to innovate in these rich digital environments.’

James Strong said the residency was an extension of the Australia Council’s diverse real world support for Australian artists.

‘The Australia Council supports artist residencies in many places in the real world; it is only natural for us to help artists explore the creative possibilities of residencies in virtual worlds.’

The Lismore Regional Gallery is located at 131 Molesworth Street, Lismore, NSW. The exhibition will run until April 23, 2008.

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