The March UWA-Burniversity artist talk was given by Miso Susanowa at the UWA Artist talks Platform. What follows is an edited transcript of the talk and discussion. Thank you to Miso for the text and Iono for some lovely images. Unattributed images were taken by quadrapop Lane. First, I’d like to thank Jayjay and quadrapop again for all the exciting and important work they are doing here for the Arts in Second Life. I wanted to use this opportunity today to talk about process; specifically, the collaborative process. Some of you may know that I was involved for many years in performance art, music and rave production. So I’d like to give you a little bit of that background, then discuss some aspects of group collaboration and then a bit about each piece I did with Len Zuks, a RL Australian sculptor. On my blog you will find links to Len’s home page as well as photographs of the two works we did together (Megabyte & Lil Eisenstein).

Those subgroups would meet often, talk, hang out, listen to each other, get a feel for each other. The subgroups would also be in touch with one another through individual contact and also through the subgroup’s lead or point people at regular intervals. That was our aim. FEEL Len, feel where he was when he was making Megabyte and Lil Eizenstein. This helped me FEEL his work and really started the process of working WITH his pieces rather than against them or on the side of them. So it began to be a real collaborative effort between us. I began with Megabyte, Len’s wonderful hippopotamus. Len had told me he’d been thinking about Jayjay and what he was involved in, ie computers and SL, when Len was making this work. I decided to use cartoon animals inside Megabyte; the typical animals of his home environment. I added the djembe drum so I could incorporate a rythmn track to support all the animal noises attached to the figurines inside and to Megabyte’s own vocalizations (which, although they sound strange, are actual hippo vocalizations, unaltered or processed).

All the textures used in the sculpture are made from Jayjay’s photos of the actual sculpture and Len’s metalwork. I added a bit of fun to him with the following eyes, the moving tail and ears. Megabyte to see all that hidden interior life by click-focusing your cam on his mouth, then swinging the camera around that point to his back and then pushing the cam inside him. Then you should see the savannah and the animals. The hippo vocalizations will play irregardless. If you leave the drum going, you can scratch/dub a jungle boogie lol. Len loved this piece so I was encouraged to start on the second. This was the second piece I attempted. I had done a quick rough for Len and Jayjay as a kind of “audition” for the assignment. I revisited that rough and corrected some of the structure, as I had worked originally from a straight-on photo of the work and now had more photos from various angles to help me see what certain structures were. Since I had the metal textures made already from Megabyte, I applied them.

When I began to look for sound to incorporate into the sculpture (because much of my work in SL incorporates sound; it’s sort of a signature part of my work) I came across Einstein’s 1945 Voice of America broadcast. The speech is deeply moving, plaintive and sincere; very very human. It is also quite uncomfortable for some types, as it doesn’t allow easy dismissal of the issues it raises. That speech is incorporated into this work. This speech triggered the whole approach to the sculpture and was quite strong and, I felt, an honest reaction to the subject matter. The atomic branches and the mushroom grew almost instantly from Len’s original base. This was a deep alteration in the approach to the piece and I was quite worried that Len or Jayjay would find it political, offensive or just too dark. But it was an honest reaction to the research I was immersed in on Einstein, his work and his life. Thankfully, both Len and Jayjay really liked it! The collaboration with Len has been truly fun and rewarding, and I’d like to thank Jayjay Zifanwe for facilitating this collaboration with one of Australia’s finest sculptors. Len and we hope to do more work in the future. Thank you all for listening. Miso Susanowa: ah also i must mention, if you touch Lil Eizenstein you will receive information about Len and also a copy of that 1945 speech of Einstein’s that moved me very much. Miso Susanowa: questions or comments or anything? Lane: Miso – there is a third piece in the works is that correct?

Others you will need to find on your own. Luckily, many of the most common grammar errors college students make are the same. If your instructor has written “word choices” on your paper, you can often improve your grammar pretty easily. Check the “Frequently Misused Words” list. While this list isn’t all the errors college instructors see, these are the most common, which means your instructor is on you like a hawk if they see them! Look for these words in your paper and make sure you’ve used them correctly. Look at Verbs. Especially if your instructor wrote about problems with verb tense shifts, look through your paper and circle the verbs. Make sure that you don’t switch from present (now), to past tense (before), to future tense (not yet) without having a reason to do so. Singular and Plural. More importantly, be sure that the verb matches the subject. If the subject is singular (one), the verb should not be plural (more than one). Pay Attention to Instructor’s Comments. If you’ve gotten a graded paper back from your instructor, then look to see what word choice errors were marked. Make sure you don’t make the same error again. Instructors who see you are trying to improve and learn will give you a higher grade. If you don’t understand the marks on your paper, be sure to ask. If your school has a writing lab for tutoring, be sure to visit. Another good idea is to take the time to talk with your instructor before or after class, or during office hours. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how you can improve. Your instructor will be glad to know you want to work on your writing. Which grammar error do you worry about the most?

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