Research Critique Hyperessay – Second Front

Second Front has it first performance art in 2006 “Breaking News” on the online virtual world of Second Life. The group include 7 members that comes from all around the world. Their performance was showcased in galleries and museums while the artiest would perform remotely which I find it very interesting! All of them would perform together at the third space, exploring new and different environment using code-based interventions in their performance.

In the interview with Second Front, Great Escape aka Scott Kildall mention that

Second Life offers a unique space for performance. Without the normal constraints of the body ― the usual center of performance – and without a traditional audience, we can try and do things that have been previously thought to be impossible.

I agree that Second Life offers a unique space for the performers without body constraints. It become a free for imagination and can create  different kind of things that you would never do it in real life.

For example, they could just change their outlook before they wanted to rob the bank! Or even having purple skin and fire out of the hair which is something that does not exist in real world. I really like that our choices are reversible in Second Life, which is why GREAT ESCAPE mention that body without constrains. In real work, when we make changes to our body such as plastic surgery or even scares would stay permanently. Yet, in Second life we can make changes without any hold back because it is reversible! I find this is the reason why the artist can go wild with their imagination and explore the possibilities.

The fact that everything can be customizable in Second Life as well as the fact that just about any object can be wearable enhances my personal impression that performance art is the most “authentic” medium of Second Life in that Greenbergian sense.


Indeed it is an authentic performance which you can customise everything such as context, appearance and what you always want to do. I particularly like their The Absolutely Last (and final) Supper!

Their caption was “This mini-performance is based on da Vinci’s Last Supper. Someone gave us some bad fish and we all got sick..”. I though it was quite funny that they reenact the painting from Leonardo da Vinci “The Last Supper”. This parody totally provide a different experience as they performed the scene with action with content. So they ate the bad fish and they start to get discomfort some even jump on top of the table to vomit blood vigorously. I don’t know why but I really find it amusing.

Situation like this would not happen in real life. Even if we wanted to mimic exactly what it looks like in the painting, we would need time, money and resource to do so. Yet in Second Life, objects and environment can be created with lesser constrains. More freedom are given to the artist to play with the variables to create interesting visual surprises.

Also, many times, it’s the surprises and unintended actions that make the work really come alive!


To conclude, I really like how Second Front making use of the advantage of Second Life and created a platform for them and also the audience. I believe they would inspire people to be adventurous in the virtual world from the things they have done. They also bring life to the whole reenact of the famous painting The last supper performance. Second Life provides this unique platform for artist to explore and create possibilities without having and body constrain as limitation. All artist from all over the world of Second Front are connected together in this third space to perform their authentic performance taking us through a unique journey with them.


Author: Su Hwee Lim

I am a picky vegetarian who is a left hander. A Minority in minority.

One thought on “Research Critique Hyperessay – Second Front”

  1. Excellent! I am really glad that you picked this piece because I actually hadn’t looked at it yet and it is SO FUNNY! You are right, there is something very amusing about the vomiting of blood and other gross antics in this work. Why is that? We would probably find this horrifying if it were performed by people in their real bodies, but through their avatars it comes off as very comic. You are right, by separating our real and virtual selves, our avatars from our bodies, we are, in a sense, free to act out the most bizarre elements without fear of offending, it is the nature of the cartoon, in which violence, sickness, etc., can be realized in a different life, seen through the lens of funny side of life. It is way we can free ourselves from the constraints of reality.

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