March 23, 2007

Sasun Steinbeck at Oyster Bay

- by Rezago Kokorin

On the evening of March 20th, Sasun Steinbeck appeared as that night's featured artist in Oyster Bay's ArtTalk series. She told and answered questions about her famous Morphing Sculpture and had much to say about SL art in general.

"I'm very lucky to have been involved with the art community for the past 1-1/2 years or so and it's certainly exciting to see how much it's grown. As an artist myself I know what it's like trying to get your foot in the door and get your works seen and get a little positive cash flow going to help support your creative time."

"Instead of creating lots of pieces I've instead spent all my time working on just one, my morphing sculpture behind me always seemed like it needed yet another feature, so it just never seems to end :) Plus all the support and feature suggestions from fans really influenced what I'd spend my time on."

"I really never considered myself first a foremost an artist but more of a scripter since that's the magic behind the sculpture... the scripts that bend and twist the prims and give it all the interactivity. I really wanted to make this something that the user could "play" with, lots of options to fiddle with. So it becomes sort of a joint creation between me adn the user who customizes it to their liking. I think this is a really interesting direction for art in SL."

"The intersection between someone that has more traditional artistic skills and the 3D sculptor and the scripter. Some sort of mashup of the three is where I think the cutting edge of art in SL lies in the future. There will always be an important place for 2D art to be brought in and displayed, that's very cool but I'd love to see more artists taking advantage of the 3D engine in SL to create something you simply can't get in RL."

"I'd like to open the floor to any questions and let you guys guide this discussion instead of me droning on for an hour :) So pipe up!"

Question: Are your scripts based on random number generation or predefined cordinates
Sasun Steinbeck: Yes the sculpture morphs into random shapes based on certain ranges of random numbers so every shape you get truly is unique.

Question: Any real life inspirations to Sl art that use?
Sasun Steinbeck: .... since I haven't come from an art background, I actually don't have any RL influences I can name :)

Question: So since so many 3D objects in SL are basically useless anyway - how do you define the difference between 3D art and 3D craft
Sasun Steinbeck: Not sure I have a good answer :) other than... if it moves you, and creates that sense of awe, I'd call it art :) You could almost say the same thing about some of the builds (buildings etc.) in SL made of static prims, of course.

Question: Any Sl artist you admire?
Sasun Steinbeck: ... yes, I was inspired by Siefert Surface, very definitely. I found some of his work and was utterly amazed that you could DO what he's done with prims. I immediately started trying to bend a tube prim into some of the shapes I've seen him use and utterly failed heheh. So I tried getting some scripts to do some random shape twisting and see if I could by random chance get even close to some of his shapes and the rest is history. Don't know if I ever accomplished my goal of getting that funky tube shape that he got :) but oh well I got a nice sculpture out of it.

Question: Is it moving texture ? ( from bottom to top ? )
Sasun Steinbeck: Yes Al the textures to move in two different ways across the prims. I use texture rotation (sliding in a straight line) as well as rotating like hands on a clock. Both modes give some really interesting results depending on the shape of the prims and the texture currently on the prim. You can configure the angle of the slide/rotation and the speed.

Question: And one particle generator ?
Sasun Steinbeck: Yes one lame particle generator hehe. It's actually expandable, the user can write their own particle script addons for it. Doesn't seem to be a real popular feature and to date I only have 2 pre-set particle effects. Something I'd love to work on for a future update :)

Question: I see 3 "MORPH" scripts ?
Sasun Steinbeck: Each prim has a script to morh itself into the same shape. So there is a master controller script that tells all the other prims what the prim parameters are so they all assume the same shape. In fact it has a master/slave mode so that you can set up a second sculpture nearby and the first sculpture will tell the second one what shape to assume, which looks really cool as matching columns around a doorway, for instance.or as a mirror under a glass floor, which someone did :)

Question: Have you played with the scale of the piece so that it's much larger?
Question: There are 13 prims ?
Sasun Steinbeck: Yes it is sold modify so the user can scale it up real big... let me show you. Yes 1 hidden master prim and 12 visible prims around it. I used to set up a big forest of them this size in the sandbox, pretty fun sight :) It's been SO much fun working on this because of the response from people, it's really gratifying hearing how much people enjoy this thing.

Question: Talk about scripting in general in SL art. What have you seen that you like, and what would you like to see?
Sasun Steinbeck: I've seen some basic scripting applied to objects, basic rotation scripts that make a sculpture much more interesting by rotating multiple pieces in clever ways but I'd love to see some more complex examples of scripted objects interacting in interesting ways. Art in SL just cries out for MOVEMENT and color and shape - it's all so fluid and changeable. But it's a new thing that traditional artists have a hard time wrapping their minds around... to some extent. So it's really a whole new skillset that an SL artist needs to learn if you want to branch out in that direction and explore the possibilities. Maybe the next big artists will be scripters first and foremost. I don't know. Or some interesting collaborations. Siefert has always done some collaborations with scripters to make his sculptures move, maybe that's the solution. But as Siefert put it when asked, doesn't the primitive nature of the tools drive you crazy, he replied that it's just more of a challenge to see what can be done with primitive tools like this.

Question: I'd like to say the two are the same, art and scripting... but i never had any formal training in either, just a good bit of time to play around.
Question: Scripting classes for right-brained folk might be helpful.
Sasun Steinbeck: Yes! LOL. Scripting classes for artists... or... art classes for scripters :)

Question: What is the sound you use with the sculpture?
Sasun Steinbeck: Those are some sounds I pulled from some music looping program... somewhere hehe. It's like the freebie loops you get with one of them. I'd love to commission someone to do some more sounds for it, as well as some good particle effects. I really wanted to go for the multi-sensory effect, light, sound. Too bad you can't smell SL :)

" ....I like thinking of SL as yet another medium to explore and hope to see more of that!"

Sasun Steinbeck: Morris wanted to demo the infamous Starax wand, so let me whip that out :) The Starax wand is a cool gadget that Starax Startosky created some time ago. He's left Sl and the wands are no longer available.

Sasun Steinbeck: bats
Sasun Steinbeck: buffalo
Sasun Steinbeck: computer
Sasun Steinbeck: fireworks
Sasun Steinbeck: look up!
Sasun Steinbeck: money
Sasun Steinbeck: frog
Sasun Steinbeck: tree
Question: Did Starax sleep?
Sasun Steinbeck: universe

(at this point my computer fainted in the face of the power of the Starax wand. I rejoined the demonstration a short time later - RK)

Sasun Steinbeck: worshipper
Sasun Steinbeck: I love these guys. You never know when you need a little worship..

Sasun Steinbeck: So my time is about up, one quick story. At one point Starax put a fun game into the wand. The wands would gain power over time, a "charge", and the person that got the most charge to a certain (very high) number won... a wand for a friend of their choice. Here's the twist :) You could zap another wandie with your wand and STEAL their power. bwahahaha! You can imagine... total chaos. It because a very cool hunting game.
Question: probably easy too when there was less sims lol
Sasun Steinbeck: yes LOL that was the problem, FINDING people to zap! Yep all us wandies sure miss Starax. But this is a great example of some of the cool stuff you can do in SL when you mix art and scripting together and he was truly an amazing artist.

Sasun's Morphing Sculpture, Mauve (164, 74, 34)
Art at Oyster Bay Aquarium, Oyster (38, 173, 82)

1 comment:

ninsve said...

That evening was so impressive! Made me feel like a newbie though (which, of course, I am...).