"Alternate Realities"

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  • Ongoing: until Sunday, May 24, 2009
  • Sunday: 12:00pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00am
  • Wednesday: 10:00am
  • Thursday: 10:00am
  • Friday: 10:00am
  • Saturday: 10:00am
  • Where: Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: All ages

An upcoming exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art invites viewers to consider how art and virtual worlds overlap and enhance one another. Alternate Realities, opening April 4 on the 20/21 Gallery Conversation Wall, will present images that address avatars, social networking and constructed realities. Visitors can also access the Spencer’s Second Life ® Island at a computer station in the gallery’s Process Space.

“We’re exploring the ways that we can combine different learning styles and new technology like Second Life® to create an engaging museum experience,” Jessica Johnson, IMLS Grant Project Coordinator says.

Second Life ® is an online virtual world where participants create avatars to interact with others. On the Spencer’s Second Life ® Island, visitors can learn more about current exhibitions Climate Change at the Poles and Trees & Other Ramifications: Branches in Nature and Culture at the real-life Spencer by watching videos exploring climate change, listening to a traditional Inuit story, and viewing replicas of Patrick Dougherty’s tree-branch sculptures. Johnson says incorporating Second Life directly into the gallery space provides viewers with another perspective on the issues Climate Change at the Poles and Trees & Other Ramifications: Branches in Nature and Culture present.

Alternate Realities incorporates works primarily from the Spencer’s collection to explore ideas from Second Life®, such as avatars and social networking. Johnson says the concept of an avatar as an alternate persona relates to the way artists choose to present themselves and others in portraits. Alternate Realities will also compare and contrast the ways people interact in real life and in the virtual world.

“I hope it helps people learn something new about art and about themselves in ways they might not have contemplated or expected,” Johnson says.

This event was posted March 25, 2009 and last updated Sept. 16, 2014

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