Skawennati & LaTurbo Avedon
Two artists who make work in Second Life exchange ideas on the meaning of identity in virtual communities, and the prospects for widespread immersion in the metaverse.
Originally trained as a biomedical engineer, and later as an experiential designer, Connie Bakshi now describes herself as a “digital shaman,” pursuing an artistic practice that continues the spiritual legacy of her Taiwanese ancestors. In her work to guide humans towards a better understand of themselves, she draws equally on new technologies (3D modeling, blockchain, artificial intelligence) and ancient mythologies. Since 2021, generative AI has been a particularly important ingredient, serving for Bakshi as a kind of collective archive of documented knowledge and experience.
In this virtual studio visit, Bakshi joins Outland from her home in the mountains in Lake Arrowhead, California: a place which, she says, has given her the necessary solitude and space to work through the “big ideas.” She describes the post-colonial identity crisis of growing up in an immigrant family in the US that motivated her to begin making art, as well as how her scientific and engineering background has shaped her creative approach. She also reflects on the dynamics at play when working with machines or code, and discusses several projects, including her first NFT collection Ethereal Caress (2022); the virtual installation My silence would be as stone (2023); and Gray (2023), an AI-powered collaboration with the poet P. Scott Cunningham.