OdalisqueIn the last few days, two different artist friends independantly sent me landmarks to Odalisque, with IMs of the “you HAVE TO see this” kind. And this is my landmark to you: you have to see this. Ideally you should see it before you read the rest of this, ’cause I’m going to talk about it; but in fact the visual (the visceral) effect of the piece is strong enough that whatever my words of mine you might have read beforehand probably won’t make much difference.

I happened to arrive (much too late last night) while Calli Christensen and some other friends were also there. Calli said something very true.

listening to people here is interesting

Seeing the piece alone would be a powerful experience. Seeing the piece with other folks there, being touched by it in their various ways, and saying or not saying their various things, adds a whole ‘nother layer.

She’s gorgeous!

That was me. :) I love bodies, atoms, concreteness, earthiness. And the woman in this piece embodies all of those things, real and unretouched, not airbrushed or edited or decorated, just there, relaxed, maybe sleeping, being reality itself. There’s this great little crescent-shaped mark just under her right knee, an benign indentation from the world.

Other people said similar things. “She is beautiful,” “she is real,” “beautiful and brave,” “I love her,” “she is very beautiful and sexy”.

i see enough fat c–t working at the supermarket
nice sculpt, but why couldn’t it be slim chick

These two gems from the same person in the crowd, a woman. (I’m actually fond of the c-word that I’ve censored there, but not when it’s used like this.) A couple of people opined that she must be a (rude) young man in RL, but she and a friend responded that she was female in RL, and would be glad to prove it in voice.

That anyone would divide women into “fat c–t” (bad) and “slim chick” (good), is pretty sad. That a woman would do that is even sadder. I wonder if she is someone young and pretty enough that she’s never had to think about just how legitimate magazine-cover standards are, or if on the other hand she’s internalized those standards enough that she feels fatally imperfect herself, and doesn’t like being reminded of it. But either way, maybe, standing around for awhile listening to other people’s reactions, and looking at the solid form sitting there, undisturbed, maybe even she opened a bit.

(“Nice sculpt” is quite correct. A few dozen sculpty prims, amazingly detailed shape and texture. Her nose is marvelously nose-shaped, her curves wonderfully curvy. I’m very curious to know if they were shaped by hand, or from a mechanical scan of the model.)

thats the future of texture and rendering of avatars right there..i cant wait

Now there’s a thought! I’m more ambivalent about it than the speaker (who can claim her statement if she’d like :) ), but I’m not sure why. I think (‘though I’m not sure) that we’re already on the other side of the Eerie Valley, so getting more realistic isn’t likely to make us seem creepy. Maybe I’m afraid that incredibly realistic AVs will make it impossible for amateurs to get into the skin or shape business? Maybe I’m afraid that incredibly realistic humans AVs will make non-human ones (furries, aliens, robots, art) less common, or less valued? Dunno. I’m not against the idea, just ambivalent. For some reason.

RightAsRain hates women and loathes fat women in particular — so does Starax (or whoever 3D Soup is). Let’s not prettify this assault by calling it “art”.

This from a well known weblog. (RightAsRain Rimbaud is with Rezzable, who’s sponsoring the piece, and 3D Soup is the creator; rumors swirl that this is the same artist as Starax Statosky and Light Waves.)

What would make someone call a realistic (and, to my eye, sympathetic and beautiful) depiction of a human body (at rest, in no demeaning position or activity, with those parts that would offend your average prude gracefully hidden) “grotesque” and an “attack”, and to conclude that those behind it hate women? I mulled this over, driving a child here and there through a rainstorm, and the best I can come up with is that the writer of those words thinks that being that shape is shameful, and that people who are that shape must be kept hidden, that we should pretend they don’t exist, or that they’re really some other shape, and that therefore showing a woman that shape realistically is violating that shame. But I could be wrong; I hope I am.

Update: I’ve been convinced by the comments :) that someone could think (especially if they have a pre-existing dislike for Rezzable) “Putting out this work is a cynical attempt to cause destructive conflicts in the community, and anyone who would use a large woman for such a bad purpose must loathe large women, and as such the act is grotesque”. I find the argument very implausible :) but at least it does account for some of the views expressed without requiring any feelings of shame over largeness, so that’s good.

She is lovely and endearing and we all know someone like her in Real Life.

This from Bettina Tizzy over at NPIRL. I’m with her. :)

So anyway! Go! Look at it! See how it makes you feel. Listen to what the other people there say. Be part of it.

More mentions: L1Aura Loire (on both Botgirl and Odalisque), Emilly Orr, NWN, Trinity Halderstadt (on flickr), Michele, Soror Nishi (also a bit worried about the realism aspects), Sarah Nerd.

(Footnote: Rezzable seems to have a talent for finding neat art and then making it slightly annoying to experience. There’s a guest book for comments at Odalisque, but when I tried to use it it told me that my AV wasn’t associated with a Rezzable account, and did I want to visit their web page and sign up? I didn’t. I guess it’s all part of having to monetize things to pay tier, but it was a slight sour note in the music.)