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James Deavin, Photographs from the New World

Jen Bekman Gallery
6 Spring Street, between Elizabeth St. and Bowery, 212-219-0166
East Village / Lower East Side
November 1 - December 9, 2006
Reception: Wednesday, November 1, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

From being featured recently in Rob Walker’s `Consumed’ market trendspotting column in The New York Times Magazine to the surprising success of insider web sites devoted to the virtual world and its inhabitants, Second Life has begun to attract the sort of real world fervor that its fans experience when they log in and assume their alter egos. A real life corporate presence is emerging there—companies like Starwood, Intel, American Apparel and Penguin Books UK are getting in on the action building virtual versions of their businesses in SL.

Deavin says, “Second Life is a place where people can live out their dreams. Some people’s dreams are to have a bigger version of what they already have. Others’ fondest wish is to be a talking elephant from Mars. Second Life is not a `game’—there is no “next level,” no “level boss,” there is no winning or losing. Rather, characters enter into complex relationships, build things, earn and spend money. In fact, the world turns over ten million dollars a month. This money is spent in the market place and certain consumer products have become ubiquitous: grand pianos, waterfalls, boats, Japanese gardens. If money were no object, is this how real life would look?”

Gallery director Jen Bekman observes, “I am naturally inclined to be interested in a visualization of a virtual world. I have been involved in virtual communities since the early nineties and it remains a big part of my everyday life, but only as text. Many of the photographers I work with create the fantastical from the mundane. In these photographs James is documenting other people’s manifestations of fantasy and uncovering their interpretations of what physical trappings provide happiness and comfort and/or signify success.”
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