Monday, 8 October 2012

SaveMe Oh - A Retrospective

Give me hot or give me cold – just never give me tepid.
-Trad. prob. derived from Revelations 3:16
SaveMe Oh Retrospective by SaveMe Oh
SaveMe Oh is one of the most interesting and unique artists currently working in Second Life. She herself is not however easily categorised, and neither is her work – if indeed the two can in fact be split.
She has been ejected and banned from more SL regions, art galleries and installations than anyone else I can think of.
SaveMe has, among her other talents, an unerring ability to piss people off.
Although SaveMe is a prolific filmmaker, a creator of in-world installations and a performance-artist of some repute it is probably fair to say that, actually, it is “SaveMe Oh” herself that is the “artwork”. And I don’t say that lightly; I am quite aware how trite and clichéd it may sound.
SaveMe’s mere presence always causes an effect – sometimes hot, sometimes cold – but never tepid. I have been at a number of exhibitions where worried curators have in hushed whispers asked, “Is SaveMe Oh coming?” More often than not their ban hammer is primed and ready.
And make no mistake - there is no doubt that SaveMe’s presence can be disruptive; there is no doubt she is capable of being wicked, even cruel; and there is also no doubt she is openly critical of other artists.
But despite this – perhaps even *because* of this – her work always carries with it a sense of humour and fun…so long as you yourself are not the target!
I first met SaveMe – and I wouldn’t expect her to remember this – but I first met her at an AM Radio installation, no less, when I’d only been in SL a few months. At this particular installation it was possible to “spray paint” graffiti onto the side of a railway locomotive. I was there to film a sequence for No Self Control; SaveMe was there for her own nefarious reasons. We both wanted to use the spray-paint tool at the same time. SaveMe graciously let me go first. I studied her profile, as I do most anyone who comes into my range, and found my way to her films and blog. I have to say, it took me a while to “get it” and actually enjoy what she is doing. Over the last 2+ years I have had long discussions about her work with Iono Allen and Tutsy Navarathna, both of whom respect what she is doing; I have also watched many of her films and also attending her installations and performance art.
As recognition of her work, AviewTV are currently running a retrospective of SaveMe’s machinima. The venue, like SaveMe herself, is larger-than-life, fun and utterly uncompromising.
I spent two hours there on Sunday evening and will return again during the week. Her movies are streamed to various “screens” of all shapes and sizes. It was very enjoyable and I recommend it.
I had seen many of SaveMe’s films before. Some of the films contain nudity, many are provocative or controversial but the one common thread running through all of them is their *great* soundtracks!
Whether it be a self-hypnosis track, a Leonard Cohen song, El Tigre, Elvis Presley, Bessie Banks, Minnie Riperton, Billy Brown or any of a host of many others the choice is always engaging, and often fun.
Using her work to convey her ideas, concepts, feelings, disdain and scorn seem important to SaveMe. If SaveMe has an opinion she'll find one way or another to express it regardless of what we might think of that opinion or of her for expressing it. And if SaveMe’s intention is that her work provokes a response, any response, then she has succeeded beyond most any other artist I know of in Second Life. I certainly doubt that SaveMe is attempting to make us gasp with her technical prowess or regale us with special effects; I suspect this is of little or no interest to her.
Selecting one of SaveMe’s films to embed here was quite difficult. There are many I could have chosen. In the end I opted for ‘Go To Hell’ released three years ago. The reason is that is seems to be a personal story and conveys personal emotion, something I enjoy in any film but which is particularly difficult to do in machinima.
Check out SaveMe’s blog, the ninety-odd films on her Vimeo channel and visit the Retrospective for a better appreciation of SaveMe’s work and her influence – both hot and cold – within the Second Life art community.

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