Summing up 2008

Not that I believe in these types of summations all that much. However I still want to do one today, since this year has been an important one in my life I think.

I suffered two big losses this year. The first was my mother, who passed away on October 24th, after a prolonged illness. As a young girl she had gotten tuberculosis and apparently once you get that it never ever goes away but only goes into remission to strike back as soon as the organism is at a weak point. Until 7 years ago she was an active, vital, great looking, young/old woman who amongst much else took care of a huge garden single handedly. Then the illness came back with a vengeance and what used to be a strong, willful life gradually faded away in front of our very eyes. The massive quantities of antibiotics she had to take to combat the TB completely deteriorated her liver, causing a cirrhosis from which she died very painfully at the age of 82.

My relationship with my mother has always been very complex. She was a Professor of Law, an academic. Highly intelligent as well as headstrong. She was also very introverted, a recluse who much preferred the company of animals and plants to that of humans. Thus her passing has caused a lot of introspection and coming to terms with much unresolved matter from our past – all of it still very much an ongoing process.

While I have very close friends in far away places, I had two best friends located in close proximity right here in Istanbul, with whom I hung out with all the time, had hour long phone conversations with on a daily basis. Nukhet, a brilliant woman, a jazz singer, I lost to Leukemia almost 2 years ago . And this year the other member of this close-knit triad of 37 years, a wonderfully funny, warm, talented man named Ragip, passed away from a very rare illness which was wrought upon him as the result of careless/cavalier habits in his professional life as a very successful industrial designer working in metals – a total horror called Miner’s Disease which completely devastated his lungs. Ragip died exactly one month after my mother on November 24th. Nukhet, Ragip and I: We met on the first day of art college in 1971. Three little opinionated, fledgling, wanna-be designers. Ultra big mouths, little to show in the way of knowledge. Very very very naughty, living somewhat dangerously… Need I elaborate?

During the whole year Second Life was very much in the foreground.

Until July I was busy building Syncretia. Syncretia seems to have become something of a success – which startles me quite a bit since it is so very private. I built the place as a playground and not really as an artistic environment –  or rather I have come to re-examine what artistic activity means to me and built it by these new playful/narrative tenets. I met Hack, Mossy and wolfie in 2007 and it is their joint influence that has changed my perception of creative activity throughout 2008. The outcome is Syncretia.

Due to exhibition commitments coming up in the Fall I had to stop building Syncretia and leave it exactly as it was after July. Compounding this was the worsening condition of my mother’s and Ragip’s health in Real Life. But not to beat any further about the bush or to come up with more excuses, the bottomline is that I have been suffering from quite a substantial creative block over the past 6 months or so. However, although I have not built anything as such, I have become engaged in another kind of creative activity which seems to me to have considerable implications when it comes to self discovery – the creation of alts in Second Life. Through them I have begun to realize that my holistic self-perception simply does not hold water, that there is far more than meets the eye in the composition of my psyche. That I am made up of many personalities, many selves – and often not even very harmoniously at that. Again, I would not have embarked upon this road had it not been for the example that Mossy has set me.

I have always played dress-up games in Second Life, however the second half of this past year has been practically one prolonged dress-up game. I freely acknowledge that I am very superficial in that way: I love clothes to excess in both lives. Not expensive clothes, certainly not designer labels, but just quirky eccentric clothes. These days I seem to be slowly coming out of my creative block and have started to design my own line of apparel which I intend to sell. I should probably mention that I had designed some clothes in my very early SL days, however in the interim not only has my perception of creativity changed but also my self-perception; thus these old clothes are not going to be part of any of this. They belong to another life, another self. There is as yet very little that is completed from the ones that I am putting together now, however when I get to the point I will be displaying them on my little plot at Klein, which I have already re-built as a shop. Whether it will be for money or as give-aways in the way that four Yip does, I am not yet entirely sure…

One new thing that has come into my life in 2008 is blogging. This has led me to blogging on the NPIRL blog, which in it’s turn has led me to give quite a bit of thought as to what the the distinctive attributes of metaverse creative content might be; how best to define it and what would set it apart from Real Life creative output. The conclusion that I have been coming to is that the uniqueness of metaverse creativity lies in its ability to induce behavioral change and the consequent re-examination of the self, the definition of new persona and selves, the assuming of ever new characters and roles which carry the potential of leading us into convoluted journeys of self-discovery.

Bettina Tizzy has been massively supportive during the emotionally very difficult period of the past 2 – 3 months, particularly just around the times of the deaths of my mother and Ragip – so, many thanks are due to her for that alone. Added to which should be huge thanks for all of her wonderful efforts at getting the name of Syncretia out and about – at which juncture I would definitely need to mention Hamlet Au and Aleister Kronos as well…

And finally… There are other things. Confusing, hard to define states and emotions, still appearing to be unresolved; the nature and details of which I have no inclination to discuss here. However, they do need to be mentioned in this summation since they have been hugely important, if not indeed paramount, in how this entire year progressed and how it is now seemingly transitioning into a new one.

So hello, 2009.

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