Critically acclaimed Italian artist, Gazira Babeli (active 2006–2010) is an avatar that created artworks entirely on Second Life.

Like a performance artist acting out performances live in the public arena, the avatar Gazira Babeli interjected her ‘acts’ live in Second Life in front of unknowing avatar audiences. These performative acts were intended as, and came to be received by the residents of Second Life, the online community, art critics and artists as artworks, which were recorded and later re-presented as video artworks and PC-simulated interactive artworks in exhibition spaces outside of the virtual cyber world.

Her works investigate body, time, space and identity. Often pushing the avatar body to its limit and causing destruction, or deformation, that in real life would cause destruction.

Many of her artworks reference works from art history. Such as ‘You Love Pop Art, Pop art Hates You’ where she created an oversize can of Campells Soup (in homage to Andy Warhol) that when approached, tries to consume you the viewer. In Who is Afraid, Babeli performed an erotic dance in front of a series of art history beauties including Rembrandt’s Bathsheba to Botticelli’s Simonetta Vespucci. Elsewhere in Anna Magnani, Babeli seems to comment on performance and the masquerade of identity and perhaps interaction itself, as she performs all the facial expressions available on Second Life in random, quick fire, sequence by entering a series of computer codes to manipulate her character Anna Magnani’s appearance.

Babeli does not see her work as NetArt but rather refers to her artworks in traditional terms, as ‘sculptures’, ‘acts’, ‘paintings’ and ‘installations’. Translating these ‘sculptures’, ‘acts’, ‘paintings’ and ‘installations’ in Second Life into video art and interactive PC-simulated works, the artworks of Gazira Babeli have also been shown internationally at prestigious international exhibition spaces outside of cyberspace, including an exhibition at the Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, the inclusion of her work in the Prague Biennale in 2009 and PERFORMA 07 in New York.

 

In 2010, the avatar Gazira Babeli died. Most of Gazira Babeli’s works are currently archived in the Locusolus region of Second Life.