For someone who inspires people to climb up high towers of collaborative work, Neeva Torok is an incredibly down to earth artist! I had the pleasure of meeting Neeva as she was spending her lunchtime “tinkering” with prims, and after our brains were done high-fiving over our common love for community spirit, old-school primming, and M.C. Escher’s work, I got to ask her a little about her project at MU:
Neeva: I would be happy to tell you about it. Myra told me about MU a couple weeks ago…
And there was a spot left. I was so excited. My art in rl is mostly just for my personal amusement. I’m pretty much amateur. So I wanted to put something up really quick while I decided on something to do for “real.” So I just said, I’ll play with blocks, build a tower, and see if anyone will climb on it.
Art: Hehe I think that says a lot about you!
Neeva: I have a friend who builds high-end violins, he started doing one slow and the next one as fast as he can, and found he learned so much from letting his picky inner censor be quiet and just build!
Art: Yes that’s very interesting!
Neeva: So anyway, when people started climbing up my first tower and like six of us were all sitting on the top, I had such a true blissed out, peak moment. People were actually interacting with the piece in a way I had not planned and there was this great social connection and sense of fun.
So I stopped trying to think of something to do for real for the project, and said, I’ll just come down here and change something every day, no big plan, no theme.
Art: But let me ask you, do you feel what you are doing now, this project of “no plan and no theme,” is any less “real” art?
Neeva: I did initially. But Izzy scolded me big time for that. Hehe.
Neeva: and she told me I should document the changes. But what I’m learning is art can be just play. It can be just the fun of creation and interaction without worrying if it’s art or something less than art.
It’s just expression.
Art: That’s a beautiful thought. Neeva, it sounds like you started out feeling less confident, that your project was imperfect… But that sense of imperfection is what drives it now?
Neeva: Oh it was purposefully imperfect… I started trying to make the tower look like it was built by a 4 y/o playing with blocks, those colorful wooden ones. It was freeing not to have to meet any sophisticated craftsmanship standard.
Art: That’s quite symbolic, in relation to what you just said about play.
Neeva: Yes, it sort of democratizes art. It’s not just for the trained, or those who know art history. Art is for the playful, the grownup children. It’s that other serious stuff too, I’m not knocking craftsmanship or knowledge of the prior work of great creatives. But there is joy in it without those.
Art: Yes, I love that idea. Do you feel being in SL, and being a part of SL, means we are naturally more open to that playful art?
Neeva: I have this belief that those of us who stick here are prone to being imaginative. We have the play gene. We are not embarrassed to role-play, we can look past the imperfections of the animations. We can endure lag because we are an imaginative playful tribe.
Art: That’s a beautiful way of putting it.
Neeva: Doesn’t it seem that way?
Art: Yes totally! Belonging to this playful tribe as you call it, it’s a sense of belonging and connecting that reaches beyond many others.
Neeva: SL has so many faces, it’s open ended. It’s a mirror, you find yourself here.
Art: I love that you say that, but I’m not surprised seeing that you love Escher.
Neeva: Hehe, Escher is very accessible art, even if you are not into art, the optical illusions grab you. You can appreciate his work just for the gee whiz factor.
Art: That’s true, it’s very thought provoking but accessible to all to be provoked by.
Neeva: Oh I have to run up the hill to an appointment. I LOVE this talk Art, let’s play the game of interview each other about SL again soon.
Neeva Torok has a curious, inspiring enthusiasm about her, and her positive energy is reflected through her bright cheerful builds. Run over to her MU studio at Maria 5 and rekindle your love for the good ol prim.