C L U B * R O T H K O
C L U B * R O T H K O is a virtual environment created by LaTurbo Avedon that works to intersect the online world and the real world. LaTurbo Avedon is not a real person. However Avedon is a very real artist, especially in the world of Internet or Net Art. Avedon explains that the club is a venue that usually plays loud trap music that has a large dance floor, a bar, and room with free Wi-Fi. She has rented out the space for a few weeks to use as her sculpture studio, but the club owners think she is actually hosting a huge party. Her goal for C L U B * R O T H K O is to fill the space with statues. These statues will be created from selfies emailed to LaTurbo Avedon and then be uploaded to the web and emailed to the submitter in a .zip file. During this project from March 21st to April 3rd in 2013, LaTurbo Avedon requested that people send their selfies to firstname.lastname@example.org to have their own sculpture created and installed in the club.
Gallery Online introduces the event:
“Get ready to be whisked away to an extraordinary dreamland on this magical moment with GALLERY ONLINE. Social Render LaTurbo Avedon is back, and preparing to introduce a series of VIP surprises at the transcendental location of CLUB ROTHKO. With TEN exciting rooms, each space transforms to delight you with a new formation of lights, elements and dreamlike effects. So Marvel, stare, and DREAM in C L U B * R O T H K O until your eyes and ears are filled with beauty.” Gallery Online. (March 2013). LaTurbo Avedon.
The artist creates these rendered sculptures by using photographs to inspire color choice and its conversion into a 3D shape. What the render engine creates from the inputted image can be different from Avedon’s final render because the artist often duplicates the form and rearranges the shapes to create new digital sculptures all together.
The resulting renders created by LaTurbo Avedon look like sharp metallic layered sculptures that are incredibly dynamic in their folds and evolution. The online renders of these sculptures are overlaid onto a variety of 2D patterns that reflect their colors off of the metallic, mirrored surfaced sculptures. Some of these patterns are simple gradients, while others are complex perspective tiles of the selfie used to create the sculpture.
After the original online gallery exhibition of C L U B * R O T H K O internet users had the ability to create their own sculptures and renders with the Club Rothko Builder, which was created by LaTurbo Avedon in collaboration with Vince Mckelvie. Two months after the Club Rothko Builder was launched, Avedon and Mckelvie selected their favorite entries. You can stream these entries of build your own Club Rothko render here.
C L U B * R O T H K O shows that pop culture during the time of this work was for young, beautiful people like Avedon’s avatar spend their time at nightclubs enjoying trap music. Further, she explains that the space has many rooms, but the highlights of the venue are the Wi-Fi access, bar, and large dance floor. This piece makes a critical statement that the population interested in attending trap music parties do not have enough of an interest in traditional art forms, like sculpture. Avedon also exploits the “selfie culture” by asking her followers to submit selfies of them via email. Most people today only want to give when there is something to receive in return, and Avedon has really capitalized on this to get what she wants from the public to create her net art (by sending them a rendered image in return). Additionally, Avedon’s avatar has become a popular figure on social media and has over a thousand followers on Facebook. She treats her account like any human would and posts photos, articles, and interacts with other users. By interacting with the human world, LaTurbo Avedon is also inviting us into her world, on the Internet.
Today, LaTurbo Avedon is still very alive in the world of Net Art. She continues to create beautiful virtual environments and updated avatar creations for her character. It is interesting to point out that just like any person, Avedon has also grown up and matured. At the time of C L U B * R O T H K O her avatar was quite glamorous and dressed in revealing and trending fashion. Today, her avatar is more refined and a bit older looking.
xPure Honeyx is another net artist that uses social media as an influence for their work. The piece, hammer time, explores how Tinder has changed the online dating scene. This artist creates 3D models of figures and then manipulates them to show various emotions. This particular work shows a figure being torn between two sides of a heart, modeled behind the figure. Like LaTurbo Avedon’s C L U B * R O T H K O, this piece also explores how today’s society is highly influenced by the media, self-image, and popular culture. Conversely, this artist uses more explicit imagery in her works to express her overall concept, whereas LaTurbo Avedon forces her artist to think more about the meaning and actually interact with the piece.
A year after C L U B * R O T H K O, La Turbo create a piece for Webspace Gallery in 2014 titled Sunset at Mt.Gox. In this work, LaTurbo Avedon creates a virtual monument to Mt.Gox, which deals with the Bitcoin controversy. A month before this work was released nearly half a billion US dollars worth of Bitcoin disappeared. Since Bitcoin is Tokyo-based, the monument has a lot of Japanese cultural influence. During the online exhibition of this work, Avedon encouraged visitors to submit images and 3D objects to be left at the monument on their behalf. The objects people uploaded would then be added to the render of Mt.Gox. These objects either showed property damage or acts of vigil by visitors. Like C L U B * R O T H K O, LaTurbo Avedon really attacks a popular issue facing today’s emerging society and gives visitors the opportunity to be apart of the work. The input from visitors really shapes the work, just like it did in C L U B * R O T H K O. However, the overall mood of this piece is very different; Sunset at Mt.Gox is much darker and shows a more depressing aspect of our society, whereas C L U B * R O T H K O is more optimistic about showing other ways society can use the media.
C L U B * R O T H K O, Gallery Online, March 21st - April 3rd 2013