LaTurbo Avedon

by Rich Oglesby

My A/S/L is In Flux
LaTurbo Avedon is a svelte Swedish-looking blonde with an asymmetrical haircut. Or, alternately: LaTurbo Avedon looks that way, some of the time, in self-portraits designed for the Internet. See, the web-famous representation, created from fine triangulated mesh virtually textured and lighted with software, is more or less a mystery. She appears online, by her own account “sharing pics, making things and chatting via social media” (as she explained in a recent interview) but the flesh and blood behind the pixels never comes forth.

Artists have been experimenting with avatars and cyber-performances since the late 1990s, using online chat, game technology, or Web 1.0 webpages. Since the release of Second Life in 2003, anyone with Internet access has been able to freely explore spaces, interact with other users, and create 3D objects in a 3D virtual platform. It was in that technology that LaTurbo—the identity and the artist—was born.

We are in an era of black mirror devices, where HD screens and 3D graphics—and our communication within that technology—are ubiquitous, reciprocal, faster, and richer. Consequently, social media is the global village. But the designs and means with which people present and receive themselves online is fragmented and piecemeal; profiles are interconnecting points of information—a polygon surface, a mediated structure. This environment—a culture where digital technology and reality merge—is where LaTurbo has become a presence outside of Second Life.

In this space, LaTurbo continues to blend the gray area between on-screen and off-screen life. Take “Club Rothko,” a transcendental location and exhibition created via Facebook and found at Gallery Online, where LaTurbo has hosted shindigs in the ten-room club, rooms that “transform to delight you with a new formation of lights, elements and dreamlike effects”—the same virtual space for which LaTurbo solicited “selfie” photo submissions via social media from anyone willing to participate, then transformed the images into abstract portraits, splintered, and trigonometric.

Visually and metaphorically, the artwork LaTurbo produces reflects a world in which the audience experiences via the monitor, a projection, or a virtual being rendered with artificial light; in that world, the artist is not present, the artist is luminescent.

What follows is an online Google Hangout between myself (known henceforth as Prosthetic Knowledge), LaTurbo, and Krystal South, an artist and writer with a keen interest in the relationship between humans and the Internet.