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GALLERY 2010/2011

visual communication practice

Big Psomm 2


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

This is a documentary movie about an experimental event, which has happened in the virtual world of Second Life. Participants had to choose between especially created avatars and become them. Each avatar was a piece of one giant avatar. At least 20 people are needed to construct and play Big Psomm 2 ( the name of this giant avatar). Even so, people in fewer numbers can have fun just to try and make it. Other times, on the contrary, Big Psomm 2 had an extra head or thigh. Big Psomm’s parts weren’t realistic or easily recognizable. That made the task harder to accomplish, but on the other hand, it provoked improvisations.

From the beginnning, participants collaborated and made a lot of efforts to connect into one. They all intensively communicated by chat, which sometimes covered the whole screen. It was all happening in an atmosphere of fun. Most people didn’t know each other beforehand, but being part of the same body was uniting them. Spontaneously they became a team, or teams, in which every single person played some different role, because of his choice of body part avatar and his behaviour. Leaders, innovative persons, followers, rebels, they all came up to the surface.


The project was not especially created for the festival, but in many points it is related to the outlines.
First of all, playing together one organism, collaborating was building a mini-society. There was no special advertising in world of Second Life, no prize to win, and no real goal, but people spontaneously participated and played as lower-leg, nose, hand or whatever for hours and communicated to other users. They left for a moment their individual avatars and adventures for conscious being a part of something bigger. It was not maybe “LOVE” -but the relationship which has happened between participants could be described as intimate and friendly.
There is stereotype that people in digital worlds, being anonymous, could mostly create mess and chaos. I realized that they rather try to organize themselves into teams, if they find opportunities. It is all depending, who and how is creating those opportunities. There is possibility to use a “POWER”, as being creator, all participants were somehow visually formatted by me, there is always possibility to format them in a different way, to consumers (if they need to pay for participation, or if I include there commercial), to a political group (if I manipulate them smartly), or just dominated subordinates (if I start to instruct them). What I did, I just gave out and shared the toys, it didn’t provoked any “CONFLICT”.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The project is about alternative possibility of communication in the virual worlds.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

That there are many possibilties we could cooperate, communicate, create groups or just be together and it is worth to search some alternative ways, because those ways could become inspiring frames for our activities. We get used to much to 'cold' networking systems.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I think i answered this question in the field of description, I would like not to repeat myself.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

This is a unique documentary of the unique experiment.
10 minutes destilled selection from few days of Big Psomm's life.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

The best way to show the movie is a big screening from the file i will upload (no dvd, but file). Then chats, tags and movement of participants are easy to follow.
Additionally it is possible to put a computer/s with Second Life installed to allow visitors play in "Big Psomm 2".

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

Dear Piotr Kopik,
let me comment your submitted project with few words.

In general your project looks very interesting, the idea behind the concept is also strong. I appreciate your experimental approach and critical attitude towards human interaction and relationships in virtual worlds and social networks. Your project is really in a simple and clever way showing that using power for good things is the real love/friendship and doesn't have to cause conflicts at all. This idea can be trained in virtual surrounding, but can be used as an example for the real "First life".
Your project is more in domain of visual art, it is performance that was documented and became a form of visual communication - a movie.

The collaboration you experienced and shot was apparently not problematic because Second life is platform for play and fun. Also the goal was to create together some simple object - giant avatar but not something that represents some kind of statement and statements are causing conflicts usually - not the virtual nature of space where they collaborate or interact. My question is - would this game end up without conflict also if the topic was more political and critical? Would this end up without conflict if the goal was creating avatar that has some specific political statement? Would you avoid conflicts while collaborating when using some "working" online environment and not Second life?

Some other thoughts or maybe remarks to your statement "There is a stereotype that people in digital worlds, being anonymous, could mostly create mess and chaos." I think this was actual more in early days of social networking and playing online. People had fear from showing who they really are and their need for anarchy was in experiencing something new - unphysical and immaterial nature. These days this is not so problematic, as we are quite used to immaterial space and we live in era when being anonymous is not the issue anymore (Facebook, Linkedin, or other collaborative platforms are based on real names and real profiles, otherwise they are useless). People don't need to make mess anymore, they are aware that time of fight for saving their private information is gone. From this perspective, your experiment I think was more aimed for Second life or online playing platforms then virtual space in general.

Regarding visual communication I could comment only the intro of the movie. The idea and concept of showing "the alternative possibility of communication without conflict in the virtual worlds" is strong but not so clear from the beginning for viewers that don't read your explanation. In the movie the chat is also quite fast, following the conversation is not so easy all the time, it is showing more the fun than the idea behind it. S the output is movie not performance, the concept could be more explained at the beginning or at the end with few words by some of the participants or the author.

View other works commented by Katarína Lukić Balážiková  ››

Other comments

12 years ago

Dear Katarina,
thank you a lot for your comment!
Let me reply to your reflections and questions.

The collaboration i experienced (more than a hundred common users experienced too) and shot of it was somehow problematic (in the opposite of easy) because of the specific environment of the virtual world. The space was shared with many really different people, who even level of avatar coordination was different. 3d Virtual worlds are not technically so strong yet to "host" easy hundreds of people one time in one space (that’s why on virtual concerts of stars there are not hundreds). That’s why more than 20 makes you feel crowd. Most of the time “Big Psomm 2” was crowdy. The mess was natural state of communication (that’s why I showed some scenes in fast forward to express it). Chat, voice, personal messages, navigation and looking from above same time was most of the time hell. That's why users surprised me that they do so much effort to be one organism. Yes this is a reflection on virtual worlds more than on other collaboration environments like facebook, twitter and so on. Those rather simplify collaborations, makes them easier, faster, effective and they allow thousands to participate in same system, chat, discussion or whatever. Here we need to immerse to some level, it takes time to deal with 3d environment, interface, interactions, accidents. If you need to meet a friend there and tell him a simple thing, it could take a lot of time. If you want to go to a virtual museum, in comparison to watching same content on website, the time could be wasted. What is the strongest thing there, it is an immersion, which makes project like “Big Psomm 2” a “real” experience for users.

“Being one organism” this is actually a statement. And it could cause some conflicts, but it didn’t. Many people inside virtual realities are greefing (harassing others), disturb, spam, and so on, many of them are banned from places, parcels, regions. And it’s because of being anonymous. I don’t agree that this was an issue on early ages of internet. On “friends” systems you know your friends, people use real names, portals owners and users control those systems, if anybody start to mess. Forums, comments on newspapers, videos portals, if not moderate could host many behaviours. And this project was open for everyone there.

Conflicts in a frame of “being one” could be caused by many reasons, even by some users who decided to be the same part of the body☺.

But I imagine this experience with selected people who represent really different own political statements - this could be very interesting. Who, what part would choose, who would try to rule/coordinate movements of others. Does leftist could form a right leg, does extreme catholic could be a crotch touching hips, who are communists?

Or other possibility, if they are “already one” let them go together to demonstrate at Libya embassy, in both realities.

At the end, having fun is not the main reason for being in Second Life. This is just a commercial face of it. Real life Paris is not only Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge, and you don’t go there only for a romantic weekend.

Best greetings!

Curators comments

This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
Katarína Lukić Balážiková go to comments ›

Entry details


Big Psomm 2


This is a documentary movie about an experimental event, which has happened in the virtual world of Second Life.

Concept author(s)

Piotr Kopik

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

concept, building, filming, editing



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

I work with installations, graphics, machinima, painting, drawing, video, performances. I am concentrated on relations between body, mind and society. piotrkopik.com I am co-founder of the Flying szu szu gallery group (since 2001), wchich is being focused on art in public space. szuszu.art.pl Selected solo exhibitions: 2010 "Cybis, Nacht & Big Psomm 2", Galeria 2.0, Warsaw (PL) 
 2008 "Psychosomatic Rebuilding", Witryna, Warsaw (PL) 
 2007 “Rurka” (Straw), lokal_30, Warsaw (PL) 
 2005 „Jest pewne wyjście” (There is Some Escape) , XX1, Warsaw (PL) 
 2004 „Piwnice” (Cellars), (together with Ivo Nikic), CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (PL) 
 Selected group exhibitions: 2010 “Through the virtual looking glass”, Harbor gallery, Boston (USA) 
 2009 “File Machinima”, File Electronic Art Festival, Sao Paulo, (BR) 
 2008 "TIT FOR TAT" - Counter Images for Transcultural Thinking and Acting", szu szu, <rotor>, Graz, (AT) 
 "Kashanti", szu szu, Volt, Bergen (NO) 
 "Chanut" (Shop), szu szu, International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, Bat Yam (IL) 
 2007 „Zwyczajny terror” (Common Terror), Galeria Entropia, Wroclaw (PL) 
 2006 „You Won’t Feel a Thing”, Kunsthaus Dresden, Dresden (DE)
 „szu szu meets kunst-fu“, szu szu, Progr, Bern (CH)
 2003 „Laboratorium szu szu” (szu szu Laboratory), Laboratorium CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (PL)