How to build a Trojan Gift Horse @01SJ

If it's not burned to the ground by angry Romans, it will then be wheeled into the San Jose Museum of Art and presented as a "gift."

Gift Horse 01SJ Biennial
Choose your favorite "gift"

Gift Horse 01SJ Biennial
Choose your favorite “gift”

Here’s a neat trick. Next time you want to get revenge, build a 13-foot tall Gift Horse, fill it with viruses, and parade it across town right into the unsuspecting target’s place of business. Artists Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott are doing just that — well, without the revenge part, at least from what I could tell — in concert with the 01SJ Biennial (Sept. 16-19, San Jose).

Featured in Fast Magazine (Creating Digital Worlds of the Future), here was a rare opportunity to get an up-close look at an intriguing sculpture in process.

In this SSC Presents episode, Loni ventures inside their Yosemite Place studio to learn more about the project. With its soaring white walls, multi-level lofts and industrial sensibility the building very well may be the next set for a retribution-fueled film starring Michael Douglas; the imagination soars.

That alone would intrigue. But what really takes this sculpture to the next level is its roots in the virtual reality game Second Life.

In today’s world, we typically bring the real world into the virtual world (Avatar). But with Gift Horse, Scott and Victoria are doing exactly the opposite. The horse was first designed in Second Life, and rendered digitally. From there it was brought to real life through an inspired bit of creativity involving computers, digital textures, and lots of planning.

“Because each of the avatars are anonymous this presented a bit of a challenge,” Scott says when describing how he solicited contributions from virtual participants. “You can’t contact them in real life. So I had to go in-world and go in Second Life in my character, and find these people in various builder groups, and start having conversations with them.”

What you’re about to watch is just the first chapter in a developing story.

“The whole structure is made of wood,” Victoria tells Loni. “The exterior cladding is made on this bioboard which took four months to find.”

In a few week’s time, this mythical horse will come to life and parade the streets of San Jose in what is sure to be an enthralling ceremony. If it’s not burned to the ground by angry Romans, it will then be wheeled into the San Jose Museum of Art and presented as a “gift.” But, of course, in the ultimate demonstration of comeuppance, nasty little items will first spill from its belly, unbeknownst to those that welcome the magnificent sculpture.

CAD and Second Life are part of the process
CAD and Second Life are part of the process

What could possibly reside in the belly of the Gift Horse?

Watch the video to find out, but trust me on this, you really don’t want any of them. Hint: fans of Resident Evil will recognize at least one of these nasties.

Oh, if you’re looking for Scott on Second Life, he’s the one in purple with flames on his hair.

“I don’t understand why people want to make avatars that are sexier versions of themselves,” he says. “I want to make something really weird.”

No doubt, you’ll find him in proximity of an innocent looking Gift Horse.

BREAKING: Update from Scott Kildall via Facebook, “Were heading down [to San Jose] on Saturday morning (9/4) with a 17-foot truck. Been assembling the panels like crazy and it’s starting to look amazing!”

Gift Horse
Artists: Scott Kildall, Victoria Scott
01SJ Biennial (Sept 16 – 19, 2010), San Jose
More information: 01sj.org/2010/artworks/gift-horse

Gift Horse Web Site: www.trojangifthorse.com

A large-scale sculpture of the mythological Trojan Horse, which the artists will present to the San Jose Museum of Art in a public ceremony during the 01SJ Biennial.

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