The Drax Files 15: This otter be good – it’s Scottius Polke!

The latest episode of The Drax Files turns to the prolific and ingenious Scottius Polke, aka artist Scott Rolfe.

Tall and blond in real life, Scott presents himself as a two-foot-tall gregarious, sunglass wearing, fedora-hatted otter in Second Life, where he is known – as in real life – for producing incredible works of art.

Joining SL in early 2008, he was also quick to release the potential of the platform not only as a means of artistic expression, collaboration and social engagement, but also as a means of counterpointing elements of his own real life personality and giving creative freedom to aspects of himself which might otherwise not always be so obvious to those meeting him.

A man and his inner otter: Scott Rofle (courtesy of sofle.com) and Scottius Polke (courtesy of Cat Broccacio)
A man and his inner otter: Scott Rofle (courtesy of srofle.com) and Scottius Polke (courtesy of Cat Boccaccio)

“I am a Tiny otter,” he says of his SL persona. “Well, otters have kind of carefree spirit, they enjoy fun and I was hoping it would balance-off some of my more rigid personality; I’m more introverted in person and the otter is bombastic and out of control!”

He also notes that while a digital creation, Scottius nevertheless has an energy of his own, one which Scott likes to associate with, and which appears to feed into and connect with his more conscious creativity, allowing his real and virtual lives to complement one another, adding depth to his work in both.

The fisherman's hut from The Docks, referred to in episode 15 of the Drax Files (image courtesy of Dividni Shostakovich )
The fisherman’s hut from The Docks, referred to in episode 15 of the Drax Files (image courtesy of Dividni Shostakovich)

He’s also a first-rate ambassador, as the film reveals, quick to engage others on the subject of Second Life, demonstrate it, and draw them into the world which has captivated him and show them that it is a place of enormous potential  – and fun. In this, he’s very quick to turn the widespread perception many people have about Second Life being a place for those “without a life” completely on its head.

“It seems that … there is very much a detachment from everyone else in the public sphere,” he says in reference to real life while discussing things for the episode, “[In] coffee shops here, you don’t go and suddenly there’s a big gathering of people. No. You go to your table and you might be with one other person, or with your laptop, and it’s almost completely quiet. Second Life is the opposite of the perceptions that a lot of the public hold. It’s not a place where lonely people ignore each other; it’s a place where minds connect!”

Real life can be isolating in other ways as well, and often and not Second Life really can counter it and open the doors to many rich and diverse means of genuine and positive interaction, as Scott again points out during the pre-production conversation.

“There are issues [as an artist] of putting your work out there and not getting any feedback or knowing what people are thinking about it,” he says of real life. “And you know, we don’t live in a vacuum. and an essential part of art is sharing it with other people; and for the longest time, all it seemed I was doing was storing my art in my house and in my closet, and that’s killing the purpose of art.”

With Second Life, the interaction and feedback is there and it is immediate, from peers and friends alike, and it fuels the creative and collaborative processes, something with Scott likens it directly to the vibrant and positive atmosphere he was immersed in when studying art in college which served to further fuel his creative desires; something that he admits he’d never really felt in the time between leaving college and discovering SL.

Carival Discarida funhouse, recreated in SL for the collaborative LEA installation "Rafts"
Carnival Discardia fun house, recreated in SL for the collaborative LEA installation “Rafts

This is another fascinating insight into the way in which Second Life have captivated someone and enabled them to find further means of expression and creativity and release. Scott’s experiences and his sheer enthusiasm for the platform offer another visual and positive means of presenting Second Life to those who have not experienced it for themselves.  The breadth and depth of topics covered here once again raise the bar in terms of the reach of this series. This is not an episode to miss.

Related Links

I regret, no conversation with Drax this time; real life and family matters didn’t offer sufficient time.

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2 thoughts on “The Drax Files 15: This otter be good – it’s Scottius Polke!

  1. Inara, thx for the write-up! Now that I covered so much art I need to focus on commerce or everyone says “SL is only for the free thinking leisure types!”…oh wait….that might actually what society needs more of :)/ Happy New Year!!!!

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