20 December 2014

Whiskey Monday Exhibitions

While you're awaiting Whiskey Monday's forthcoming installation on one of the LEA sims in January, you might have an interest in visiting two exhibitions of her work. The first, entitled Selected Letters, is the inaugural exhibition at the new art space at The Pixel Bean, a coffee house and favorite gathering place for many, owned by Harlow Heslop. The prints are located on the upper floor (top image) and all are for sale. Originally scheduled to run through the end of December, the the show is likely to run longer — Harlow tells me people are enjoying too much for it to end.

The second, Pure Whiskey, is on display at Lauk's Nest Across the Road, on the third floor of a gallery space (bottom image) curated by Eliana Zaytsev (who also owns Lauk's Nest itself, the ancient home of creator Laukosargas Svarog). The works here aren't for sale — they're part of Eli's personal collection — but include some of Whiskey's most impressive work.

19 December 2014

Gracie Kendal and Ub Yifu at LEA8

I wrote several weeks ago the brilliant works on LEA8 by Jo Ellsmere and Daniel Mounsey (or Pyewacket Kazanenko in Second Life), installed as part of the Art & Algorithms Digital Arts Festival. Several other artists are also exhibiting on the sim through the end of December, among them Ub Yifu and Gracie Kendal. Ub describes his work The Tree People, pictured above (click on images to zoom in), as "an absorbing immersive environment, which is at the same time a tribute to Nature and its many gifts, the mysterious duality of life, and the creative people who explore virtual worlds in search of their holy grail." While Ub's work is effective and beautifully done, one wonders what he might achieve with some additional space — The Three People exists within a fairly confined area for the scale it suggests.

Gracie Kendal's installation, A Comfortable Skin, is "an ongoing multimedia project that documents how Kristine Schomaker [her real life persona] uses virtual and physical avatars to bring attention to the obsession society has with physical appearance, and to explore 'identity' as a vehicle for self-reflection and acceptance," thereby continuing her long-standing interest in avatars and their relationships to identity. Here, we're invited to select a new skin from among many offered by Gracie — all brightly paint splattered in appearance — and, using poseballs, to stand in a real life image, while her human looks on. (In the second image, my friend Kinn and I stroll along the sidewalk as Kristine stands in the foreground.) "Do you have a comfortable skin?" she asks.

16 December 2014

Linden Endowment for the Arts Announces Artist-in-Residence Grants

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) has announced the eighth round of Artist-in-Residence grants, which provides full sims for a period of six months (January through June 2015) to twenty artists. The recipients, who will have up to four months in which to build before opening, comprise:
Art Blue
Asmita Duranjaya and Sable (snakeappletree)
frankx lefavre
FreeWee Ling
Giovanna Cerise (middle image)
Gracie Kendal
Haveit Neox (upper image)
Krystali Rabeni
Lemonodo Oh
Lorin Tone
Mario2 Helstein
Mary Wickentower
Misprint Thursday
Mistero Hifeng
NaTaS Janus
Sniper Siemens
Solkide Auer
Whiskey Monday (lower image — an image of one of Whiskey's pose set-ups, photo by me)

I had a chance to talk this evening with three of the recipients — Haveit Neox, Lorin Tone and Whiskey Monday — and they shared some thoughts and perspectives on their forthcoming works:

Haveit Neox:
My build will center on a city turned inside out. The mud city will have no windows, no doors. It will have the look of an old city eroded. Only holes in the roofs gain access to the interiors. But when visitors climb down the ladders, the interiors are actually exteriors — what we see walking the streets. My intention is to bring about a sense of having no home.

Lorin Tone:
My plans are to display pieces that Madcow Cosmos and I collaborated on over years. They will be be mostly musically interactive for all visitors...Pictures and noise, that's what we do. I promise we'll have some fun stuff to show!

Whiskey Monday:
I'm going to explore the relationship between 3D space and the 2D representation of it. I'm going to set up a series of photo sets, and each one will stay up an indeterminate amount of time. Maybe a day, maybe an hour, maybe two weeks. And the sim will be open for folks to come look and (hopefully) take pics themselves. Then I'll delete the set with no notice or fanfare. I hope to have the sim open for most of the last 4 months to do this. I want sets that will work for folks with crap graphics, as well as those who can take Ultra shots. There'll be a Flickr group and a gallery of sorts above the sim, for displaying photos that folks take. I think seeing the unique perspectives and angles that each person brings to the work will make it a collaborative effort, and hopefully pull in some SL people who normally don't come to LEA sims, and even those who don't normally think of themselves as artists or photographers. I love the idea of seeing the same scene through different eyes. And the sharing of the creation of art! As well as the impermanence of the scenes, while the 2D representation of them is now the "art." I want folks to see that anyone can be an artist, that everyone has a unique vision and a viewpoint that matters. I think the narrative should belong to everyone. [Update: See here for more.]

14 December 2014

Winter Moon

The sim Winter Moon, a favorite among many who seek out photogenic locations, is living up to its name, literally, with a seasonal makeover that treats us to candlelit paths and softly illuminated trees. From the landing point, explorers can set out either clockwise or counterclockwise — the path winds its way around the outside of the entire sim, affording beautiful views of waterfalls in the sim's center and the lighthouse that stretches into the sky.

Throughout the sim, designer Dream Shadowcry has created little vignettes or composed scenes such as the one in the middle image. There's also a beach on the northeastern corner of Winter Moon (lower photo), and you won't see many signs of winter here or in the tropical lands that stretch down the eastern edge. The sim's windlight setting, pictured, results in a better experience than photos would suggest. To see a previous post about Winter Moon, click here.

13 December 2014

UWA 3D Art and Machinima Grand Finale

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 14 at 6 am slt, the University of Western Australia (UWA) will announce the winners of both Transcending Borders: The 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge and MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders, with dozens of entries from around the globe and more than L$1,000,000 in award money, including audience participation prizes. The awards will be presented at the The UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre, with three different entrances here, here and here. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Kudos to UWA for continuing its support of the arts in virtual environments.

12 December 2014

Winter [Imagination]

ARNICAR India's beautiful sim, [Imagination], has transformed into a strikingly beautiful winter experience — now appropriately renamed Winter [Imagination] — and merits extended or repeated visits. While most sims are square in design (based, of course, on existing limitations), the water region [Imagination] embraces the circle: from overhead, one can see the waves slowing moving toward the center from every direction, and the sim is neatly divided into thirds by wintery paths and stone walkways. The views from any angle are superb and afford some great photographic opportunities.

Tall shapes tower over the sim, anchoring our gaze at various points: an antiquated lighthouse, a huge hot air balloon, a massive tree, and a floating house. Toward the west, two children skate on a frozen pond, and here you can dance with a friend — just watch your step. (And that's where you'll also spot a tip jar in the form of a toy horse.) And everywhere are beautiful small touches — for example toward the north an elegant table set with cocktails and dessert, attended by a white peacock. If you're not using a viewer that auto-accepts region windlight, try [TOR] NIGHT - Bright blue horizon.

11 December 2014

Asalia House

The entrance to Asalia House, on the region seni seviyorum (about which I last wrote here, although nothing of the older build remains), is a delight: We're in a welcoming little space with nowhere to go — but we do spot a rabbit hurrying somewhere, and that's our cue. Lewis Carroll would be proud of the playful interpretation as we fall through the rabbit hole (don't miss the scenery), drink to shrink, and finally arrive on the ground level. And what awaits on the ground is a beautiful setting — a little island of dense gardens and walkways.

We stroll along a woodland path through a forest of spectacular mushrooms (middle image) toward a green chessboard and house of cards (although perhaps part of this area is under construction), continuing the Alice connections. A nearby windmill, spinning lazily, overlooks a table set for tea, as geese skim the water in the distance. And further out from shore, toward the north, you'll spot a quaint little house, strewn with curiosities and poses (lowest image). And there you'll also find a tip jar, should you like to make a contribution. The images here (click to zoom in) show the region's default windlight setting. [Update: I spoke with さぁこ (Kyo Asalia), one of the designers, and she confirms that areas are still under construction, but welcomes people to visit.]

Adieux, Santaurio

If you're the sand and surf type, it's last call to visit Santaurio, a creation by Jac Mornington and Romy Mornington (Romy Eara Rosea). (Read here my post from April 2014 when the sim opened.) Within the next few days, the beaches, palms and inland waterfalls will cease to exist, as Jac announced plans today to transform the sim into "a new winter season theme." Thanks to Jac and Romy for having shared their tropical paradise with the community.

09 December 2014

Second Life Suggestions

Yes, you did see that correctly. The Lab has launched a "suggestions" page, asking residents their thoughts on a variety of topics: audio, avatars, communications, content creation, documentation, groups, install issues, inventory, L$ (commerce), land, localization, mesh, navigation, other/unknown, performance, physics, rendering, scripts, simulation, teleport, tools, user interface, and viewer. Read more here in a blog post today from the Lab.

But do keep in mind, as Torley offered a few minutes ago on plurk, "When making suggestions, please consider providing context as to why this would be of broad benefit to the Second Life community. By all means by passionate but think about what good this does for the world." (Torley said that one thing he'd like to see is faster, easier access to debug settings.) Also, keep in mind this isn't for reporting bugs — for those, head over to the JIRA.

StoryBrooke Gardens Winter

Winter has arrived a StoryBrooke Gardens, a tranquil setting created by Lauren Bentham. From the landing point, paths lead you through a delightfully snowy landscape populated by woodland animals and fairies. Beams of sunlight break through the pastel-colored woods to light the scene as flakes swirl and drift downward.

In the southeast corner, a cottage, with icicles and Christmas lights dangling from its gutters, awaits with a wood stove to warm your feet — or, if you prefer the cold weather, there are plenty of places outside to have a seat and take in the view. If you get too chilled, you're in luck, because Baja Norte, a warm beach sim originally designed by Jac Mornington and Sunshine Zhangsun (read here) awaits — just take the teleport down to the ground — and you can also visit Bentham Manor, home to Lauren's shop.