25 April 2015

France Portnawak: Terracotta

A brilliant ochre style now envelopes the picturesque sim of France Portnawak, which designer and owner Leica Arado has recently transformed into a new theme: Terracotta. (Read about previous incarnations of the sim here and here.) As always, the region is picturesque and affords beautiful views, including some that stretch far out into the waters, where a cabin on stilts awaits travelers. Towering rocks to the north overlook the inland forests and the sandy shores, filled with vibrant orange and deep green.

As beautiful as the landscape is, the many dwellings spotting the landscape, some slightly hidden, are perhaps even more important, as they each tell a story — or, rather, they invite you to tell a story. "Materials, objects, architectural elements are mixed, with objects that allow us to imagine the history of the person who lives there," explained Leica to me. (And here I am roughly translating from the French in which we spoke.) "A music lover, a writer, a traveler, or a house where a seamstress might live...a farmer's house, a (rather humorous) temple [fourth image] without religious connotation, up on the hill. The cabin on stilts [third image] would be inhabited by someone rather passionate about animals. Objects evocative of India, China and Africa are all mixed."

The juxtaposition of elements extends even to the flora, where tropical palms stand side by side with deciduous hardwoods, but it all fits seamlessly. Exploring couples looking for romantic locations will discover quiet spots here and there, and a motorboat provides an extra way of getting around offshore. If you enjoy your trip to France Portnawak, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point.

24 April 2015

Poseidon's Abyss

Now open as part of Fantasy Faire is a sim-wide build by Haveit Neox entitled Poseidon's Abyss, and true to the artist's usual style it's a complex, fantastic and sprawling creation that extends over land and under the sea, with a seemingly endless number of small areas to discover. Several ships, loaded with goods, are ready for sail in the city harbor, but others have smashed or sunken, alerting us to imminent danger.

"The enemy’s superior power can no longer be held off," Haveit's story begins. "The city struggles to save its arts aboard the fleet of living galleons. To protect its valued paintings, music, literature, and all the company of its theater, the ships must sail on the hour if their culture is to survive. But 40 fathoms beneath those waves, Poseidon spies the underbellies of the ships, and readies his own advance for the bounty." And if you sink below the waters, you'll find Poseidon, trident and all, with his army nearby.

Given the short run of Fantasy Faire — only through May 3 — one has precious little time to fully explore Haveit's creation, not to mention the other arts builds. Do take some time while you're there to consider a contribution to the Relay for Life event, which benefits the American Cancer Society. I extend my thanks to the many artists and participants who make the event a reality. If you'd like to see these images on a larger scale, Haveit has created a gallery to house them (and a few others) at around 156, 71, 22 — I'll also be posting them on flickr.

23 April 2015

PimperPuppets: Being beautiful in the art scene

Serge, Samantha, Bridgit, Helen, Lucia, Sullivan, Curt and Susann vie for influence in the cut-throat world of artists and exhibitions in the delightful PimperPuppets production, Being beautiful in the art scene, by d-oo-b (Eifachfilm Vacirca), now showing at LEA9 through the end of May. "Serge has been chosen to feature his art in the Grand Hall," begins the synopsis. "He is determined to impress everyone. But Lucia steps out of his shadow." An animated performance using puppets originally modeled in real life by Eif, whose professional background is in theatre and videography, the production runs every 5 minutes — just take a seat to watch everything unfold before you.

Before you watch the play, however, I would suggest walking up to each of the PimperPuppets at the landing point. As you approach, they'll tell you more about their characters through chat bubbles that appear over their heads. And none of them is particularly likeable: "They are sort of pimps," Eif quipped, "having artists as their whores. (Art and prostitution were always connected, by the way.) They have lizard eyes, determined to succeed. Fame is their drug, and no one is really morally complete." Their determination to succeed is indeed far more important to them than the artwork itself, and they don't hesitate to stab one another in the back to advance their own agendas.

After the performance, you're invited to visit the various sets, where you're invited to set foot directly into the scenes you just witnessed. "Theoretically," Eif said, "the audience can step into the picture and comment," opening up another possible layer into the storyline for onlookers. When Being beautiful in the art scene concludes its run at LEA9, Eif plans to stage a follow-up performance (at another sim) in which Curt, Lucia and Samantha take a vacation to go climbing in China. More about the current production can be found on Eif's blog, including information on added events, although eventually those posts will move further down. The avatars are also available for sale on the Marketplace.

20 April 2015

Bloom

Now open at LEA 22 is Bloom, a new and impressive installation by Gracie Kendal (a.k.a. in real life the artist Kristine Schomaker). It's a dizzying tower of textures — the experience is almost like looking into a kaleidoscope — applied to intersecting discs that ascend into the sky, with an inner pathway that visitors can climb to near the pinnacle of the structure. (More than one route will take you there.) Followers of Gracie's work will notice an immediate connection to her earlier immersive build, Ce n’est pas une peinture, from 2012, which included a similar dazzling array of patterns. "The original title was Ce n'est pas encore une peinture," quipped Gracie, "but I decided I want something I can pronounce."

The textures are of every sort, and are so disorienting that one could as easily be looking sideways, up or down: polka dots, electrical cords, floral patterns, a map of Paris with Russian text, tossed paint, Arabic script, and so on. "I am planning on bringing it to real life galleries and the artwalk that we have in a couple weeks via projection, plus I want to make it an immersive installation," Gracie said of her interest in merging her Second Life artwork with that in the real world. Bloom will remain on display through the month of June.

19 April 2015

Save the Culture - MIC Imagin@rium Fundraiser

On Monday, April 20, at 1:00 pm slt, a fundraising event will take place to help save the photogenic sim MIC - Imagin@rium, owned and curated by Mexi Lane. Often a site for leading art exhibitions, including That's Italy by Mexi (2014), No Signal by Nessuno Myoo (2014), Trash by Mexi (2014), Red Shoes by various artists (Alpha Auer, Blue Tsuki, Cica Ghost, Daniele DACO Constantin (Daco Monday), Giorgio Mayo (Giorgio Nexen), Giovanna Cerise, Kicca Igaly, La Baroque, Lookatmy Back, MADD (Maddomxc Umino), Merlino Mayo, Mexi Lane, Mhyns Mayo, Mikati Slade, Mila Tatham, nessuno Myoo, nexuno Thespian, Nino Vichan, Paola Mills, Rubin Mayo, Rumegusc Altamura, Sniper Siemens, Solkide Auer, Swina Allen, Violetta Inglewood and Viviana Houston), and The Arrival by Rose Borchovski (2013), the picturesque region is well worth a visit at any time.

Headlining the fundraiser is singer Viviana Houston, and Mexi hopes to raise funds to pay this month's tier — after which she anticipates fewer issues with cash flow. There will also be the sale of Imagin@rium fashion art at the Temple of Portunus, one of the architectural focal points of the sim. And I'll chip in an offer: if anyone is interested in a two-hour private photography tutorial session with me, I'll offer it for L$10,000, with all proceeds to go to the support of the sim. (This will be limited to two contributors only, first come, first serve, with lessons at mutually convenient dates in the near future, and funds would need to be paid to me before the conclusion of the fundraiser on Monday. IM me if you'd like to know more.) "After years of sacrifices to keep alive the MIC, this time I can not pay the monthly fee despite the contribution that I receive regularly from Mind Clarity and Marisa Falbo," Mexi states. The need is significant and immediate: she needs to raise L$50,000 by the end of the event, so if you're not able to attend but would like to contribute, please send donations to Mexi directly.

18 April 2015

Rock'n'Roll

Opening today, Saturday, April 18 at 7 pm slt, at Holtwaye Art Space, is Rock'n'Roll, a exhibition of recent works by Molly Bloom. In traditional Western pictorial art, the frame serves to create an illusion, allowing the two-dimensional image within to establish on a space of its own, but Molly's work playfully breaks down that barrier by having elements that ought to be contained by the screen push through it — sometimes with the additional of an actual three-dimensional object added to the image. In this series of twenty-one objects, the iconic look of rock and roll is treated with both passion and humor, and with exemplary skill. Each of the works is available for purchase.



It's quite unfortunate that the opening of this exhibition was delayed by an hour at the last moment. As Molly stated, "The band hired — 'the follow' — backed out 4 hours before saying they would not play with nudity in the art, nor around gay people at the event."

Holter, the curator of Holtwaye, provided me with this statement: "I have loved the follow and especially their manager Jenna Dirval. I was just gobsmacked when one of the band members visited the gallery a few hours before the show, saying that I need to remove two images from Molly's show, they were offensive nudity, and one of them was demonic. Now mind you, Molly Bloom's images are not erotic and sexual — they might read into them that way, but they are not the centerpiece of her art And I don't think one of them is 'demonic' — it's just a figure with horns, I mean if that's what you see — a demon, then good on you, that is what art is all about.

"And how many centuries of artists before Molly Bloom have used the female body for art, and not for eroticism or sexual reasons? So I refused to remove them — I spent seven hours curating this installation, because I love to get inside the art, and into the head of the artist, trying to find a configuration that helps the art 'bloom.' Of course I'm not going to compromise an artist's show because a musician says to, just as the follow would not approve of Molly Bloom reviewing their song list, and reworking it to her standards. That's really not fair.

"So in the end, I just wish the follow had done the show that they agreed to, and weighed the benefits of doing the show rather than canceling at the last minute — for the sake of a great event coming together of artists and musicians. But instead their ban of 'nudity' and 'demons' curtailed the event. I know Molly Bloom was really offended by this reaction, and I understand her position. I try to be neutral as a curator, but honestly, I am disappointed. What a shame.

"I only asked the band member how he felt about homosexuals because I wondered if that was the real reason... I know now they won't play for an explicitly homosexual club, which he knows we are not, but Wayne and I created a gallery and artspace, and we represent many different types of creative people coming together, regardless of their background. I wish only the best for the follow and of course Jenna Dirval. Long live art and music!"

In any case, go and enjoy the show — nudity, demons and all.

16 April 2015

Rhapsody in Blue Fractals

Now open at Influence Art Gallery, curated by Yvan Slade, is an exhibition of recent fractal art by Gem Preiz entitled Rhapsody in Blue Fractals. The twenty images, arranged in groups of three with the exception of one duo, are strikingly evocative, suggesting otherworldly environments or fantastic structures, employing a wide range of styles in a predominantly blue-green palette. The title clearly harkens to George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and the "G" in the composers initials — as well as the artist's name — are reflected in the titles of the pieces: Gravity, enerGy, liGhteninG, emerGence (detail above), Genesis, oriGins, bioloGy, intelliGence, Germination, enGravinG, desiGn, technoloGy, knowledGe, enGineerinG, Grace, Genius, imaGination (detail lowest image), reliGion, kinGdom and heGemony.

Ordinary images in Second Life are restricted to 1024 pixels in either direction, but Gem has managed to stitch multiple 1024x1024 textures together to create each of the fractals, providing a experience of exceptional clarity. Gem shared with me that his personal favorite is imaGination, a fractal of great complexity that suggests some other intelligence, with kinGdom a close second. "I spend my time amazed with the extraordinary detailed patterns of the fractals, as well as their incredible diversity," he explains in the exhibition notes. "I take this opportunity to tell you once again my favorite story: that of the Universe born from stars, which the Time slowly structured until Mankind fills it up with our creations."

12 April 2015

Defined Grounds and Being (slightly NSFW)

Opening today, Sunday, April 12, at 2:30 pm slt (now as I write this) is an exhibition of recent photography by Hills (Hillany Scofield), defined grounds and being, at the Roissy Theatre & Art Gallery, curated by Juliette (SurrealDreaming). The seventeen images in the show are all monochromatic, black-and-white shots, mostly depictions of nudes, some with overt sexual overtones (hence my camera positioning in these blog photos), and all displaying Hills's expert composition and use of light. The exhibition has a short run, only until April 18th, and all of the images are available for purchase.

11 April 2015

This and That


• Jackson Redstar has produced a lovely video on Cica Ghost's Balloons, shared above.

• If you're the intrepid type, the Firestorm team needs some additional preview testers. Those of us who are on the beta test team have been checking recent builds, but now more substantial testing and feedback is needed — and it doesn't mean you just get to download the next version ahead of everyone else, because there can be bugs and inconveniences, and because you'll be expected to file reports and comments on the JIRA. If you'd like to know more, click here.

• Congratulations to entire collective involved in The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde, which was staged in part in Second Life with contributions from Alpha Auer, Bryn Oh, Caer Balogh, Euaplinos Ugajin, Jo Ellsmere, Nessuno Myoo and Soror Nishi. The exhibition, including of course the more substantial "real life" portion, organized by Peter Greenaway and Saskia Boddeke (Rose Borchovski in Second Life), has received the Tanr Prize for the Best Exhibition of 2014, sponsored by The Art Newspaper Russia. Read more on Bryn's blog here.

• Want a free and silly pair of TBF Aviator Sunglasses with Windshield Wipers by Arduenn Schwartzman? I'm wearing them below (yes, I know my hair is poking through the lens), and you can get them simply by joining the Lollygaggers! art group (check the group notices), and you'll also learn more about upcoming events at the Lollygagger Arts Center.


10 April 2015

Balloons

Opening officially on Sunday, April 12 (but actually open as of a few minutes ago as I post this) is a new installation by Cica Ghost entitled Balloons. In a surreal landscape of daisies, fog and twisted buildings, giant wanderers strive to reach their beloved balloons — and a few have managed to grab on, floating up into the air. At the landing point, be sure to get your own inflatable, so that you can join the tall white men as they drift about.

The bedrock island lies largely barren save for fields of gerbera daisies and a lone tree perched near the shore. Toward the center, a group of buildings, surrealistically twisted, bend toward the ground, pulled by giant spider webs and wrapped in dense fog, and we assume that the tall white figures, perhaps reminiscent of Giacometti, have emerged from there to try to catch the balloons that drift overhead. A few dawdle aimlessly, but others climb ladders in an effort to improve their odds.

Replacing the recently-closed Ruins, and in the same location, Balloons is the first build by Cica to make use of mesh, which appears in the balloons, the humanoid figures, the cats and a few other elements. (And she was kind enough to impart some Sculptris skills to this writer in the process!) During the run of Ruins, Cica worked overhead to create the towering white figures, which eventually morphed into the new installation. Balloons should remain up for at least a couple weeks. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point.