26 June 2012

Tyrehl Byk's Almost Flat Land

Venture over to LEA13 to enjoy a splendid experience at Tyrehl Byk's Almost Flat Land installation, featuring sound design by Ultraviolet Alter. The entrance into this full-sim build is the now-flooded ruins of a museum or exhibition space that lead out into a watery world articulated by gently undulating land that protrudes above the surface. A littered campsite is visible here, seemingly long deserted, with a journal resting out for view, on the pages of which you read a story—a story left by explorers who seemed to have met with a sudden fate while looking for a previous party. The narrator describes an encounter with strange forms and beings, but his last entry ends abruptly...and you in turn set out to explore...

What you will find out there on the sim are some amazing—what are they? beings of some sort?—forms that fly about or appear and disappear as you move about. As you traverse the watery world, different forms emerge or fade, both moving and stationary, and you discover corkscrew stairways that lead you up for a higher view.

Be sure during your visit to turn the media stream on, as Ultraviolet's sound score is an integral part of the experience. Tyrehl has created his own environment settings that should work with most viewers, but if you don't see what I'm seeing here you might want to re-enter with Firestorm. (These photos don't begin to do it justice!)

24 June 2012

The Columbia Crash Site

With all the fun hoopla going on about SL9B, I thought it was a good time to go way back in time—to a time when something really exciting was happening in Second Life, the discovery of a new continent. You see (just in case you're not a really ancient avatar with knowledge of such things), once up a time there was only one continent, a giant land mass now known as Sansara, or the old continent.

And lo and behold, a Linden explorer (yes, that tells you how different the era was—when Lindens walked the earth!) named Magellan Linden began to report in his chronicles the discovery of a new continent to the north—Heterocera Atoll, or the northern continent. On February 14, 2005, Magellan's ship crash landed in the sim Columbia, and he and his explorers had to set out on foot, looking for natives. Sadly, not much was heard again from Magellan after Heterocera Atoll opened on March 22, but you can still visit the Columbia Crash Site. Only his bear remains, a little monument placed by Nicole Linden.

Another curious little area can be found on the neighboring sim Cecropia—a "Grief Containment Pond" labeled "under development" by Michael Linden, although clearly long ago abandoned. I guess the corn field turned out to be a better option. You can walk down the pipe (barely visible in the photo below—it's under the green fluid) all the way into the neighboring sim of Sandra, but there it ends.

23 June 2012

Betty Tureaud and Trill Zapatero at Split Screen

This is going to be a quick little blog post because I'm short on time (as if there's ever enough!)—and because the clock is ticking on your time to visit two fabulous installations at Dividni Shostakovich's Split Screen Installation Space, one of the best venues for the arts in Second Life. For the month of June (so only a week remains) you can see two distinct (and very different) artworks by Betty Tureaud and Trill Zapatero (images respectively above and below).

Betty's remarkably serene and vibrantly colored work, Liquid Crystals, places the viewer, as the title suggests, in an even-changing crystalline world, with music contributed by Ultraviolet Alter. (There are several levels to visit.) Trill's striking creation, The Apocalypse Will Not Be Televised, sets you down in a destroyed city where a playful ghost hints your way along a path. It's filled with humor and delight as passageways appear before you.

Be sure to see them in the next week! As always, please remember to make a contribution if you can afford one—there's a donation location at the entrance to Split Screen.

22 June 2012

Stirring the Dreams

Second Life artist Haveit Neox, recently the featured builder of A Rusted Development on LEA1, opens today the exhibition Stirring the Dreams at one of his sims, the Port of Sparquerry. The space will be one of four Second Life areas on display in real life at currents 2012, the Santa Fe International New Media Festival, which runs from June 22nd through July 8th.

Haveit describes the concept of Stirring the Dreams as follows: “Our nights are filled with dreams—good and bad ones. But a nightmare that persists over months or years may leave a dreamer feeling helpless to escape it. Haunting dreams set the stage for this exhibit at the Sparquerry sim, in the virtual world of Second Life. The scenario takes place in a factory-like structure and I try to match the somber atmosphere of nocturnal disturbances in this artwork. Second Life, this vast 3D computer world where I’ve built my own little corner, is a valuable tool for constructing a three dimensional environment. In such a format, I stir in a new element of light and hope. Now with an equatorial jungle outside the factory walls, and coiffed with a perched ship amid its canopy, the visitor may travel beyond the original dark space into more optimistic outcomes.” There is a great deal more on his blog, including a map of the entire exhibition space.

For this build, Haveit invited a number of others artists to contribute images, poetry and other material. You'll see artwork by Stephen Venkman, Katz Jupiter and Lila Artis, and texts by Ambrosius Resident, Apmel Goosson, Auryn Beorn, Hazart Monday, Hypatia Pickens, Katz Jupiter, Lilia Artis, Neva Black, Strat Inshan and Temi Sirbu. I was flattered to be among the visual artists Haveit invited, and my photos can be found near the very end of the 'story' on the coincidentally named Bridge of Quests, shown on the last photo of this blog post. (Since I gather the higher reaches of the build are supposed to be more hopeful, less disturbing, I selected some images that to me conveyed serene qualities, and curiously they all have a water theme, which I didn't noticed until I was finished.)

I asked Haveit a few questions about his collaborative process:
Ziki Questi: I'm curious how you went about selecting other artists to participate ... it could have been all your own build, but you chose to ask others to contribute ... why was that?
Haveit Neox: The artists I selected are in two groups. The first group were those people who submitted written works to my previous exhibit called Second Libations. It was on the LEA6 sim in December.
HN: I wanted to preserve them in this exhibit as well.
HN: The second group of artists were specifically chosen for the current exhibit. And I only asked 4 to participate this time.
ZQ: Why do you invite other artists to participate?
HN: When others participate, the space is no longer subjective only... it opens up to feeling more objective to me, more alive. In addition, there's always something about another skilled artist's work that makes me feel 'I wish I could do that'... some element that I greatly admire, and for which I want to journey into our shared destinations.
HN: It helps me build too. When I was a kid, I used to make mud cities in the yard, and a couple friends joined in. I loved it totally.
ZQ: I would imagine that many artists would be uncomfortable inviting others to contribute, not knowing what they might create ... but you seem comfortable with losing that measure of control.
HN: I think so. Not knowing what they will contribute is... kind of like unwrapping a birthday present.
HN: More than that excitement of course, it's the added dimension by that artist, that expands my own interpretion of the space.

14 June 2012

Felona e Sorona

Long ago, back in the heyday of progressive rock, there was a band named Le Orme (actually it looks like they're still around), and among their best known recordings was 1973's Felona e Sorona, a concept album about two planets that revolve around one another: the dark and disastrous Sorona and the brilliant and lovely Felona. The album has served as an artistic inspiration for Second Life artists Squonk Levenque and Miuccia Klaar in their new sim-wide build of the same name.

Seen from a bird's-eye view above, Felona e Sorona resembles a heart broken in two, with one side bright and colorful, the other dreary and monochrome. As Squonk and Miuccia say, “Enjoy Felona, the place we all want to live in and enjoy life, loves, friends and happy times. As every cloud has a silver lining, Felona has its antithesis; Sorona, the dark and murky side present in everyone of us. Have you ever felt like a puppets imprisoned in schemes and aiming to set free? Have you?”

If you've been to their fantastic sim Treptower Park about which I blogged a few months ago, you'll recognize similar elements in Sorona, with its dark, decayed state. I find it somewhat more convincing than the sunny Felona, with its busy array of flowers, butterflies, cute poses and quirky things, but they're both fun, and great places for photography. Yes, there are tip jars, so please contribute whatever support you can.

12 June 2012

Abbey Island Revisited

It's been ages since I blogged about Abbey Island, and I'm prompted to do so again because masterful builders Darmin Darkes and BaileyMarie Princess (creators of Innsmouth) have transformed what used to be a shopping mall area (where long I ago I had a Babele Fashion shop) into a colorful carnival, complete with rides and a touch of the bizarre. Enjoy bumper cars (bring a friend for that), a ferris wheel, knife throwing and other novelties before venturing out to explore the rest of the island, where you'll find the Abbey itself, where a large circus clown has destroyed a wall (dancing above, dungeon below—oh, I did mention this is an adult sim, didn't I?), an enchanted forest, a nude beach and other playful locations. Click here for a teleport. Don't forget to leave a tip! :)

11 June 2012

The Cod Supper Club Revisited

I last blogged about my great old friend Martin Ren's Cod Supper Club over a year ago, and then a few months ago the place quietly closed down, as Martin hinted a change of location was in store. Martin loves to build, so I knew he'd be working on something new. And his builds are always humorously engaging, so when he announced about a few days ago that the new Cod Supper Club had opened its doors in the sim Plebeja I was delighted to visit.

As you might expect (if indeed you're the type to expect anything at all), it's a cozy little place, a one-room watering hole with ample seating, an intimate dance floor and a bar. Given at the moment there's a back door that opens out into space (this being a build in the sky), I suspect Martin's not quite done. But if you're into engaging, off the beaten path and occasionally esoteric conversation, plus hearing some totally obscure music (where Martin gets this stuff is beyond me, but it's awesome), then keep an eye out. It was quiet as I stopped by this evening, but I know I'll be visiting frequently.