24 July 2012

Dirk Talamasca's Home

Sometimes it can be a real treat to get a glimpse into someone else's personal space—and right now you can get a peek into the Second Life home of Dirk Talamasca. "We transformed Dirk's sim for a party," remarked Wendy Xeno (creator of the superb HuMaNoiD sim) to me a couple days ago, and added that it would remain open for a couple weeks. The "we," as it turned out, included Neva Crystall (who took the redesign lead) along with Wendy, and the result is truly lovely.

If you've been to HuMaNoiD or Neva River, you'll recognize a similar feel in Dirk's sim. I really loved the poses that came with the driftwood boat below from Studio Syke (as you can see below, haha!) and went out and purchased one for myself. (And thanks, Dirk, for opening your door for a few days!)

22 July 2012

Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off

OK, I'll admit it: I want some of whatever Maya Paris is smoking. And with a name like Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off, how could you go wrong? This totally whacky, delightfully absurd and hilarious installation at LEA10 is probably best experienced with friends—it was quite a scene on opening day with a couple dozen people roaming about. So find a few companions and say to them (be forceful, don't hesitate), "You know, we have to go see Maya Paris's new installation at LEA10, Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off, right now," and then drag them along.

The artwork actually pokes some fun at our cultural obsession with personal appearance—with our quest for perfect bodies, our consumer habits and our desire for sexual appeal—but goes about it in such a fun way that you can't help but laugh. There are five levels, and you'll need to get around by looking for holes or teleports—they're easy to find—and you should click on absolutely everything, because many objects will animate you or hand you very silly things to wear. (And many of the animated stands give you things when you're finished, too.)

It's a bit hopeless trying to take photos of Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off because it's so interactive, so I'm afraid these images don't begin to capture the essence of the place. (And yes, you can see me in the middle of the pinball machine above—just click to zoom in.) Be sure your volume is turned up, as the sound effects are great. And when you're all done, the exit takes you yet another interactive installation by Maya, Crash Bang Trollop, which is not to be missed.

20 July 2012

The Inevitability of Fate

Many Second Life artists have created amazing spaces—places of wonderment that aren't possible in the real world and that could only be conceived in a virtual environment. But few have created artwork as personal and poignant as that of Rose Borchovski, whose recent installation at Two Fish, The Inevitability of Fate, invites us to confront the perils of children and families affected by war.

On the surface, The Inevitability of Fate tells the story of Angry Beth and Lot—a grandmother and her eight year old granddaughter—whose vulnerable lives are shattered by forces beyond their control. Although the artwork invokes a specific time—the sim is wrapped with the names of Dutch children who died in World War II (and about whom you can learn by entering their names at the Joods Monument, a digital monument to the Jewish community in the Netherlands)—there are, as Rose says, many Beths and Lots in other wars, including those ongoing now.

If that all sounds so awfully heavy that you might be disinclined the visit the sim, please don't be. It's a brilliant work that's also filled with touches of humor and playfulness—although these in many ways add to the poignancy of the experience. We do realize that in many cases the lighthearted play is a reflection of an unfulfilled childhood, memories of times gone by that cannot be recaptured, but one cannot help but smile once in a while at the delightful and unexpected results. Click on the yellow tears throughout the sim—they're poseballs—and look out for local teleports as well. You'll pick up some fun little freebie things as you explore, too.

The Inevitability of Fate is a mostly-mesh build, gorgeously rendered, and is imbued with Rose's masterful sense of physical depth that treats the sim almost as a theatrical stage. (Click on these images to zoom in, and I'll post some to my flickr stream.) Kudos are due to Caer Balogh, the brilliant scripter whose work is seen everywhere in the sim. If you'd like to learn more about Rose and her work, I recommend a recent interview by Simba Schumann posted on the Arte Libera blog.

15 July 2012

Lollito Larkham’s “Souvenirs de voyages de Marcel Chiffon”

Opening today at LEA6 is a substantial full-sim build by artist Lollito Larkham. Entitled Souvenirs de voyages de Marcel Chiffon (or Memories of Journeys of Marcel Chiffon), the mostly-mesh build really requires a computer that can run in ultra graphics mode with lighting and shadows, but it's well worth it. The artwork depicts “the memories of journey of Marcel Chiffon, found under forms of sketch in the pad left behind him after his disappearance (cf. EchapĂ©es Nocturnes de Marcel Chiffon)” as Lollito says—a series of non-narrative scenes spread throughout the sim.

Although at the landing point you'll find a teleport board that directs you some of the main points in the build, the concept is really to let visitors wander without a clear path. As Lollito (photographed against the build, below—click to zoom) says, he wanted “to blur a little the usual marks, by making [it] so that the visitor feels a little disorientated spatially: no drawn road, no guiding principle, an opened sim, where we can approach spaces and structures according to various angles.”

10 July 2012

conformational change

I'm so behind visiting places that it's pathetic, but I'm trying to catch up! Yesterday's delightful find was Selavy Oh's brilliant (and brilliantly simple) installation conformational change in the sim MetaLES..O.., curated by Ux Hax. This opened a month ago, and I'm not sure when it closes, but it's a must-see!

It's essential to interact with this artwork, and you'll discover why as you fly around in it—as you touch the slender white bars they disappear, only to re-rez at another location, eventually causing one cube to disappear and another to emerge or become more defined. It's playful, both in the sense of the sheer fun of interacting with it and the sense of wonder one gets from watching it transform over time. My friend Juno and I spent ages flying around, and you will too!

09 July 2012

The Returning

I absolutely loved the last two works by Marcus Inkpen I encountered, at The Path and Invisible Cities (I could have happily lived in either place!), and so was excited to see The Returning, which according to the artist “explores the spiritual connection we once experienced, as an integral part of life, now lost—but lying in wait for our return.” The setting for this sim-wide build is a wilderness punctuated by small waterways, and on arrival one can't make out the defining elements, which consist of one large building that might look vaguely like a cross between the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat, and several smaller structures.

Unlike the slightly Kafkaesque (but highly enjoyable) experience I had at Invisible Cities, the spaces here suggest magic and ritual, with ancient books on display, their pages opened to show the ancient Kabbalah manuscript, Sefer Yezirah, some displaying the Sephirotic system of ten divine names. (I'm not really up on this stuff at all, but did dig around to find the images, and central floor image in the pendulum looks Hindu to me.) The textures, particularly in the smaller building with paintings and mirrored globes, are stunning. Go. :)

08 July 2012

Mischief Managed

Thanks to a post on Quan Lavender's blog, Hogwarts in Mesh, I stopped by today to see this remarkable sim (teleport slurl here to Platform 9 3/4), open to the public in OOC mode only through July 13th. I must confess that I've never seen any Harry Potter films or read the books (I know, I know), but whether you're as culturally deprived as me or not you're sure to enjoy exploring this remarkable all-mesh build, Mischief Managed RP.

A number of interior spaces are still being built. At the arrival point you can receive a folder of information, including notes on how to join as a roleplaying member. Don't delay visiting, as you'll want to return—lots to see.