30 November 2013

Life is a tumbler

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, December 1 at 2 pm slt is a new installation by Betty Tureaud entitled Life is a tumbler, and the opening event will include a concert by Ultraviolet Alter. Betty's usual palette of bright, "pretty" colors is unmistakable—not quite my thing, but she has a great following who embrace her work. She tells me, "The installation is about people being pushed around in our world, so if you walk inside it will push you all the way down." And this it will: if you stand around, a huge invisible arm will sweep you counterclockwise around the circular area, and then you'll eventually fall through a hidden area in the floor to another level below, and so on until you reach the bottom of the cylindrical structure, where you have the option of teleporting back up to the top.

27 November 2013

Bryn Oh's Curiosities and Oddities

If you're missing artist Bryn Oh's creativity while she's building something new at Immersiva, then head over to the sim RiTai East, where, thanks to the generosity of Richard (dexterity00) and Tai -HH- (Taishatai), she has established a new gallery, Bryn Oh's Curiosities and Oddities. Here you will discover, in a setting designed by Bryn, an assortment of sculptures, curiosities and oddities. Everything in the gallery is for sale, so it's a chance to own a copy of Imogen and her sewing machine, Virginia reclining in her chair, or other objects from previous large-scale installations. (Even if you're not inclined to purchase anything, the gallery is lovely way to revisit some of these artworks.)

One of the gallery rooms features objects that are quite small, along with cabinets and shelves on which you can display them. Not everything is inside—be sure to look overhead, where a pouncing fox from Anna's Many Murders looks down on arriving visitors. In the sim to the west, RiTai, you'll spot the giant whale from Imogen and the pigeons. A donation box stands at the gallery entrance, and contributions go toward the support of Immersiva and Bryn's work there.

26 November 2013


If you think you know what a word cloud is, then pay a visit to Panhute, where artist Ian Panhute's installation The Loneliness of Being is quite literally a word cloud. This contemplative work, as the artist describes, "comprises a thousand ever-changing words. Drawn from the Internet (Twitter and Newsfeeds), the cloud is always evolving, always reflecting the now. Some see nothing more than foggy letters. Others see hidden meaning and personal insight." Although you can see the cloud from the landing point (shown above), it's perhaps best seen from inside—take the teleport at the landing point to get closer.

Elsewhere on Panhute are a couple additional artworks, including a re-installed exhibition from 2007, A Passing Moment, a collaboration between artist Ian Upton and archaeologist Steve Wilkes. "At 5:30 pm on Thursday 7th December 2006 the lights in the Aston Webb Rotunda were dimmed and the Leica HDS3000 scanner started to make its record. For ninety minutes an intense shaft of green laser light, stretching vertically from the floor to the centre of the dome crept clockwise around the space. Nothing could escape its gaze..." There's more to read at the exhibition, and I would guess the images (show below) are more impressive in real life, but they look fascinating. Upton's work was discussed in an interview with Rowan Derryth at SL10B, and can be viewed here.

25 November 2013

random - the last secret

I'm not sure what orlando di strada (a.k.a. gnupf Gufler) is doing in his installation random — the last secret at LEA22. But often I find art that I don't understand more interesting than art that I do understand, and so I found myself exploring the installation with curiosity. The artist states that random is a work in progress, and implies that it won't ever be "finished" per se. He says, "I try to create conditions which makes a world arise 'by itself', like our universe once emerged. It will not be interactive but it permanently changes. I use scripts in single events and single sounds, comes together to a 'organized chaos'...

"As it will be a self-organizing structure, i can't explain exactly what it will be look like. I let myself be surprised. It will be made of moving, sounding, color-changing, glowing (or not-glowing), interacting simple prims and particles. I try to use only SL-internally objects, no skulpties, no mesh will be imported from the real world. Even for myself it is a exciting experiment, which result i can't predict yet."

The landing point greets us with a space that seems momentarily confuse one's spatial perception, and we emerge to find a small area devoted to an installation within the installation, my head is a sleeping zyngo (mein kopf ist ein schlafender zyngo) (top image), where interacting with the dice, all of which generate sounds, grabs our camera focus. The other piece that seems to have its own identity is a large wall consisting of 738 monocromatic cubes (in eight shades ranging from white to grays to black), with three buttons to press ("find the hidden picture!" they invite) that trigger a shift or movement in the textures (middle image). I met fellow explorers Makkie Riegler and Kinn (Kinnaird) there, and together we puzzled over this for quite a while and were never able to figure it out, so let me know if you do!

The remainder of the installation is filled with a series of platforms on the water, connected by foot bridges (lower image). Some platforms are empty and some are filled with interactive elements. I assume from orlando's notes that if I return tomorrow I might see something completely different, so this may be a sim that will take repeat visits to fully appreciate.

22 November 2013

Dawn of Radiance

Dawn of Radiance, designed and owned by silvermoon Fairey, has been gaining the attention of photographers and bloggers (see also posts by Caitlin Tobias and Strawberry Singh), and with good reason. At present it's a beautiful snow-covered landscape. Its wooded hills are just high enough to obscure whatever lies beyond them, but, as we wander, the hills open up into valleys that possess quaint settings. Houses and other small structures dot the scenes, everything white with frost.

In the southeast corner of sim, you'll find an frozen pond, at which you can grab a pair of mesh skates. Wrapping around Dawn of Radiance are coastal scenes: a very cold looking windswept beach, a lighthouse, a fishing boat that seems to have brought in a small catch, and horses grazing on sea grasses. If you enjoy the sim, please consider leaving a contribution—there's a tip jar right at the landing point.

21 November 2013

Lemondrop's Forest Returns

As I was working on my exhibition Lost Second Life, I attempted to visit all the locations featured in the show, wanting to be certain that I wasn't including a place that actually did exist. And that's how I discovered, to my surprise and delight, that Lemondrop's Forest has returned to the grid (and only a few days before the exhibition opened). I last wrote about this great place, co-created by Lemondrop Serendipity and Photon Pink, back in July 2011, and fortunately very little has changed—Lemondrop tells me that a few odds and ends here and there need to be re-created or adjusted.

It's really a delightfully whacky place, and there's little I would add to my previous post (even though it's not quite up to date), so head over there if you're inclined to learn more. Now, next door, is a new sim, Candypunk Sandbox, "the official sandbox for whimsical and candypunk builders," which Lemondrop tells me is open to everyone. It is indeed filled with whimsical items, and Photon Pink is at work on something big on the southwest corner.

19 November 2013

Caprice and Easy A

Caprice and Easy A, two adjoining parcels on the sim Caverns of Aleval, invitingly bask and shine in winter colors. Both owned and designed by Asa Vordun, the pair possess dissimilar but complimentary designs—Caprice with its small town square feel, and Easy A with its more bucolic atmosphere.

Visitors to Caprice will discover, amidst the trees glazed with ice and walkways dusted with snow, a beautiful library with an impressive collection of curios on display (lower photo). Walking further along the path, you'll encounter an apple cart, and finally the arched entryway into Easy A (upper photo). And it's snowing in Easy A—a soft, quiet snow, the sort you might imagine you can just hear. In addition to the two homes (middle photo) and little Noel house here, you might fly up to discover a secret little spot atop the central column. Do consider leaving a tip if you enjoy these spaces.

18 November 2013

claudia222 Jewell at JASS

A few months ago, I wrote about an installation of claudia222 Jewell's artworks at the sim weird in a space owned by Gaia Clary. Another build by claudia222 exists elsewhere overhead Gaia's shop, JASS, where creators can purchase Primstar-2, Avastar-1 and the older Jass-2, all of which are add-ons for Blender. There isn't a direct teleport link to claudia222's work up in the sky, so to reach it teleport directly to JASS and then fly up about 400 meters until you reach the artwork. (Of course, you might want to linger and explore the shop, too.)

It's a huge build that extends nearly 200 meters up, with claudia222's trademark of spaces within spaces within spaces (or maybe I should say worlds within worlds within worlds), all of which we can see from the outside looking in, while we can't see from the inside looking out. As always, the subject matter is fantastic, outlandishly and dazzlingly grotesque and beautiful at the same time. The items here date from 2011 and earlier, and they're sculpted, not mesh, which makes the achievement seem all the more remarkable. Thanks to Gaia for keeping these places rezzed and for opening them to visitors. You might also enjoy some machinima she created at this location.

17 November 2013

Sun to Moon

Now open at Eduland, curated by Myhns Mayo, is an installation by nexuno Thespian entitled Sun to Moon: Transmigration Between Day and Night. Visitors move from the entrance area—which provides some background information on the artist and installation—into the burning hot world of the sun, resplendent with reds, oranges and yellows, and then into the cold and icy world of the moon, bathed in luminescent blues and reds. Occasionally one encounters interactive elements.

Nexuno states that he was inspired by the song "Sun and Moon" from the musical Miss Saigon, and adds, "I found many popular versions of the story of love between the moon and the sun," for example, "a myth in Africa in which the sun is jealous and banishes the moon because he believes that he has been betrayed...I enjoyed creating a landscape of sunset and a crescent moon, the symbol of the differences that complement each other." At the landing point, be sure to pick up the folder of gifts, which includes some wearables.

16 November 2013

Invisible People

Opening today, Saturday, November 16 at 12:30 pm (now, as I write this) is a tour de force by Rebeca Bashly. Entitled Invisible People, the artwork is situated throughout Lost Town (La Città Perduta), a space curated by sivi Kelberry and AKILAE Gant, which has had a string of excellent recent artistic installations. What Rebeca has installed are twenty-one people—just people you might see as you roam around a small city square—partaking in various activities. (Click on these images to zoom in.)

As Rebeca says:
    This is a story, presented thru camouflage body art,
    about all those people that you pass by
    on the streets every day and never notice them...

The trick in seeing the artwork is that it must be seen from a very specific angle. The middle and lower photos here are of the same location—you'll notice one person sleeping on a bench, while another walks along with a basket and cane. What Rebeca has done, remarkably, is to wrap the figures with the textures behind them, but only from a certain vantage point. You'll notice in the middle photo that the figure walking isn't seen correctly—the texture isn't visible, but it is on the figure on the bench. In the third image, it's the walker with the cane who is captured correctly. As the textures align, the figures meld with the back and, in a way, seem to partly disappear. It can take a little time to get the textures to align precisely, and it's delightful fun. Rebeca adds that visitors who correctly document all twenty-one invisible people will receive a free sculpture from her.

Avalon Town Closing

Today came the news that the multi-sim Avalon Town will close at the end of the year. For seven years a home to innumerable art galleries and exhibition spaces, as well as home to dozens of artists, Avalon has been a bastion of the arts in Second Life. The announcement of the estate's closing states, "We are saddened to pass on the news that at the end of the year, Avalon Town will be closing. As many of you know, our estate owner, Colleen Kesey, is a wonderful and generous woman, and has given us many years of fun, creativity and mischief in Avalon Town. The decision to let it go was a difficult one, but as the path of her life has changed, the time has finally come." Comprising several sims, the key arts districts in Avalon Town are Tabula rasa and Ars Lunga, with additional arts spaces in Vade Mecum and other nearby regions.

The announcement continues, "We will not 'go gentle into that good night', however. The estate will remain open until the end of the year. We will have a few more events if possible. Stay tuned for plans for a grand finale party on December 28th. If you are interested in buying a sim, Colleen is selling them for 1L. Please contact Ethan Westland or Tricia Aferdita if you are interested...We would like to collect your favorite stories, memories and photos of Avalon from over the years. Please send Ethan or Tricia any full perm photos, note cards with stories, etc. We will be compiling them in some format or another for everyone to share."

11 November 2013

Lost Second Life

Opening tomorrow, Tuesday, November 12, at 11 am slt at Anita Witt's Dryland Gallery is an exhibition of my work entitled Lost Second Life. When Anita suggested the theme of "Lost Second Life" several months ago, I was intrigued and excited.

I thought it would be easy, just sifting through images and selecting a few here and there, but it turned out to be a surprising challenge. For starters, there were more than 15,000 photographs to look through, and it turned out that many weren't what I would consider exhibition quality. And then there was the title itself: Lost Second Life somehow implied a comprehensive survey of all that had come and gone, and that's not really what either Anita or I originally envisioned.

This exhibition is not intended to be a survey of all Second Life locations that have come and gone over the past few years. Hundreds of places—ranging from iconic locations such as the Lost Gardens of Apollo and Omega Point to Gorean and other roleplay sims—have disappeared, and I can't claim to have ever visited or documented many of them. Additionally, although I've been taking images in Second Life for a long time, my serious work in photography really dates from early 2011.

So the exhibition is, rather, simply a reflection of varied places that have come and gone. Some, like Greenies or AM Radio's installations at the IDIA Laboratories sim, were locations almost everyone in Second Life visited, or so it seemed. Others, such as a 2304 Rain or Coney Island, 1922, came and went so quickly (sometimes in the space of only a few days) that few people ever got the chance to explore them. I did discover, happily, that one place that had been gone just returned a week ago—Lemondrop's Forest—so one planned image has now been omitted from the exhibition!

Older images—ones that I thought captured essential places but aren't of the highest quality (as SL photography has changed over the years with the introduction of anti-aliasing and environmental settings)—are included in smaller sizes here and there on easels, while newer images are mounted on the gallery walls.

10 November 2013

The Machine

Now open and continuing through the month of November, as part of the LEA Full Sim Art Series, is The Machine by Lilia Artis and Moeuhane Sandalwood. Visitors enter a space in which the inhabitants believe they have created the perfect world:

    We have solved all our problems. Thanks to our ingenuity.
    We have cured all illnesses. Thanks to our technical savvy.
    We have cheated death. Thanks to our code.
    We invented the machine.
    The only thing left to do:
    Keep the machine running that keeps us running.

As the creators explain, "The creatures have created a perfectly functioning world. They live in the ever present. As a sound community. With joined minds and spirits. Interconnected. Completely. They run the machine – and are run by the machine. They are the machine. The peak of innovation. The end of evolution. Their creation. They are a society without memory. Their history a mere shadow. Because there is no need to remember. Why remember what is of no value. They are perfect." The top level of the build, where visitors arrive (top image), represents this utopian environment, where the citizens and the machine are interconnected. But underneath this (subsequent images, going down) lies a past, and visitors can head below to discover what it is and how it relates to this new civilization. (Some of the entrances to the three levels below aren't easy to spot at first—just look for openings in the floor.)

Lurking at the bottom of it all is a dark, abandoned world (lowest image), and one that we might recognize as our own, although in great decay. "What if a society sets progress through technology as their top priority? Perfection above everything else?" pose Lilia and Moeuhane. Lilia tells me, "We did the planning together, the idea, then Moe set up the grand layout and I concentrated on making the textures, but of course it also was a mix, meaning him doing textures too and me building up things. We really collaborated with every step." The notecard you'll receive as you arrive will guide you through the build with additional information.

08 November 2013

Island of Lost Dreams Closing

The Island of Lost Dreams, about which I blogged here back in February, will be closing its doors in the next few days. The sim features the work of Jenne Dibou, perhaps best known for Forgotten City and the JD Mechanical Toy Factory, and opened its doors in August 2012. But the sim won't go out without a fanfare—tomorrow, Saturday, November 9, there will be a farewell party at 2 pm slt, and the sim may be around for a few days after that. When you arrive, just grab a visitor tag (you'll need to join the group), and then click on the barrel (the one that says "Teleport to Castle") to reach the ground area.

07 November 2013

Through a Glass Darkly

Opening tomorrow, Friday, November 8 at 2 pm slt at The Rose Theatre & Art Gallery is an exhibition of recent works by photographer Benjamin Glendale entitled Through a Glass Darkly. The show presents a collection of monochromatic images (or nearly so—a few have a hint of color), and as several use the recurring motif of a 1930s-era automobile, we might tend to think these are images from another era. They're delightfully evocative in that respect and attractively composed. If you come to the opening reception, note that the preferred dress code is black and white.

05 November 2013

(LCD) Special Zone CD - Little Planet

I knew when I spotted (LCD) Special Zone CD - Little Planet on the SL map, with its curious overhead design and bold colors, that it would be something unusual. I admit to being a bit stumped when I arrived—the sim's information described it as a "Sonic Sim," which I took to mean, you know, sound, and I couldn't find much in the way of sonic activity. But finally it got through my thick head: sonic as in Sonic the Hedgehog, related to the Sega game series and its many spin-offs, which immediately explained the look of the sim.

Special Zone is obviously designed for fun and games—in fact, to literally put you right inside the game. I know next to nothing about Sonic culture, but judging from the number of avatars in the sim it has a healthy following here. If you're curious, there's a little mall that sells avatars, and sim owner and designer Lugana Rysniq (BlackLaguna Mighty) is a maker of Sonic-related avatars through his store, Lobster-Cat Designs. I found it a fun place to roam around and explore—no visitor tags are required.

04 November 2013

Seni Seviyorum

Resplendent with rich fall colors against a glowing blue sky, the sim Seni Seviyorum consists of two sides, one owned and designed by RY (Ryu Asalia), with contributions from さぁこ (Kyo Asalia); and one owned and designed by ろん子 (Lonco), with contributions from 沙桃 (xPumyx) and さの (Sanako Luv). ろん子's island, to the southwest, is marked by silver birch trees (from Studio Skye) covered in yellow and orange leaves that lazily float to the ground. A caravan from Zigana provides the base for a cozy encampment. On RY's island to the northwest, the colors are deeper, with trees and vegetation from HPMD and alirium, and a windmill stands tall over an intricately decorated home.

Those two islands on the west half of the sim are linked by a wooden walkway standing just over the surface of the bright blue sea. The eastern half of the sim features an entirely different climate—a tropical setting on a single island (divided neatly in half, north to south) in the shape of a crescent moon. Somehow it manages to meld well with the two deciduous islands to the west. From overhead, you'll notice that the seabed has been crafted into the shape of a heart. The entire sim is a beautiful area for photography, wandering and relaxation.