31 May 2014

Chaotic Parade

Now open and continuing through June 30 at LEA19 is Hyakki Yagyou - Chaotic Parade, curated by Yooma Mayo, a delightfully fantastic and jumbled installation based on the mythology of Japanese Yōkai, or supernatural monsters. Yōkai take many forms — for example, a Basan is a large fire-breathing chicken monster, and a Mikaribaba is a one-eyed old woman — and have been depicted in Japanese art for centuries.

For this installation, Yooma invited the participation of twenty-four friends and colleagues, many of whom are active on the magnificent Kowloon sim, and they've created a parade of Yōkai that twists about in the sky. As artist claudia222 Jewell and I talked about the display, she, with some familiarity on the subject matter, was able to point out several specific Yōkai, but many others are fanciful new creations. Quite a few of the items are set so that you can take copies of them, so you can create your own miniature Chaotic Parade. [Update: Yooma informs me that some permissions were set incorrectly, and that items weren't intended to be copyable.] Be sure to have your draw distance turned well up.

The participating artists, in addition to Yooma, include Anker Eidle, Azuki tammas, dagashi Horatio, Haruka McMahon, Lika Ruby, maikazu Twine, mIZuk, nekonuko nakamori, Provigny Rode, Rouki Furse, serialice Amat, WangRen Frog, yuk yuyian, Aslan Kish, chutoro radikal, Gien Guyot, imoimo shan, magnum yoshikawa, millette velde, Nap Mayo, Phi rosa, Raku Slade, Sandar Hax and taiko Namino, with special thanks extended to Lulue Triellis and the Kowloon sim, which helped support the installation.

28 May 2014

Group Exhibition at la Maison d'Aneli

Now open at la Maison d'Aneli, owned and curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a group exhibition featuring works by Lisisme Dubrovna, Cullum Writer, Rage Darkstone, Barry Richez, Ronda Saunders and Nino Vichan, and those by the last three artists stand out in particular. Barry Richez's work, Quantum (top image), had been previously exhibited as part of the UWA Challenge in 2013, winning fifth prize, but is more suitably presented here in its own room. It's a beautiful work, dark but glowing, that plays on the intersection of mathematics, physics and spirituality.

Nino Vichan's The Music of Our Better Angels (middle image) is a gorgeously presented work — I couldn't help but love the floor itself. "The subject of this collection deals with the classic dichotomy of the human consciousness which is manifest in much of our literature, art and society in general," says Nino. "On one side we see the ugliness, cruelty and evil that mankind is capable of, and on the other side we see the exquisite beauty, kindness and goodness of which we are also capable." The wall text, which speaks to issues ranging from slavery to torture, is contrasted by Renaissance-influenced images with airs of innocence.

Roni Saunders's installation, A metaphysical guide to post-Nietzschean philately (lowest image), features six large photographs that at first glance might seem erotic, but might seem more disturbing than erotic on closer examination: while the forms are nude and the content is sexually suggestive, the sensation quickly fades. "You could say she's clowning around in a psychically disturbed philosophical circus," said my friend Dividni Shostakovich as we explored her works.

27 May 2014

LTD Gallery Shop

Quan Lavender has recently re-opened her LTD Gallery Shop (connected to Love to Decorate Magazine), and it features works for sale by a wide variety of artists, including a special piece by claudia222 Jewell, who has been largely quiet as a creator since the closure of spirit at the old Art Screamer sim. Even if you're not planning on a purchase, you might take an interest in window shopping these two- and three-dimensional artworks by Apple Fall, bf2 Sheperd, Dan Freeland, Fae Varriale, Feathers Boa, Fuschia Nightfire, Gavie Garzo, Gouda Latte, Isabeau Baragula, Lilanna Clarity, Louly Loon, Masako, Ragamuffin Kips, Rod North and Trill Zapatero. claudia222's work is a limited edition "geisha vase" (image below). Originally only 50 of these were available, but I can safely say the number has dropped to 49 or lower.

26 May 2014

Mad City

I've posted a few times over the past year about events at Mad City, assembled by MadPea Productions, but never about the sim itself. And it's now time to pay it one last visit, as this lovely urban creation — areas of which are soaked in a drenching rainstorm — will close on May 31. It's nighttime here, and it's a lovely place to wander, either along the streets or through the central park — Crying Peacock Park — with a few shops lining the storefronts. As you explore, you might encounter two "escape room" on the sim, as MadPea is famous for its puzzles, and you'll have to solve the logical puzzles in them to extricate yourself.

True to form, an event is taking place right now: the MadPea Gacha Art Festival, centered in the park (I've used that as a landing point), with items on the cheap (but you have to play to get those rares!) from Harter Fall, paramparamm Papp, RAG Randt, Sabbian Paine, Alia Baroque, Thea Maiman, Quinn Reinerman, Ole Etzel, Fuschia Nightfire, Moeuhane Sandalwood, and Eupalinos Ugajin. (Plus, there are free MadPea avatars and outfits located near the stage.) And, on Saturday, May 31 from 1 to 3 pm slt, the entire city will be demolished during 20,000 Peas Under the Sea: "After 1.5 years of hard rain, Mad City is flooded. Will Peas sink or float?" — it promises to be something not to miss. The Peas will return with gusto for the opening of the much-anticipated Unia in the near future.

24 May 2014

Cyber Orthodox

Continuing on display through May 30 at LEA6 is Igor Ballyhoo's Cyber Orthodox, a dark, brooding installation that was originally mostly above the waterline. Igor's artistic statement begins, "In whole university of sensations, thoughts, opinions and other kinds of influences created by human since beginning I am more impressed by the energy they spend to convince others that their way is only right one than by ideas that they try to spread. ORTHOS ("right", "true", "straight") + DOXA ("opinion" or "belief") is always reminding me of question which clock is most accurate in universe?" (If you're inclined, read more here on the Linden Endowment for the Arts blog.)

A couple days ago, in reaction to the massive and catastrophic flooding that struck Igor's native Serbia, he "flooded" the installation by sinking it into the water (as there's no way to raise the water table): "Past few days my country is affected by Biblical size floods that were never recorded in our history. Tens of thousands people is evacuated from their homes and thousands of homes is under water. As you can understand, human lifes are most valuable to save but uncounted number of animals lost their lifes. This morning I have wake up with news that more then 100 tons of dead animals is gathered just from one city. And it is not over yet..."

As originally configured, it was possible to navigate one's way by foot from the landing point through various platforms and stairways, thereby intersecting with and exploring most of the installation. It still is, although it's quite murky underwater and much of what was visible is now more challenging to see. Cyber Orthodox isn't a work that I found particularly interesting or compelling, but you might want to go investigate it for yourself before it disappears in a few days.

Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off Encore

Now open at LEA25 and on display through June is an encore presentation of Maya Paris's brilliant 2012 installation Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off, about which I wrote here during its inaugural run. This amusing and highly interactive environment pokes fun at our cultural obsession with appearance and bodily perfection, offering quite a few free and whacky items along the way. As with most of Maya's work, you'll have most fun exploring Tits with a friend, so it's best to invite someone to come along. While you're visiting, be sure to also explore Sauce, something of a sequel to Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off, about which I've written here.

23 May 2014

The Hit Maker

Opening today, Friday, May 23 at 2 pm slt, is The Hit Maker by Betty Tureaud, featuring, at the opening, a concert by Ultraviolet Alter. At the center of installation, which is housed in a giant sphere, stands a quartet of small towers, each graced with orange, green and gray balls. Clicking on the orange or green balls creates large hoops — flat squares or circles — that tumble to the ground and often drop into the space below, between the four towers, triggering a flow of Buddha faces. A click to a gray ball will alter the wall textures around the entire space — the scene is wrapped in Betty's trademark bright and vibrant colors.

22 May 2014

No Signal

Now open at MIC - Imagin@rium, curated by Mexi Lane, is No Signal by Nessuno Myoo. Set on a platform on the sea, a great tower rises 80 meters into the sky, and, as Honour McMillan notes (and true to the installation's name) it appears to be what was once a communications tower, now dysfunctional and in considerable decay. As we explore — flying being the only option — we hear the tower creaking and moaning, as if it's about to topple into the waters below. Near the top, a figure grips the spire with one hand, while reaching, perhaps in vain, for a hat that seems to be blowing off in the wind (lowest image).

The exhibition notecard says — and perhaps a bit is lost in translation from the original Italian — "The new installation by Nessuno Myoo entitled 'No Signal' is a very special work, with inside a small mystery to unravel. Find all clues and ventured into the solution of the enigma, thanks to which will be revealed to you one of the singular key to the interpretation of the work." For over an hour, I poked and prodded, checking everywhere for interactive pieces, for written clues (yes, I found the piece of paper), for anything, but to no avail. While I was there, five other people came and left, equally perplexed, one saying simply, "I give up...we are headed elsewhere." Maybe it's something so obvious or simplistic we were all missing it, but I took hope in a comment Sniper Siemens posted on Facebook, saying that after 1 hour 56 minutes she solved the riddle.

20 May 2014

London Junkers: A Dream, the wings to fly

Opening tomorrow, Wednesday, May 21 at 1:30 pm slt at the 3D Art Gallery, sponsored by Tanalois Art and the torno Kohime Foundation, is a new installation by London Junkers, A Dream, the wings to fly. "The inspiration for this piece comes from the history of aviation starting with the dream to fly, the observation of nature and a kid's dream with a paper plane all the way to space traveling," says London. Using simple motifs of wings, turbines, birds, navigational instruments and clouds, the artist has created an unpretentious but captivating work, the textures of which work beautifully with the recommended environment settings ([TOR] NIGHT - Flyer).

14 May 2014

SaveMe Oh: Glassworks

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 15 and Saturday, May 17, 1:00 pm slt both days, SaveMe Oh will present her performance work Glassworks. Invited by Francesco Bonetto and Marjorie Fargis to stage the work in the sim Italian Mood, SaveMe has constructed a large and mostly transparent box in the sky, five levels high, through which you, as both observer and performer, will move. (You can move only on the lines, and you can move outside the box to fly up or down to different levels. She recommends wearing dark, slightly flexi-style clothing.) The foundation of SaveMe's work is composer Philip Glass's 1981 work of the same title, Glassworks, a suite in six movements — Opening, Floe, Island, Rubric, Façades and Closing — running approximately 41 minutes.

It's central to SaveMe's work that the attendee not only observes, but also participates, thereby becoming part of the artwork itself, breaking down the distinction of audience and performer. So, if you attend, be prepared to not stand on the sidelines as an observer: instead, you'll receive six pair of attachments and animations in turn — one pair for each movement of Glass's work — and these large attachments will spatially overlap with those worn by other observers/performers as you move about the space, creating patterns and chance intersections. In essence, these works can only succeed with a high degree of social interactivity, and there's no way of knowing the result in advance. SaveMe cues the group as changes are required. The result, if you've not participated in one of her works before, can be delightful. "Together with the music it's hypnotic," said SaveMe. I remarked, as we tried the space together, how much it seemed like a dance (fitting, as Glass's music has been used by choreographers), and she replied, "It's a ballet in my perception ... The six movements have a cyclic feel."

Now, I know many people revile SaveMe. She has a notorious reputation for arriving at art openings wearing attachments so large that people can't see the art they came to see — I'll admit to having derendered her more than once myself — and she's consequently been banned from dozens of regions. She has a derisive, acerbic wit that's not to everyone's liking (although if you engage her in questions about her own art you'll find that she's remarkably friendly, conversant and perceptive). If you happen to fall into this camp I entirely understand, but I'd still encourage you to attend one of these events — you'll see a different side to her and her creativity. And, if you can't make either of these dates, there may be more in the future: "This is so much fun that I can imagine more performances," she remarked.

13 May 2014

France Portnawak

Get ready to don your life jackets at France Portnawak, the site of the enormous TitaNawak, which has slammed into an iceberg and is already listing heavily to starboard. There's no telling how much time the ship has left, so don't hesitate to explore its four decks, all of which will have you feeling a little disoriented. A few objects here and there have already tipped over, but you can still enjoy artwork, the game room, the various chambers (care for a bath in a vintage tub? or maybe cuddle with a lover on a bed as the ship goes down?), and an extensive collection of Titanic memorabilia.

Surrounding the ship is a sea of frigid water and the tips of icebergs. Debris floats here and there — upturned lifeboats, crates and a few pieces of artwork — while on the icebergs themselves are additional abandoned items and also places to sit and enjoy the view, so that you can watch the ship go down in style. (You can dance, and there's even a piano if you'd care to serenade your companions.) Do watch out for polar bears and sharks.

I gather there are events here from time to time, and the crazily titled floor must be a thoroughly enjoyable place for dancing. It looks as though France Portnawak gets rebuilt every now and then, so don't delay too long before paying a visit. A few gifts are available at the landing point, and a little shopping area — with a mix of jewelry to whacky items — is located on one of the upper decks.

10 May 2014

Ghosts of the Internet

Opening today, Saturday, May 10 at 1 pm slt, is Ghosts of the Internet, an extraordinary installation by Glyph Graves. If you ever had the notion that Second Life and Inworldz, as similar as they are, were distinct and separate experiences — well, they're not any more. When you arrive at LEA21, you might see some "ghosts" wandering about, and those are avatars in Inworldz on the sim Translation (where, alternately, you could also log in to see the "ghosts" of avatars wandering on Second Life's sim LEA21). And you can converse with people in real time between the grids, even seeing their movement and location. In the image above, we're in Second Life on LEA21. To the left is Glyph's Inworldz ghost, then Glyph in SL, then me on the right; a detail of his ghost is in the second image. In the third image we're in Inworldz (where I hadn't visited for maybe years — I was a little horrified by my avatar's appearance), and you can see Glyph's SL ghost.

Full instructions on how to communicate are available at the landing point, but it's pretty easy. Obviously this only works when people are in both Inworldz Translation and Second Life LEA21, but it's amazing and brilliant. (Glyph said he's been working on the scripting for several months.) "You can talk with the apparitions though you need to be aware that the conversation with the avatar will in open chat on the other grid. Only the conversation of the initiator of the conversation will go to the other grid. To initiate a conversation simply touch the pseudo avatar once. To end the conversation simply touch the avatar at any time. Someone may initiate a conversation with you from the other grid. If that happens then simply chat normally (in chat range) and they will hear. If you do not wish to have a conversation or wish to end the conversation then simply touch the apparition once. Do not try to have a conversation with more than one apparition at any one time. Bad things will happen... err.. and its also pretty confusing," says Glyph. And give it a try in both worlds.

09 May 2014

Alpha Auer at the Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde

I recently wrote about the collaborative exhibition The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde, showcasing the collective creativity of artists Alpha Auer, Bryn Oh, Caer Balogh, Euaplinos Ugajin, Jo Ellsmere, Nessuno Myoo and Soror Nishi. (See here for the post.) But I didn't have time to write more fully about Alpha Auer's contribution.

Although some of what Alpha contributed can be seen as part of the installation, she excels in the creation of avatars — complete with skins, shapes, attachments and even poses — and for the Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde she created ten, some in variations, and they're all available for free near the landing point and also on the ground floor.

They include Announcer, Globetrotter, Gravedigger01, Gravedigger01+02, Gravedigger02, New Man, Old Man, Postman, Troublemaker and Mayakovsky, and I've depicted about half the them here. The results brilliantly reflect the look and feel of the entire installation, and are a delight to wear, especially when tramping around the sim.

You might notice that some of the avatars come with male but not female shapes. (Usually Alpha's avatars are unisex or contain both male and female options.) But I found that they translated well onto the female form, especially since much of the body was often hidden by alpha layers.

08 May 2014

Melusina Parkin: Themes

Opening tomorrow, Friday, May 9 at 2 pm slt at The Nite's Place Red Line Exposition Area, curated by Simonh Sandial, is a substantial exhibition of works by Melusina Parkin entitled Themes. She has divided the 42 images into six thematic groupings: details, solitudes, industry, landscapes, minimal and urban, each of which receives its own viewing area. As always with Melusina's work, her careful eye guides us to look more closely at the world around us, focusing on line, light and color. While some sets are, as their names suggest, more minimal, others, such as industry or urban, embrace comparatively busy textures.

"I can never get tired of exploring Second Life," says Melusina. "For more than 5 years of virtual visits and photographs I refined my eye and I learned to choose subjects according to themes ... The aims of my photographer's work are always the same: showing how fantasy and skills of SL residents made a world that reflects the main features of the natural or human environment's common imagery; witnessing how landscapes or details or buildings recall feelings deep rooted into our souls and minds."

06 May 2014

The Trace

Waves gently lap the shores of the tidal wetlands on the western edge of The Trace, where the sand invites us to wiggle our toes and the horizon invites us to gaze in every direction. This scene greets us as we arrive at the new home of The Trace, now on its own sim, created and owned by Kylie Jaxxon. (I wrote about The Trace's previous incarnation here). The wetlands, one of the prominent features of the sim, extend broadly to cover about a third of the land, and they're exquisitely rendered.

Overlooking the sandy wetlands from the north is a cluster of five waterfront cottages in pastel hues, their foundations raised up on stilts, while to the south stands a quaint hexagonal lighthouse as well as a beach house, looking ready to lend you a small craft for leisurely rowing. Several of the structures are charmingly furnished, appointed with maritime and beach paraphernalia. Further to the east, the land's elevation increases, and we encounter a curious and lovely setting — a stone turret building adjoined to a garden area with seating (image immediately above). And to the north, we spy a birdwatcher nest that looks out over the water, with seagulls and pelicans nearby (image below).

The Trace has a history of changing with the seasons. Even so, I hope we'll be able to hang on to this sumptuous build a little longer than usual — it's sure to be a favorite place for anyone wanting to wander in solace, for photographers, and for anyone who yearns for a quiet natural setting. If you're looking for a spot to leave a tip, head to the lighthouse and then wander down the wooden path to the rusted trash can. And make sure to bring your camera when you visit.

04 May 2014

Transit't - Imago Anatopism

Opening today, Sunday, May 4 at 1 pm slt at LEA10 is Transit't - Imago Anatopism, an exceptional installation by Alpha Auer in collaboration with Mimesis Monday. It's the third in a triptych of installations at LEA curated by Mimesis (storyteller Heidi Dahlsveen in real life), the first of which was Transit't: Your breath was shed (by visual artist Giovanna Cerise, performance artist SaveMe Oh, and blogger Fjara (Jordan Giant)) and the second of which was Transit't: Taciturnly (by Selavy Oh). The first installation focused on breath, the second on silence, and the third — this new work by Alpha — on personality.

Imago Anatopism tells an adaptation of a Norsk myth (selected by Mimesis, who also drew structure from Joseph Campbell's seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces — more reading here if you're interested) in which the central character is Volund, an elf who was probably born on the edge of the world between Midgaard — the home of humans, and Utgaard — the home home of giants. As we follow his story through twelve stations (which you can see in the lowermost image here, far zoomed out) we obtain pieces of his avatar, along with a few accessories (central to the scenes) and poses, so that by the end we have his complete persona. (He's male, but the avatar still works well on a female form, not to worry if that happens to apply to you.) The build itself is a shining gold architectural delight, and the scenes, wrapped in exquisite textures, feature mesh avatars co-created by Alpha and Memisis.

I won't spoil the delight by telling the story in advance, but you're sure to enjoy it. A note on navigation: the build is best explored on foot, at least initially — the walkways aren't at first very evident, so look for the beams of light leading up or down away from the various platforms, and also keep an eye out for the many interactive poses through the installation. Alpha's build is extensive and spans a considerable distance in sky, so I recommend that on arrival you set your draw distance up considerably, and that you also ensure automatic parcel windlight settings are on, because the environmental settings will change as you move from one set of elevations to another. (If you don't have that capacity, the upper areas are in [TOR] SUNRISE - Farmatronic sepia, and the lower ones in [TOR] SCIFI - Albedo 0.39.) Transit't - Imago Anatopism will remain in display through the end of June.