30 June 2014

LEA Artist in Residence Sims Granted Additional Month

The current round of Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) Artist in Residence (AiR) sims were scheduled to close today, June 30, but have been given an additional month of life before they're turned over for new artistic projects, so if you haven't explored them yet you'll now have until the end of July. A starting point for your exploration might be LEA3, which has been transformed into the LEA Welcome Area, and at which you can find teleport links to some — but inexplicably not all — of the LEA AiR sims, in addition to other information and various artworks on display. The twenty sims that have received the extension feature: (In some cases, the extra month is especially welcome, since it was never announced that certain sims were in fact "open" to begin with.) Artists interested in applying for sims for the next round of AiR grants, starting August 1, have until midnight tonight (slt time) to meet the deadline.

28 June 2014

Gallery J

With all the hubbub about the ongoing festivities at SL11B (of which I have yet to write, but hope to soon), it's easy to miss other significant events happening around the grid. One is the Second Pride Festival, now, remarkably, in its 9th year in Second Life, and one destination to visit is Gallery J, coordinated by Joseph Nussbaum (a.k.a. Edward Nussbaum) on the sim Second Pride West. The festival continues only through tomorrow, Sunday, June 29, so it's a last chance to pass through not only the gallery but also the three sims. On display at Gallery J are two- and three-dimensional works by Tomais Ashdene, Masquerade Snowbear, Boris Twist, Nikolai Warden, Kendall Williams (Wolf Kendall), Joseph Nussbaum, Oberon Onmura, Bee Glasswing, Benjamin Glendale, Alpha Auer, Joa (Joaopedro Oh), Buck Mischief, Reuben Vale (Spanki Moulliez), Kicca Igaly and nessuno Myoo.

27 June 2014

Farewell to Dryland

Back in February, Anita Witt announced the impending closure of her often visited and frequently photographed sim, Dryland, but then a reprieve of sorts arrived: the sim was featured in the Destination Guide, and, as more visitors flocked in, Anita endeavored to keep the place open a little while longer. But now its time really has come, with a closure scheduled for July 5 or 6. I first wrote about the beautifully desolate Dryland back in December 2012 here, and have a number of times since then.

Anita is a photographer as well sim designer (see here for her flickr stream), and the sim has long housed her gallery. She has, additionally, always sponsored exhibitions of works by other Second Life artists, ranging from a large installation of builds by William Weaver (on which you can still reflect via an ongoing display of archival images) to shows by a wide number of photographers. The sim is also home to pallina60 Loon's delightful Woops...a baby (pictured immediately below) a playful sculptural installation on circus themes.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank Anita for twice featuring my own works — first during the opening of Dryland gallery spaces in a group exhibition with Melusina Parkin, Marlen Slazar and William Weaver, and more recently with a one-person show, Lost Second Life, which opened last November and will continue through the end of the sim's run until it, too, joins the ranks of lost but fondly remembered locations.

22 June 2014

A Gallery Refreshed

While everyone else has been running around seeing the sights at SL11B, I've finally taken some time to give my personal gallery a facelift. (Having a gallery of one's own works might seem a little self-indulgent, but ... why not?) I'm not much of a builder, and the old space, which has stood over AM Radio's The Far Away for about a year, needed major renovations. Finally, I found a build by Abiss, the Module 2, that seemed as if it would work perfectly with my horizontal images, and I'm very happy with the result — it's modular, so I can add more space as needed. (And Jessica Belmer just gave me an editing idea for a few of the wall sections, so more changes might be on the way!)

21 June 2014

LHOOQ at Naked Bondage (maybe nsfw)

I thought that title might get your attention. A few days ago, my friend and fellow photographer Jessica Belmer relocated her in-world gallery, LHOOQ, to one of the four Naked sims — Naked Bondage to be precise. (If the abbreviation LHOOQ carries no meaning for you, it's a reference to a 1919 artwork by Marcel Duchamp, who, having purchased an inexpensive postcard featuring the Mona Lisa, gave the lady a penciled mustache and, on the bottom of the card, wrote the letters L.H.O.O.Q — which in French, spoken letter by letter, sound something like "elle a chaud au cul," a vulgar expression that might politely translate as "she has a hot ass.") I've written about Jessica's work a few times on this blog — just go see it. (You don't need to be naked to visit LHOOQ.) But for the art-goer or the more curious visitor there are additional things to see and do on the four sims.

Catty-corner on the map from Naked Bondage is the sim Naked, and there, Cat (CatRedivivus), the manager of the sims, curates The Naked Gallery, showing an assortment of works by a variety of artists, with large sections devoted to works by Jessica, Winter Nightfire (who also has a gallery of her own overhead here) and Amona Savira (image immediately above). Not all of the artworks are erotic (I was surprised to see one of my own works there), but that's often the theme. And although it's OK to be clothed in The Naked Gallery, you really ought to drop the garments to the ground for visits elsewhere in the sims. (For those who are particularly modest, a bikini bottom might help.) And, cycling back to our original location at Naked Bondage, there's a large build in the sky (teleport here), not visible from the islands below, that's a social area for dominance and submission inspired by the writings of Anais Nin (detail in lowest image).

20 June 2014

Holtwaye ArtSpace

Opening tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, is a new and beautifully designed exhibition area, Holtwaye ArtSpace, curated by Holter and WayneNZ. The inaugural show features works by Fuschia Nightfire, Bryn Oh, Awesome Fallen, Tomais Ashdene, WayneNZ, JJ Goodman, Fordis Flores and ChuckMatrix Clip. Fushia's contribution is a media installation (so be sure to have streaming media turned on), Art of the Artist (a frame capture shown above, although the images are constantly changing), and from 11 am to 12 pm tomorrow she'll be presenting a performance in conjunction with the installation.

WayneNZ has contributed Unleashed, a selection of typographical artwork (above), while Bryn Oh is showing some standalone pieces from recent installations at Immersiva (including Imogen and her sewing machine, below). Chuck Matrix is presenting sculptures; Fordis Flores, JJ Goodman and WayneNZ have teamed together on the Insilico Collaborative Project (comic strip and photography); Awesome Fallen presents a series of photographs entitled El Principio (The Beginning); and Tomais Ashdene presents a series of photographs entitled Olio. Although Holter isn't presenting anything, he "is curating and sourced the artists for this opening," Wayne tells me. Opening events continue throughout the day on Saturday, and Sunday morning as well — click here for the full schedule, posted in the Holtwaye Facebook group.

19 June 2014

Noble goes Dutch — "De Vesting"

The Isle of Noble, which undergoes periodic transformations at the hands of The Nobles — vondutch Sweetwater & aaliyahblossom Resident, a.k.a. Noah & Blossom Noble — has recently blossomed into a small Dutch town, De Vesting. I read with particular interest friend and blogger Caity Tobias's post about the build, featuring her usual lovely photographs — she herself is Dutch, and felt that design splendidly captured the essence of northern Holland. ("De Vesting," she notes, is Dutch for "fortress," and in that region are a number of well preserved fortresses, with walls surrounding the village, as happens here at the Isle of Noble.)

The centrally located village is lovely (although I must admit I struggled with a low frame rate as I explored). The Nobles say that music events will be held at the Begijnhof, with art and photography exhibitions at De Grote Markt (and it's even possible to rent one of the homes). It's all charming and exquisitely designed. But what struck me as truly spectacular is what lies outside the village: the fields that surround the walls, extending out as far as we can see.

We can't actually visit the fields — they're a brilliantly conceived and well executed sim extension — but they provide a breathtaking vista. The wind turbines that lazily turn in the distance, with their modern sleek and steel look, contrast vividly with the traditional windmill and lighthouse, the two other structures that thrust into the sky. Elsewhere on the sim are beachfronts, and a harbor area that greets one upon arrival. By joining the land group (L$150) you receive rez rights. Contributions to support the sim may be made at the landing point and other locations.

18 June 2014


Opening now, Wednesday, June 18 at 3 pm slt, is Reflections, a new installation by Nino Vichan at Influence Art Gallery, curated by yvan Slade and MacKena Soothsayer. A master of particles, Nino has created a space in which we move through shimmering columns of gently pulsing and ever-changing lights, with a soundscape that adds to the immersive feel — "things I put together in a random sequence," he says, concerning the sounds. As we watch, we're given some text in open chat:
Sound waves possess frequency, wave shape and amplitude
Sound waves reflect off objects
Reflections of sound are the echoes we hear
Light waves possess all colors
Reflections off objects filter these light waves
These reflections are the colors we see

I remarked to Nino how "soft" these particles looked, and he replied, "Yes, they are soft with glow and textures too ... It's more of a floating dreamlike feeling to me ... There are a lot of parameters to control — you really are just confined by your imagination." When you arrive to see Reflections, you'll find yourself in a traditional gallery space — just teleport up to the display using the glowing golden orb in the center of the gallery. The gallery itself is exhibiting still images, also by Nino, taken of the ephemeral particle show above. If you'd like to make a contribution to support Influence Art Gallery, you can do so near the landing point.

17 June 2014

Amazon River

Recently, YT Recreant sent me an invitation to see the new region of Rio Grande, situated to the north of Glint (and further north still of Rio Tapajos). The three seamlessly interconnected sims form a large tropical rainforest through which the Amazon River glides, surrounded on both sides by lush vegetation and outposts. Glint, in the center, is a full sim, while Rio Grande and Rio Tapajos are homesteads, although one might be hard pressed to notice the transition.

It's possible to walk through great swaths of the land by foot (flying isn't allowed), but the ardent traveler might be interrupted from time to time by steep hillsides or wide bodies of water. Here and there along the banks of the river are opportunities to grab a small boat or kayak, which can be steered along the river through all the sims, and it's not a bad way to start an exploration. You'll pick up clues about things along the way — objects will speak to you, offering suggestions and information (for example, you might hear a whisper as you walk along, "To find the secrets within the mountain, search the chain that dangles nearby."). Be sure to visit the huge pyramid central to Rio Tapajos (top image). Glint is also home to the Temple of the Open Collar, so you might spot quite a few people hanging around that particular area.

It's fine to just wander about, but, if you're interested in a more immersive experience, that's available as well. All three sims are rated adult, and specific roles can be had for those who enjoy roleplay: Raider (with a nod toward capture roleplay (CaRP) as a predator (suggested attire: "think of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft")), Lost (CaRP as prey — possibly you arrived in a shipwreck), Native (as it sounds, with attire being a lack of clothing) and Wildlife (yes, you can roleplay an animal!). There's also an Explorer role for those who simply prefer to have the flexibility. Signs warn of RLV traps, although in my experiments I didn't encounter many. Opportunities to contribute support can be found throughout all three sims.

16 June 2014

Virtual Surrealism

Tani Thor is always presenting works by other artists in one of her gallery spaces, and so it's nice to see an exhibition of her own works. In this case, it's Virtual Surrealism at the Lisa Expò gallery, curated by Rubin Mayo. Although the images on display were initially created in Second Life, they've been modified and then returned to the virtual world, "transformed into a discourse on women, their problems, their dreams and aspirations" according to the accompanying notecard. Each of the fifteen images is available for sale.

15 June 2014

The Green Mire

Ready for a mystery? Then embark for The Green Mire, the latest creation from MadPea Productions. It's a dark, swampy place, with solid ground here and there, bits of which are connected by wooden walkways elevated over the brackish water. Although it's a beautiful place to simply wander around, there's a puzzle to solve: ten years ago, two young boys, Tony Lamil and Skip Dares, entered The Green Mire and were never seen again. Can you help solve the mystery? Clues are sprinkled here and there around the sim.

During a recent and violent thunderstorm, residents around The Green Mire reported seeing strange lights and hearing odd sounds. A subsequent search of the area resulted in the discovery of a crater — with a peculiar glowing violet light (image below). PeaTV encourages everyone to join in a creative writing contest: send in your story about the mysterious crater, and win up to L$10,000! More information about the contest is available here on the MadPea blog.

With the closure of Mad City, The Green Mire also takes on the role of hosting the main MadPea store, located near the landing point. If you'd like to chip in to support MadPea — which needs sustained help as they finish their upcoming game, UNIA — you can leave a contribution near the store as well. The sim is a homestead and is often full (20 avatar maximum), so you may need to try more than once to enter.

14 June 2014

Art in Hats 2014

Opening today, Saturday, June 14 (and just now as I write this) is Art in Hats 2014, a multi-artist event that explores the intersection of fashion and arts — which in the realm of avant garde fashion are never far apart. And there's fun in it, too. (Plus, as co-curator Quan Lavender quipped to me, "Some models make high fashion out of the most ridiculous hats!") Following on the success of the inaugural event last year, Quan and co-curator Emma Portilo invited dozens of designers to create hats, resulting in more than eighty artists creating more than one hundred hats and headpieces. The curators matched the designers up with photographers, who created art images that are also on display.

Featured artists (and shops and teams) include 22769, Aliza Karu, Alpha Auer, AmandaMir, Amona Savira, Annough Lykin, Aurora Mycano, Awesome Fallen, AyaShula, Baoba, Barbara Wardell, Betty Tureaud, Bianca Xavorin, Bliensen + MaiTai, BSD Design, Burk, Bode, ByrneDarkly Cazalet, Caitlin Tobias, Caoimhe Lionheart, CapCat Ragu, Cherry Manga, CHOP ZUEY, cold Frog, Couture Chapeau, Dido Haas, Elysium, Eupalinos Ugajin, Falbala Fairey, Finesmith, Freyja Merryman, Fuschia Nightfire, Fuzz Lennie, Gladys Ruby, Gypsy Couture, Hatters'n Hell, h.m.a.e.m., Hexe Jie, JessMcHope, Kikas Babenco, Kynne Llewellyn, !Lyrical B!zarre Templates!, LODE Headwear, Louly Loon, Lybra, Maloe Vansant, Melusina Parkin, MEB, Meilo Minotaur, Mina Nakamura, Miuccia Klaar, Moya, naminaeko, Natzuka Miliandrovic, Noke Yuitza, Paradox Messmer, Paris METRO Couture, Porcelain Decay, Rawr, Secret Rage, Shimmer, Sina Souza, Sonatta Morales, Sparkie Cyberstar, Spyralle, Stone's Works, Syra Hyun, [sYs] design, Telchar Elf, The Mad Hattery, Tik Merlin, Trill Zapatero, Vivienne Darcy, Wicca Merlin, Wizardoz Chome, WuWai Chun, Xen's Hats, and Zanze.

The hats and accompanying photos are for sale (a few are free), with demos often available. On Saturday, June 21 at 2 pm slt, the exhibition will host a fashion show, and throughout the entire installation, which ends July 31, about ten to twelve unique hats will be auctioned off, with the proceeds to benefit Feed a Smile. And, if you'd like to participate in Art in Hats, there's a special opportunity: as part of your visit, you'll receive a full perm bowler hat, which you decorate and photograph, and return to Quan Lavender to enter the "visitor contest," featuring some substantial prizes. Public voting for the visitor content runs until July 27, with winners announced on July 31.

13 June 2014


Opening today, Friday, June 13 at 1 pm slt, is Faith, an installation by Cherry Manga at Mysterious Wave, with terraforming and ground circles by Anley Piers. As is typical for Cherry, there's no artistic statement — she prefers to allow each visitor to interpret the work without her description coloring their experiences — but one will see immediately the iconography of many religions spread throughout the space — Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Shinto and others.

"I place all religions in the same pack," she said as we chatted about the space. "For me, they are all the same — questions and answers for people, and power for the leaders." One would hope, of course, historical evidence to the contrary, that religions might help people co-exist harmoniously, and the installation does try to suggest that possibility. "I made it harmonious like a mandala, because I don't judge too hard people who need to believe, but I have a harsh opinion about religions," she added.

These images depict Faith's environmental settings, a glowing yellow-orange, and I'd recommend using a viewer that permits you to see them. An opening concert planned for 1 pm today by Lisa Brune has been canceled because of illness, but at 2:30 pm Morlita Quan and SaveMe Oh are scheduled to perform. If you'd like to support the Mysterious Wave sim, there's a tip jar located at the landing point, as well as a teleport to the Mysterious Wave shop.

10 June 2014

A Maze in Grace

"Labyrinths," begins Krystali Rabeni, "are arguably mankind's first creation borne purely of human imagination. Today, labyrinths and mazes cradle millennia of legend and folklore in their twisted articulations." She carries this history forward in her work A Maze in Grace, now on display at LEA6. It's a tranquil, poetic region that invites us to take our time, to go slowly, and to meditatively explore, weaving along and through the waters of a maze that covers nearly the entire surface of the sim, save for the landing point area and a nearby labyrinth. She adds, "The maze you see has no map, just as life has no map. It is not perfect, just as life is not perfect. Take your time as you wander along the watery path through the twists and turns until you reach the center where you will find a celestial labyrinth. Some will take the long path, some will take the short path through the maze but there is no rush, no race, no time, just you and your thoughts."

Our path takes alongside swans, little stacks of Zen rocks, lotus flowers, and quiet human figures sitting peacefully on the grass, their feet submerged in the gently moving waters. Although we wander, we can't help but notice the celestial labyrinth, constructed of tightly fitted stones that guide us to its center. If we look closely enough, and don't hurry ourselves, we might spot a lone koi swimming in the maze. "Many of the attributes of the koi symbolize several lessons and even trials individuals often encounter in life. The koi fish has a powerful and energetic life force, demonstrated by its ability to swim against currents and even travel upstream," says Krystali. She cites the qualities of the koi, wishing them on all visitors: good fortune, success, prosperity, longevity, courage, ambition and perseverance. A Maze in Grace will remain on display through the month of June.

09 June 2014

Linden Endowment for the Arts Invites Applications for Artists in Residence

The Linden Endowment of the Arts has announced the availability of the twenty sims in its Artist in Residence program (LEA10 through LEA29), with applications due by Monday, June 30. Selected artists will receive sims by August 1, and will enjoy a five month period of ownership. Artists who wish to apply may do so here, and are encouraged to communicate with the LEA Committee (Jayjay Zifanwe, LaPiscean Liberty, PatriciaAnne Daviau, Solo Mornington, Werner Kurosawa, Honour McMillan, Oberon Onmura and Quan Lavender) with any questions. (While individual artists are the usual applicants, it's also possible for a curator to apply for a sim, and for that person in turn to organize artists who will participate, such as Mimesis Monday did this past round with artists Giovanna Cerise, SaveMe Oh, Fjara (Jordan Giant), Selavy Oh and Alpha Auer.)

If you're interested in a shorter stay, the LEA also holds five "core sims" for land grants for three or fewer months in duration — application form here. (Some artists might need a space for a short span of time, for example, for a performance work.) And there's also LEA6, which is offered for one month at a time as part of the Full Sim Arts Series — contact Jayjay Zifanwe directly if you're interested. Honour McMillan offers more information on the twenty-nine LEA sims here.

06 June 2014

Fashion for Life

Many bloggers are writing about Fashion for Life (or FFL), which opens tomorrow, Saturday, June 7, in support of Second Life's Relay for Life campaign, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, running through June 20. Ten sims have been designed and constructed to host dozens of shops that offer a portion of their proceeds toward the campaign, and while most blog posts will understandably focus on the items for sale (and, with some advance access, I've been doing my fair share of shopping!), I thought I'd highlight some of the remarkable builds, constructed in some cases relatively quickly.

I'll provide some landmarks here, but they might not be available until the 7th. These images start at FFL Trek, in the top northwest, located next to the American Cancer Society sim, and then circle clockwise around through all ten FFL sims. "Each builder created a sim-inspired item for a region-wide passport game," says Cajsa Lilliehook, one of the FFL organizers. "Their task was to take a single concept and create a world around it. This year’s theme is Wanderlust — a reflection of the Relay For Life them Journey to a Promise. Builders were given vague ideas about modes of transportation and asked to run with it."

The top image, with the jumbo jet, is from FFL Trek (sponsored by Essenz and Azul), a mechanized flight sim with a central runway and airport terminals (in addition to a few other fun things), designed by Troy Vogel. The second, with its focus on steampunk ground transportation, is FFL Journey (sponsored by EMO-tions and Heydra), a Victorian-era sim created by TotalLunar Eclipse. The third, the image immediately above, is FFL Voyage (sponsored by Vintage Jewels and Mon Cheri), with quaint provincial architecture by Jara Lowell, featuring 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles.

FFL Excursion (sponsored by Tres Beau and Lapointe & Bastchild), immediately above, focuses on water transportation on rivers, and bears the unmistakable hand of Barnesworth Anubis. The water gardens shown below at FFL Perambulate (sponsored by BSD Design Studio and Legal Insanity) aren't the only thing to see in the sim, but I thought designer Eclair Martinek did an elegant job with them. (This sim focuses on foot-driven transportation, including skateboards or skates.)

FFL Meander (sponsored by Pure Poison and Body Canvas), below, focusing on water transportation on the ocean, is a charming beach town, with a seaside lighthouse and boardwalk-style shops, designed by Grace Loudon.

The landscape of FFL Amble (sponsored by MoonDance and PurpleMoon), below, invokes the American Southwest, and was designed by Bianca Bender, featuring automobiles as transportation.

FFL Promenade (sponsored by FBD Fashion and ZOZ), below, takes on a decidedly futuristic aesthetic. Designed by Rathmeous Dagger, it focuses on space as its mode of transportation. (In this build, you'll need to enter to tubes to gain access to most of the shops, most easily done from the points attaching to the neighboring sims.)

The sim of FFL Wander (sponsored by Zanze and Miamai), below, is a delightfully playful creation by Grace Loudon and Rathmeous Dagger, who took on the project quickly as the initial designer fell ill. Giant and brightly colored balloons, representing non-mechanized flight, hover over and support the build below.

And the tenth sim, FFL Parade (sponsored by KL Couture and LeeZu), designed by Pluto Fairey, focuses on pedal power and suggests an ancient Mayan town — although not without a dirigible drifting overhead. So do go enjoy the great work of these builders, who have put in extraordinary effort to develop environments not only enjoyable to visit, but also designed to give you the best possible shopping experience. The more you shop, the more funds are raised for Relay for Life, so get out there and make it a win-win for everyone.