29 November 2014

Starfall Revisited

It had been a while since I last set foot in Starfall, and I was delighted to discover today that autumn is in full swing (indeed, possibly it has been for months!), with a completely transformed landscape that offers resplendent browns, reds, yellows and oranges against a fall sky. From the landing point at Twilight's Edge (that portion of the sim that exists on the ground or water level), narrow walkways provide dry passage to several areas with places to pose or relax, but trekking through the water or flying will be the only ways to get further afield. The design affords beautiful vistas, with trees marking the presence of separate islands.

A posted sign says, "Welcome to nowhere," and one certainly has that sensation, as if we're all in a space of tranquility together, where time has stopped. If you explore carefully, you'll spot the tip of a ladder protruding from the water, and that marks the entrance to a charming little submerged room. Up above — way above — is another build, Whale Song, which has also gained a bit of autumnal coloring. Sim designers Nezzy (inez pennell) or imp (cinderr resident) invite you to join the land group if you'd like to be able to rez.

27 November 2014

MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders

The University of Western Australia, which continues to maintain a dominant position as a higher education leader in virtual worlds, will soon announce the winners of the MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders competition. Between the machinima competition and the simultaneous 3D Art Challenge (about which I'll write soon), more than L$1,000,000 will be awarded to winners in December. Even if you weren't one of the creators, you can be eligible to win prize money by simply guessing which videos will finish in the top ten, in order — L$57,500 has been set aside to encourage audience participation. So take a look through the thirty-eight videos below, and send your list to UWA's Jayjay Zifanwe — more details are here. I've highlighted three videos here, by Boris Twist, Ultraviolet Alter and Haveit Neox, but I'm one of the adjudicators, and I'm not saying these are necessarily my top picks.

The complete list, in UWA's "reverse Klingon alphabetical order":
Natascha Randt (Gelsenkirchen, Germany) & Karima Hoisan (San Isidro del General, Costa Rica) - The Connection
Vilvi Rae (Jyvaskylla, Finland) - No Man's Land
Chic Aeon (Corvallis, Oregon, USA) - The Ghost in the Machine
Braclo Eber (South African in Canada - Thanks to SL) - Beyond
Erythro Asimov (Tours, France) - The 6th Extinction
Iono Allen (Paris, France) - Butchery
GnomeZen (Ashland, Oregon, USA) - Transcending the Borders of Consciousness
Joe Zazulak [Spiral Silverstar] (New Orleans, LA, USA) - 'Transcending (surreal) Borders'
Tutsy Navarathna (Frenchman in Pondicherry, India) - MetaPhore - "Transcending Borders"
Lilia Artis (Berne Switzerland), Haveit Neox (Los Angeles, USA) & Mouehane Sandalwood (Berne, Switzerland) - Striding - Unknown Roads
Eric Takkar (New York, USA) & Arcane Marenwolf (Perth, Australia) - Unseen Transcended Borders
Friday Siamendes (Denver, Colorado, USA) - Shuteye
Arrow Inglewood (Toronto, Canada) - Pas De Digital
Sparrow Michigan (Newport, Kentucky, USA) - September Years
Pepa Cometa (Andalusia, Spain) - Little Marie
Yepar Saenz (The Island of Martinique, French Carribean) - Delphine et Hippolyte
Nyle Bakerly (Vista, CA, USA) & Tyrus Core (St Louis, MO, USA) - Trapped in the Mansion
Boris Twist (Portland, Oregon, USA) - SORTIE...a film of the beautiful dark
Sophia Yates (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) - Transcending Borders
Babypea Von Phoenix & Masterperry (both from a little town near Horsham, Victoria) - Silence Remains
AvaJean Westland (New York City, USA) - Changes
Valentina Tremont (Milan, Italy) - Imagination
Peter King (Chester, England, United Kingdom) - Crime Knows No Borders
GnomeZen (Ashland, Oregon, USA) - Transcendence
Haveit Neox (Los Angeles, USA) - Reading Primchords
Alfonso Garavito Olivar (Florida, USA) - La profesora de lengua castella
Erythro Asimov (Tours, France) - Night of the Johnstown Flood
Elizabeth Spieler (Seattle, USA) - Transcending Borders
aquaglo (Texas, USA) - Aqua ponders? What if...
Ultraviolet Alter (Toulouse, South France) - The Embryo
Mexi Lane aka Marina Bellini (Rome, Italy) - Mediterranean
Ormand Lionheart (Surrey, British Colombia, Canada) & Rachelle Raviprakash (France) - Reflection
Misio2 (Melbourne, Australia) - Virtual Toy Island Plankton
jjccc Coronet (Talygarn, South Wales) - What a Wonderful World
Valentina Tremont (Milan, Italy) - Dreaming
Valentina Tremont (Milan, Italy) - Sea and Mountain
Sophia Hines (Paris, France) - Transcending Borders
Elle Thorkveld (Connecticut, USA) - Frontiers

One final note: This competition has not been without controversy. Video artist NicoleX Moonwall's entry, Jesus Christ , Cyborg , The Coming of ......., was removed from the competition, prompting Lennart Nilsson (a.k.a. Apmel Goosson) to resign from the jury, and creating a flurry of discussion on censorship and the arts. I would encourage readers to view NicoleX's work and to leave comments on her Vimeo post.

25 November 2014

Winter in Frisland

When I last wrote about Frisland (read here) in March, soon after it opened, spring beckoned to the gray-green landscape. But with the arrival of colder weather, snow has fallen: Frislanda Ferraris, Anabell Barzane and Charlie Namiboo have reworked the fields, the rolling hills, trees and rooftops (and everything under the roofs) into a beautiful winter scene—the artistry is really exceptional, and one almost has the impression of walking through a real life rural landscape.

This crystalline white wonderland has already become a popular spot for photographers, wanderers and those who seek some respite, whether solitary or in company. If you've previously visited Frisland, you'll find that the familiar landscape and structures haven't moved, and plenty of spots remain for couples to keep one another warm while watching the gentle snow drift to the ground. If you'd like to help underwrite the sim, there's a little piggybank at the landing point—and, for a small fee, you can join the Frisland group, rez objects there, and use it as your home location. I'll be posting images on my flickr stream.

Ne me quitte pas

Now on display at the Arts & Cultural Community at Wanderstill Ode (OACC) is Ne me quitte pas, an exhibition of photography by Canary Beck. Becky was kind enough to invite me to view the images as she prepared the installation, and they're even more striking in the intimate environment in the attic of the OACC exhibition space (there's a teleport at the landing point, or you can take the stairs all the way up), which is curated by Anasyro. Despite Becky's high visibility in the virtual arts community through the Basilique, with productions of Romeo and Juliet, and Paradise Lost, she has never exhibited her own photos.

The images shown here are deeply personal and poignant, and were never intended to be publicly displayed. "In this series of pictures called Ne me quitte pas," she explains, "I have aimed to express what I am only now able to express coherently in words. I’ve even lifted the titles for the pictures from the verses of Jacques Brel's plaintive poetry set to music, feeling unable to write them myself. These very personal pictures are the result of two months of taking hundreds of similar pictures on my bare white platform — most of which I obliterated soon after I took them. I never planned to share them. As I've reviewed these works for showing; however, I see them now like heavy pages in an old diary; a shabby book that reflects a threadbare me, depleted by gravity and, I hope, now hardly recognisable. Things fall apart, but we reflect, re-examine and reconsider the necessary grieving process that we go though, which tends to accompany any significant loss or separation, and perhaps might feel a cathartic lightness in the sharing." The exhibition will remain on view through 10 January 2015.

24 November 2014

Geometries of the Grid

Now open at Holtwaye Art Space is an exhibition of my works entitled Geometries of the Grid, curated by Holter Rez, who co-directs the gallery with Wayne (WayneNZ). When Holter first contacted me (several months ago — he and Wayne have patiently waited through lengthy delays on my end) about doing an exhibition, he clearly had some thoughts in mind about what sort of theme he wanted, and I was very surprised to see what he had assembled — a group of images I would never have thought to put together. (And that's why curators can be so important!)

Most people probably know me as a photographer of landscapes and artwork, and I often think of my own work that way. But Holter assembled a group of "organic" and "inorganic" images, as he put it, that are more abstract, or at least less immediately recognizable by subject matter. The photos, which spread over two floors of the gallery, range in date from recent to several years ago, and include depictions of Dryland by Anita Witt, The Cube Project (by various artists), Chouchou, The {Lost} Garden Of Sundarya Lahari by Xineohp Guisse, El Laberinto Perdido by Romy Nayar, a Ziggurat Prototype by Sextan Shepherd, Souvenirs de voyages by Lollito Larkham, particle performances by Tyrehl Byk, The Sea of Cubic Dreams by Alegria Studios, fractal art by Kanashimi Mac, work by Betty Tureaud, work by DB Bailey, and Control+Shirt+R by Wizard Gynoid.

23 November 2014

Exhibition at The Rose Theatre Art Gallery

Now open at the Rose Theatre Art Gallery is an exhibition of some of my recent works, curated by Ranadeep, who unfortunately recently has had to step down from his position. When Kylie Sabra Angel, the Rose's main curator and manager, began to mount the show, she remarked that all but one of the images contained water, which I hadn't even noticed. (So we pulled the oddball image, and everything you see has a water theme.)

The photos, all of which were taken in 2014, feature images from NorderNey, Binemist, L'Arc-en-Ciel, Matoluta Sanctuary, Frisland, The Colder Water, Humanoid, Starfall, Sarawak, and Square pegs in round holes. If you visit, be sure to investigate the surrounding galleries, which are numerous.

22 November 2014

Bryn Oh Calendar

Recently I was approached by Art Blue to participate in the development of a calendar to celebrate the work of Bryn Oh, and the project has recently come to fruition. Working in the Retrospective (read more here) and at The Singularity of Kumiko (read more here), I took several dozen images, from which Bryn selected her favorites. Jami Mills, publisher of rez magazine (read more here on their blog — they've just published an issue devoted to Bryn's works) directed the artwork. You can see the entire calendar layout in low resolution here — the printed versions are high resolution.

Art Blue (Reiner Schneeberger in real life) says on the Immersive Interactive Art blog, "PROGRAMMED ART FOUNDATION [Stiftung Kunstinformatik] presents an art calendar showing early works of Bryn Oh. Each month will be a story here to read online and some words about the picture of the month will be published in rezmagazine. Please come back and spread word about IMMERSIVIA 2016 at Santorini Bienniale. Artists around the globe are invited to create worlds of art. Take part in a preview show - free of costs. You may support the IMMERSIVIA Digital Art Display by pre-order of the calendar Immersive Art by Bryn Oh 2016. It comes in two sizes: A3 (11.7 x 16.5 inch) and in size A2 (16.5 x 23.4). It has the pictures you see here printed. In total 100 copies of the art calendar 2015 have been printed in format A3. 30 have been handed over to museums all over the world, 20 to founding supportes of our art foundation, 10 to Bryn Oh, 10 to Jami Mills, 2 to Ziki Questi. The remaining ones are for display in Santorini 2015."

16 November 2014

Adieu, Mysterious Wave

Artist Cherry Manga announced yesterday the impending closure of the sim Mysterious Wave, which she co-owns with Anley Piers and which currently hosts the installation Faith (about which you can read more here). In a lengthy post on Facebook (which you may be able to read here), she cites the high costs of virtual space in Second Life, issues of intellectual property and ownership, Anley's extended absence and other reasons for the cessation. Cherry plans to relocate her creative energy to OpenSim, in particular FrancoGrid, but stresses that she's not leaving Second Life entirely. A closing party for Mysterious Wave is scheduled for Sunday, 23 November, at 12 noon slt.

14 November 2014

The Bay

As Mz Marville took me on a tour of the new adult sim The Bay, she would good-naturedly say things like, "This is the sex bath tub with the LGBTQ wall rack." If that's not your kink, you're still likely to find something that is — but don't delay a visit, because much of the sim is open to visitors only until November 21, when a fee-based group membership will be required. The Bay's landing point will deliver you to the insides of a beached pirate ship (middle image), and upon exiting you'll find yourself in a lush rainforest environment, with broad rivers and towering rocky outcrops that host waterfalls, all beautifully landscaped.

Suggesting that it offers a "new mischievous and adventure filled sim experience," The Bay is peppered with locations for couples, and many of the rocks, logs and other objects (even lily pads) offer built-in animations. You'll discover a mud wrestling pit, ziplines, and, beyond a pair of closed doors, the main dungeon. Eventually the sim will include several skybox dungeons as well ("all have privacy enabled," I'm informed), and construction on those and some other sky venues is already underway. The sim will host regular music events — to stay abreast of happenings, and to see the sim rules and design credits, visit The Bay's website. If you'd like to leave a contribution, use the treasure chest near the landing point.

13 November 2014

Chaos, Kosmos

Now open at LEA21 is a new installation by Giovanna Cerise entitled Chaos, Kosmos (in fact as I write this the opening reception is underway). Typical of Giovanna's work, is makes use of an extensive number of semi-transparent prims that are mathematically arranged in various structures, and they are certainly spaces that come alive much more in person than in a two-dimensional image. It's a beautiful, complex artwork that will probably require multiple visits to fully appreciate.

In explaining her work, Giovanna describes the relationship between Chaos and Kosmos: the former being everywhere, unstructured, but the foundation for the latter, the "good and rational order of the world." As she explained to me, "The algorithm can be seen as a way to link the disorder to order," and the flow diagram of algorithms she used in the work can be spotted on the water (second image, as seen from above). In the area shown below, neumes make reference to music, and you'll find many discrete sections of the build that, as Giovanna puts it, show the "creative act of the artist who derives a sense, an aesthetic and meaningful order from formless matter."

To get around from the landing point, you can click on the compass you'll discover there, and then on the compass again at each location you visit. (There are many transparent prims around, so you might need to get quite close to each compass to click.) Even then, you'll need to fly around to really experience the entire build, which is substantial. And while Giovanna suggests sunset or midnight windlight settings, others can produce remarkable results, so I would suggest some experimentation. Chaos, Kosmos will be on display through the end of December.

10 November 2014

The Sea of Cubic Dreams (Revisited)

When I first wrote about The Sea of Cubic Dreams back in August (see here), it was a dreamy deep blue and teal, but now (possibly in conjunction with the Halloween season) it's more of a nightmarish blood red. (This is all dependent on your accepting the region's windlight settings.)

The installation has also acquired a temple-like build that I don't recall having seen there before (upper image). The interactive opportunity remains the same: get close to a cube, sit on it, and then give it a shove to get it sailing across the space — I recommend trying it in mouselook. No word yet on the previously announced larger expansion, Theater Night's Dream, which was to have been built overhead.

04 November 2014

Black Kite

It's been a couple years since I last wrote about Black Kite, the fabulous water region designed by theblackcloud Oh, and it remains one of the grid's most striking places, with its deep teal skies and waters, lush green trees and grasses, and champagne-colored boardwalks that traverse the region, connecting destinations. It embodies serenity, offering a multitude of places to sit, relax, or cuddle with a friend, both inside (a number of small buildings offer distinctive settings — one, you'll discover, is private) and outside.

From almost any vantage point, Black Kite is a photogenic location, attesting to the design skills of theblackcloud — there's a uniformity to the sim, but it presents distinct areas at the same time. Be on the lookout for interactive poses, such as the blue bottles in the southwest corner of the sim and the rainbow-colored bubbles. If you're in the mood to shop, the intimate 8f8 store is now located near the center of the sim, offering curios and fun items. (Not surprisingly, Black Kite recently had a copy-cat, which disturbed theblackcloud enough that she temporarily closed the sim, and fortunately the other location in question has modified its design.) If you'd like to have rez rights (30) or even set Black Kite as your home, simply join the land group.

02 November 2014

Notes — Bryn Oh, Kylie Jaxxon, Jo Ellsmere, Iono Allen

If you haven't fully explored Bryn Oh's The Singuarity of Kumiko (upper image, head here for further reading) your time is now running short, as Bryn has announced that the installation will close within the span of a few weeks to make way for something new at Immersiva. Head here to teleport directly.

And Kylie Jaxxon has announced that, because of unfortunate health issues, her sim The Trace (middle image, read here about the current build) will close its doors this week on Wednesday, November 5. Head here to teleport directly. I wish Kylie all the best and hope she returns in great health to create something new in the future.

Lastly, I've blogged a couple times about Jo Ellsmere's breathtaking work Biomechanics (most recently here). Machinima artist extraordinaire Iono Allen just posted a lovely video on Vimeo documenting the work, and I've embedded it below. (Click here to visit Iono's stream.)

01 November 2014

Taxy! to the Zircus

Now open at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax, Romy Nayer and Lanjran Choche, is Taxy! to the Zircus, an interactive installation by Eupalinos Ugajin. I adjectify "installation" with "interactive" because the work fundamentally requires our corporeal interaction (or virtually so, at least) to see what it is: as we approach its various parts and piece, we're usually given an opportunity to "sit" on it, placing ourselves in a pose or animation that completes the artwork. That isn't to say the interaction makes the artwork more understandable — Eupalinos's work strikes me as delightfully absurd, with references to surrealism, Duchamp, Dada, Fluxus and a small dash of what Cage may have playfully called "purposeful purposelessness" — and indeed its meaning remains on certain levels impenetrable, which to me makes it all the most interesting — but without our direct participation we're not really viewing the completed piece of artwork. (It all reminded me of Merleau-Ponty saying, "We know not through our intellect but through our experience.")

If all that's sounding overly abstruse (and I'll mercifully leave it at that), just head over to Taxy! and enjoy it — it's an installation that's guaranteed to make you smile, with its jumble of associations and juxtapositions (is that cow holding a target for you as you're shot from a cannon?). You'll find as you arrive that you're invited to click on things, and they're either going to cause actions, or, more likely, through you into a pose or animation. Sometimes it's best to jump into mouselook as you're moved about, changing your perspective. The installation will be on display through the end of December, and, knowing Eupalinos, he might well add something new now and then. (If you fall to the ground you'll find, in a far corner of the sim, a place to leave a contribution to help support MetaLES.)