30 December 2014

Wrong Pics

Now on display at photographer Melusina Parkin's gallery, e-mage, at the Virtual Chelsea Hotel, is an exhibition curiously entitled Wrong Pics. "Despite the exhibit's title, I didn't pick up my worst photos from the wastebin," she says. "These pics are the outcome of a long work of selecting, re-thinking and editing quite good photos, with the aim of enhancing a meaning the subject could inspire, by extreme manipulations of its features." Citing a book by Clement Chéroux (photographic conservator at the Pompidou in Paris), Fautographie: petite histoire de l'erreur photographique, she explains that "photographic 'error' has been consciously used as a technique for proposing innovative and provocative aesthetics." While it would be interesting to know more about each of these images, I didn't find them as compelling as Melu's usual (and strikingly well composed) photos — and for those, take a look at her flickr stream, where she's been publishing a beautiful series of works.

29 December 2014

Pinoy Hideout

One of the more picturesque winter sims to visit — and I'm sure it would be lovely during any part of the year — is Pinoy Hideout, owned by Kate Gavin (lovelykitten Resident) and designed by Neva Crystal. The sim, which opened in early November, certainly bears Neva's hand, but it's distinctively unique and charmingly inviting. From the landing point, fairly close to the center of Pinoy Hideout, one can set out on foot either to the north — around a bend toward a beached ship, passing by a smaller island (middle image) with towering outcrops of stone to the west — or toward the south, which bring one toward the central town area, and, further south, an iced-over pond (presently adorned with a tall Christmas tree) at which one can rez a sled.

A small island on the southeast corner hosts a lighthouse (lower image, in the distance), which overlooks the ruins of a bridge and those of a forgotten cathedral. And thrusting up from the ground on either side of the town (it's not quite a town, but you'll see) are two heights of bedrock, one a host to a dance floor and the other to a rustic mountain cabin (top image). The interior furnishings of all the homes and buildings are as thoughtfully designed as the landscape itself, which is enjoyable at every turn. As usual, Neva has somehow managed to design the region so that it appears to be larger than it really is, and that makes a visit all the more worthwhile. As usual, I'll post some images on my flickr stream.

28 December 2014

William Weaver's Light Build 001 (slightly NSFW)

A couple weeks ago, William Weaver and I were chatting about this and that, and he handed me a few of his builds, which explore light. That is to say, they're experiments in the possibilities of light in virtual spaces — he works in other virtual 3D spaces than Second Life, too — and can be delightfully fascinating. His work reminds me of that of the artist James Turrell, or that of the composer Alvin Lucier, which investigates the physics of sound in much the same way. A couple years back, I had rezzed William's The Phi Cube 1 over my land at Catalana (no longer there), and several photographers came to explore it — here's a photo I took of Jessica Belmer's foot as she was working on a shot of her own, and here and here are a couple more samples from that build.

So now I've rezzed a copy of William's Light Build 001 over Babele Fashion (teleport here). To really "see" this build, you'll need to have advanced lighting model on, and shadows showing sun, moon and projectors at a minimum — otherwise it's going to look like an empty space — and the Phototools windlight presets (available in Firestorm) are ideal. (The one shown here is Phototools - Save Me Light.) The colored areas you see in these images (click to zoom) look like textures of different hues, but they're not — they're actually areas illuminated by projected colors, and you can see illumination perhaps most clearly in the lower image (we do appreciate the human form, don't we?), where I'm lit by three different colors of light: my left hand and forearm are in a whiter light, most of my body in green, and my right thigh in violet or red. You might find other sections of the build that are just as interesting, and I look forward to seeing what photographers might create with the build. I'll leave Light Build 001 up for a few weeks, and then will swap it out for another of William's creations.

27 December 2014

Glyph Graves and Artistide Despres at LEA8

Among the artists whose works are on display at LEA8 as part of the Art & Algorithms Digital Arts Festival are Glyph Graves and Artistide 'Artée' Despres (or Philippe Moroux in real life), and in both cases the artists use streaming data from real life as key components of their works. Glyph displays three works — The Forest of Water, Breeze (image above) and Ghost Flora — that are deceptively simple at first glance. In The Forest of Water, the rise and fall of water levels in various rivers throughout the world generates musical notes that emanate from silvery trees, while Breeze uses real-time data from the ACE satellite, which measures the solar wind, to create a dynamic display of shapes and sounds.

In Artée's work, Alea Fukishima (lower image), levels of radioactivity in Yokohama play a role in the music generated in the installation (something like an abandoned reactor), while the movements of visitors also generate also create sonic reactions. Click on the signs at the entrance to each installation for full biographical details on the artists and additional information.

20 December 2014

Whiskey Monday Exhibitions

While you're awaiting Whiskey Monday's forthcoming installation on one of the LEA sims in January, you might have an interest in visiting two exhibitions of her work. The first, entitled Selected Letters, is the inaugural exhibition at the new art space at The Pixel Bean, a coffee house and favorite gathering place for many, owned by Harlow Heslop. The prints are located on the upper floor (top image) and all are for sale. Originally scheduled to run through the end of December, the the show is likely to run longer — Harlow tells me people are enjoying too much for it to end.

The second, Pure Whiskey, is on display at Lauk's Nest Across the Road, on the third floor of a gallery space (bottom image) curated by Eliana Zaytsev (who also owns Lauk's Nest itself, the ancient home of creator Laukosargas Svarog). The works here aren't for sale — they're part of Eli's personal collection — but include some of Whiskey's most impressive work.

19 December 2014

Gracie Kendal and Ub Yifu at LEA8

I wrote several weeks ago the brilliant works on LEA8 by Jo Ellsmere and Daniel Mounsey (or Pyewacket Kazanenko in Second Life), installed as part of the Art & Algorithms Digital Arts Festival. Several other artists are also exhibiting on the sim, among them Ub Yifu and Gracie Kendal. Ub describes his work The Tree People, pictured above (click on images to zoom in), as "an absorbing immersive environment, which is at the same time a tribute to Nature and its many gifts, the mysterious duality of life, and the creative people who explore virtual worlds in search of their holy grail." While Ub's work is effective and beautifully done, one wonders what he might achieve with some additional space — The Three People exists within a fairly confined area for the scale it suggests.

Gracie Kendal's installation, A Comfortable Skin, is "an ongoing multimedia project that documents how Kristine Schomaker [her real life persona] uses virtual and physical avatars to bring attention to the obsession society has with physical appearance, and to explore 'identity' as a vehicle for self-reflection and acceptance," thereby continuing her long-standing interest in avatars and their relationships to identity. Here, we're invited to select a new skin from among many offered by Gracie — all brightly paint splattered in appearance — and, using poseballs, to stand in a real life image, while her human looks on. (In the second image, my friend Kinn and I stroll along the sidewalk as Kristine stands in the foreground.) "Do you have a comfortable skin?" she asks.

16 December 2014

Linden Endowment for the Arts Announces Artist-in-Residence Grants

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) has announced the eighth round of Artist-in-Residence grants, which provides full sims for a period of six months (January through June 2015) to twenty artists. The recipients, who will have up to four months in which to build before opening, comprise:
Art Blue
Asmita Duranjaya and Sable (snakeappletree)
frankx lefavre
FreeWee Ling
Giovanna Cerise (middle image)
Gracie Kendal
Haveit Neox (upper image)
Krystali Rabeni
Lemonodo Oh
Lorin Tone
Mario2 Helstein
Mary Wickentower
Misprint Thursday
Mistero Hifeng
NaTaS Janus
Sniper Siemens
Solkide Auer
Whiskey Monday (lower image — an image of one of Whiskey's pose set-ups, photo by me)

I had a chance to talk this evening with three of the recipients — Haveit Neox, Lorin Tone and Whiskey Monday — and they shared some thoughts and perspectives on their forthcoming works:

Haveit Neox:
My build will center on a city turned inside out. The mud city will have no windows, no doors. It will have the look of an old city eroded. Only holes in the roofs gain access to the interiors. But when visitors climb down the ladders, the interiors are actually exteriors — what we see walking the streets. My intention is to bring about a sense of having no home.

Lorin Tone:
My plans are to display pieces that Madcow Cosmos and I collaborated on over years. They will be be mostly musically interactive for all visitors...Pictures and noise, that's what we do. I promise we'll have some fun stuff to show!

Whiskey Monday:
I'm going to explore the relationship between 3D space and the 2D representation of it. I'm going to set up a series of photo sets, and each one will stay up an indeterminate amount of time. Maybe a day, maybe an hour, maybe two weeks. And the sim will be open for folks to come look and (hopefully) take pics themselves. Then I'll delete the set with no notice or fanfare. I hope to have the sim open for most of the last 4 months to do this. I want sets that will work for folks with crap graphics, as well as those who can take Ultra shots. There'll be a Flickr group and a gallery of sorts above the sim, for displaying photos that folks take. I think seeing the unique perspectives and angles that each person brings to the work will make it a collaborative effort, and hopefully pull in some SL people who normally don't come to LEA sims, and even those who don't normally think of themselves as artists or photographers. I love the idea of seeing the same scene through different eyes. And the sharing of the creation of art! As well as the impermanence of the scenes, while the 2D representation of them is now the "art." I want folks to see that anyone can be an artist, that everyone has a unique vision and a viewpoint that matters. I think the narrative should belong to everyone. [Update: See here for more.]

14 December 2014

Winter Moon

The sim Winter Moon, a favorite among many who seek out photogenic locations, is living up to its name, literally, with a seasonal makeover that treats us to candlelit paths and softly illuminated trees. From the landing point, explorers can set out either clockwise or counterclockwise — the path winds its way around the outside of the entire sim, affording beautiful views of waterfalls in the sim's center and the lighthouse that stretches into the sky.

Throughout the sim, designer Dream Shadowcry has created little vignettes or composed scenes such as the one in the middle image. There's also a beach on the northeastern corner of Winter Moon (lower photo), and you won't see many signs of winter here or in the tropical lands that stretch down the eastern edge. The sim's windlight setting, pictured, results in a better experience than photos would suggest. To see a previous post about Winter Moon, click here.

13 December 2014

UWA 3D Art and Machinima Grand Finale

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 14 at 6 am slt, the University of Western Australia (UWA) will announce the winners of both Transcending Borders: The 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge and MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders, with dozens of entries from around the globe and more than L$1,000,000 in award money, including audience participation prizes. The awards will be presented at the The UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre, with three different entrances here, here and here. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Kudos to UWA for continuing its support of the arts in virtual environments.

12 December 2014

Winter [Imagination]

ARNICAR India's beautiful sim, [Imagination], has transformed into a strikingly beautiful winter experience — now appropriately renamed Winter [Imagination] — and merits extended or repeated visits. While most sims are square in design (based, of course, on existing limitations), the water region [Imagination] embraces the circle: from overhead, one can see the waves slowing moving toward the center from every direction, and the sim is neatly divided into thirds by wintery paths and stone walkways. The views from any angle are superb and afford some great photographic opportunities.

Tall shapes tower over the sim, anchoring our gaze at various points: an antiquated lighthouse, a huge hot air balloon, a massive tree, and a floating house. Toward the west, two children skate on a frozen pond, and here you can dance with a friend — just watch your step. (And that's where you'll also spot a tip jar in the form of a toy horse.) And everywhere are beautiful small touches — for example toward the north an elegant table set with cocktails and dessert, attended by a white peacock. If you're not using a viewer that auto-accepts region windlight, try [TOR] NIGHT - Bright blue horizon.

11 December 2014

Asalia House

The entrance to Asalia House, on the region seni seviyorum (about which I last wrote here, although nothing of the older build remains), is a delight: We're in a welcoming little space with nowhere to go — but we do spot a rabbit hurrying somewhere, and that's our cue. Lewis Carroll would be proud of the playful interpretation as we fall through the rabbit hole (don't miss the scenery), drink to shrink, and finally arrive on the ground level. And what awaits on the ground is a beautiful setting — a little island of dense gardens and walkways.

We stroll along a woodland path through a forest of spectacular mushrooms (middle image) toward a green chessboard and house of cards (although perhaps part of this area is under construction), continuing the Alice connections. A nearby windmill, spinning lazily, overlooks a table set for tea, as geese skim the water in the distance. And further out from shore, toward the north, you'll spot a quaint little house, strewn with curiosities and poses (lowest image). And there you'll also find a tip jar, should you like to make a contribution. The images here (click to zoom in) show the region's default windlight setting. [Update: I spoke with さぁこ (Kyo Asalia), one of the designers, and she confirms that areas are still under construction, but welcomes people to visit.]

Adieux, Santaurio

If you're the sand and surf type, it's last call to visit Santaurio, a creation by Jac Mornington and Romy Mornington (Romy Eara Rosea). (Read here my post from April 2014 when the sim opened.) Within the next few days, the beaches, palms and inland waterfalls will cease to exist, as Jac announced plans today to transform the sim into "a new winter season theme." Thanks to Jac and Romy for having shared their tropical paradise with the community.

09 December 2014

Second Life Suggestions

Yes, you did see that correctly. The Lab has launched a "suggestions" page, asking residents their thoughts on a variety of topics: audio, avatars, communications, content creation, documentation, groups, install issues, inventory, L$ (commerce), land, localization, mesh, navigation, other/unknown, performance, physics, rendering, scripts, simulation, teleport, tools, user interface, and viewer. Read more here in a blog post today from the Lab.

But do keep in mind, as Torley offered a few minutes ago on plurk, "When making suggestions, please consider providing context as to why this would be of broad benefit to the Second Life community. By all means by passionate but think about what good this does for the world." (Torley said that one thing he'd like to see is faster, easier access to debug settings.) Also, keep in mind this isn't for reporting bugs — for those, head over to the JIRA.

StoryBrooke Gardens Winter

Winter has arrived a StoryBrooke Gardens, a tranquil setting created by Lauren Bentham. From the landing point, paths lead you through a delightfully snowy landscape populated by woodland animals and fairies. Beams of sunlight break through the pastel-colored woods to light the scene as flakes swirl and drift downward.

In the southeast corner, a cottage, with icicles and Christmas lights dangling from its gutters, awaits with a wood stove to warm your feet — or, if you prefer the cold weather, there are plenty of places outside to have a seat and take in the view. If you get too chilled, you're in luck, because Baja Norte, a warm beach sim originally designed by Jac Mornington and Sunshine Zhangsun (read here) awaits — just take the teleport down to the ground — and you can also visit Bentham Manor, home to Lauren's shop.

07 December 2014

Never Ending

One's excursion to Never Ending - Winter Story on the sim Papillon, created by a collective of Japanese designers, starts slowly and quietly, on an icy peninsula. (You'll hear the snow crunching under your feet as you walk.) And as one sets out on foot, buildings begin to emerge: a winter home (with beautiful interior decorations), a flea circus (with opportunities for silliness), and soon a delightfully cute winter town. And further afield you'll discover penguins skating on ice, a wonderland of pastel trees, and other adorable little spaces (many with hidden poses — don't miss the bubbles along the line of umbrellas).

But there's more than first meets the eye: up above the town, look for a double set of doors. They're the entrance into another world far overhead, and it's a stunning black and white realm — my friend Kinn, with whom I was exploring, exclaimed, "Oh, this is awesome!" when she entered. And it's on two levels: look around for additional doors to move up and down, or walk into the shining light through the castle entrance. And speaking of doors, be sure to explore others around the sim — they jump between spaces. (There are also a few teleport boards.) And be on the lookout for a big grey box with a blue ribbon around it — it's a gift from the designers. Thanks to the Papillon team for sharing this beautiful sim with the community.

06 December 2014

Depth Perception

Artist Molly Bloom is featured in two exhibitions opening this weekend, both entitled Depth Perception. The first opens today, Saturday, December 6 at 7 pm slt at Asperiche Island in the elaborate Chateau d'Ember; the second opens tomorrow, Sunday, December 7 from noon to 2 pm slt at the Rose Art Gallery. [Update: Inara Pey informs me that the Asperiche Island display is one day only! So if you're reading this you probably already missed it.] With subject matter ranging from the erotic to cops and robbers to the fantastic or fanciful, her carefully composed artworks really do play in an exceptional way with our sense of depth: elements appear to emerge from the frame, sometimes crossing its edges and sometimes appearing to thrust toward us, and sometimes (but not always) those things really are three-dimensional extrusions.

In the lowest image here, for example, the raven on the right of the frame is actually part of the flat surface, while in the third image the Bible, the bride's veil and the rifle all emerge from the frame. (And who knows quite what is going on in that triptych — like many of the others, it suggests a curious narrative.) "I've always been fascinated with old masters," Molly told me, "like Carravaggio, Rembrandt, etc., and in real life I can't paint. I'm a glass artist mostly. So, I started playing with lighting and found I could do a decent reproduction of those artists' light and contrast." As for the added elements, "That was cleaning out my mess of inventory, and putting full perm in a folder. And I thought 'wonder if I stick something on a pic?' And the rest just sort of fell into place."

The installation at Asperiche Island (first and fourth images here) is curated by Master Ember, and the opening is black tie. (The sim itself is a home for the gay Gorean community, and looks worthwhile exploring as well.) The beautifully installed show at the Rose (middle two images), curated by Kylie Sabra Angel, is the larger of two. (The Rose offers many additional galleries to explore.) There's a small amount of duplication between the two exhibitions, but you'll certainly want to visit both locations for a complete experience.

05 December 2014

...the air so quiet...

Opening tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, 2 pm slt, at the Lollygagger Art Center is a modest exhibition of a few of my recent works entitled ...the air so quiet..., featuring images from Frisland, Starfall, The Sea of Cubic Dreams, Black Kite, H22O, and The Trace. Special thanks to curator chrissssy for inviting me to this intimate space. The exhibition will continue through the month of December.

04 December 2014


Opening tomorrow, Friday, December 5, at 4 pm slt, is Femme, an exhibition of photography by Sabbian Paine at Holtwaye ArtSpace. In remarking on the selection of female images, curator Holter said, "Sabbian has a signature 'dark' style of photography, however his portrayal of women is often ethereal, and sometimes powerful. Femme shows this important facet of his work." We'll also celebrate the opening of my exhibition, Geometries of the Grid (also on display at Holtwaye), about which I wrote here.

03 December 2014

Transcending Borders: The 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge

I recently wrote about the University of Western Australia (UWA) machinima competition, and it's also possible to enjoy inworld three-dimensional art at the UWA sim, all submitted as part of Transcending Borders: The 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge (about which you can read more here). Between the two competitions, more than L$1,000,000 will be awarded this month. Sixty-seven artists submitted three-dimensional works, and all the entries are on display at the UWA sim (with one exception — there's a teleport link), and you're guaranteed to find something you'll enjoy as you investigate. Kudos to UWA's Jayjay Zifanwe for championing these remarkable competitions, and to FreeWee Ling as the lead curator — this is no small amount of effort. Here are slurls to the various artworks:

Ama Avro (Strasbourg, France) - Utopia
Asperix Asp (Zaragoza, Spain) - Infinite Landmark
Bamboo Barnes (Osaka, Japan) - Rasen
Blue Tsuki (Seattle, Washington, USA) - Event Horizon
(third image) Charles Hera (Portland, Oregon, USA) - Adaption - Relationship
Corcosman Voom (California, USA) - The Tribes Go Up
Daco Monday (Italy) - Tango 12
Danuc Landar (Orlando, Florida, USA) - Transcending Borders
Dijodi Dubratt (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) - The Land Office
Dusty Canning (Perth, Australia) - The Yellow House
(second image) Eifachfilm Vacirca (Zurich, Switzerland) - Materialised
Elettra Beardmore (Caligari, Italy) - Over Human Transcendence
Eliza Cabassoun (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) - Soul Of Heart
Eliza Quinzet-Leijon (Wyoming, USA) - Free Flight Into The Wordless
Elyyza (Alytus, Lithuania) - Meeting With A Conscience
Frankx Lefavre (Sydney, Australia) - Ziggurat
Ginger Lorakeet (Arizona, USA) - Transcending Borders
Giorgio Nexen (Milan, Italy) - Sharing Ideas Face To Face
Giovanna Cerise (Napoli, Italy) - Saudade
Glyph Graves (Sydney, Australia) - Presence III
(top image) Haveit Neox (California, USA) - PrimChords
Igor Ballyhoo (Belgrade, Serbia) - Inside My Chests
iSkye (Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA) - Nature Sees No Borders
Jedda Zenovka (Byron Shire, Australia) - Universal Love
Jesse Keyes (Dawsonville, Georgia, USA) - Virtual Stereoscope
Jipe Loon (Annemasse, France) - Baculum murder
Johnny Lane (Salem, Missouri, USA) - 4 Dimensions
JointVenture Resident (Bremen, Germany) - Little Feet On Their Greatest Step
Kicca Igaly (Milan, Italy) - Transcending Borders
kjs Yip (Emsdetten, Germany) - Following Oskar
Krystali Rabeni (Blackpool, Lancashire, UK) - Aoratos Synora (Invisible Borders)
Lagu Indigo (UK) - Reach For The Stars
Lalie Sorbet (Pondicherry, India) - Walking Trough Appearances
Lilia Artis (Berne, Switzerland) - Crossing Borders
Luko Enoch (Somerset, UK) - Borderless
Misio2 (Melbourne, Australia) - Pendant "Planet Takni"
Miso Susanowa (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) - 360 Degrees Of Freedom
Misprint Thursday (New Hampshire, USA) - Transcend The Bomb
Mistero Hifeng (Italy) - I... io
Myhns Mayo (Venice, Italy) - Fix TIme and Dissolve The Space
NaTaS Janus (Painfield, Indiana, USA) - Transverse Pandemonium
Nino Vichan (New York City, USA) - Bob & The Box
Pale Illusion (Berlin, Germany) - The Paper Empire
Peli Dieterle (Cologne, Germany) - Zoom In / Zoom Out
Penelope Parx (Rome, Italy) - Bookstair
Pixels Sideways (Southern California, USA) - Transcending Borderz
Pol Jarvinen (Saint Jean de Luz, France) - Transcending Borders
Roc Furse (Den Bosch , Netherlands) - Set Yourself Free
Ronin1 Shippe (New Mexico, USA) - The Lute Player
Secret Rage (Dallas, Texas, USA) - Where do we cross the line?
Seraph Kegel (Montevideo, Uruguay) - The Drawers We Fit
Sharni Azalee (Perth, Western Australia, Australia) - "Never say Never" - Love Transcends Borders
Sheba Blitz (Northern Rivers NSW, Australia) - Android Ascension
Shenn Coleman (Avignon, France) - Sunrise Spirit
Silva Khandr (Porto, Portugal) - Union
Slatan Dryke (Milan, Italy) - Quantum Shift
Sniper Siemens (Siena, Italy) - Secret Border
Soror Nishi (UK) - The Nature Of Unity
Spiral Silverstar (Ponchatoula, Louisiana, USA) - Tranz
Stardove Spirt (Wales, UK) - Mirrored Self Of Pixel
Swann Jie (Paris/Hong Kong, France/China) - HuaKui Cube Wall Section
Takni & Misio2 (Barcelona/Melbourne, Spain/Australia) - Offworld
Talia Sunsong (Berkeley, California, USA) - Judgment, Blocking and Success
VilleH (Milan, Italy) - Turbulent Kinetic Suggestions
Wizard Gynoid (Seattle, USA) - The 5 Elements
Xia Firethorn (UK) - Transcending
Yepar Saenz (Martinique, France) - Transcending Borders: The Wall

Several works require special settings: windlight, advanced lighting model or media, and you might need to teleport locally to see several of the larger pieces. One in particular, Glyph Graves's Presence III, actually requires the artist's active participation to bring it to life: as Glyph moves about his room in real life — getting up from his chair, opening the window, turning on the ceiling light and so on — the changes are reflected in real time in the Second Life space, sonic footsteps included. So, if you spot him there, be sure to ask for a demonstration.