31 March 2015


Opening tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1, at 1:00 pm slt, is an exhibition entitled Line by Giovanna Cerise. Installed through the sim Otium (created by Franz Markstein, and about which I've written here), the objects and artworks appear in a variety of environments: in a traditional gallery space, in urban environments (along pathways, through corridors and so on, often blending in seamlessly with their surroundings), on the beach, hidden in the woods, and elsewhere. All the works are available for purchase.

As the title suggests, Giovanna explores the line, perhaps that simplest but most important of artistic gestures, and she demonstrates her remarkable ability to create convincing works in diverse media. Giovanna says of the installation, "Creation of a path-research on the infinite freedom hidden in two-dimensional and three-dimensional size. The line, with its lightness incisive, inspired the transposition of the complexity of the solid structures of some of my work in new areas, expression of pure essentiality."

Giovanna offers supplemental destinations to guide visitors through the sim, and given how much artwork is installed and how many places there are to explore — it's easy to miss things — I would recommend making use of them: Music, Dice, Otium, Sirene and Beach. But you'll certainly also want to wander about, discovering works here and there. Line will remain open indefinitely. While you're visiting, you might find the sim itself highly enjoyable, and, if so, please consider leaving a contribution for its continued support.

26 March 2015

City Inside Out

Opening today, Thursday, March 26 at 1:00 pm slt, is City Inside Out, a major sim-wide installation by Haveit Neox. Focused on the struggles faced by those who are homeless in our major urban centers, the build is dazzling in its complexity, although, with its clear layout, not what one would call bewildering or confusing. "To someone without a home living on the streets, the bustling city becomes one united exterior," explains Haveit in his notes. "City Inside Out explores a world that lacks interiors. Entering any doorway opens onto yet another exterior." To the homeless, living on the streets is their never ending experience; their perception of life is from the outside, never able to enter or be accepted into interior spaces.

Towering hundreds of meters into the sky, City Inside Out unfolds on three levels: underground (be sure to walk through a narrow doorway to reach the larger space), on the surface, and in the air. "The eroding exteriors infuse themselves into the air space of the sky, onto the land of perpetual traffic, and below the land, completing the dominance of the harsh realities into every possible corner," adds the artist. (For today's opening, the landing point is here, up in the sky, but otherwise visitors should start at the ground level. "The LEA kiosk is on the ground, where I prefer people to start," says Haveit. "I'd like them to see ground levels first, then walk up to the sky level.") Visitors might discover a number of "hidden" places, such as the one in the photo immediately above, which Haveit calls The Dry Fields: "There is no life there. It's barren of opportunities."

Although Haveit's work often focuses on issues of social inequality, the initial inspiration for this build came from another source entirely. "I had recently seen pictures of the most ancient city in civilization called Catal Huyuk, in Turkey," he told me. "There were no streets, but only holes in the roofs for people to climb down. The rooftops were the streets. And this got me to thinking...why didn't people have roads? Were there dangers on ground level? Such as carnivorous beasts? That idea of not having doors or windows was really interesting to me. But the dangers in the 'streets' is what lead me to thinking about the homeless, who face this daily."

The windlight setting preferred by Haveit, Phototools- July Light 02, is seen here, and provides a beautifully foggy and misty experience. (Unfortunately, some bloggers and photographers who may have taken images before today depicted a black sky background, which is not at all what Haveit intended. The large megaprims surrounding the build were set on full bright and were affected by this ALM bug — I noticed the problem and alerted Haveit, who has now switched off full bright.) While City Inside Out is finished for now, there's more to come. "I set up a notecard at the landings to encourage people to participate their observations of the homeless," Haveit explains. "I would like to build one or two scenes from their texts, and post others on boards to share with visitors for phase 2. So there will be a few more additions to the city." The installation will remain on display through June 30.

25 March 2015

Frisland to Close

Today, Charlie Namiboo, Frislanda Ferraris and Anabell Barzane announced that they will be closing Frisland (about which I originally wrote here when in opened a year ago), one of Second Life's most popular photogenic sims, in the coming weeks. Real life circumstances and the rise of the dollar against the Euro have simply brought about the necessity. But there's still time to enjoy Frisland — Charlie, Anna and Fris say it will probably be around mid-May before the sim packs up and disappears. Thanks to all three of them for having shared this tranquil, lovely space.

22 March 2015

L'Arc en Ciel Revisited

It's been many months since I wrote about L'Arc en Ciel (read here from last July), the beautiful sim by Asa Vordun, and thanks to Ronin Undercroft I returned yesterday to explore it anew. Now embracing an entirely new design, the sim is even more striking than before — magnificently impressive and varied, with new things to see at every turn, beckoning both adventurers and photographers. (Click on any image to zoom in — these show the sim's default custom windlight setting.)

Asa's extraordinary skill at design is such that the sim contains woodlands, urban grittiness, farmland and more, all somehow merging seamlessly into a whole: here, it seems to make sense that we move from a bucolic pasture scene with horses grazing in a paddock to a string of city row houses with abandoned vehicles littering the associated street. All the while, beautiful shooting stars anoint the sky with long flashes of light. Somehow, L'Arc en Ciel seems far larger than a single sim, perhaps because visitors must walk about (no flying, but you would want to walk anyway), and because of the long geographic arc that one must travel to see the entire region.

The many small buildings on sim are exquisitely decorated, so that interiors (although none are pictured here) are just as splendid as the landscape, and small touches everywhere are delightful — I smiled as I encountered, near the end of the traveled path, a cat standing on two legs, looking up in wonder at the shooting stars. Given Asa's way of working, parts of the sim might have transformed even by the time you read this: "I keep on changing it all the time," she explains, adding that she prefers to keep the sim open even while revisions are underway. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution to help support the sim, and a guestbook awaits along the path.

21 March 2015


For Relay for Life in 2014, artist Beq Janus created the installation Metamorphosis, inspired by the work of artist M. C. Escher, whose mathematically influenced works in various mediums featured transformations, logical puzzles and impossible situations. Although the build disappeared with the end of Relay for Life 2014, the artist was invited by the Quarry Hill School of Mines & Industries at New Babbage to reconstruct it in the sky — teleport here to visit. Working almost exclusively in white, black and gray, Beq's build unmistakably captures the feel of Escher's work, down to the feel of the woodcuts and his playful interlocking lizards. (Click on any image to zoom in.)

"My sim," explains Beq in the installation notes, "was inspired directly by a section of the 1939 woodcut Metamorphosis II — though the scene appears both in the earlier Metamorphosis I and the final Metamorphosis III, created towards the end of his career. Metamorphosis is itself a journey and the artwork 'morphs' from one tessellated shape to another from a simple chequered grid through lizards and hexagons into bees and fish then birds, capturing many of the themes of his early paintings. It then morphs back into blocks before becoming the view of Atrani [on the Amalfi coast]." The build covers the better part of the sim, so it's important to turn your draw distance up to fully capture the view, and to play with windlight settings — and be sure to peek into the telescope to see the artist's signature. Do take time to teleport below to explore Quarry Hill and other part of New Babbage, which are always worth a visit. (Thanks to Cat Horatio for a flickr post that drew my attention to Metamorphosis.)

20 March 2015

Burnstein's Travels

Now open at the Flossify Gallery is an exhibition of photography by Jamisson Burnstein entitled Burnstein's Travels....Voyages in Second Life, primarily depicting landscapes but with a other subject matter as well, covering Jamie's visits to an extensive number of sims. And it's large exhibition, filling three spacious rooms as well as some additional areas; all images are available for purchase. (Personally, I found the gallery's proclivity to use fuschia and pink a little distracting.) The show continues through the end of March.

Misty Second Life

Now open at the SonderBar is an exhibition of photography by WuWai Chun entitled Misty Second Life. The beautiful, etherial images are indeed shrouded in mist, depicting, with a few exceptions, landscapes, waterscapes and cityscapes, captured with the photographer's keen sense of composition and distance. It's a small space, and WuWai has made the most of it, with images not only covering every nook and cranny of wall space, but also the ceiling. All the works are on sale, and proceeds benefit Feed a Smile, a non-governmental organization that helps feed children in Kenya. (If you don't arrive directly at the gallery on your first teleport, trying the landmark a second time or head upstairs and look for the gallery, and know too (if it is of any concern) that the SonderBar is an adult destination that caters to the BDSM lifestyle.)

19 March 2015

Moon [ Imagination ]

The moon does indeed loom large at ARNICAR India's new sim, Moon [ Imagination ], hovering over the eastern horizon. Like ARNICAR's previous builds, it's a sim that mixes beauty and fantasy, landscape and detail into a delightful whole. The ground level, where one arrives, is built just off the water, with a walkway extending most of the length of the sim, connecting visitors with little vignettes or scenes — a wrecked roller coaster, a funny encounter with paparazzi, the gnarled tree at the base of the moon, and others. It's important to set your draw distance up as far as it can go, because you'll want to be able to see the entire landscape at a glance, including elements that are set in the sky, including a biplane navigating through a field of airborne boulders.

But there's more than first meets the eye. Click on the front of the time travel device near the landing point (you might need to be close), which serves as a teleporter. From there, you have a choice of three additional destinations: Earth, House and Planet Station. You can spot the house far overhead in the air — a quirky home on a huge boulder (bottom image). And earth is, quite charmingly, contained inside a terrestrial globe, where a streetcar and other items are reflected in empty space (image immediately below). At the planet station (not pictured), we're off in the heavens, surrounded by planets and the constellations.

In all of the four areas of the sim, opportunities for photography abounds (these images show the sim's default windlight setting, but others work well too), and there are plenty of cozy spots for couples to relax or pose — even a horse you can ride together around the ground level. ARNICAR opened the sim about three weeks ago, and told me this morning that she's not certain how long it will stay around, so be sure to visit soon, and please consider offering a contribution at one of the various tip jars.

18 March 2015

Lobby cam Preview

Today, Bryn Oh announced the opening date of her forthcoming sim-wide installation at Immersiva, Lobby cam, which will be revealed on Sunday, March 29. Bryn has often incorporated small glimpses of her "real life" artwork in her builds, but in this video they're front and center for the first two minutes, showing us the vivid connections between her artwork in real and virtual mediums.

17 March 2015

The Trace Reopens

Kylie Jaxxon shared this afternoon that she has reopened The Trace, a much beloved sim that has been one of the most visited and photographed by explorers, couples and seekers of solitude. It's a sim that changes with the seasons — with a complete redesign, not just a change of color — and Kylie was just taking the wraps off an autumn version a few months ago when she suddenly announced that exceptional real life circumstances would necessitate an immediate closure.

Happily the sim is now back, and warm temperatures have arrived — "a little reminiscent of the previous summer," says Kylie, but distinctively its own. The beach scene isn't the sort of beach that one sees frequently in Second Life — the common surfing or tropical scenes — but is rather a flat wetlands with marshy areas, where the waves quietly drift in to shore, giving the entire build a calm, meditative look. There are pervasive and haunting cries in the air from the gulls that lazily swoop about, and birds nest in large numbers on the shore.

The center of the island comprises a quaint row of beach houses and cottages; a couple of the inhabitants are out fishing on The Trace's northeast corner. If you're searching for tranquility, this just might fit the bill. Please consider leaving a contribution at the tip jar located near the landing point.

14 March 2015


"I'm smiling already and I only just got here!" remarked Maya Paris as she and I converged on Sparkys, an installation by Romy Nayar that opened yesterday at MetaLES. And it's fabulously engaging — along with Maya, I have had a delightful time there today with Honour McMillan, Cica Ghost, Giovanna Cerise and Romy herself, just playing and having fun. One arrives at a world that appears to be only white, black and gray — but it seems that the residents have discovered something new: color, which they harvest from odd little flying animals, the sparkies (or sparkys). To get around, visitors need to follow a pre-established path through the city-on-stilts by clicking on elevators, balloons and other modes of transport. (If you reach a platform that doesn't seem to have a way to leave, just wait, and something will show up to offer you a ride.)

"The story is," Romy explained to me (slightly edited for translation), "that a doctor has invented a new substance that makes color — because everything was white — and he can produce the colors from the sparkys that you will meet in the forest. And everybody in the city is trying to give color to the city — but they have a great deal of work, so you can help if you want." And indeed, you'll spot many of the city's inhabitants working with colors — or at least trying to figure out what to do with them. The lady in the image above distributes the paint, so be sure to connect with her during your visit. (The forest, by the way, is the area with the curious dark trees, and you'll spot the sparkies there, being tended by a watcher — you can get a glimpse of it in the first image at the uppermost center.)

To help paint, wear the object you'll receive, click on it to set your parameters, and then go into mouselook to color things. (Update: You have to join the MetaLES group in order to paint.) Nothing's permanent — the paint washes away after a few minutes, so you can keep busy for a long time. (By the way, the paint is prim-based, so if there's too much coloring going on the sim can reach its object limit. Just wait a minute or two to continue.) This is simply one of the best art installations to open in a while — playful, imaginative, and beautifully constructed. Sparkys will remain on display at MetaLES through the month of April.

12 March 2015


A few days ago, Torley teleported me to Everwinter, a post-apocalyptic theme park created by Lauren Bentham that replaces the previous build on Elven Mist, historic Bentham Forest. And quite a transformation it is: obscured by mist and fog and a sort of sepia-toned atmospheric haze, the theme park has seen better days. Littered with broken rides, broken glass, and, well, broken everything, the build features plenty of places to hang out (dilapidated sofas, a tire swing, rusty ride seats and so on). A few creepy children are out playing, slipping in circles or just eerily standing, many wearing gas masks (and bringing to mind "The Empty Child" episode of Doctor Who, even if coincidental).

Lauren made use of materials from a number of creators, especially some new designs by Jaimy Hancroft — "I wanted to do a build like this for a long time, and when I saw her theme park bits I couldn't resist," she explained — and Jaimy's works happen to be available at the current manifestation of The Arcade. The photogenic Everwinter won't disappear anytime soon: "It's permanent," Lauren assured me. You'll receive some sim rules as you arrive (no face lights, please), and a few tip jars are available in case you'd like to lend support.

09 March 2015

When life gives you apples...run!

Now open at LEA6 as the final installment of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Full Sim Art Series (the sim, no worries, will continue to offer other artistic opportunities) is Rebeca Bashly's When life gives you apples...run! "Looking at various myths, legends and fairy tales, apples seem to be pretty misfortunate for women," Rebeca says in her exhibition notes. "When an apple appears in a story, you know that something will go bad. From Eve through Greek mythology to Snow White, there was always a catch with an apple. It is beautiful, delicious, tempting, seductive. A perfect disguise for all bad that can come. I use it as a symbol for the monstrosities that woman too often don't recognize as such in its early stages. This installation is about domestic violence and eating disorders — on first sight two very different things, but violence against someone and violence against oneself are the same thing, a violence."

And an eaten apple is precisely where we find ourselves as we arrive, although you might not realize it unless you zoom way out. (I've had repeated problems with the mesh of the apple not rezzing on arrival, so try right-clicking the general area, which should force it to appear.) About 95 meters high from its base to the tip of its stem, the apple is an extraordinary piece of mesh sculpture that brings to mind Rebeca's Colossus of Rhodes, created for Fashion for Life in 2013. As visitors wind their way upwards and through it, worm-like (just follow the path), they encounter two points at which they teleport away to second scenes: No Place Like Home, with an emphasis on domestic violence (image above, with a heart bursting apart a house over a highway); and Doll House, which focuses on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (lowest image). At each location, a brief story awaits. Positioned in the center of the apple between the two story locations is a prominent sculpture, Seed2 (image below), featuring two women, naked and intertwined.

When you make it the top of the apple (there are a couple spots where I fell through the floor — just keep going), you'll step out at the pinnacle, where a tremendous view of the apple awaits. This is a poignant work, heartfelt and personal, and a fitting end to the Full Sim Art Series, which has been administered by the University of Western Australia (UWA) in partnership with the LEA. When life gives you apples...run! will remain on display through March.

08 March 2015


Opening tomorrow, Monday, March 9, at 12 pm slt, is a new sim-wide build, Ruins, by Cica Ghost. (As I write this, though, Cica has just opened the sim, so it's possible to visit for an unofficial advance peek.) Only the blackbirds and wildflowers remain to inhabit the ruins of the once active city, its brick edifices having collapsed to reveal the deserted worlds within. While we can easily discern where some buildings stood — a few still have a floor or two intact — many columns stand alone or in groups, only vaguely suggesting some former structure.

To my mind, the brick ruins evoke a nineteenth-century city, perhaps a gritty industrial revolution town, built long before modern steel and glass, but of course Cica intended no such deliberate connection. Perhaps the iron cables strung between some of the columns have helped keep them steady and erect over the decades. Trees grow inside what were houses; flowers — now shriveled and dead — populate a bathtub. But perhaps we do see some signs of life: the weathered wooden planks between buildings suggest that someone has been here — at least since things fell to ruin — and, in a kitchen, water is running, and a pot of pasulj — Serbian white bean stew — is on the stove, an orange balloon floating languidly overhead.

If you're not running a viewer that automatically changes your environmental settings, you're likely to miss out Cica's custom windlight, shown here. The ruins are sure to be a favorite location for photographers and will probably remain on display for about a month. Please consider leaving a contribution near the landing point to support this and future work, or visit Cica's shop (there's a landmark giver on the sim) to pick up copies of some of her other artworks.

06 March 2015

FreeWee's Laboratory v.8.0: Music, Myth, Magic, Light, Shadows, Physics

The title of FreeWee Ling's installation at LEA27 says it all: FreeWee's Laboratory v.8.0: Music, Myth, Magic, Light, Shadows, Physics. Over the years, her artwork has touched on all those areas and more — she creates with remarkable versatility and prolific creativity, to the point where her work might not be immediately recognizable as her own. She's also been an ardent champion of the virtual arts in general, having worked extensively with the University of Western Australia, where she's now enjoying a fellowship in real life. The presentation at LEA27 is almost like a retrospective, taking us through much of FreeWee's oeuvre — and it's likely to change over time as she continues to add and refine material.

Much of her art is interactive — often playful or humorous — and invites physical exploration. In the image above, we're inside the Nanotech Platform, where a linear accelerator tube (on the right) fires a volley of ten nanoprims, and detectors down the line inform us as to whether or not they were seen. I'm standing at the large nano rezzer sphere, which rezzes a single nano. Nearby, in another building, is the Theatrum Instrumentorum, containing sonic works, including an array of musical instruments (some playable) and creations developed in collaboration with Oriscus "Oz" Zauberflote, with whom FreeWee works as Kithara Associates.

And then there are works that place avatars into poses, sometimes capturing the camera. In the image immediately above (zoom in to see me in a box), I'm in one of the stops in A Time Away — other locations, to which we're transported automatically and dropped into place, include a sports car ride through a tunnel, a swim in a pond, a ski slope, some sort of egg capsule, and a ride on a space shuttle. As FreeWee says, it's "a kind of amusement park ride. Imagine a roller coaster that suddenly turns into a carousel or bumper cars or a sideshow magic act. That's basically how my mind works."

But to my mind, FreeWee's most interesting endeavors investigate light. Be sure to spend lots of time in the Shadow Lab (image below), where you're going to need to have advanced lighting turned on, with sun/moon and projector shadows as well. The image doesn't capture the experience, as the projected light is in motion, creating fascinating effects that handsomely show off Second Life's capabilities. In the image immediately above at the gladiatrix projection model, texture-less prims are brought to life by projected light. And there's much more, enough to keep you busy for a long time, or for return trips. The Laboratory will remain on display through the end of June.