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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nice write-up, Ziki! I'm glad you noticed that the diversity of my work tends to obscure a particular identifiable "style." I attribute it to a short attention span. I just keep finding new things to explore, which is why I call my work spaces "laboratories." Anyway, my current obsession seems to be projected lights, I think I understand their capabilities pretty thoroughly now and am trying to find some interesting applications. Hence the gladiatrix and minotaur piece, etc. I think there's a lot of potential and I'm amazed that so few people are working with projections. (Note that Pixels Sideways has an interesting piece in the current UWA show that uses layered collages of projected images in a really interesting way.)