10 July 2015

Distrito Distinto

Now open at MetaLES, organized by Ux Hax, Lanjran Choche and Romy Nayar, is Distrito Distinto, or Different District, an anniversary exhibition featuring ten artists whose were invited to create spaces based on songs: Bryn Oh ("Keep the Streets Empty for Me" by Fever Ray), Cica Ghost ("Lullaby" by The Cure), Maya Paris ("Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" by X-Ray Spex), Giovanna Cerise ("Innuendo" by Queen), Betty Tureaud ("She's a Rainbow" by The Rolling Stones), Rebeca Bashly ("Chop Suey!" by System of a Down), Eupalinos Ugajin ("Estudio, Trabajo Y Fusil!" by Rockingchair), JadeYu Fhang ("What Your Soul Sings" by Massive Attack), Alpha Auer (Grid Factory by Alpha Auer — her space rather than the name of a song), and Romy Nayar ("Nuit d'hiver (Chloé)" by Mylène Farmer).

The curators have made every effort to ensure that no particular artist receives top billing, so a ticket booth at the entrance hands visitors random navigational HUDs — your visit may begin at any of the installations. For ease of use, since some visitors have expressed some concern about the HUD's legibility, I've included direct teleport links to the installations above. In keeping with the curatorial intent, I'm showing images here in random order, starting at the top with Alpha Auer, whose gorgeous space is a maze of delicate textures and steampunk-like constructions with blue electrical patterns jumping between them. Here, a free avatar is available, and you can don it to enhance your visit. And shown immediately above is Betty Tureaud's work, bearing her trademark bright colors, in which one can dance, although only one at a time, as far as I could see.

Shown in two images immediately above and below, Bryn Oh's work is entirely interactive: as we move through the space, objects jump into place to create a house. (The woman and dog point to the spot at which one begins the journey.) But as we move away from the prims, they crash back to the ground, falling this way and that. You might be able to make out my avatar in both images, with the camera fixed, to see how my position has affected the objects around me.

Bryn's work is particularly active when several people are attempting to navigate around simultaneously, so bring a friend along to explore. Windlight settings are important in all the installations, but here in particular, and Bryn provides some additional details via wall text to let visitors know the optimal configuration, which is quite easily accomplished. Moving projectors create fascinating shadows that move about, inviting visitors endless opportunities to play.

Cica Ghost has created a small and playful room, shown above, filled with various poses. (Despite its title, the song itself is no lullaby, and the slowly gesturing spider on the ceiling stands ready to disrupt the slumber of anyone who chooses to recline in the bed.)

Eupalinos Ugajin's work embraces his typical exploration of the surreal and the absurd, inviting us to interact with a giant cassette tape and other objects that slowly spin about in an ever-changing mixture. Occasionally the space's textures change dramatically, and a special windlight setting is recommended here, too. (When leaving, you might need to manually detach any objects by right-clicking on them or by clicking on the cassette, rather than by trying to remove them via your inventory.)

Giovanna Cerise's work is difficult to capture in a single image (as is the case with many of these) — it's an immersive space, filled with movement, in which two figures on tightropes carefully traverse a room filled with red and black rectangles that seem to delineate invisible planes. The rectangular shapes are transparent on one side, so our perception of the space changes substantially as our camera changes perspective.

JadeYu Fhang's work, above, seems perhaps most directly inspired by its associated music, with lyrics printed directly on a wall, and the word "soul" moving in ever-shifting directions around the observer. In a corner, a dark figure beckons up toward a large head that looks down, emitting musical notes. Here, as elsewhere, be sure to have local sounds turned up — the music isn't streamed but is rather provided through objects.

Shown above and below is Maya Paris's hilarious creation, prominently featuring the iconic faces of Catwoman (Eartha Kitt) from the original Batman series, and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) from The Avengers, fooling in rapid movement with everything from kitchen utensils to tennis rackets. Step on the eggs to bounce up and down, or just stand on a seat to go crazy. (I hope I eventually end up in whatever mental institution Maya is in.)

Rebeca Bashly's stark and minimalist work, shown below, features the word "system" in monolithic letters, while an angel with broken wing struggles below, chained to the word. The default windlight setting here may be too dark to fully appreciate the work, so I'd recommend an adjustment.

Romy Nayar's nightmarish setting places visitors in a dark bedroom — and it's not one in which one would get a good night's sleep. A forlorn doll rests on the floor near the bed, and a nightmarish face (below) stares into the room from the shadows. As with all the installations, a repeat trip might be recommended to fully enjoy its aspects — there is quite a lot of material in this show — and Distrito Distinto will be on display until August 13.

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