29 December 2015


Now open is Roots from Cica Ghost, the latest installment in her ongoing series of sim-wide creations that adeptly combine playful quirkiness, absurdity, and composition to create delightful immersive environments. True to its title, Roots features, well, roots, and in great abundance — roots of plants, of trees, and of whatever odd things are growing there — and indeed it seems that some of the roots exist entirely on their own.

It's a dark, shadowy world, but not without moments of light and beauty: fields of flowers, colorful balloons adrift in the air (with passengers wanted), and Dr. Suess-like houses that dot the landscape, many precariously positioned on eroding hills delicately held intact by tangled masses of roots. Not to be missed is a fantastic and lugubrious snail that inches its way from the underneath of one rock to another, a house dragged along its back. Visitors to previous builds by Cica will no doubt encounter familiar objects and references.

Although the build's description suggests that the town's inhabitants have disappeared, a closer look reveals that they're actually still about — perhaps shy and curious, poking their faces through the windows of their odd little homes (image below). It's possible to join the residents in their peculiar window-peeking pursuits, because Cica has added poses to most of the homes, and to other parts of the build as well (a tightrope, for example), and many houses accommodate more than one avatar at a time. Contributions to support Roots may be made at the landing point, and selected items will likely be available through the artist's inworld store.

28 December 2015


Explorers who haven't visited the picturesque and snowy winter sim of Kaleidoscope should makes plans to do so soon, as owner and designer Krys Vita says that the scene will soon transform into something new. Arrival to the region is at the head of a country road shaded by the arching branches of stately trees, flanked by fenced fields. Traveling westward, one reaches a fork in the road, the left and right paths eventually converging again after gently wrapping around a frozen pond, where free ice skates are available.

The largest structure on the sim is a manor house (pictured above), situated to the right as the road forks, and visitors are invited to enter, gain respite from the cold and snow, and enjoy the furnishings and decor. Far across to the south stands a barn (pictured below), with the space between providing a tranquil grazing area for horses and black face sheep.

Quietly removed from all else is a small church, snugly situated on its own island to the southwest, connected to the rest of the area by means of a covered wooden footbridge. Throughout the region are other points of curiosity and things to see, as well as spots to relax or cuddle with a friend, all probably best explored by foot. Contributions to support Kaleidoscope may be made at the landing point.

23 December 2015

Serena Arts Center Christmas 2015 Exhibition

Now open at the Serena Arts Center at Wolves Land, curated by Vita Theas, is a Christmas 2015 Exhibition, featuring two- and three-dimensional works by a number of Second Life artists, including Amanda Tomasoa, Anita Witt, Anna Jameson, Aruba DeCuir, bellaswun Resident, Daco Monday, Dita Actor, Grazietta Cazenove, Johannes1977, Kama Maertens, Kicca Igaly, Leo Kottke, Million Magic, nalivru Urvilan, Nessuno Myoo, Nino Vichan, Orsini Tarantal, Sabin Ferraris, Saya Lykin, Shakti Adored, Sparkie Cyberstar, terrygold, vangogh Rembranch, and Ziki Questi. Invited artists were asked to contribute one or two works that illustrate "topics of peace and tolerance," and many of the items on display are available for purchase. The exhibition will continue through the end of January 2016.

22 December 2015

Escenas — La Muerte

Now open at MetaLES is the fourth and final scene of the brilliant Escenas by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, entitled La Muerte (The Death), following previous scenes El Tiempo (The Time), Decisiones (Decisions), and El Meido (The Fear). As with the previous installments of this tarot-based artwork, it's essential that visitors turn up their draw distances substantially, as the view pictured above is literally the entire sim, with giant characters and decor impressively designed. It is with this final installment that the story becomes clear, and here I must thank my partner, Kinn, whose deep knowledge of tarot provided a strong and immediate revelation.

"The tarot is representative of the circle of life — it is not linear, so the artists' comment that the scenes are not in order makes sense," she began, providing some broad context. "Life is a spiral, and you often find yourself in the same situations over and over again. The tarot has an order, yes — it is the fool's journey — who he meets along the way and what he learns, but then at the completion of the journey he starts all over again. In these scenes, the woman is the fool on her journey — 'fool' not meaning foolishness but rather innocence and unlimited potential. The figure hanging above her in El Tiempo is the hanged man, who stands for sacrifice and letting go, and the symbols surrounding him are from the wheel of fortune — a card that represents the ups and downs of life; specifically, a major turning point. Later the image of the actual Fool from the tarot turns up; in the instance of this particular deck it is a man in a straitjacket...a very non-traditional representation."

Key to unlocking the mystery appeared in El Meido, in which we saw a cradle that continually faded away and reappeared, ensuring not only that we noticed it, but also underscoring its key position in the narrative. "It seems to me that the woman has lost a child," explained Kinn, "and these scenes reflect how she dealt with that situation. Theoretically all aspects of life are in tarot — they are the embodiment of experience."

"The devil is an interesting card," she continued. "The word for it is bondage. When I read, it generally shows up if a person is stuck in one way of thinking or in an addictive relationship. But they always have the option of freeing themselves — that is the message of tarot. Temperance [who stands next to the table in this scene, image below] is a warning to avoid extremes such as those that come with the devil, and often shows up when there are powerful emotions clouding action. None of this is ever set in stone; none of life is either. Things are fluid, and you create much with your mind. Outcomes are dependent on your reaction to the situation."

Other hints to the story rest on the table: grapes, in tarot a symbol of fertility, and pearls, a reference to innocence and children. The cups on the table are reminiscent of the Five of Cups card, indicative of a huge loss, bereavement, and only seeing the negative in a situation. In El Tiempo we witnessed the woman's anger, in Decisiones her quest for justice, in El Meido her sorrow, and now her own demise. "The loss of a child can break a woman — I think she killed herself," Kinn concluded. "It is true that the death card never means literal death but rather represents major change, so this scene could mean she is either embracing change or giving in to death. However, crows are psychopomps that lead souls from one plane of existence to the next, so I don't really think this story has a happy ending." The installation should remain on display until at least January 1.

15 December 2015


Situated off the coast of Maine, the secluded island of Kingshaven awaits vacationers and tourists, and features a local population of fishermen, lobstermen and longshoremen that provides the central industry. A tidy town of brick row houses and small shops wraps around a central square, while the nearby Independence Inn (lowest image) provides shelter from the cold, rustic landscape that blankets the shores. A few other huts and cabins dot the snowy landscape. (Click on any image to zoom in.)

The native language in this picturesque roleplay sim — "an island for light urban and vacation roleplay," says owner Emilia Winter — is German, but all visitors are welcome. Additional information, including details on possible character roles and scenarios, are available at the sim's website, and readers learn that while the island lacks organized crime, drug offenses and theft are not uncommon. (Kingshaven opened only a few days ago, so roles, jobs and profiles are only beginning to be defined.) Contributions toward the sim's support are welcome at the landing point.

12 December 2015

Bay City Annual Tree Lighting and Concert Fundraiser

Now open for bids as part of the Bay City Annual Tree Lighting and Concert Fundraiser, organized by Marianne McCann and others in the Bay City community, is a silent auction featuring a number of items that will be of interest to arts patrons and collectors — among them an offer from Bryn Oh that awards to the highest bidder any ten of her sculptures or two of her "steampunk Rudolphs," which she described to me as "fun for me to make." Other artists whose work is featured include Cica Ghost, Livio Korobase, Haveit Neox, and Eupalinos Ugajin; creators such as Cory Edo, Pamela Galli, and Flutter Memel made contributions as well. Several creators have made items that are available exclusively at the auction. The festivities start at 1 pm SLT on Sunday, December 13, with performances by Christov Kohnke and Grace McDunnough, DJing by GoSpeed Racer, ice skating and the tree lighting, continuing until the close of the auction at 4.

The current list of contributors (which may change with the addition of a few people) includes:
ADudeNamed Anthony - '47 Cruiser
Awesome Fallen - Xmas Getting Through
Ayame Kintsugi - Christmas Cactus
Benjamin Wahl - Out of Order and Magic Morning
Bryn Oh - Gift card for ten sculptures or two steampunk Rudolphs
Cica Ghost - Cica's Christmas Tree
Cory Edo - L$10,000 gift card to Trompe Loeil
Eupalinos Ugajin - Rooster Helmet
Flutter Memel - L$2,500 gift card to Flowey
Haveit Neox - Deer Night Light
Hyacinth Tiramisu - Silent Sparrow 'zillas
Kinnaird - Evergram by Ever Dreamscape
Livio Korobase - Eugenio
Merlin527 - To Boldly Go
Moriko Inshan - Two dozen red roses from Hayana
MsLaBelle Mistwallow - Dolls
Owl Dragonash - The Far Away
Pamela Galli - Four prize packages from La Galleria
Persey Garcia - L$500 in gift cards to Little Llama
Pinco Janus - Ten outfits from Babele Fashion
Pygar Bu - Blimp
Robin Sojourner - Bay City holiday ornaments
Sanura Snowpaw - L$4,000 in gift cards to Somnia + gacha rares
Siris Vulpeca - Laminar Cub Super Pack (plus paint by Marianne McCann)
Strawberry Singh - L$1,500 gift card to Strawberry Singh Photography
Trinity Yazimoto - Antigravity
Zen Zarco - L$2,000 in gift cards to Boogers
Ziki Questi - Davis Gulf Lighthouse and Pumping Station Number One

Proceeds from the auction will support Child's Play Charity, which "seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters through generosity and kindness of the video game industry and the power of play." "Ever Dreamscape and I started the silent auction," Marianne explained. "We were picky, and wanted a charity with a very low overhead, one where we felt our money would go the farthest." (Rachel Seelowe attends the auction in the physical world and will deliver the check to the charity from this event.) Again, bidding closes on Sunday, December 13 at 4 pm SLT. I extend my personal thanks to the several artists and creators who very kindly contributed items at my request, and to Kinn, who invited me (and many others, too) to participate.

10 December 2015

Ceramic Dolls (NSFW)

Now open at the Art on Roofs gallery is an exhibition of recent photography by Terrygold entitled Ceramic Dolls. On display, positioned on and around the rooftops onto which one ventures, are roughly two dozen mostly black-and-white images that depict the female nude, beautifully composed and with striking lighting and textures. Overall, the figures are more sensual than sexual, possessing a strongly reflective white skin that resembles a heavily glazed ceramic, thereby inviting us to focus less on the body itself as a sexual form and more on its interplay with other elements inside the frame.

The elements around the nude figures were in each case built around the avatar: Terry explained to me that she composed every image beginning with a pose, and, in a painstaking process, constructed a set around it, adding prims and numerous lights, working to highlight materials. The results are memorable and evocative compositions. The exhibition continues until December 20.

08 December 2015

Windlight Winter Art Show and Winter Showcase

Now open and continuing through December 14 is the first annual Windlight Winter Art Show & Winter Showcase, produced by Windlight Magazine, which is published and edited by Johannes1977 Resident. A display of artworks — predominantly photography, reflecting the theme of the magazine — is supported by a number of merchants and sponsored by Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions. Featured artists whose works are on display (and generally for sale) include Bluesrocker Resident, Bryn Oh (work above), Cica Ghost (work below), Dawnbeam Dreamscape, eeraftr resident, Honey Bender, Ilyra Chardin, Inara Pey, Johannes1977 Resident, JudiLynn India, Kayly Iali, Layachi Ihnen, Richie Narstrom, Roffellos resident, Saoirseheart, Skip Staheli (lowest image), Sparkie Cyberstar, Tripleplaynitely, Warm Clarity, Wicca Merlin, and WrenNoir Cerise.

A portion of proceeds from sales and other income at the event will benefit Team Diabetes of Second Life, an official and authorized team of The American Diabetes Association. Featured merchants include Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions, Moonstar, Feyline Fashions, Wiccas Wardrobe, Zuri Rayna Jewelry, Spyralle, Kittycat’s Creations, The House of Avro, An Lema, Park Place Home Décor, Pink Ice Boutique, A Little Bit of Everything by Neck, Jamie Wolf Photography, Potomac Signature Homes, Lyrical B!zarre Templates, [JOH], Hearthaven Photography, Kaerri, and Meshopotomia. Additional information about the show, including a schedule of performances and other special events, is available here.

06 December 2015

Winter at The Far Away

Visitors to AM Radio's The Far Away will be delighted to know that, for the first time in years, winter has arrived! Today AM spent some time inworld and added a thick layer of snow to the wheat fields, and it continues to pile up on the locomotive, the tables, and everything else. In the middle of the field, you'll spot the addition of a lone Christmas tree — click on it to obtain your very own rezzable tree, wearable tree and axe! (Because of the snow falling everywhere, you might need to get close to the tree to get it to respond.) Enjoy!

05 December 2015

Farewell to Nitroglobus Gallery

For the past three and a half years, the Nitroglobus Gallery, curated by Nitro Fireguard and Dido Haas (pictured below in a portrait I took a couple years ago), has featured many of Second Life's leading artists. Sadly, on Saturday, November 7, Nitro (Claude Reynard in the physical world) passed away in Paris after a long illness. On November 15, many of us who were his personal friends gathered in Second Life to celebrate his life and to pay our respects. Dido has decided to close the Nitroglobus Gallery (no worries, she plans to open a new space sometime soon at another location), and a farewell party will be held tomorrow, Sunday, December 6, at 12 pm slt. The current and final exhibition, shown at top, presents work by Senna Coronet and MM (Mysterr), about which you can read here.

04 December 2015

UWA Pursue Impossible 3D Art and Film Challenges

Since 2009, the University of Western Australia has sponsored a remarkable series of art competitions in Second Life — both for three-dimension works and for machinima — providing recognition and support to dozens of artists and standing as a leader in the field in higher education. Sadly, although UWA will continue its presence in Second Life, the current competition rounds (on the theme of "pursue impossible") will be the last in this format, and awards will be announced on Sunday, December 13, at 6 am slt at the UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre (entrances here, here and here). More than L$500,000 will be awarded to a pool of 59 artworks and 45 machinima, with an additional L$50,000+ offered as audience participation prizes.

Partcipating artists in Pursue Impossible: The 6th UWA Grand Art Challenge include Alpha Auer (top image), Ama Avro, Art Eames, Barry Richez, Bibi Rives, Blue Tsuki, Carmsie Melodie (second image), Charles Hera, Chic Aeon, Corcosman Voom, DarcyChocolat, Delain Canucci, Doe Silverspar, Dragon's Lord, Dusty Canning, Elle Thorkveld, Frankx Lefavre, Ginger Lorakeet, Giovanna Cerise, Haveit Neox, HOLALA Alter, Ionsilver Whitman, Isaa Gelber, Isadoradean Rossini, iSkye Silverweb, Janine Portal, Jesse Keyes, JesseJames Rossini, Jipe Loon, K3W, Kazuhiro Aridian, Kiesta Aljon, Krystali Rabeni, Lemonodo Oh, Lilia Artis, Louly Loon, Mistero Hifeng, Nino Vichan, Othella, Pale Illusion, Pearl Grey, Peli Dieterle, Pixels Sideways, quadrapop Lane, Richard de Grataine Suoh, Ronin1 Shippe, Secret Rage, Sevio, Sharni Azalee, Sheba Blitz, Slatan Dryke, Solana Python, Solkide Auer & Sniper Siemens, Takni Mistwalker & Misio2, Tarquin Evermore, Tim Timaru, UABlue, understandingcomplexity, and Yepar Saenz. Direct teleport links to each of their works can be found here.

Entrants in MachinimUWA VIII: Pursue Impossible Challenge include Sarah Whitney, Jackson Redstar, Isabelle Cheren, Tutsy Navarathna (immediately above), Braclo Eber, Fuchsia Nightfire, Haveit Neox & Lilia Artis, Soda Air, Glasz de Cuir, Mexi Lane (Marina Bellini), Sevio, Billy Carter, Suzie Anderton, Vilvi Rae (immediately below), Chic Aeon, Natascha Randt & Karina Hoisan, Sunset Quinnel, Secret Rage, Chantal Harvey (bottom), Fuzzy Deezul, Panda, JaeSang, Livio Korobase, Sophia Yates, Joseph Nussbaum & Boris Twist, Maximillian Merlin, Misio2, Sophia Hines, Kobuk Farshore, Sheba Rayna, Ultraviolet Alter, Alfonso Garavito Olivar & Inés Rodríguez & Juani Ruiz, Diana Al Martini, Yesikita Coppola, Eric Takkar & SurReal Muse, Artistik Oluja, Dae Hayes, and Mary Wickentower. Links to each video can be found here.

Audience members are invited to provide a ranked "top ten" list in both categories, and are eligible to win one of the audience participation prizes — more information is available through the links above. (It's not as difficult as one might think to go through everything — you will immediately see things you like and things that you find less compelling, although the final ranking can be a challenge. The images and links I provide here don't necessarily indicate any preference or endorsement by me, but are rather to simply provide a representative sampling.) It has been my pleasure to serve as an adjudicator for this and previous challenges, and I extend my thanks to UWA Virtual Worlds founder Jay Jay Jegathesan for his many years of visionary leadership, and to FreeWee Ling, who will now take full control over art at UWA.

03 December 2015

A Slow Reveal

Now open at the Dathúil Gallery of Art is an exhibition of works by GoodCross entitled A Slow Reveal. There's much to see in this show of approximately two dozen images, all of which reflect the photographer's ability to portray or seemingly capture an evocative moment in time, with a beautiful sense of light, shadow and composition. Overall, one might wish for larger images, but that's a minor concern.

"Certain moments in our lives become epiphanies," say GoodCross. "I tend to recreate these moments even if they are not from my own personal life. I combine a picture with a song so that they collectively can set a mood for my audience and for that moment they might be connected to me. My hope is that a lifetime collection of these instantaneous mini stories may slowly reveal a bigger picture, a bigger realization and provide a picturesque walk down the memory lane and perhaps relive each memory when a picture was created." The exhibition continues through December 30.

02 December 2015

Escenas — El Meido

Now open at MetaLES is the third of four scenes in the gradually unfolding artwork Escenas, entitled El Meido, or The Fear, by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar. (The first scene, El Tiempo or The Time (read here) opened November 1, and the second scene, Decisiones or Decisions (read here) opened on November 14; these have both been dismantled, and on December 11 El Meido will make way for the final scene — these installations possibly appearing in non-linear order.) Consistent with the two previous scenes, a quote accompanies the installation: "La excepción, que no niega la regla, sino que se sustrae a ella," which might be roughly translated as "The exception does not deny the rule, but evades it."

Turning one's draw distance up dramatically is essential to viewing El Meido — the forms are colossal, with the large male figure towering more than 130 meters into the air. Awkwardly squatting, his bent form, restrained by a straightjacket, hovers over a woman — most likely the same woman from El Tiempo — who cradles a tower in her hands. Unlike the previous two scenes, the tower would seem to be the only tarot reference here. The woman's dressing table, which includes two hairbrushes seen in El Tiempo, stands by the side, as does a crow perched on a small table, a grandfather clock, a door, a window, and a crib or bassinet that periodically fades in and out of view. Curiously, the tower shown in the installation's promotional images is nowhere to be seen. As with the previous scenes, El Meido's craftsmanship is superb, and we will need to wait for the final scene to perhaps see how the narrative assembles.

01 December 2015

The Gathering

Opening today, Tuesday, December 1, at Immersiva, is a new installation by Bryn Oh entitled The Gathering. Assembled loosely around a series of vignettes based on pen and ink drawings, The Gathering showcases the artist's interest in experimentation with light and shadow, materials, experiences (that is, a set of avatar interactions by scripted object), transference of artistic materials between physical and virtual spaces, and the creation of a truly immersive realm, often presented with a playful touch of humor. It's "kind of a great big sketch," she explained.

Before one ventures into the exhibition space, there are several recommended steps or pieces of information to know that will enhance the experience. First, it's best to run one's viewer using advanced lighting model, with shadows enabled, set to sun/moon and projectors. Second, visitors are asked to enable a land-scope "experience," giving temporary and limited control over their avatars — specifically, the experience setting allows rolling balls to teleport you back to the landing point on contact. And third, once in while one might spot a curious orb — a wall walker — and clicking on one of these (or sitting on it) provides the power to walk up vertical surfaces and even on ceilings. In this way — and it can be a little disorienting at first — one can scale the walls to the top of the build, and will find some extra delights, such as an upside down room and a flying chair that provides a spectacular view of the build below.

Setting out from the landing point, the first things visitors will encounter are the aforementioned rolling balls (curiously named after angels, top photo) that plummet down from a high hillside and aren't easy to avoid. They vary from small to enormous, and can be evaded by running (toggled on and off with command-R on a Mac or control-R on Windows), climbing the hillsides, or otherwise using an obstacle for protection — and protection is needed because contact with a ball will teleport you back to the landing point, provided you've enabled the experience. (Hopefully these rolling balls, with their teleportation powers — possibly off-putting to some individuals — won't dissuade visitors from venturing past them to enjoy the full exhibition.) High on the hillside from which the great balls roll, one will spot a cave where a scissor moth (pictured above) greets visitors at the entrance — "A chapel of sorts," Bryn explained, "with a religious sculpture of a ball. These balls are their world here, they appeared and run through their town destroying all along that ravine. So now they worship them."

Before reaching the pen and ink drawing section of the installation — and you'll know when you reach that point — you will also pass through works in which Bryn experiments with materials — with edges and forms that glisten and shine, such as in the second image of Parasol and the octobot — and scripted prims that move to form a house around you (climb to the second floor to get out the back door). And there's a projector room in which there is a special invitation to those who are comfortable with bodily exhibition: one sets the environment to a non-light settings such as Phototools - No Light, removes clothing, and poses in rays of projected light that form works of art, in essence bathing the nude form in whatever is being projected (photo above). "It's an interesting almost psychological experience in a way," Bryn said, "how we identify...becoming nude in a public place and then the projectors also follow the body like a caress too." The sign providing instructions playfully says, "Look to see if anyone is watching. Then take off your clothes," without giving hint as to whether one should have an audience or not.

As is typical with much of Bryn's overall output, the pen and ink portion of The Gathering has an underpinning in the physical world. Commissioned to create a series of illustrations for a coffee table book based on her paintings, Bryn, who had little previous experience working in the medium of pen and ink, had to essentially start from scratch to learn the discipline, studying both technique and the creations of past masters such as George Cruikshank and Edward Gorey. Having completed a curious story of nine scenes in pen and ink, she then set about bringing her images into a virtual space, but chose not to present them simply as flat textures but rather as three-dimensional works that are exploded versions constructed of overlapping layers of prims. The story told by the scenes is a playful one with perhaps a touch of Edward Lear, concerning a private party crashed by a rather curious guest, with wall text providing narrative in poetic form (example above). At the culmination of the story, visitors are treated to a display of the original pen and ink drawings (lowest image).

Much could be said about the way in which Bryn thinks about presenting her work. It would have been simple enough to install the nine vignettes that comprise The Gathering in a traditional gallery space, with the objects simply lined up in a row, presenting a narrative. (And in fact, you can do just that if you collect the scenes on your own — more about that below.) But instead, she created an striking virtually immersive experience, requiring the observer to explore the vast space at the same time, and the environment stands very much on its own as an art object.

At the landing point, visitors will find a gacha machine, which might make more sense placed at the culmination of the exhibition, as what it provides are copies of the scenes and objects exhibit-goers will encounter. One can certainly help contribute to Immersiva's support through purchasing these delightful items, but a contribution kiosk also stands nearby for those who prefer to give directly. A teaser video for The Gathering may be viewed here, and additional information can be found on Bryn's blog here.