31 January 2016

Onirica (images NSFW)

Now open, and presented by Black Label Exhibitions Corner, is Onirica (meaning "Dream" in English) by terrygold, whose premiere exhibition in December, Ceramic Dolls, demonstrated impressive technique and composition. In many cases with the images on display in Onirica, the artistic process began with a pose, around which were built objects and local lights, resulting in superb compositions that feature a female nude with a glistening porcelain-like white skin.

Not only are terry's images fresh and eye-catching: the spaces in which they are shown almost outshine them. (What might at first appear to be a single room isn't — be sure to step through the arrow at the far wall to enter the second gallery, and then repeat the process to find the third.) Exhibition designers are among the least publicly recognized people in the art world, but are among the most important, determining how we're going to experience works of visual art in ways that can often change our perceptions. In Onirica, terry has constructed three distinct spaces, the first (bathed in green — top and bottom images) arguably the most striking; the second (immediately above) covered with dark drips from the ceiling (be sure to try the red poseball); and the third a dark space that wraps around a brightly colored mobile. As we enter the second and third galleries, we're able to look back into the previous space. Visitors will notice that some images were taken in each of the three settings.

For optimal viewing experience, gallery visitors should manually select the Ambient Dark environmental setting (the parcel's setting is something else). Tips for terry may be left near the landing point. Onirica will remain on display until February 12.

30 January 2016

Cammino e Vivo Capovolto

Those who appreciate the artwork of Mistero Hifeng, a creator who has been mentioned many times in this blog, will want to consider a visit to Cammino e Vivo Capovolto, the half-sim on which he has rezzed many of his works in the style of a sculpture park. Standing in the barest amount of water and pelted by a gentle rain, the distinctive objects are set against a dramatic dark sky.

High above the ground is Mistero's store, and at that location it's possible to purchase the items on display and many others in addition, including a wide assortment of excellent photographs. A teleport is located near the landing point.

While Mistero's works are set on the south side of the sim, the north side is home to the venerable Ocho Tango (not pictured here), a beautifully designed dance club which, as its name suggests, specializes in tango. The two sides of the sim are remarkably well connected, and the windlight settings are as different as can be, so a view from one side into the other is worth the experience.

27 January 2016

The City

Officially opening on Sunday, January 31 at LEA27 at 1 pm slt, as part of a Linden Endowment for the Arts residency (but open now all the same), is The City by Betty Tureaud, an installation that exhibits a remarkable break from her recent works. Visitors are invited to explore a large celestial city, but one that reveals its secrets only when viewed with advanced lighting model on, and with projectors enabled. Then, Betty's trademark bright colors shine here and there on its otherwise placid shapes, highlighting its features. But to reach the city, we must first trek across a wide expanse of desert sand, following footprints until we reach a plane from which we can travel (image below).

The artist provides a brief poem to accompany The City:

I have packed my suitcase
walk out the door without looking back
Leaving hopelessness and take the bus
to the city

With the hope of a better life
I stand in the dust, waiting for the door to open
on the way to the city

My last money is used for a plane ticket
Hope and uncertainty awaits me in the foreign
I am on my way without looking back

As one explores, the environmental settings change, providing opportunities to see the lights move in darkness, and one will also encounter various sculptures, a few clearly based on the works of Henry Moore. Near the base of the highest tower, an elevator provides transportation to the pinnacle, and one can also reach heights by rezzing a plane in which to fly (accommodating two comfortably). Be sure as you explore to have local sounds turned up.

26 January 2016


Now open is Beginners, a new installation by Cica Ghost. On this rocky island, dotted with small craters, elongated wild grasses sway in the breeze, a few flowers hiding among them, and a tall, narrow ridge sweeps from the southwest toward the northeast, clear across the sim. And it is on this ridge that the most distinctive feature of the build stands: two humorous caravans of five quirky houses each, both pulled by giant snails.

Or at least the snails are attempting to pull the caravans: their efforts seem to go nowhere, producing a Sisyphus-like scene in which their travel seems nearly impossible. "They are moving," explains Cica, "looking for new beginning. So, Beginners." As is typical with Cica's work, it's a playful setting that is sure to delight, but, by intention or not, might also remind one of the plight of displaced peoples around the world whose situations seem so helpless.

There are onlookers, too: monsters or "giant trolls" who live on the island. "They only watch," Cica added. "They are good, just a little ugly." Visitors wanting an aerial view of the scene can catch a ride on a small platform carried aloft by a heavily-patched balloon, and might also enjoy the view from the roofs of each of the houses, on which there are poses.

Visitors who explore carefully will find one more thing: "I made a secret spot," Cica said. "If you walk, you will find it." Shown in these images is the sim's default environmental settings; contributions toward its support may be left at the landing point or by visiting Cica's store.

25 January 2016

Field of Dreams

Explorers to Field of Dreams, a sim designed by Iska (Sablina), will no doubt take delight in its silvery, snow-covered landscape. Visitors arrive in the northeast corner at perhaps the most striking and dramatic scene — a modest house nestled between massive pillars of stone (image above), visible from both sides. Throughout the region, walkways and paths connect several small islands, and wind their way between various houses and buildings. An abundance of winter trees creates a bucolic, picturesque environment, here shown in its default windlight setting. A small area on the northwest corner of the sim is private, but otherwise all buildings and homes are open to the public.

24 January 2016

The Journey Home (images NSFW)

Now on display at the new Nitroglobus Hall (successor to the old Nitroglobus Gallery), curated by Dido Haas, is an exhibition of artworks by ini (in inaki) entitled The Journey Home. Each of the thirteen two-dimensional and emotionally charged images is impressively composed, merging Second Life textures with those from the physical world, and, while human figures are prominent in each image, they aren't always the focal point, as our eyes are more drawn to composition, line, shape and color.

"I have no idea how to talk about art, and am hopeless to express my self in words, so I do it with pictures," ini remarked as we discussed the exhibition. Three-dimensional artworks by the late Nitro Fireguard occupy spaces on the floor, his street lamps providing an interesting contrast to ini's telephone poles. The Journey Home will remain on display through February, and each of the images is available for purchase. Contributions to help sustain Nitroglobus Hall may be left at the landing point.

23 January 2016


In April 2014, the extensive group exhibition The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde (read here) included as one of its featured works the stunning Biomechanical by Jo Ellsmere. This carefully wrought dance installation has now been invited to Split Screen by curator Dividni Shostakovich. (Dividni adds that he looks forward to resurrecting the venue's visiting artist program, which closed in mid-2013.) Biomechanical isn't an easy work to re-stage — Jo explained to me that she has to re-enter a substantial amount of data as it moves from one site to another — so its run at Split Screen may be a rare opportunity to see it again.

As I said during the work's premiere: "It's Jo Ellsmere who steals the show. Still images cannot begin to convey what she has created, and even the brief video above [view here] will only provide a glimpse. By carefully scripting five avatars in elegant synchronized movement, she has not only explored biomechanics — a system of actor training introduced in the early 1920s by Russian actor, director and teacher, Vsevolod Meyerhold — she has created a stunning display of technical virtuosity with profound implications for dance, performance art and choreography in virtual spaces. Her human forms are at times one — although the overlapping textures remind us of the multiplicity within — and then unfold into five forms, whether slowly rippling apart or simply diverging, with breathtaking attention to detail and timing. While I have seen similar works by Jo in the past, they seem mere studies in comparison to this newer work, which alone is worth repeated visits." Biomechanical will remain on display through February.

22 January 2016

Through a Blogger's Eyes

Now open at the Art on Roofs gallery — and on display only until Sunday, January 24 (I'm quite late in covering this event) — is an exhibition of photography, Through a Blogger's Eyes, by Inara Pey, who is deservedly well known as one of Second Life's most active bloggers. (Her blog, Living in a Modemworld - Thoughts on Virtual Living, is beyond a doubt the most significant Second Life news source.) As one who travels widely, she has documented locations across the grid — from Frisland, The Colder Water, The Shire, Voile, Everlong, Whispering Wind, Kaleidoscope, to Asalia House and many other locations — in images that focus primarily on landscapes and architecture, capturing a wide range of beauty and creativity. (A machinima featuring Cica Ghost's Roots is also on display.)

"I don't classify myself a photographer or artist," Inara says modestly. "The images I create are intended to illustrate the travel and art sections of my blog ... As such, this exhibition, which Terrygold, Sniper [Siemens] and Elettra [Beardmore] kindly invited me to mount, is a reflection of those travels and the articles it has produced in the pages of my blog. In cataloguing regions and places in SL, I've been very fortunate to see some fabulous sights and meet some talented people, all of whom deserve recognition and time for their considerable work in creating places the rest of us can visit and enjoy. I hope these images spur you on to visit those you may not have previously visited." Each of the approximately twenty photographs is available for purchase for a very reasonable L$300.

21 January 2016

High Water

"It grows organically ... nothing planned," said Morton Funk of his sim High Water. "It's more of a home to me than anything else." Visitors may want to arrive in boots, as the sim lives up to its name, with hardly a speck of land to be seen — trees and grasses emerge from the water to dot the minimal landscape. A few horses languidly move about, and one can hop on to take a stroll (or a gallop by running).

The region's windlight, shown in these images, bathes the setting in a dramatic and rich sunset — "I made it for my first sim a few years ago," Morton explained to me and my partner, Kinn. Explorers will probably need to turn their draw distance up to fully appreciate the photogenic scene. Spots of repose for individuals or couples can be found here and there.

20 January 2016

Heritage: Vestiges

Now open at LEA26 is Vestiges by Gem Preiz, the first half of a two-part installation entitled Heritage. Here, one travels through a series of large spaces to view eighteen two-dimensional wall-mounted fractals that explore the heritage "transmitted [to] us our predecessors, and the one that we shall bequeath to our descendants in the endless fight of the Life against Time," says the artist. "It is not of material wealth from which we inherited: this one does not stop diluting in the mass which builds up every day by exploiting always more numerous human beings' work and always rarer natural resources. No, what was transmitted us over the centuries, is at first the culture, the knowledge and the ideas and those of the material things that are holding them: artworks, books, ruins...Vestiges is an evocation of these witnesses of past. It is designed as a quest and is inspired by stories of fearless adventurers who explore archeological sites or forsaken strongholds to find there the treasures of disappeared civilisations."

The fractals, as often in Gem's case, are large, varied and striking, inviting us to delve into what convincingly appear to be other worlds that reflect the artist's statement. While he has created effective environments to house these often giant images in the past — for example, the 2015 installation Metropolis — I found the surroundings in Vestiges to be almost a distraction, pulling my eye away from the artworks themselves and making the experience (perhaps inadvertently) more about the spaces, which are not nearly as finely wrought as the images.

Navigation through the installation is fairly straightforward, guided by stone markers, doorways or other elements. (Gem suggests a specific camera setting that may improve one's vantage point and perspective.) An uncredited piece of music is provided to accompany your visit, available here; the same track is available through the parcel's stream. The second phase of the Heritage project, Wrecks, will open on March 25.

07 January 2016

Le Cactus

"My favorite bar in Second Life is back online," announced Eupalinos Ugajin as Le Cactus by Maya Paris reopened at LEA21 today. As curator of the sim through an LEA artist in residence grant, Eupalinos invited Maya to resurrect Le Cactus (which had been previously displayed elsewhere), and installations by other artists will certainly follow. For those familiar with Maya's artworks, a word like "wacky" might be a worthy description, as her hilarious installations are crazy, playful and colorful, with plenty of movement and sound. And user participation is a must, with poses and animations abounding everywhere (be sure to click on everything) — silly dances, ridiculous movements, and very fun interactions.

Maya describes the build as "a celebration of the extraordinary talents of cultural trailblazer Josephine Baker, queen of the trumpet Valaida Snow, the lampshade-hatted dancers of the Casino de Paris and the offbeat irony of Jacques Dutronc. Throw a banana on your head, dance on a cactus and tickle a tentacle. Everything's interactive, so click away!" If you pick up the HUD at the landing point, you'll be able to view videos of Josephine Baker and other 1930s artists (with the delightful early jazz radio station Radio Dismuke already available over the parcel's music stream).

Perhaps best of all, Maya provides seven free avatars that will turn you into everything from Josephine Baker (below, with my partner, Kinn) to a dollop of whipped cream, and wearing these makes you just about indistinguishable from the build itself. Be sure to stop by the bar, too, to grab a drink, a banana split, and a spinning animation. This is one place at which the more really are the merrier, so bring friends along to join in the absurdity.

05 January 2016


Now on display at the Club LA Gallery, curated by Fuyuko '冬子' Amano (Wintergeist), is an exhibition of photography by Daze (DaisyDaze) entitled Evolution. (From the landing point, head into the large building on the left.) "In SL as in my RL I've come to realize that life, in whichever space, is about growth, learning, and the relationships that you form," says the artist. "It's about taking chances, getting outside your own walls, and living with joy. And just like in real life, you have to be open to these things and then foster them. My collection Evolution is a reflection of this journey. From a singular existence, living on the periphery, letting in the light and color, and finally stepping forward to make the connections that I know will bring joy to my world." The sixteen images on display are beautifully and carefully composed, embracing a variety of subjects and styles. Contributions to support the gallery may be made at the door.

04 January 2016

Gates of Memories

There are colors one sees in winter that aren't visible other times during the year, especially shades of gray and brown, and, in the gorgeous sim Gates of Memories, owner and designer shelly70 has captured these tones beautifully, keeping her palette to a minimum. An island that's best explored on foot, its snow covered expanse is home to many great trees that provide modest shelter to reindeer, horses, weasels and other animals (even a snow leopard), while humans have a choice of two charming cottages, one to the south (pictured above) and one to the northeast.

Because the landscape has been kept uncluttered — assisted by the leafless branches — visitors are able to see a great distance, and our eyes are drawn to many small things dotting to the countryside, beckoning us to explore. Incongruous oddities here come across as charming, such as a telephone booth in the middle of nowhere (above) or a pair of greyhounds guarding stairs that ascend to a standalone window next to dangling telephone wires (below) — click on any image to zoom in.

All that would already be enough to warrant a visit, but Gates of Memories is also home to many collected pieces of artwork by Mistero Hifeng, and, like the ones shown below (Chiuso nella gabbia di un'eta', with Per te in the background), they maintain consistency with the sim's hues and are organically integrated into the landscape. "As you can see, I'm a huge fan of Mistero's work," Shelly told me.

Additionally, the region features works by Rebeca Bashly, "another artist that I admire very much," remarked Shelly. "I gave her an idea from a Dutch artist, and asked her if she would make me three works — I think there are two there at the moment. I like playing with landscapes and fitting all these amazing works into them, to show what wonderful artists we have here in Second Life." Visitors will be able to enjoy Gates of Memories until the advent of spring weather.

03 January 2016

Fading Masks & Simply Samples of Her Repertoire

Opening at Berg by Nordan Art today, Sunday, January 3, 9 am slt, are two concurrent exhibitions: Fading Masks by Haveit Neox and Simply Samples of Her Repertoire by Mich Michabo. The former is the larger of the two installations and is situated over the water at the ground level: two towering, gesturing human forms, right arms extended, are supported by a circle of columns, all surrounded by arcs of walking figures (photo above). A poetic text accompanies Haveit's work:

      I don’t believe you
      you don’t believe me either
      the human brain is made of story cells
      we concoct the truth, don’t we, rather than see it
      then we march with the like-minded to affirm our stories
      no, dear reader, you are not an exception without victims
      but our mask can fall at any moment
      beware, we enlightened ones, for the store of hatred we have,
      or worse, for the amount of love
      we’d stolen away for all the years.

A composition that is intended to accompany Fading Masks is available here on Vimeo, and curator Kate Bergdorf is working to make it available via the region's music stream. Haveit has also created an accompanying machinima, which is available here.

One of the two figures is a scribe, and we assume that the scrolls that surround the pair are his. The nonsensical text, which seems to be more a texture than something imbued with meaning, does have a small statement interwoven in tiny type: "Once upon a time, a ship ran around my mind, it sliced through my core and washed away my better judgment. Fragmented into islands the spirit ought to reassemble itself as before." Inside the circle of pillars that support the pair of figures, groups of circle dancers, wrapped by bee skin textures, dance in glowing light, while the people outside are likely those who "march with the like-minded." Whether coincidence or not, the scribe's right hand makes the American Sign Language gesture for "love." Haveit's creations always embraces a social justice perspective, this work no differently, though as to its precise meaning I'm uncertain.

[Edit: Haveit kindly said in response, "I so enjoy seeing the meanings people personally interpret. Yours is very close to what mine is, with some additions I hadn't thought of, and which I find a gift to hear! As for my simple intent, the two figures are actually the same person. The outer shell which is fading is the 'decent' mask one might portray to the public. As it fades, another raw side emerges. The written texture is indeed predominantly gibberish, with some lines here and there that can be read. The figures being covered in text and scrolls indicate the stories we tell ourselves, our beliefs. We are made up of our choice of stories, and for most of us, it is unlikely those perceptions will change in any dramatic way. I don't intend this as a negative critique of our personalities, but simply as an observation that our stories compose the architecture of our lives."]

Overhead, in the much smaller gallery space, is a display of fourteen images by the brilliant photographer Mich Michabo (images below). It's not easy to fully appreciate this artist's work by viewing individual photographs, as her work is often a stream of consciousness that flows from one image or set of images to the next. Her photos are often almost like random shots taken in a particular location, so that viewing a group of them helps us build a scene in our minds — in various images we might see a face, a knee, a kitchen sink, or a window, that invite us to generate a narrative. (As an example, view this image on flickr, taken on May 15, 2013, and proceed to the successive shots from that same day.) "I like to show emotion through faces, a chair leg and yes, even your shoe!" she remarks. (In addition to the shoe in the exhibition, this is a favorite of mine.)

As we spoke about the two installations, Kate remarked, "They somehow go well together — there is something raw about both of their styles." She and gallery co-organizer Tutsy Navarathna have already announced the full 2016 lineup for Berg by Nordan Art, with Igor Ballyhoo (installation) and Imani Nayar (photography) from April through June, Cica Ghost (installation) and Kyhiro (photography) from July through September, and Livio Korobase (installation) and ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦ (photography) from October through December — follow Kate's blog for updates. Fading Masks and Simply Samples of Her Repertoire will remain on view through March 31.