31 October 2016

Foggy Swamp

If you're looking for a location to get yourself into a Halloween mood, Foggy Swamp might just do the trick — a mysterious and overgrown island possessed by decay and probably a few spirits and ghouls. Houses list this way and that, entangled by masses of overgrown branches, all surrounded by a misty swamp that threatens to swallow the whole. "My partner Keon and I built it together and did it for a Halloween mood," said owner and designer Neva Xenga (NevaCrystall) as we talked about the sim.

"Be wary to stay on the path through the dark and foggy village without swaying, else you will never find your way back," say Neva and Keon. "As it leads you through the old and forgotten Victorian settlement into the graveyard and further on to the pagan shrine, you can still hear the faint whispers of incantations from the spirits of the last hundred years amongst us. Their chilling presence lingers inside the Hotel that lays upon the rocks, guarding the shore, waiting for new intrusion on the land. Dare you be one of them?"

You'll spot a few beautifully furnished interiors (such as in the image above) in the large hotel — the Dead & Breakfast Inn (top image) — which presently has vacancies available. (Be sure not to miss the small but delightful tunnel that runs under the hotel.) An inviting graveyard stands waiting toward the western edge of the island. Foggy Swamp will remain open until around November 15.

26 October 2016


A French flag blows stiffly in the strong breeze along the boardwalk in the northeast corner of Kekeland, a delightful sim owned by Belle des Champs (Bridget Genna) and landscaped by Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fotherington), also the creator of the wonderful The Village & BarDeco (read here). Brightly colored buildings, including a tea shop, line the docks, where seagulls lazily circle over and above fishing vessels (image above). A collapsed lighthouse on the sandy beach to the west has been replaced with a more modern structure adjacent to the Keke Bar, a charmingly furnished watering hole and dance venue (this and the tea shop being closed for the winter).

A couple of paths, including a cobblestone street, extend from boardwalk and beach area toward the south, where the terrain changes, becoming hilly and more rural. The road, which turns to dirt, snakes around toward the west, at one point blocked by a herd of sheep. (A few abandoned cars litter the way as well.) The course eventually reaches, on the southwestern corner of the sim, a great old mansion, now in disrepair, that seems to be slowly surrendering to the waters that envelop it (lowest image). Be sure to visit the amusing and surreal scene behind this stately structure.

The road then climbs a hill toward the center of Kekeland (image above), where one encounters the decayed remains of a little village, including a farmer's market, a chapel with a cemetery, and a few homes, garages and a gathering space in a converted barn. Dandy encourages visitors to play with various windlight settings (the top three images here showing the parcel's default, [NB]-MistyDay-4pm), and mentions that the landing point area is particularly beautiful at midnight. If you enjoy your visit, please consider making a contribution toward Kekeland's support.

22 October 2016


One wouldn't expect an art installation entitled Tumor to be especially lovely, but Igor Ballyhoo's new sim-wide creation at MetaLES seems to evoke both beauty and ugliness simultaneously. Something akin to a metallic forest rises from a square platform, the limbs of trees transformed into steel girders stretching through the sky. Several monolithic box-like structures tower one on top the other, each consisting of tightly spaced blocks with textures suggesting concave and convex geometries. (Flying seems to be the best option for exploration.)

"This work is my acknowledgment of greed for material things of human kind which is so powerful that it is going to cost us our own existence. This is not effort to fight it, it is not made in least hope to change anything, it is just a recording of my observation of human society at this point," says the artist. "I dedicate this work to person who unknowingly inspired it, one of the richest people alive, woman who made her fortune on coal digging, Gina Rinehart."

Tumor, which opens today at 11 am slt, will remain on display through November 30. Visitors may also enjoy visiting the photography exhibit 5Y Smoking by Lan (lanjran Choche) (read here), which continues to be shown in a gallery space overhead.

21 October 2016

Furillen Yours and Women in Red at DiXmiX

The sim Furillen, curated by Serene Footman (read here) has become one of Second Life's most often photographed sims. Recently, photographers were encouraged to submit their best images to Dixmix Source, who has selected seven outstanding works to exhibit in his DiXmiX Gallery, and these — by iolanda weidman, MollyWolliDoodle, Hayel bracula, NikaLee, Oyona, Laura Mrs S, and Magic Maker — will remain on display in the Grey Gallery through the end of October. Additionally, in the White Gallery is a new show of striking images by Vallys Baxter entitled Women in Red. Additional exhibits are ongoing in DiXmiX's other gallery spaces.

20 October 2016


The ancient Nabataean city of Petra, located in southwestern Jordan, ranks as one the world's most dazzling sights — a majestic city carved from red sandstone rocks, its arresting façades still standing after more than a thousand years, justifiably considered one of the wonders of the world. Now, on LEA11, Fennet has created a virtual Petra, apparently intended to evoke the mystery and awesome grandeur of the original site. Sadly, the disappointing build does nothing of the sort.

Looking like something one might have encountered in Second Life back in 2007 or so, Petra is an arid region covered with swathes of sand sprinkled with desert animals and a few oases. (Rideable camels are available at the landing point.) We do indeed encounter stone structures, but, unlike the exquisite real life originals, these are entirely lacking in detail. Visitors are encouraged to click on things that generate scripted reactions — a genie provides a bag of gold, a leopard emerges from a dark cave and eats some food, a alluring bag of gold tricks visitors by submerging them in quicksand, a crocodile in a lake offers a bouncy ride, and the dais in the amphitheatre throws one into a pose of oration — but the interactions hardly contribute toward a satisfying experience. Does this belong on an LEA sim? Probably not.

16 October 2016

The Joy Formidable & L’avion en papier

Now open at Berg by Nordan Art, curated by Kate Bergdorf, are two distinct but curiously connected exhibitionsThe Joy Formidable by Livio Korobase, located on the ground level, and L’avion en papier by Mi, located in the small overhead gallery. The Joy Formidable, which rests on a square platform over a body of water, is home to seemingly unrelated elements — a giant cow covered in mystical symbols, the head of the Aztec god Xipe Totec (a life-birth diety who influenced agriculture, the seasons and other cyclical things), a cluster of small ladders on which one can pose, a circle of cats under a tree whose trunk is adored with words related to higher education, and so on. Be sure to click on the many objects, some of which provide poses or rides, and use advanced lighting model if possible — flying bicycles project images onto the giant head of Xipe Totec, but might be best visible in a darker windlight setting.

Livio notes that the installation was inspired by the song "This Ladder is Ours" by the group The Joy Formidable ("This ladder is ours/ This ladder is ours/ We can be anybody else/ Hold on to the fringe/ Jump through from the past/ ..."). While the work may not immediately be intelligible, even with support from the lyrics, Livio offers extensive thoughts on the nature of serendipity in his exhibition notecard, noting that, "The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines serendipity as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a satisfactory or beneficial way, understanding the chance as any event that takes place in the absence of any obvious project (randomly or accidentally), which is not relevant to any present need, or in which the cause is unknown. Innovations presented as examples of serendipity have an important characteristic: they were made by individuals able to 'see bridges where others saw holes' and connect events creatively, based on the perception of a significant link."

Overhead in the gallery, Mi's beautiful and often delicate images all make use of paper airplanes, but subtly, often in the background and often not recognizable for what they are — and paper airplanes lazily float about in abundance in Livio's installation below, thereby providing a visual and thematic link between the work of the two artists. (Moreover, several of Mi's images have been used by Livio in The Joy Formidable.) "This exhibit has given me the opportunity to work with the paper airplane," Mi says. "To me, the paper airplane symbolizes poetry and freedom. Most importantly, it is ephemeral; it takes off and flies. It is a gesture, a moment, a magical plane that eventually smoothly falls, but does not break and can fly again. A moment of dream and grace. The paper airplane can be created by anyone, anywhere; both children and adults alike recognize the transient poetry of this simple object. In my photographs, the paper plane is used as a paper airplane, but also as a sail, a wing, a hat, a boat hull, a safe keeper and it does not leave the woman as it is part of her." The exhibitions will remain on view through December.

11 October 2016

4th Annual Chamber Society Photography Competition & Exhibition (images NSFW)

Now open is the 4th Annual Chamber Society Photography Competition & Exhibition, curated by Max Butoh and Lucy Diam0nd at the Dathúil Gallery of Art. During the month of September, members of the Chamber, located on the same sim, were invited to use the location for creative images, and to submit one item per photographer for consideration in the group exhibition. The curators received 60 entries; of these a first prize (L$12,000) was awarded to LoVeLy (lovelyxan), second prize to Annjalyk Storm (annjalykh2o), and third prize to Ravi Schou.

Additional works are on display by (in no particular order) Andrea DeLauren, Megan Prumier, Erika Xaron, Scarlett Rhea, Ivy Rose Autumntree (candygunpowder), Lake (laketower), J A Y (jaysondaaussie), Martissima (Marta Gabardini), Serena Marabana, Muse (Multimuse), REGGIETOROS, Mimi Duffield, Kismet Faith, Humpti, sa M oorsider (Samuel Moorsider), Sedona (Sedonajane Silverpath), and Dena Dana. While most of the images reflect the erotic themes prevalent at the Chamber, others are more introspective, exploring a mood or location. The exhibition will continue through the month of October.

06 October 2016

Lorin Tone at LEA19

If Lorin Tone's untitled installation at LEA19 isn't much to look at, that's beside the point — it's a place for listening, for our ears rather than for our eyes. Visitors wander through an ever-changing sonic landscape with contributions from Lorin, Meriadne Merlin, Nance Clowes and others. "You will find soundscape environments, interactive music machines and a number of other audio demonstrations," says Lorin in the exhibition notecard. "We suggest that your sound effects volume control in preferences be turned all the way up. Wander around, play with the displays and most importantly, listen!"

The sim is divided into numerous small parcels with titles such as Super Deluxe Noise Spewer, The Harps, SLoog Synthesizer, Sci-Fi Demo, DOM-75 Ballad Emitter, Masai Percussion and Chants Emitter, Mayan Drums, and so on, each providing a different sonic experience. Sounds are restricted to the parcels from which they emit, providing a private and contained listening experience at each location. In some instances, sounds might be generated by one's avatar colliding with an object. (A Spook Shack, presumably to feature Halloween sounds, will open on October 11.)

Second Life is such a visual medium that a sound-oriented exhibition or installation is a rarity (excluding, of course, the many live musical performances around the grid). But while LEA19 provides some excellent examples of the ways in which local sounds can be generated within Second Life, it's more of a demonstration area than an artistic experience, perhaps akin to visiting the Ivory Tower of Primitives to learn how to manipulate basic prims. A visit might leave one wondering how Lorin and his colleagues could extend their work by creating a truly immersive environment. The sim will remain open through the end of December.

05 October 2016

Summers Wind and Winters Wind

The new paired scenic regions of Summers Wind and Winters Wind, designed to serve residential, commercial, artistic and recreational needs, offer spectacular views and vistas from nearly every vantage point. Summers Wind, located to the south of Winters Wind, is the more heavily developed and landscaped of the two (Winters Wind being a homestead and primarily residential), with Romanesque themes — a gorgeous landscape with towering rocks into which a few store façades and other spaces have been constructed.

The sims are owned by Caterina della Rovere (Catweasel Ohanlon), who asked Mexi Lane, previously the proprietor of the now-lost sim Imagin@rium (with which the new regions share some similarity), Rumegusc Altamura and FixGel Planer to design the overall environment; original meshes were created by Rumegusc and FixGel while Mexi created textures and the landscape. In describing the inspiration for the sims, Mexi cites various locations in Italy — "A bit of the southern islands, the Amalfi coast, the Ligurian coast of the Cinque Terre ... a mixture."

Although flying is a necessity to see everything, visitors would benefit from travel on foot as much as possible — views often unfold in unexpected ways, and openings in the rock faces can lead into caves or tunnels, as well as the Peperoncino Disco Club, cleverly encased in the tall rocks of Summers Wind. (Near the entrance to the Pepe Club, one can also rez a bicycle.) On Summers Wind, a teleport system is available (watch for urns half-buried in the soil) that transports visitors to many of the key destination points. Cultural and artistic events, including exhibitions, are forthcoming. Explorers, photographers and those searching for romantic locations will all certainly delight in the new opportunities these sims present.

02 October 2016

Art in the Park

In a pastoral setting, Holly Kai Park's Art in the Park series continues with a new exhibit of creations by Anibrm Jung, Giovanna Cerise (image below), Inara Pey (image above), John Brianna and Wildstar Beaumont. The artworks, which include a mixture of two- and three-dimensional pieces, and real life and Second Life photography, are all available for purchase. Visitors may want to include Inara Pey's nearby gallery, and later return on Sunday, October 16 at 3 pm slt, when Seanchai Library will present Stories at the Park, which will feature 100-word stories and poems inspired by the art on display.