30 October 2013

Duna Gant at tKF

Duna Gant claims she's not a photographer, but the images she creates are lovely (and sure look like photos to me!). In her current exhibition at Tanalois Art and torno Kohime Foundation, entitled Looking at SL, she shows a dozen images, most of which were taken at Ocho Tango and Hazardous, beautifully composed, and they're displayed an a tranquil space at Solaris Island. "With my camera, I like to catch moments and emotions. In my photos, I try not only to show the world, but also to reflect the emotions that this world creates in me," she says. This show could be closing any day (posted through today, in fact), so run over here quickly if you want to take a look.

29 October 2013


[ Imagination ] at Guana Cay, designed by ARNICAR India, is a delightful sim that has been steadily gaining attention from photographers and tourists. A water sim with only a few small points of land emerging for footholds here and there, it's perhaps a place where time has stopped, judging from the large broken pocket watch that greets visitors. Stone paths will help keep your feet dry as you set out to explore, and there are many destinations peppered throughout the sim.

As its name implies, it's a place filled with imagination: "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will," says its creator. Throughout the sim, you're likely to discover little things that might make you smile—for example, walk into the tunnel of trees and encounter a magically swirling set of books. Overhead on the southwest corner of the sim is a beautiful little sky house (top photo, click to zoom in). As I write this, Dividni Shostakovich and I are sitting in the rocking chair on its porch, warming ourselves by the fire.

27 October 2013

Malfeas KBN-E

Malfeas KBN-E is certainly an alien-looking world, with unfamiliar vegetation, plants and trees (if that's what they are). Created by Cunnos Luminos, it's a hauntingly beautiful place wrapped in a violet sky, and apparently danger lurks around its many corners and hillsides. (Click on photos to zoom in.) Malfeas KBN-E's region description portrays it as "Dark and gritty fantasy Scifi role play with pirates holding a station above a colonized world. This is an adult sim, with such rp as rape and forced impregnation. However, it is also beholden to non-sexual rp, as well as scifi combat."

In other words, a word of warning if that doesn't float your boat—and if you do roleplay, this sounds like the sort of place to have your limits stated in your profile or picks. I didn't encounter anyone in my several visits, though, and the place seems free of strict rules. You'll likely arrive at a landing point far overhead—clicking on the green teleporter takes you to the forest ground level. A military based of some sort occupies part of the ground, but in my explorations I didn't discover any traps, so visitors should feel free to roam. Far overhead is the space station, too, although the teleport system to reach it doesn't seem to be set up yet.

Thanks to Anita Witt for suggesting a visit to Malfeas KBN-E.

23 October 2013

Miuccia Klaar at the Red Lines Gallery

Opening today, Wednesday, October 23 at 1:30 pm at the Red Lines Gallery, is an exhibition of recent photography by Miuccia Klaar entitled All around. The twenty-two images in the exhibit focus on "landscapes all around Second Life" (therefore its name), and include captures from a number of now-disappeared sims, among them several that Miuccia created with her partner, Squonk Levenque. If you would like to know more about Miuccia's photographic work, read this interview with Tani Thor on the website of Tanalois Art and torno Kohime Foundation, which sponsor the Red Lines Gallery.

22 October 2013

The Gaia Project

Now open at LEA13 and continuing through December is The Gaia Theory Project, presented by the Tanalois Group and the torno Kohime Foundation under the direction of Aloisio Congrejo, Tani Thor and Nino Vichan. The collaborative exhibition features works by Chinon Beaumont, Daco Monday, comet Morigi, Gem Preiz, Betty Tureaud, Cayenne Avon, Alosio Congrejo, Tani Thor Congrejo, Kicca Igaly, Melusina Parkin and Nino Vichan. The Gaia Theory, as the notecard details, "proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth."

The organizers and artists have taken quite the gloom and doom approach in designing the sim, with human detritus and decay in all directions. Alisio Congrejo gives us a pool of red toxic waste; Nino Vichan gives us the Trail of Extinction, with tombstones for the dodo, the Tasmanian tiger, the golden toad, all leading to a huge stone saying, "Homo Sapiens, Extinction ?" It's an ugly, depressing place, and I wonder what the artistic intention was: we are all already aware of the environmental challenges facing the planet, and this does nothing to contribute in a meaningful way to the conversation. Their artistic vision seems to focus exclusively on the human destruction of the environment, which is not consistent with the Gaia Hypothesis. Indeed, James Lovelock, the initial developer of Gaia in the 1960s, wrote, "There are many possibilities for comfort as there are for dismay in contemplating the consequences of our membership in this great commonwealth of living things. It may be that one role we play is as the senses and nervous system for Gaia. Through our eyes she has for the first time seen her very fair face and in our minds become aware of herself. We do indeed belong here."

Some of the art, for example Gem Priez's simplistic Macro-stones and Micro-Earth, seems to have little to do with the sim's artistic premise. Overall, Betty Tureaud's colorful Gaia from Chaos (above), from which I would ordinarily shy away, comes as almost a relief—it seems the only work that distances itself from the surrounding despondency, pessimism and wretchedness. (And possibly the best thing about the exhibition is Betty's playful HUD, which transports you from venue to venue. Melusina Parkin's photos, too, are always worth viewing.) As Lovelock said in a 2002 interview in the Toronto Sun, "The greens use guilt...You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air." I'm as much of an environmentalist as anyone out there, but this just leaves me flat.

21 October 2013

"Moving Islands" [Rafts]

Now open at LEA20 is a project conceived and curated by Eupalinos Ugajin entitled Moving Islands that will continue on display through the end of December. Twenty-three artists accepted an invitation from Eupalinos to participate in this collective artscape, and in order to come up with something in which everyone could freely participate he chose the concept of rafts, or moving islands, floating in a large space. In free word association, "raft" might conjure up all sorts of things—rescue, abandonment, solitude, safety, ocean, water, floating, hope, and on and on, and the artists were able to put their own spins on what a "raft" might even be. (A few of the rafts, by the way, appear to have sunk, so be sure to head underwater when you visit.)

This is an extraordinarily busy space, and truly collaborative, with contributions from absencen (maclane Mills), Alpha Auer, Artée (Artistide Despres), Aston Leisen, CapCat Ragu, Cica Ghost, Cutea Benelli, Derek Michelson, Eupalinos Ugajin, Haveit Neox, Kake Broek, Kikas Babenco, Livio Korobase, Marmaduke Arado, Maya Paris, meilo Minotaur, Merlino Mayo, Oberon Onmura, Ole Etzel, pallina60 Loon, Scottius Polke, Simotron Aquila, Takio Ra and Uan Ceiaptrix. As I write this, three creators haven't yet rezzed their creations: absencen, Merlino Mayo and Simotron Aquila. And it's possible that others maybe added—even you, if you have an idea—just pitch your concept to Eupalinos. Additionally, the project received contributions from Derek Michelson (scripts) and Takio Ra (sounds), along with a soundtrack selected by Eupalinos, lasting about 3 to 4 hours and ranging from Bach to Zappa.

As you might imagine, very few of these "rafts" look like real life rafts—they're often fanciful, humorous and quirky, but some have a serious edge to them. They're often interactive, particularly in the case of works by Marmaduke Arado and Eupalinos Ugajin, in which sitting on one object may cause others to appear. I was particularly delighted with pallina60 Loon's nautilus raft and Cutea Benelli's quite silly raft, which rests on the bottom of the ocean floor. When you arrive, be sure to grab the free gift folder, which includes creations by many of the artists—Eupalinos tells me that more will probably be added over time. Also be sure to have your local sounds turned up, especially for rafts by artée and Oberon Onmura.

20 October 2013


Opening today, Sunday, October 20 from 10 am to 12 noon slt, and continuing until December 1 at The Station Skywalk Gallery, is a joint project between Bryn Oh and Sina Souza entitled Technochory. The exhibition is "based on the concept of seed dispersal similar to myrmecochory, which is the dispersion of seeds by ants. The difference being a future where the plant is a fragile resource with humans as its caretakers." Sina's work consists of two-dimensional images placed along the gallery's winding hallways, while Bryn's sculptures inhabit a central room.

My Gallery Changes Location

For the past couple years, my friend Pamela Galli, proprietor of La Galleria (where you can purchase all sorts of prehab houses, cottages, villa, cabins, mansions, beach houses and so on, along with all the furniture to go inside them!) has hosted my gallery overhead her sim. Recently it came time to move, so the new location is overhead The Far Away, and you can teleport to it here. I'll be adding some space and new images soon. (And you'll have to pardon my four cats, who may be wandering around the space.) So a big thank you to Pam, and welcome to my new location.

19 October 2013

Madness Fantastique

If you're in the mood for gallery hopping, one of the best places to begin is at the Nitroglobus Gallery, where curators Nitro Fireguard and Dido Haas present an exhibition entitled Madness Fantastique, featuring works by cold Frog and CaTcHaFiRe (Catchafire Shilova) through the month of October. All the material in the exhibition is new, and at least for CaTcHaFiRe is the first public showing of works in general. The installation itself is splendid, with faux reflections through the transparent floor.

These are bold, fanciful images that manifest a strong command of composition and technique. They're not shots of pre-existing scenes; each is a discrete composition, and several make use of the playful avatars of CapCat Ragu and Meilo Minotaur. I look forward to seeing more work from both of these artists. While you're visiting, be sure to explore the side galleries, which feature work by the curators.

18 October 2013


"I was about to delete the entire sim," Bowie Lana Zeplin told me, "that was about three weeks ago." Then, suddenly, people began arriving, "and more people, and more people." And with good reason: Bowie has designed a strikingly beautiful sim named Pangloss, filled with all shades pink, carnation, puce, coral, salmon, carmine, lavender, rose and other pastels. Just as was the case with Wendy Xeno and her sim HuMaNoiD, Pangloss was never intended to be a public destination point—it was simply Bowie's home. Word spread quickly as bloggers began to arrive, and now there's even a sim photo competition on flickr. (When I arrived here today, Nelson Vannagan was at work, shooting a large school of fish leaping out of the water on the south side of the sim.)

In tandem with the leaping fish, an enormous flying whale graces the north side of the sim, while a trio of sea turtles contribute their presence to the west. Most of Pangloss is just barely above sea level—the lush carpet of reddish-pink grasses and trees are rooted in the small patches of land just high enough to evade the water. But not all of the land is low to the ground: to the east, a broad plateau rises from the ground, covered with tall, windswept maroon grasses, and here one can grab a ride on a flying machine for a lazy and delightful soaring tour of the entire sim. There is also one hidden space on the sim, the "heart of gold," as Bowie metaphorically calls it. You'll know it when you find it. "Even though everything on the sim looks pretty, it's sprinkled with dark," she says. "Illusions of grandeur really. So long as the lost soul can return to the heart, then they can overcome the darkness around." If you enjoy Pangloss, please consider leaving a contribution.

Thanks to Anita Witt for suggesting a visit to Pangloss.

17 October 2013

Qarl Departs

Qarl (known as Karl Stiefvater in real life and formerly as Qarl Linden) has announced that he has "deleted" his sim as a result of Linden Lab's new Terms of Service. You can read more on Qarl's blog here in his post entitled "goodbye, second life".

(With thanks to Damian Fate for his alert plurk.)

16 October 2013

Mixed Pixels at Art India Gallery

Opening tomorrow, Thursday, October 17 at 2 pm at Art India Gallery is a group exhibition entitled Mixed Pixels. Curated by Quan Lavender, the show features works by Ataro Asbrink, Burk Bode, Cutea Benelli, Draxtor Despres, Kayle Matzerath, Nelson (LordVannagan), Ole Etzel, orlando di strada (Gnupf Gufler), Quika Basevi, Sina Souza and WuWai Chun. (Naxor (Naxos Loon) is listed on the exhibition poster, but I don't see anything of his on display.) Several artists are in the upstairs gallery, reachable here, and quite a few of the artists have objects set for sale.

What binds together this unusual assortment of artists (and the curator) is their German nationality. Several, like Nelson, whose extraordinary artwork burst onto the scene only in July this year (top image), are photographers. Others have created small installations—Cutea Benelli's Shakespeare 2.0 Apparatus (Beta) (lowest image) is typically delightful, and generated a poem for me:

    Late or too sone lett that nott rule the apes
    Though artst as sweet as yellow fruits to peel
    Though to itself, it's only live and die

I must admit, however, being more taken by the poem created by her Evil Haiku Automaton:

    I want to hold you
    I’ve been sharpening my blade
    In the quiet room

Time based media is represented by especially well by Ataro Asbrink's Coded Movies, including the texture movie shown in the middle image of this post. (Of course, time based media can't be effectively captured in a photograph.) If you take a seat in his Gallery Viewer Chair, you can cycle through views of all the installations on display in Mixed Pixels, and there's lots to see.

15 October 2013

Next for Bryn Oh?

Bryn Oh recently announced on her blog that the remarkable build Imogen and the pigeons will close in a few weeks, having had a successful run of nearly 50,000 visitors. If you haven't visited Imogen, don't delay, as it's one of the most exceptional art builds to have appeared in Second Life. While it's sad to see such a remarkable installation disappear, it's all for a good cause, as something new will take its place at Bryn's sim, Immersiva.

Way back in April, Bryn invited me to get a sneak peek at what was capturing her creative interest. We teleported up to a nearly pitch dark room, where projectors, scripted by Caer Balogh, were able to follow our movement (so the shadows followed us, in a sense) and lit only the smallest areas. The effects were mesmerizing, and were for Bryn, too: "I spend quite a bit of time up here," she remarked. (Click on the first two photos, taken at that room, to zoom in.) I hadn't written about this or posted images out of respect for Bryn's process. (And I won't share how she described the entire sim—you'll have to wait!)

But today, Bryn invited a bunch of us to see a new space (third and fourth photos) that explores some of the same themes, so I thought I'd write something. It's a bit of a sandbox build, just an experimental play with some lights, and Bryn says it might be around for a week or so—click here to teleport. You will need to be able to have advanced lighting model on (sun/moon and projectors) and use the parcel windlight, which seems finicky—it may or may not come up easily. (If it doesn't change automatically for you, then select midnight or something as dark as you can.) The three of us in the bottom photo are, left to right, Anita Witt, me, and Cica Ghost, plus lots of bats that were flying around.

13 October 2013

Cafe Green Gables

The Cafe Green Gables is a tiny little place—very cozy indeed, at only 5,120 square meters—and I often marvel at what people are able to create in such tight quarters. The home of Jean Tryce and her partner BeBe Frog, it's remarkably picturesque, half sandy beach with dunes and half grasses and gardens surrounding the cafe. A wrecked plane lies on the beach, waves lapping at its forlorn wings, while fall foliage is on full display elsewhere on the island.

The interior design of the cafe is a delight—an intimate place decorated in blues and browns, with all sorts of coffees, teas and desserts beckoning—and up the ladder is a loft with more places to lounge. I felt like I could relax here for a long time. Out back is a little dock overlooking the waters. Please consider chipping in with a contribution if you enjoy the cafe, and don't forget to sign the guest book.

12 October 2013

Overto Omonto

Now open at Per4mances metaLES ..O.. is Romy Nayar's Overto Omonto, a hauntingly surreal world of mystery and alienation. Long ago, this was a prosperous city, but over time its inhabitants became increasingly isolated, breaking off communication from one another to the point where they no longer spoke, their hearts like stone. Your task is to help save this city, and there is a way to bring its populace back together again. As you explore and meet each of the nine personas here—Nina, Sabrina, Griselda, Nubila, Jaqueline (middle image), Petram (lowest image), Jamel, Mme Butterfly and Edgar—you utter a single word to each, and they will in turn reply with a single word, as if that's all they can possibly manage. Their replies, all in Latin, are they key to unlocking the magical door in the southwest corner of the sim.

Compositionally, the sim is beautifully designed, with gorgeous lighting and inviting panoramas. The self-absorption of the characters we meet is entirely convincing—indeed, there's a great sense of mood and personality with each of the nine. I found it most enjoyable to explore the sim on foot (although flying is possible), but if you'd prefer you can also rez a little car that's available at the landing point. Installations at metaLES run for two months, so Overto Omonto should be with us until the end of November.

10 October 2013

Coney Island, 1922 - Act I: "After the storm"

Ah, the Roaring Twenties: flappers, automobiles, Art Deco, jazz, speakeasies, Charles Lindburgh, Babe Ruth, suffrage, motion pictures, the mob, and electric lights everywhere. And, in literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, set somewhere near New York City in 1922. If that's your world, it's time to visit Coney Island, 1922 - Act I: "After the storm", a sim by June (RolePlayingCharacter Resident), an advanced roleplay universe inspired by The Great Gatsby. Act I runs from October 15 to December 15, although the sim is now open if you'd like to get a peek.

June's full name is June Mary Whitman. She's 20, single, lives at 10 Spade Street (you can find the place—the streets are well marked), and she's a social columnist for The Coastal Gazette, the office of which are also on the sim. If you'd like to join in, visit the the sim's website to learn more about the specific setting, character options, occupations and places of residence. (And if you're just visiting, avoid dressing in 1920s attire so that it's clear you're only passing through.)

The sim is beautifully laid out, with a beach along the west edge, where Coast Boulevard is home to the main hotel (hunt around for the secret bookcase that opens into the speakeasy), shops and restaurants, and, toward the southwest at the intersection with America Street, a brightly lit amusement park. A boardwalk soars over all this, high above the beach and lined with places to eat. Along America Street, you'll encounter the ritzy movie house, La Paloma, which is showing The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. It's faring far better than the town's other theatre, the Forrest, over on the east side of town. There, the roof has fallen in, and the doors of the nearby casino at Spade and Market have been shuttered closed, although it looks like activity continues (as it certainly does in the burlesque club hidden behind the casino). Peppered throughout are houses and apartments, all waiting for occupants.

Special thanks to my friend Naxos Loon for inviting me to explore the sim with him.

UPDATE - 17 October - As one commenter noted below, this place is already gone, sad to say.

09 October 2013


With Halloween right around the corner, it's a tradition in Second Life for a few spooky sims to emerge, and one of them this year is Havenhollow, brought to you by the Holiday Appreciation Association (Octagons "Pizza Yazimoto, Kaz Nayar, Katharine McGinnis, Flutter Memel, Celeste "Jim" Forwzy, Corksoaker "Jenkel" Gloom and Jezibell Thorne), with special contributions from Plasma Zane, Zen Zarco and Spin Dash. As you start out, you'll get a basket for your treats, and you set off skipping through the neighborhood, knocking door to door. And it might bring back some childhood memories, it's so well done. Most of the time you'll get a treat, but not always.

At the far end of the neighborhood, you'll spot a police officer, and he's ready to hand you a flashlight to help you for your trip through the woods. You're going to need it. I won't spoil all the fun, but, as you might imagine, you're headed elsewhere (and more than one place, at that). Just be sure to explore everything, and don't leave until you find the "happy halloween" room. Use of the region windlight is strongly recommended, and be sure to have local sounds turned up. Oh, and those nasty people who give you a trick instead of a treat? Well, come back on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday at noon slt or 7 slt—these are Mischief Nights—and at the landing point you can grab toilet paper and eggs to lob at those inconsiderate spoilsports.

Neva Sky Villi

Neva Crystall was kind enough to allow me to visit her new sim, Neva Sky Villi, while she and her partner Boo (Bootney Blessed) built it up from the ground (or up from the water, more accurately), and it was wonderful to watch her creative process. The sim, which was inspired by Neva's home city of St. Petersburg, is now open, and is a must see: a gorgeous world of canals, walkways, homes, shops and other buildings beautifully rendered—it's a fantastic setting in which to stroll around. Don't miss the Villi Contemporary Art Gallery, where a section of Neva's striking photography is on display.

As at Neva River, the homes here are for rent, and they're all occupied—scooped up on the first day the sim opened. "It was a crazy day—we were going nuts," says Neva. The downside for visitors is that you might occasionally encounter a ban line if you're flying around—just be aware that there are some private residences, and it's quite easy to spot where they are. Elsewhere on the sim, I have a suspicion that the cathedral in the southeast corner and the small church to the southwest might become popular wedding destinations. And Neva says it's possible that some events might crop up at the Avalon Stage, so keep an eye out for news.