31 January 2014

The Miniature Goal

Opening tomorrow, Saturday, February 1, at 2 pm slt at the Art India Gallery, curated by Quan Lavender, is The Miniature Goal by Haveit Neox. The installation, set in a space measuring about 100x40 square meters, features a miniature city set along the coast of a sea, but with oil derricks looming in the distance, a juxtaposition that suggests tension between the charming town and its source of energy. And, indeed, there is environmental disharmony: "What if our physical world shrunk in proportion to the resources we drain from it?" asks Haveit—and we understand that the residents of this city, who at first appear to be giants towering over the buildings, are, in fact, normal in size, and that instead their homes have shrunk.

Haveit poses the question, "We deplete resources all across the globe, yet in our homes we may feel few repercussions. Though we don’t actually visit the oil spills, the cleared forests, or the mines, let’s imagine how it would appear, were our everyday life reflected proportionately to the current depletion. If our bedroom walls were to shrink at the same percentage as the forests or the extinction of species for instance, how high exactly would our walls become?"

The rhetoric all a bit too doom and gloom for me (not that I'm not concerned about the environment!), but the installation itself is striking and captivating, and a spatial delight to experience. The parcel's windlight is set to sunset, so Haveit designed the city around that particular environmental setting, but others work admirably well. The Miniature Goal will remain on display through March.

30 January 2014

The Singularity of Kumiko

Opening on Friday, February 14, at Immersiva, is a new major installation by Bryn Oh entitled The Singularity of Kumiko. For a couple months now, a few of us have been privileged to see, in brief glimpses, part of what Bryn has been thinking about—at least with respect to the exceptionally dark lighting and the use of light projectors—and you can get of a sense of it, too, by watching the video below. Keep an eye on Bryn's blog for more details, and I'll post more as the opening date nears.

29 January 2014

Motel Coimbra

It's always encouraging to see the arts in Second Life (or any virtual world) gain positive recognition in real life. This Friday, January 31, at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, an exhibition entitled Motel Coimbra opens, featuring works by Ph.D. students in the Colégio das Artes. Among them is Catarina Carneiro de Sousa, known in Second Life as CapCat Ragu, one of the organizers of the Meta_Body project (about which I've written here and here).

"The virtual experience of the body is not exactly an experience of the flesh. Although metaverse experiences have a perceptual and sensorial aspect, they continue to be experienced in our organic body, not in our avatar body. We could look at a very realistic virtual cake and salivate, but if our avatar eats it we won't feel its flavor. The virtual body is a metaphorical body and therefore a body of expression and language. We focused on this aspect, on project Meta_Body, thinking of the avatar as a body / language open to experimentation and possibility, providing eighteen avatars, which were not only offered, but also copiable and transferable, giving total freedom of use to producers," she says, referring to the original Meta_Body avatars.

In addition to the avatar contributors listed on the poster above, Catarina's exhibition will include machinima and virtual photography by more than twenty other artists. (I'm delighted to be among them.) To view a couple of Catarina's videos on Meta_Body, visit here and here.

28 January 2014

Giovanna Cerise, JudiLynn India, JadeYu Fhang and Elin Egoyan at La Maison d'Aneli

Opening today, Tuesday, January 28, 12:30 pm slt, at La Maison d'Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a group exhibition of works by artists Giovanna Cerise, JudiLynn India, JadeYu Fhang and Elin Egoyan. On the lower floor of the gallery, split into two areas, one will find the works by Elin and JudiLynn—both artists are using the opportunity to showcase real life artworks (middle image).

Higher up, in two separate galleries, are installations by Giovanna and JadeYu. In Giovanna's work, Get Lost, (top image), we find a large room of intersecting rectangular blocks, all in a contained palette of violet, tan, black and white, through which red and black human figures are furtively darting (running from something, perhaps?), while within these somewhat translucent blocks are the forms of hands outstretched. I found it quite captivating, and it grew on me over time. JadeYu's works are installed in a similarly sized space (although it felt to me like more would be welcome), with Ce qu'il restera! (detail shown, lower image) filling the central space, and it certainly appears as though something unpleasant is happening. Three other works surround this, mounted on the walls, and I was left uncertain as to what their formal relationship might be to the central material, if any. If you enjoy the gallery, a tip jar is located near the landing point.

27 January 2014

Linden Endowment for the Arts Announces Round 6 Residencies

Today, the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) announced the recipients of Round 6 awards for Artist-in-Residence Land Grants. Each awardee will receive a full region for a period of five months—February 1 through June 30, 2014. In the past, artists have been required to have completed their builds within three months—ensuring a full two-month period for visitors—but the new awardees apparently have up to four months. (Many will certainly finish in advance of this deadline, but at the latest installations should be open by late May.)

Awardees include:
Canary Beck
Eupalinos Ugajin
Glyph Graves
Livio Korobase
Lorin Tone
Mac Kanashimi (lower image, from his LEA installation 3D Mandelbrot Fractal Art in 2013)
Maya Paris
Mimesis Monday
Nexuno Thespian
Pixels Sideways
Sniper Siemes
SodaGnome Resident
Solkide Auer
Storm Septimus
Tansee Resident
TheRealKarenEliot Resident
Tomm Pye
Tyrehl Byk (top image, from his LEA installation Almost Flat Land in 2012)
Xineohp Guisse
Yooma Mayo

There are a few names on the list that are unfamiliar to me (PatriciaAnne Daviau, an LEA Committee member, notes that most recipients will be exhibiting at LEA for the first time), and that's always a good thing to see. I look forward to visiting the works by well established artists as well. Patty says, "Projects range from full-sim immersions, to innovative builds geared specifically for multimedia works such as sound and machinima projects." Recipients also have the option of serving as curators, much as Eupalinos Ugajin has done with his exceptional Round 5 collaboration, "Moving Islands" [Rafts].

24 January 2014

Avalon Town Grand Reopening

A couple months ago, the then-estate owner of Avalon Town, Colleen Kesey, announced that she would be closing down her group of sims, long a mainstay of the arts community. (See here for a blog post.) However, Tricia Aferdita stepped in to purchase a pair of the regions, Tabula rasa and Amicus curiae, and has worked to rebuild and reignite the gallery and residential scene—click here to reach the landing point. A grand Avalon Town re-opening is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, January 25, from 5 to 8 pm slt. (A third neighboring sim, Cor unum, was purchased by Aisling Sinclair—I understand Taralyn Gravois may be creating a gallery there.)

Most of the galleries in Avalon are on the upper sim of Tabula rasa, and among the artists who have moved in—and I'm likely to miss a couple, so please send me corrections—are Adrian Deschanel, Alexx Fenstalker, Antenna Rae, Cat Boccaccio, Daire Aeon, Douglas Story & Desdemona Enfield, Een Maculate, Em Larsson, Gala Caproni, Jessica Belmer, JudiLyn India, Kayly Iali, LeonTubrok Beaumont, Lusus Saule, Mia Anaïs (Marleeoneal). Nils Ophelia, Ohsoleomio, Ragamuffin Kips, sakura2 Dryke (sakura2 Kohime), Samara Furse-Barzane, Sandy Schnook, Scottius Polke, Sheba Blitz, Terra Tepper, Tessa (Tesserae Swansong), Winter Hendes and the Icarus collective of LeonTubrok, iSkye Silverweb and Nyx Ivory. If you're an artist looking for space, a few galleries are still available.

23 January 2014

Tourist in Another's Reality

Opening tomorrow, Friday, January 24 at 12:30 pm slt, and continuing until 3:00 pm slt, is the opening of Tourist in Another Reality, an exhibition of photography by Isa Messioptra and Serene Footman at the Nitroglobus Gallery, curated by Nitro Fireguard and Dido Haas. The exhibition's title is based on a quote from Susan Sontag: "The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own," and the suggested attire for the opening is "tourist."

While you're visiting, take time to explore the adjoining galleries, which highlight artworks by the curators, and also provide a station for viewing machinima by Tutsy Navarathna, Bryn Oh, and Nitro. Please consider leaving a contribution to support the gallery if you enjoy the exhibitions.

Ricco Saenz on Depth of Field

Last night, Ricco Saenz added a great post to his blog, Second Sighting, entitled How to actually capture depth of field on your SL photos. In it, he succinctly describes a challenge that faces photographers: in using depth of field, we are trying to purposefully blur a particular part of the image, but only by saving the image at the current screen resolution do we obtain the "correct" result, because saving at a higher resolution makes adjustments to the depth of field that we can't easily anticipate or see in advance. I'd just like to amplify on one aspect of this (as Honour McMillan has also done here). (Edit: Ricco just gave me a heads up that Nalates Urriah has also posted, from a more technical perspective, on her always excellent blog here.)

Let's say I take a photo that's set to "current window"—meaning what I'm seeing on the screen right in front of my nose—in my case that would be usually around 2550 pixels wide. The top image (2556 pixels wide), which was taken at bonne chance, shows some telephone poles with wires strung along them, and, if you look closely, you can see that some of the wires are breaking up. (You can click on these images to enlarge them.) Then I took the same image at a custom setting, in this case 4000 pixels wide (the second image), and you can see that the wires look better.

In the third and fourth images, I've zoomed in on the wires and have enlarged them. The quality of the higher resolution image is far superior—significantly better than what I see on my screen, actually. Circling back to Ricco's blog post: When you're working with depth of field and high resolution, the viewer is going, in a sense, to do battle with itself: the depth of field settings are meant to blur, but the high resolution is intended to provide better detail. So, as Ricco points out, one sometimes has to shoot, then view the resulting image in Photoshop (or whatever your preference is), then shoot again, and so on, until the right balance of detail and depth of field is achieved.

The Infinity Space

Opening tomorrow, Friday, January 24 at 2 pm slt, is The Infinity Space by Betty Tureaud. True to its name, it's a very horizontal space that appears to recede indefinitely from its center—or from wherever one happens to be—through the use of enormous transparent grids criss-crossed with slightly askew, brightly colored, enormous prims—they extend way past the edges of the sim, so we're not able to reach the far recesses. Circling about near the landing point are small fuschia-colored tetrahedrons, and you're invited to take a seat on one to get the full effect.

Viewing in mouselook seems most effective while traveling around on a tetrahedron—one really sees a mesmerizing flow of colors against the grids while in motion, with x and y lines slowly interchanging—and, although I hesitate to draw a comparison between The Infinity Space and the horizontal portion of Douglas Trumbell's amazing Star Gate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey, I have to admit that my mind did make the connection. Musician Ultraviolet Alter will give a live performance during the opening.

Art India Gallery Shop

Opening today, Thursday, January 23 at 1 pm slt, is a new shop space at the Art India Gallery, curated by my friend and blogger Quan Lavender. Designed by Haveit Neox, the shop will feature rotating displays (changing bi-monthly) of various works for sale, either through vendors or via links to the Marketplace. The inaugural artists include Alia Baroque, Bonafide Aries, Dizzy Banjo & Eshi Otawara, LeMelonRouge Onyett, Lilianna Clarity, Milly Sharple, Paco Pooley, RAG Randt, Rebeca Bashly, Rodriguez Munro and Spooky Mistwallow. Additionally, Quan has set out for sale a large assortment of "FUSE" lamps by Trill Zapatero, which are delightfully playful and unique.

While you're visiting, you might want to slip into the gallery itself to view the current exhibitions of artworks: Faces by Lilianna Clarity and Relation Tower by Robin Moore.

21 January 2014

Gallery Assis Closing (images NSFW)

Today, Eli Wallace, the owner and curator of Gallery Assis, informed her artists that because of real life circumstances she will be closing the gallery in the next several days. For years, Gallery Assis has been one of the top flight art spaces in Second Life, presenting erotic works of the highest quality, and of every sort—by both male and female artists, straight and gay, and everything in between—"housing tasteful erotic art from diverse sexualities and genders," as its description says. So it's "last call" if you'd like to see the exhibitions and purchase any of the artwork.

Currently on display—and I hope I'm not missing anyone in this list—are artworks by Amona Savira, bachi Cheng, Bee Glasswing, Burk Bode, Emaline9, FloraClayflower Beeswing, Harbor Galaxy, Isa Messioptra, Joseph Nussbaum, Jeanne Sahara, Jessica Belmer, Jipe Loon, JobblerJ Voom, Karol Lyric, Lincoln Garnet, Maloe Vansant, Sabbian Paine, Sydney Garnet (Sydney Bonde), Tess Falworth, Thea Maiman, Tomais Ashdene and WayneNZ. Real life images of Eli adorn the foyer, and the entire build is a striking architectural space created by Colpo Welxer. Thank you, Eli, for your exception curatorial work, for providing a home for many artists, and for sharing your vision with the community.

Bryn Oh Receives Grant from the OAC

Canadian artist Bryn Oh announced today that she has been awarded a substantial media arts grant from the Ontario Arts Council—Le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario (OAC), doubling the support of her previous OAC grant in 2011. "This new grant will support, among other things, the creation of a machinima for Imogen and the Pigeons which recently closed on Immersiva. Much of the application focused on...previously created machinima for Standby as well as the single room within Imogen and the Pigeons that I filmed called Juniper." (Visit her website to view these and other machinima.)

It is encouraging to see public arts funding earmarked for the support of creativity in virtual worlds. And it's also important to note that these grants are awarded based on the recommendations of peer reviewers—established artists whose expertise is highly respected, and who sift through hundreds of competing proposals. Congrats to Bryn on this achievement.

Fuschia's Collection

Stop by LEA22 to visit Fushia's Collection, a display of artworks from the inventory of Fushia Nightfire, on view as part of the Interim Project at the LEA sims through the month of January. In addition to many of Fushia's own objects, you'll see items by other Second Life artists, collected over the past six years; Fushia's collaborations with other creators; her "Freebie Junk Shop," which includes things from previous projects; some of her Greenies collection; and "lots of other useless junk." (I even spotted ancient trees by Baron Grayson.) The artists represented include AM Radio, barry Richez, Chuckmatrix Clip, Elros Tuominen, Feathers Boa, Gabba Loon, Gfresh Botha, Gracie Kendal, Indigo Hornet, Kolor Fall, LawnDart Curtiss, Light Waves, mcarp Mavendorf, Omni Market, Paulette Felisimo, Rag Randt, Rose Borchovski, Sabrinaa Nightfire, Saiwun Yoshikawa, Scottius Polke, soror Nishi, Spiral Silverstar, Tegan Jenvieve, Trill Zapatero, Tyrehl Byk, Ub Yifu, victorn Oppewall, Winter Nightfire and others.

20 January 2014

Thea Dee at LEA18

Now on display at LEA18 and continuing through the end of January, as part of the Interim Project, is an exhibition of photography by Thea Dee that features 72 images. The work documents a broad array of regions, location and events, including Bay City, Shermerville, the Spencer Museum of Art (a Petrovsky flux), Neva River, Pravda, Omega Point, Hazardous, Noweeta Grasslands, Pangloss, Roche, Virtual Chelsea, Calas Galadhon, Humanoid, Chakryn Forest and others.

The exhibition is invitingly designed in a series of twelve pergolas that wrap around a central lake, all set in a grove of mountain pines, although I did find myself wishing that the images were larger and more boldly displayed. A notecard that accompanies the exhibition includes landmarks to many of the locations.

19 January 2014


There I was, minding my own business at home and trying to find a necklace to match an outfit, when Inara Pey IM'd me: grab a gun, she directed, and meet her at LEA28. Fortunately, she wasn't looking to shoot at me, because it turns out she's an expert shot—instead she wanted my help to fight the legendary Air Kraken, scourge of the sky, which were circling overhead. Large squid-like creatures from Second Life's past (Bettina Tizzy wrote about them here back in 2009), they're the creations of Marion Questi and Martini Discovolante, and are waiting and ready to fight you in battle. (The bloody scene above shows me wielding a rifle against a kraken about to destroy me—I think Inara saved my rear end.) They're here as part of a collaborative sim-wide installation by the AetherTrope, organized by Martini especially for LEA28 as part of the Interim Project. Click here to pay a visit to the sim.

On the sim's surface, many of the builds are items by Martini, ranging from her Love Flys Home, shown above, originally designed for the Summer of Love in Raglan, to many other of her creations, large and small. Looking over the entire region is her enormous mechanical arm and hand that reaches down to touch a tower rising up from the ground—one in a group of eight towers connected by some sort of electrical charge, and this one populated by five bunnies that are clambering up the tower attempting to make some sort of connection with the hand. (You'll just have to see it.)

I was absolutely enthralled to discover that Martin Ren, the proprietor of the Cod Supper Club and former proprietor of Flashmans, had rezzed a replica of the original Flashmans from about 2007 (above). The great intellectual watering hole for the ne'er-do-wells of Second Life back then (and for several years after), it's a place dear to me personally, and where I made many friendships—Martin, Nim, Cu, Boughan, Jenn, Crow, Naxos, Pip, Walpurgis, Echo, Phi, Cutea, Rumpledink, Yip, Badger, Bessy and on and on—some of whom are now rarely inworld if not gone. "Hopefully I will get the 'talking curator' installed when I can find the correct script," Martin tells me, and he's has even been kind enough to re-create the build's original toilets. I spent a long time looking through Nimuwe Rehula's Cads, Cuties & Flappers book, which is rezzed on the Flashmans floor.

And then there's a tour de force by Frenchbloke Vanmoer, a wonky house set up in the air (there's a teleport on ground level) that would make M.C. Escher proud. By using a script that allows visitors to walk on the walls and ceilings as easily as the floors, he's created a place where there isn't an up, down or sideways. Mouselook is recommended, and you'll have to take your time, as steering yourself around can be a challenge—but it's all well worth it and is a delightful (if potentially disorienting) experience.

Like many of the Interim Project sims, this one will continue to evolve and may expand the number of participants, so check back often. Everything is here through the end of January.

18 January 2014

City's Two Faces

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, January 19 at 12:30 pm slt, is an exhibition of photography by Melusina Parkin at the Galeria Lezspain. Continuing her investigation into urban landscapes, the exhibition, which spans two floors, is entitled City's two faces, or Las dos caras de la ciudad, and her works, as always, exquisitely capture moments in time bathed in light and shadows. She says, "My archive is filled with pictures of cities, and I selected some 35, depicting the ugly and the fair in the SL representation of urban environments. Sad outskirts and pretty streets of nice houses, dark alleys and pleasant corners, lonely places and delightful buildings alternate in these photos..." Even though the exhibition is on the sim Lesbian Lezspain Club, I assume gentlemen are very welcome to attend the opening and to enjoy the gallery, which is curated by Annie Rothlisberger and Bimba Orfan.

Paper Observatory

Officially opening today, Saturday, January 18, is Haveit Neox's Paper Observatory at LEA25, as part of the Interim Project. This build, impressive not only for its scale and complexity, but also for having been constructed in only a couple weeks, is a large circular city, with buildings radiating out from a central plaza at which some sort of gathering is taking place. Towering 120 meters up over the city is an enormous observatory, crafted of paper, bits of which have broken loose and are drifting in the winds. (The papers, if you can catch a glimpse of them, are notes and thoughts on the building of the space.) On April 10, part of this build will reappear at Haveit's main sim, ACC Alpha, to replace an old Paper Tower there that the artist constructed in his early days. "Only the floating observatory and the round arena below it will eventually be transferred. The rest of the circular city is just too large to fit into ACC Alpha. It was an idea I've wanted to try out, and this gave me the opportunity to see how it would look, but unfortunately, it will be lost—just no room for it," he explains to me.

There are really two worlds in the build: the lower levels, where rituals are taking place in a time of superstition, and the Observatory, representing a new era in which discovery reigns. Haveit continues, "Another reason for the Observatory is to bring new ideas into ACC Alpha. The sim has always been focused on the arts. The Observatory will be a place where Science is displayed. As I find fine videos on YouTube and Vimeo, I'll make posters about them with a link so visitors can enjoy the information. It's kind of like a library of films that I want to continually revisit, and make available to others. Another thing that is new, or rather growing, is the focus on light. I based the Observatory on a picture of an interior of a Turkish building. I wanted to capture the interesting lighting coming from above." Much more on the ideas behind the Paper Observatory are available on Haveit's blog, ACC Alpha, in this post.

As part of the opening, Haveit will be creating a machinima about the project today at 1 pm slt, and you're invited to join and to orbit the space around the Observatory. He's especially interested in people dressed as a star or satellite or the sun, however one might imagine them to be—but you can also just come as you are. Even if you aren't able to join for the machinima, don't miss this exceptional creation, which will remain on display until the end of January.

Tales of the Future

Now open at LEA25, as part of the Interim Project for the month of January, is Tales of the Future, a collaborative installation by artist Asmita Duranjaya and science fiction author and composer maikelkay Resident (or Michael K. Iwoleit in real life). (In the image above, maikeykay performs on the left while Asmita, on the right, runs a particle show.) Asmita has constructed five immersive visualizations based on compositions by maikelkay—his Ambient Etudes 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7—that can be entered through a series of doorways at the landing point. Each is a distinct environment: the first, based on Etude 5, is a tunnel with 37 sound slices (second image), that allows visitors to "recompose" the piece as they travel through the space—each of the archways delivers an excerpt from the piece.

The second environment, based on Etude 1, displays a video inspired by the composition, while the third, set in a crystal water cave (third image) and based on Etude 6, invites the visitor to rest on a blossom leaf while listening (best experienced in mouselook). The fourth setting, based on Etude 7, is set in a world of floating spheres (again, probably best experienced in mouselook, lowest image), while the fifth, a rather violent place, is an "Alien-Sound-World" based on Etude 4. Visitors are prompted to bring up each etude in a web browser as they enter these spaces.

Some special events are planned at Tales of the Future. Today, Saturday, January 18, at 2 pm slt, maikelkay will read his story "Planck Time" in English, and on Sunday, January 19, at 1 pm slt, maikeykay will present a concert of a new ambient etude while Asmita accompanies with a live particle show. These events will be presented at the main landing area (top image), a presentation space shaped as a bluish foreign planet.

17 January 2014

Fundraisers for Parkinson's

About a year ago, Hamlet Au blogged the remarkable story of Fran (or Fran Seranade in Second Life), an octogenarian with Parkinson's Disease who seemed to be experiencing a significant recovery of movement as a result of spending time in Second Life. I've had the great pleasure of spending time with Fran and with her daughter, Barbie Alchemi in Second Life, as well as others who believe that Second Life may be beneficial to those with Parkinson's, including the architect DB Bailey (about whom you can read here).

Today and tomorrow, there are a couple of events designed to raise funds for Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. The first, which is beginning just now as I post this, is at Ce Soir Arts (top image)—three hours of music hosted by Barbie Alchemi, Mireille Jenvieve and Aeon Woodford, for Creations for Parkinson's Team Fox, running from 12 noon slt to 3 pm slt. (And after that, you can visit Ce Soir's conservatory, where art by Carlotta Ceawlin is on display.)

The second event takes place tomorrow (Saturday, January 18) at Angelwood Bay Art Center (lower image) at 2 pm slt, when the dance group The Dazzlers will perform, hosted by angel Kingmaker, Erica Renee (Eric Difference) and Solas NaGealai. Tickets for this event are L$300 and can be purchased in advance from the organizers.

Additionally, tonight at Creation's Park from 6 to 8 pm slt, stop by for dancing and fun with DJ Graywolf, who will interview Barbie and Fran in person between sets, all streamed on XTC Radio.