30 November 2016

Black Label Exhibitions Corner Softie Gallery

The Black Label Exhibitions Corner, curated by Storie's (GlitterPrincess Destiny), Kristine blackadder and AnnaFrancesca Kira, recently opened the doors to a new permanent exhibition space, the Softie Gallery. The spacious area, extending over several floors, currently features two- and three-dimensional works by Bryn Oh, Storie's, Catt Scorpio (Cattivella), CioTToLiNa Xue, LeMelonRouge, Seersha Heart, Astralia, Blip Mumfuzz, Judy Barton (Mitla), MM (Mysterr), vangogh Rembranch, terrygold, Cica Ghost, Eles (Eleseren Brianna), John Brianna (Johannes1977), Maddy (Magda Schmidtzau), Mistero Hifeng, aldiladeisogni, Lil (Lilarya), Inara Pey, Solkide Auer, and paola Mills.

Notecards provide biographical information on each of the featured artists. It's up to each artist to decide when to rotate new works into their displays, so check back frequently to see what's fresh — there's enough to see that visitors might want to plan more than one trip to fully enjoy the entire exhibition.

29 November 2016

One Caress

Break out your umbrellas, raincoats and boots, and prepare for a journey to One Caress, a new — and exceptionally wet — creation by Squonk Levenque and Miuccia Klaar, famed for their earlier waterlogged regions that included H22O (read here), 2304 Rain (read here), and Treptower Park (read here) — plus Felona e Sorona (read here). In One Caress, amid the drenching precipitation, some visitors might recognize references to those earlier builds — a black-horned sheep by the name of Hermenegildo, scattered amusement park items, street lamps, and a dense forest of bare-branched trees — but there's much new to discover.

Visitors arrive at a landing point overhead — a bit of a drizzly prelude — and teleport down to the surface into a watery forest situated in the center of the sim, around which are wrapped various scenes. The only place that escapes the steady onslaught of rain is on the southwest corner, where a tall, narrow island juts up abruptly from the sea. Its walls are too steep to climb, but a long winding staircase leads through and above the rain clouds up to the top, where a tiny house awaits (image above). (It's 10 Barnes Street, the address of the last home of author H.P. Lovecraft, and the interior is decorated accordingly.) And it's hard to miss the bears that populate the sim, especially the giant one to the east, which comes complete with a dangerous pose (lowest image featuring my partner, Kinn).

Diligent explorers might find a hidden thing or two hidden under the floorboards, so to speak, so be sure to cam about and investigate. Balloon rides through the sim are available, and are a fun way to drift about to take in the sights. The images here were taken using the sim's default environmental settings, which are strongly recommended. And the sim's name? "Even before we got the sim," Miuccia shared, "Squonk said, 'I know the name for the next sim: One Caress.' He was watching the video from Depeche Mode and something in it — the arch and the violins — hit his brain." If you enjoy your visit to One Caress, please consider leaving a contribution toward its continued support.

25 November 2016

DiXmiX Gallery (images NSFW)

The DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is currently showing several concurrent exhibitions in its various galleries. The work of Fingers Scintilla (image above) recently opened at the White Gallery, where his portraits, often infused with bright colors, feature faces that stare out to us, sometimes impassively and sometimes fraught with emotion. In the Black Gallery, monochrome works by Gaus (Cicciuzzo Gausman) (image below) explore the female form, and these will remain on display until about December 8.

The double-height lobby area of the entire gallery currently shows works by Maloe Vansant (image below) that will remain on display through the season, while photos by the curator are on display in the Grey Gallery. As always, works by a few other artists are scattered about, and most of the items are available for purchase. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution in support of DiXmiX.

23 November 2016

Tout est Allumé

Now open at MetaLES, curated by Romy Nayar and Ux Hax, is Tout est Allumé, a major retrospective of the work of Tutsy Navarathna, one of the premiere time-based media artists working in Second Life. Represented in this substantial exhibition are 16 machinima and 19 "animated pictures" displayed in a remarkable space that is in every way as much of an artistic experience and a delight to the eyes as the works themselves.

"Virtual reality, augmented reality, virtual life, immersive worlds ... These new words describe a part of our future," says Tutsy. "My movies in Second Life try to show how virtuality is part of our reality. The influence it has on our thoughts, our artistic creations, our friendly or romantic relationships. A phenomenon still very young, virtual life has a bright future and like all major revolutions it is worth to see more closely, trying to understand, even flying too close to the sun and burn your wings..."

To navigate through the massive multi-level installation space, simply follow the illuminated lines on the floor; instructions on how to view the artworks are provided at the entrance. The exhibition notecard also provides URLs for the various artworks on Vimeo and Rezatar (and Tutsy has a YouTube channel as well). Tout est Allumé will continue on display through January 1, and visitors should be prepared to make repeated visits to entirely enjoy all it has to offer.

22 November 2016

from here on there be dragons

Now open at Split Screen Installation Space, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, is from here on there be dragons, a striking new work from Alpha Auer. Set amid a minimalist city hovering the air — reminiscent of the artist's fabulous Blueprint City (read here) — are bold and highly detailed dragons, their formidable golden forms reflected in the floor that supports them. In keeping with the contrasting modern/ancient pairing of materials and the simple/ornate use of textures in the overall build, the floor texture alternates between a thick transparent glass and a leaf from a 1570 atlas by the Renaissance map maker Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, which hearkens back to an earlier age when dragons possibly still existed (at least in the imaginative minds of the day).

"They are about unknown things," says Alpha as she comments on the dragons, "possibly grave dangers, but possibly also magnificent wonders which we cannot untangle unless we tackle the dragons that guard them first. These dangerous wonders reside within our inner selves as much as they reside in external circumstances. Of these it is the inner territory that interests me more — hence the abstraction of the architecture that my, seemingly real, dragons guard. Because what is unknown in the inner self is abstract, but our fear of it is very concrete."

Remarkably, in this modern Second Life world in which most new notable creations are mesh, the dragons in the build are crafted, and beautifully so, out of old-fashioned sculpted prims. Alpha may be best known to some readers as a creator of avatars through her shop alpha.tribe (read here), and for this build she provides a free unisex avatar that's available at the entrance to the installation. from here on there be dragons will remain on display through January 31.

04 November 2016

Nudity (images NSFW)

Now on display at ShipRock Gorean Land is Nudity, an exhibition of photography by Tani Thor that explores the female form, light and shadow. Each of the sixteen mostly monochromatic artworks is available for purchase. The exhibition was inspired in part by the poem "Envelope of Skin" by Dorothy Molloy, which appears on the walls in Italian, and which is included in its entirety on the exhibition notecard. A teleport is available to explore the sim below.

03 November 2016

There Is a Hole in My Inventory

We all have tons of things in our inventory that haven't seen the light of day for ages, and, if you're like Eupalinos Ugajin, many of those things are art objects. On the seemingly forgotten sim of Ouvrir (apparently still paid for by the Museum fuer Gestaltung Zuerich, and situated next to the fabulous alpha.tribe sim), Eupa has done something of an artistic inventory dump entitled There Is a Hole in My Inventory, placing on display all sorts of things old and new, with smaller items in, over and around a structure, and larger ones outside under a large dome. (From the landing point, click on the little door with a cow on it to teleport to the installation; once you've arrived there, an additional teleport network is available to reach some of the key places.)

Among the artists represented in this pop-up exhibit include Art Oluja, Artistide Despres, Bryn Oh, Cica Ghost, Dekka Raymaker, Eupalinos Ugajin, Giovanna Cerise, Haveit Neox, Hilly Kristal (cibigibi), Ini Inaka, Jo Ellsmere, Kake Broek, Livio Korobase, Maya Paris, Melusina Parkin, Momentous, nessuno Myoo, Oberon Onmura, romy Nayar, Scottius Polke, Simotron Aquila, Solkide Auer, Whiskey Monday, Ziki Questi, and others. Be sure to cam way up into the air. There's no telling how long the installation will remain, so visitors are encouraged to arrive soon.

02 November 2016

Nowhere Is Where the Heart Is

At LEA24, temporarily supplanting the David and Goliath installation by Lemonodo Oh, is Nowhere Is Where the Heart Is, a creation by SaveMe Oh in which visitors can explore twelve environments and contemplate the connections between them. The construction is fairly simple: a dozen square enclosures of about forty square meters each, wrapped within by textures depicting a variety of real life scenes that might at first seem unrelated: the destroyed city of Homs, Tiananmen Square, the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the Vatican, Red Square and the Kremlin, Anıtkabir (the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Reichstag, the ruins of Palmyra, Kaaba, the Birkenau concentration camp, and "SaveMe Oh Square."

"Religion," said SaveMe as we talked, "is a recipe for trouble." (As are, by extension, zealous political beliefs.) On the mausoleum of Atatürk, she commented, "He wanted religion and state separated, but what his successor Erdogan sees is different." Housed within each of the squares is an additional scene, often in a barn, with animals and smaller artworks by SaveMe, and while these seem generally unrelated to the broader content the juxtaposition reflects the artist's wry sense of humor.

Always sort of the self-proclaimed rude underdog of the arts in Second Life, and often reviled and derided, SaveMe has written on her blog here about her conversation with Lemonodo and here about her squatting on LEA24, although her presence on the sim is somewhat by invitation. It's hard to say whether Nowhere Is Where the Heart Is will be gone later today or will last through its planned display time through the end of November.

01 November 2016


Now open at LEA21 is Monochrome by artist Giovanna Cerise. This installation, which might at first seem deceptively simple, begins on the ground level, then extends to two additional locations overhead, the second and third areas reaching high into the sky, becoming successively more complex. Reflecting the title, each level focuses on a single color: black for the ground, white for the middle level, and red for the culmination. Giovanna encourages visitors to play with various windlight settings, many of which impart color to the scene (for example, the light blue in the image below or the vivid hues in the lowest image), so the monochromatic exploration may speak more to the artist's choice of materials than it will to the visitor experience.

The black ground level rests over the sea, a construction of overlapping and interlocking rectangles, many of which gently reflect light. Lengthy vertical beams, some more than 50 meters tall, create additional rectangular shapes as they intersect with the floors and horizontal prims, so that the space might resemble something like an exploded maze. Toward the center, a trio of female figures seem to be threading boxes onto strings (or color curves, as they seem to be called) and one of the figures holds a pair of scissors, ready to snip (top image). They are The Three Fates: "One spins the thread of life (maiden), one measures it (mother), one cuts it (crone), and that's a life," explained my partner, Kinn. "She spins, she measures, she cuts. The fates are one woman in three bodies, at three ages: white for the purity of the maiden; red for the passion of the mature woman, the mother; and black for old age and death...the crone." To which Giovanna added, quoting Wikipedia, "They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death. Even the gods feared the Parcae."

The white middle level invites us to explore a flat plain of transparent boxes and rectangles, held together with struts that create complex geometric patterns (image above). Large magnifying glasses positioned throughout the space seem to beckon us to explore or investigate, and the careful observer will discover the forms of several identical women, heads bowed, legs crossed, and arms outstretched to the back, as if either held from behind or pushing forward against heavy odds. Above this platform, stretching into the sky, rises a tangle of boxes, and here the figure of a woman dances, her head held high, arms outstretched and legs spread open (image below). She stands on a magnifying glass while one stands next to her: is she looking through it, or is it there for us to look at her? (Note: on my Mac using Firestorm, I had to decrease glow strength considerably from the default in order to see this part of the installation, which otherwise appeared to be bright white blobs.)

The final red level is a startling, explosive scene — from the side looking something like the disc of a whirlpool galaxy (image below). In contrast to the static overhead section of the white level, this section gives the impression of a split second captured in time, as if it were a frozen image of things swirling in motion. We see only the insides of the red rectangles, not their outsides, heightening our sense of movement as we cam about. The exterior of the scene is wrapped with giant cubes and strings, reminiscent of the black level, and the female figures from the white level return, grouped around the center and seemingly spawning the red cubes, and these eventually morph into twine, rising up into the sky to rope together the pages of a book. Large drips (of blood?) seem to descend from the sky to create the great red mass in the center.

"Monochrome is part of a series of works focused on the exploration of color in all its components and inferences," says the artist. "The installation can be considered an arrival point of an itinerary that began with Synesthesia [read here] and with participation in The Cube Project [read here], but it is certainly a starting point for further development of this research work ... The choice of black, white and red was dictated by my passion for these colors that evoke a multitude of contrasting references, in agreement or in continuation with each other. Since the purpose of the work was to focus the attention emotional - mental on color I chose to use like almost exclusive form the cube-modulated transparency and shadows, entering at the same time the elements that we can define noise, clarifiers, complementary, subordinate depending on your point of view that they can assume for each. The invitation, then, is to experience the different possibilities of light and ambience offering the virtual world. Single color it takes on different aspects and nuances almost endless and the effects increase and multiply, creating a restless disorientation." The installation will remain on display through December.