27 August 2016

In the Dark

Now open at the Rose Gallery is In the Dark, an exhibition of photographs by Norton Lykin. Spread across two rooms are one three-dimensional and eleven two-dimensional works, simply but elegantly composed. "Reflecting on nature, love, perception and cognition, I see clearly that what we perceive as reality is a flux depending on our ideas, history and conditioning, that the present moment feeds us with all kind of possible realities," says Norton. "Throughout this there is one stable factor, love, which can take us trough everything, love of this being which in its imperfection is perfect, wholesome. We are in this journey called life given the opportunity to be open and question our ideas and the histories we tell and this is my project." Each of the art objects is available for purchase, as is an accompanying book that expresses more about the exhibition.

26 August 2016

Immaculate Perception - Immaculate Reflection

Now open at LEA22 is Immaculate Perception - Immaculate Reflection, an installation by artist Krystali Rabeni. Throughout the sim, set ankle-deep in smooth water, are various little scenes or vignettes, many with curious or playful incongruities — two women out walking hot dogs, bears with moth wings who puzzle over Scrabble pieces, sheep held aloft by what appear to be pieces of popcorn, wolves with pine trees growing out of their backs, a dandelion whose seeds are umbrellas, and so on.

"There is no truth, there is only perception...immaculate perception," says Krystali. "What you see is what you thought before you looked. The installation is an eclectic mix of surreal art and virtually real art veiled in allegory. You will perceive the installation in your own way. The immaculate perception of it is an immaculate reflection of the viewer. A very interesting abstraction proving that there is no truth, only perception."

If there is any central challenge to the otherwise provocative and enjoyable installation, it's the density of the layout, as exemplified in the top image, where one can't view one element without the intrusion of others — it's hard to focus on, say, a scene of skeletons watching televisions without seeing several other scenes in the immediate background. (If you're a photographer interested in creating images such as the subsequent three in this post, then some derendering or careful control of distance sliders might be in order.) The top image shows the sim's default deep blue environmental settings. Immaculate Perception - Immaculate Reflection will continue on display through the end of the year.

25 August 2016

Library

"The only thing that you absolutely have to know," said Albert Einstein, "is the location of the library." Opening today, Thursday, August 25, is Library by Cica Ghost, a miniature world filled with stacks of books, a studious librarian, a few cats, and a colorful, giant bookmobile. The librarian, whose desk is positioned to welcome visitors — or perhaps to keep a sharp eye on them — seems engrossed in an old, weathered tome (or perhaps a musical score), a green parrot perched by her side and a cup of black coffee at the ready. ("A grumpy old lady. She is nice — she just looks bad," says Cica.)

The library seems to have run out of shelf space: books are piled and stacked everywhere, often precariously, towering over the wooden floors. Other volumes are strewn about on the ground, tossed this way and that, looking as if they belong right where they rest. A large forlorn tree looks down over the entire scene, its one bare lower branch home to a crow and a trio of mushrooms.

Visitors will discover poses here and there — on the mushroom branch, on chairs, on a bed, on a window, on the branch next to the parrot, and elsewhere — and dances for one or two people at a time are available via a couple of the cats. If you enjoy Cica's work, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point, or by enjoying items from her store located here in Appalachian.

24 August 2016

Sky Fallen

"These photography sims are a lot of fun," remarked Syn Zane (Syn Beresford) as we discussed Sky Fallen, her new space open exclusively to members of the Elysion group. "I'm working out ideas for the next one already." Syn, who is the creator and proprietor of the well-known sim Elysion, created Sky Fallen as a haven for Second Life photographers. "I love seeing how people photograph things," she added. "It's really exciting to me, and makes me want to just constantly make something new so they can take photos."

The striking island sim does indeed present enchanting opportunities: a large Romanesque domed building stands on the shoreline against a crescent moon (top image), while tranquil and surreal natural scenes can be found from almost every vantage point. In the image below, luminescent flowers pulse against Dr. Suess-like stones stretching up from the sea. The island's prominent balloon (lowest image) isn't simply a stationary piece of exterior decor, but provides an autopiloted tour around Sky Fallen.

The required L$650 group fee not only admits visitors to Sky Fallen, but also to the gorgeous Elysion sim itself. Syn said, "I figure it's a pretty good perk for members to have something special. The membership fee that is required to enjoy the sim — and Elysion — helps to ensure that Elysion and all the membership perks can continue to evolve and grow." Sky Fallen will remain open only until September 18, and other special Elysion group locations will follow in the future.

21 August 2016

Song about Rain

Now open at the Crestwick Gallery is an exhibition of photography entitled Song about Rain, featuring works by Anita Witt, Burk Bode, Charlie Namiboo, Cold Frog, Laura Richards, Maloe Vansant, MaryFelicity, Mr. S., Nur Moo, Panteleimon Aeon and Sugar Silverstar. Each of the portraits — inspired, not surprisingly, by the theme of rain — is available for purchase for L$300, and contributions in support of Crestwick are welcomed. Situated next door at the Broad Street Gallery is a showing of images by Cipher (Ciphertazi Wandin), which is also not to be missed.

20 August 2016

Song of Childhood

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, August 21, from 2 to 4 pm slt, at the Lollygagger Lane Arts Center, curated by chrissssy, is Song of Childhood, an exhibition of recent images by Kate Bergdorf. These beautifully composed black-and-white photographs depict evocative childhood moments through the lens of a doll avatar, heightening the innocence of the scenes. "This exhibit is inspired by the poem 'Song of Childhood' by the Austrian novelist, playwright and political activist Peter Handke," explains Kate. "Handke wrote much of the dialogue, including the poem 'Song of Childhood,' for Wim Wender’s Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire). Each of the eleven passages in the poem corresponds to one of my photographs in this exhibit. Inspired by the beauty of Handke's words, I attempt to capture feeling states in pictures." The complete poem is provide in a notecard that accompanies the exhibition. Each of Kate's images is available for purchase, and contributions in support of Lollygagger are welcomed.

19 August 2016

Dancing with Spirits

Arts patrons who enjoyed Theda Tammas's exhibition at LEA6, who stole the sky?, featured yesterday in this blog (read here), will also enjoy visiting her Dancing with Spirits, now on display at the Galleria Kakku, curated by Pieni. Far more intimate in scale than the LEA installation, Dancing with Spirits features a company of about twenty dancers who descend from an opening over a ramp leading down to something akin to a stage, where they break into movement — some solo, some trio, and some in a pas de deux. Against the deep blue background, a few of the dancers gently travel about in space. Relative to who stole the sky?, it's a far more painterly scene. The installation will run through September.

18 August 2016

who stole the sky?

Now open at LEA6 is who stole the sky?, an multi-level installation by artist Theda Tammas. Set amid a red sky, and extending over the water/ground and on and between two semi-transparent platforms, humanesque figures express themselves through various gestures — reaching or pointing toward the sky, grabbing a falling companion, spinning in a bubble-like shape, or performing some other movement open to interpretation. These figures, while distinctly people, are not fully whole — pieces and parts are missing, and their depiction is mirrored in the surrounding material, with bright red, blue and cyan bursts of shards, some of which fade in and out, and in the textures of the floors themselves.

It's important to look under and between the floors — much activity takes place there rather than on the levels themselves. Theda encourages visitors to have parcel media turned on, as the title of the work is taken from a song (and album) by Sainkho Namtchylak, which plays in a continuous loop. Visitors are invited to take home a gift, a miniature sculpture (detail shown below) that evokes one of the larger sculptures in who stole the sky? The installation, situated on one of the LEA core sims, will likely remain open for a couple months.

17 August 2016

The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation

Now open at the Split Screen Installation Space, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, is a new installation by Oberon Onmura entitled The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation. "This work is an installation which embodies terraforming, complex scripted objects, and bots," explains Oberon, who credits American minimalist art of the 1960s and 70s as a primary influence. "A 'forest' of vertical mounds is inhabited by four avatars, each enclosed in a unique soundscape and constrained to a single animation. A plain white chair beside each avatar invites the viewer to sit and contemplate each small scene." More than seventy steep pillars or mounds rise up from a level sea floor covered with an infinitely changing grid of overlapping textures (image below); from the tops of the pillars, mist rises, and overhead flies an endless flock of bird-like creatures.

On four of these pillars stand platforms hosting scripted agents, or bots, who quietly perform various movements — spinning, lying prostrate, kneeling, pacing — while chairs positioned nearby invite viewers to sit, observe, and comtemplate. "Each person is going to bring his/her own feeling to them," said Oberon. "The spinning one reminds me of a tarot card somehow." At each of these locations, on the ground and on the platforms, a distinct soundscape is presented, so it's essential to have local sounds turned up. Additionally, phantom columns quickly appear and disappear between the pillars, continually altering the landscape, a contrast between the permanent and impermanent, or, as Oberon said as we looked out on The Pillars, "the ephemeral shapes among the solid spikes."

Visitors are urged to use the parcel environmental settings — [TOR] SCIFI - Arrakissed 2 for the sky, and [TOR] Arrakissed variation for the water (otherwise a great deal of the experience will be lost) — and to use advanced lighting model with shadows enabled. The Pillars will remain open through October. If you appreciate the work presented at Split Screen, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point.

16 August 2016

Invictus

Now open at LEA25 is Invictus, a sim-wide installation by Storm Septimus, inspired by the 1875 poem of the same name by William Ernest Henley, originally untitled and not published until 1888. In Henley's short verse, he urges the individual to rise up and triumph against adversity, espousing that one needs to be the master of one's own destiny — the motivation for the poem having stemmed from his own personal fight against tuberculosis of the bone.

At Invictus, visitors arrive at the top of a tower (image above), descend to the base (viewing Henley's poem on the way), and enter a world filled with symbolism and a mountainous rock island wracked with disorder. One navigates to the island's base, working through a maze and maneuvering around debris, and then takes a rowboat across a small body of water to a far more tranquil island to the east (although one not without emotional anguish, as depicted in the screaming winged men on top of the archways). Between the two land masses, and chained to the first, are four colossal horses that strive to break free from the rock. The imagery might remind one of Gustav Doré's engravings for Paradise Lost.

"It's personal to me — I think we have gathered most my builds are," said Storm as we talked at length about her build and reflected back on her previous work. "I have rheumatoid arthritis, and have since I was 21. It's been really shitty since about February this year — I had a really bad time mentally more than anything because, well, I want to be normal and do normal things, and not be like an 80 year old. I can't lift my youngest daughter, I can't undo bottles, and some days my kids have to take my jeans off — I don't have the energy." But she can function ably in Second Life, and also use it as a means of release: "I thought it would be a good build for me mentally if not anything else."

And Storm is delighted with the results of Invictus: "I love this place completely — I really do, and I have never ever said that about anything I have done. It was a really easy build this time — usually I find them so hard, but this one sort of did itself. I knew I wanted it all on the big mountain with the horses before I started, then everything just flowed really good and it was mostly done in about two weeks." The result is an exceptionally photogenic sim, and one in which variety abounds: one sees transformations in environment and materials in every direction, but the sim sticks together as a cohesive whole, providing delightful opportunities for explorers and photographers. (Click on any image to zoom in or check on flickr over the forthcoming week.)

Storm creates not only with physical but technical challenges, working on a laptop that can't rise above SL's midrange settings, and it's interesting that the sim looks possibly better without advanced lighting model activated. She asked that mention be made of her need for poets: August 23 will be William Henley's birthday, and it seemed only appropriate to schedule a poetry reading, and volunteers are needed not only for that event, but for future happenings on the sim — an events board is located on the second island. Invictus will remain on display through the end of 2016.