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.

10 August 2016

Betty Tureaud and Laoin Xaris at UTSA ArtSpace

Now open at the UTSA ArtSpace, hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, and curated by constructivIST Solo, is an exhibition featuring a three-dimensional installation by Betty Tureaud and a series of two-dimensional artworks by Laoin Xaris. "The work of the two artists in some ways are counterpoints to each other," notes the curator. Betty's space, which seems to be untitled, can be reached by clicking on the curious figure in the middle of the gallery. Visitors are teleported to the installation, which features Betty's typically bright and playful colors and the same sculpture, its outstretched hands doubling as giant ears (image above). Here, visitors will discover that large colored prims respond to movements, creating an ever-changing scene. As to the odd creature in the center of it all? It symbolizes the United States National Security Agency (NSA), with "ears that grab all your information," says Betty.

The images by Laoin, on display throughout the gallery, are real life photographs, primarily black and white, all elegantly composed and with minimalist themes, as exemplified in the detail below. The exhibition will continue into October, and contributions toward the support of the gallery are accepted at the landing point.

06 August 2016

Behind the Curtain

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, August 7, at 12 pm slt, is a new exhibition at the Dathúil Gallery of Art by photographer Daze (a.k.a. Daisydaze or Daze Landar) entitled Behind the Curtain. Featured in the themed images, all centered around the milieu of the circus (although not all literally depicting circus scenes), are a number of other noted artists, including Elizabeth Nantes, Dathúil curator Lucy Diamond, Syn Zane (Syn Beresford), and Keane Addison (stage hand), as well as Daze's partner, Owen Landar.

"Behind the Curtain is the beginning of my exploration of who we are in the spotlight and out," says Daze. "The circus without a doubt is a great metaphor for life...the big show under a massive tent. The greatest show on earth!" Visitors who would like to know more about Daze and her work — and in particular her process in developing this exhibition — would be well advised to read an excellent interview with by Kate Bergdorf, published by Kate two days ago on her blog, here. The exhibition will remain on display for approximately one month.

05 August 2016

Them

"I am making some people," Cica Ghost told me a couple weeks back. "I don't know what they will be, but I want to make a scene with lots of people — to cover a sim with people." And, in her new immersive installation, Them, she has done just that: in a single posed scene, amid a parched and forlorn landscape with giant thorns emerging from the ground (maybe evocative of the Đavolja Varoš in southern Serbia), hundreds of humanoid figures are massed together, their statuesque shapes bent downward and trudging forward in the same direction, looking alienated, broken and perhaps searching.

These huddled masses might evoke for some viewers the Syrian refugee crisis or some similar catastrophe involving human suffering. "You can see them your way," Cica said as we explored her build together. "Everybody has their own version — they can remind people of many situations." But overhead, a curious object provides some context, or perhaps simply raises more questions. A large flying saucer, a UFO substantial enough to potentially hold all of the figures, hovers in the sky overhead, shining beams of light below onto the forwardmost of the figures (image above).

Not quite all the figures are in alignment of thought and action: three stand apart, perched on a little hillock (image above), and elsewhere one has started to break off from the group, seemingly to explore on his own. The images of this dark scene shown here use the parcel's default windlight setting, highlighting the area's deep rust and grey tones, and Cica recommends activating advanced lighting model and shadows. If you enjoy Them, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point, or by visiting Cica's shop.

29 July 2016

Forest of Scissors

Igor Ballyhoo's venerable Forest of Scissors has been temporarily reconstructed at LEA7. This immersive and gigantic field of sharp objects is a delight to photograph and explore, although both my partner Kinn and I were oddly pushed off the platform repeatedly. (Try flying above or below if that happens.) As new material is in development elsewhere on the sim, which is owned by Rose Borchovski for an LEA grant, the Forest of Scissors may disappear soon. Thanks to the astute observation of friend and photographer Anita Witt for the alert.