30 September 2016

It all starts with a smile

Kaelyn Alecto's sim, It all starts with a smile, has broken away from its tropical jungle summer theme and has reopened for autumn, now displaying vivid fall colors. (The sim has been featured in this blog a number of times, most recently here in July.) Amid earthy browns, deep reds and golden yellows, a dirt path gently wraps around a small lake; houses, a barn and other buildings are set further out looking inward on the bucolic scene.

The dwellings and other structures are elegantly furnished and can be entered and explored, and visitors who wish to explore by bicycle can rez one near the landing point, where a group joiner offers the possibility of rez rights for props and other objects. Couples will find plenty of places to relax and take in the view, and photographers will not doubt delight in the sim's beauty. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point.

28 September 2016

EVRE

"Every single person I talk to can relate in one way or another," said Tahiti Rae as we spoke about the premise behind her new build on LEA27, EVRE. "Are we everywhere, at all times?" she asks. Through the exploration of this vast sim, which features a ground level and fourteen additional locations ascending into the sky, visitors can explore that very question, and in more than one way. If fifteen distinct environments sound like a lot to cram into one sim, they are — and the results are impressive. (Tah asked that bloggers avoid spoilers, so this post only scratches the surface of what visitors will encounter during their exploration.)

"On EVRE, travel in time, and then out of it," encourages Tah. "The purpose of EVRE is to present new evidence and to encourage the experience of what we don't yet quite understand. We can see 13 billion light years into the past via the Hubble space telescope, but what is it like now? Are the little gray men us, in the future? Is our deja vu a real memory out of order, or a wink from the universe that the timing is right? When our sleeping dreams come true, did we tap into the super string field? What if time is a misconception? What if reincarnations are little errors we're not supposed to discover? What if we travel from dimension to dimension, and always exist? We are capable of having a good or bad feeling and it comes true, seeing strange images awake or asleep that materialize, communicating with others on a level we don't understand, feeling we've known someone forever, constant deja vu, feeling the pain of strangers across the world, having flashes of memories from the far past, and experiencing anomalies in the present we don't understand."

Visitors enter EVRE on the ground level, where a sparse but beautiful landscape of gently undulating hills conceals a dozen or so antique "memory clocks," each of which serves as a transporter to one of the fourteen levels. The clocks are numbered and have names that correspond to their destinations (Monastic, One Room, Pass, Cruisin', Boomerang, Pride, and so on), and each destination depicts a different moment in time ranging from the distant past to the future. Two clocks are prominently visible as one enters the space: one in the sky (which differs from the other clocks, and points to a location that should be visited at the culmination of all other visits), and one with a large welcome sign that explains how the clocks work — this one, #1, goes to the Psi Pavilion and the Events Venue. Start here, where an orientation to EVRE is presented. Throughout the Psi Pavilion (top image), which functions as something of a library, one can read and watch videos about subjects ranging from telepathy to precognitive dreams, from telekinesis to reincarnation. Visitors can also participate by sharing their own experiences.

Each of the levels is an exquisitely created and photogenic space, a small world unto itself, with remarkably independent content, look and feel. At the culmination of your visit (or visits, as your exploration is likely to take more than one trip) a surprising pair of final destinations tie the various levels together with the build's overall theme. (Tahiti provides a notecard so that visitors can keep track of the destinations they've visited, and using this is almost a necessity. To return to the landing point with the memory clocks, simply click on the two runners who are present at each level.) EVRE will host occasional events and facilitate group projects — join the group at the landing point for additional information — and will remain open until December 31.

27 September 2016

5Y Smoking

Now open at MetaLES is 5Y Smoking, the premiere exhibition of photography by Lan (lanjran Choche), who along with Ux Hax and Romy Nayar is one of the sim's owners. Uncharacteristically for MetaLES, the exhibition ventures into the realm of fashion photography — often erotic, often avant garde, and consistently well shot. With rare exception, a slender cigarette is a common element in all the images — sometimes in the mouth, sometimes in the hand, and sometimes visible only by a gentle spiral of smoke — and the exhibition's title is short for "Five Years Smoking," with one diptych near the landing point contrasting images from 2011 and 2016. "It's a mood," said Lan said with a laugh as we talked about the exhibition and the constantly present cigarette. "Femme fatale."

The gallery, designed and constructed by Lan, is minimally lit (thereby letting the artwork stand out), so visitors should use the occasional trail of red dots to help navigate through the exhibition. Those who are curious about the impressively diverse fashion can discover more information through Lan's flickr stream, although there are no direct links between the images on display and those on flickr. 5Y Smoking should remain on display for the next several weeks.

25 September 2016

DiXmiX Gallery Inaugural Exhibition (images NSFW)


Now open is the inaugural exhibition in the new DiXmiX Gallery (much expanded over its original incarnation, and once again beautifully designed by Megan Prumier), curated by Dixmix Source, and featuring artworks by Ariel Brearly, Grazia Horwitz, Ziki Questi, both Dixmix Source and Megan Prumier, and other artists. "We have built a realistic looking place to host Second Life's Art, Photography, Sculpture and Music events in one gallery where we hope you will enjoy to hang around and see works from talented artists," says Dixmix. Ariel's dreamy and evocative work, hosted in a double-height foyer (image above), are favorites from Dixmix's own collection; he plans to invite the artist to display additional works in a forthcoming exhibition.

Other artists are exhibited in galleries within the gallery — Grazia Horwitz (her first exhibition, surprisingly) in the Black Gallery with a set of striking monochromatic images (image above); Ziki Questi with wide angle landscape and art images in the Grey Gallery (image below); and Dixmix Source in the Black Gallery (lowest image). Additionally, hidden behind The Atom, a music performance venue housed within DiXmiX, is a lovely series of images by Megan Prumier on the lower level and more selections from Dixmix's personal collection on the upper level (including works by Lam Erin, Dantelicia Ethaniel, Angi Manners, and BelBa (Belinda Baroque)).

Commonplace throughout all the spaces are sculptures by Mistero Hifeng, adding a three-dimensional touch that provides continuity, helping to visually link all the various rooms and galleries. The DiXmiX Gallery itself is exceptionally well conceived, providing lines of sight that encourage visitors to continue to explore, and the content is expansive enough that multiple trips might be warranted. Many of the artworks are available for purchase, and contributions in support of the DiXmiX Gallery are welcomed.

08 September 2016

Submerged (images NSFW)

"Imagine art under water, a whole gallery submerged under, and you are walking through it all," says GoodCross, curator of The White Canvas Gallery, now showing Submerged, an exhibition of photography by ElizabethNantes. Playfully bringing a new meaning to the term immersive, the entire show is presented in a swirling tank of sea water, with bubbles, jellyfish, a platypus and various fish circulating about the space. (To enter from the landing point, step in front of the image shown above.)

Consistent with the aquatic theme, the images depict bodies under water — hair swirling, torsos twisting, limbs reaching, all brilliantly lit and exquisitely posed in a greenish-blue light. (Elizabeth suggests using the Coastal Afternoon windlight setting, which is not the default at the site, with advanced lighting model turned on.) In the photos, we observe, in our upward view, the point at which the sea ends and the air begins, and it's on that very line that the images in the exhibition physically thrust above the water, adding cohesiveness to the very distinctive exhibition design (the image depicted at top being the only one above water, in both respects). Many of the images are for sale, and contributions in support of The White Canvas Gallery are accepted at the landing point.

07 September 2016

all is quiet now (images NSFW)

Now on display at the DathĂșil Gallery of Art is a contemplative exhibition of images, all is quiet now, by photographer Joslyn Benson. These elegantly composed portraits, all black-and-white with the exception of one (detail above, right), depict a mix of solo subjects and couples, some clothed and some nude, and not only capture the human form, but also impart a sense of stillness and quietude. "Silence...the absence of sound, silence the placidity of mind...silence the sense of being," says Joslyn. "Moments of stillness where all that's left is our own thoughts...and to find comfort in unspoken words." The exhibit will continue on display through September 30, and each of the works is available for purchase.

03 September 2016

The Other

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, September 4, from 12 to 2 pm slt, is the premiere exhibition at the new Gallery M, a collection of works by photographer Mich Michabo entitled The Other. The gallery, situated on Kate Bergdorf's Berg by Nordan Art sim, was created especially to showcase Mich's photos, and this first exhibit focuses on works inspired by the 1932 poem "The Other" by Sylvia Plath, a copy of which is provided on the exhibition notecard. (Wall copy associates lines of the poem with various photographs.) "She ventures in her work into areas rarely visited by other photographers," remarks the curator. "Her images are sensitive, raw and emotionally charged." There's often a fascinating voyeuristic quality to the artist's photos (not only in this exhibition, but also her oeuvre in general) in which we get glimpses of situations — for example, a figure partially visible through a window or behind a curtain, or a hand reaching for something out of the photo's frame, or shoes and part of the floor (image detail, below right), and so on, inviting us to piece together in our minds the remaining elements (the missing elements being what for other photographers might be the focal point of the image). Visitors will enjoy seeing additional installations on the sim via the teleports located in the Gallery M foyer.

02 September 2016

Ephemeral

Break out your sunglasses and enter the blindingly bright world of Ephemeral, a creation by Boefje (Bufje) that, reflecting its title, ongoingly changes its content. "Ephemeral, such a beautiful word," says Boefje. "I find the definition matches the word itself, its meaning being: lasting a very short time, short-lived, transitory. It does give a whole new purpose to the art being created ... It allows the artist to make a link between the relationships of existence, decay and loss. It is this transition between life and death where many religious cultures, myths and rituals exist."

This "never ending work in progress" might at first seem like a personal sandbox — one senses the artist's self-exploration and inquiry — but the installation also hangs together as a whole, as if it's a world filled with hidden connections and meanings, inviting us to ponder connections, permanence and impermanence, fragility and durability. Near one of the few areas of bright color, at a bed of grass, a free avatar is available, and visitors are invited to dance and to read more about the installation. The sim's windlight settings, as well as its audio stream, are integral to the experience. Ephemeral — in whatever form it might take — will remain on display through December.

01 September 2016

Surreal Cube

Opening today, Thursday, September 1 at 1 pm slt, is Surreal Cube, a project conceived and directed by Art Blue, and curated by Juliette SurrealDreaming, featuring artistic contributions from Gem Preiz, Mistero Hifeng, Molly Bloom, Hyde Hackl, Moewe Winkler and Venus Adored (who will provide a performance at the opening event), with support from Wizardoz Chrome and Ultraviolet Alter (who will provide music for the opening). The installation will be complemented by a presence at the real life 2016 Santorini Biennale via a video created by Wizardoz, and a mirror installation in OpenSim that will live on after the Second Life installation closes.

At its most basic, the sim presents an exhibition of more than two dozen delightful works by Molly such as Back to the Garden, pictured below, housed in a gallery space designed by Hyde, which in turn resides inside a large "egg," also designed by Hyde. Under the waters surrounding the gallery is an aquatic world with waving tentacles and speaking fish (detail, lowest image) created by Moewe. All of that in turn is enclosed a huge MetaCube designed by Gem Preiz, the texture of which features frequently-changing fractals (detail above), and the cube floats over a dark sea, surrounded by a parade of sculptures by Mistero (top image). If the array of locations sounds confusing, a quick visual tour is available, provided by sitting on the "Meta Harper" chair located near the stage area, and a teleport system is available throughout the sim at each location.

Conceptually, Surreal Cube stems from an elaborate science fiction story created by Art, which begins, "Mankind loses old knowledge — finally also the knowledge of keeping art alive was lost. A billionaire could no longer see that art works which have been created before the Cleft like the ones by Molly Bloom shall get lost and burned to ashes. He handed Art Blue over a blank cheque to create a space ship so the art might be safe in a different solar system. His name: SR Hadden. The name of the space ship: SURREAL CUBE." The complete and lengthy narrative is provided in full on the exhibition notecard. After October 15, when the Santorini Biennale comes to a close, the Molly Bloom gallery, the egg and Moewe's aquatic world will disappear from LEA20 (but will remain in the OpenSim version), and Juliette will select new content that will remain on display until the sim closes at the end of December.

30 August 2016

Cool Rush

Aptly described by its creator, Kandiii Kidd, as "ethereal space themed surrealism," Cool Rush is a sci-fi world filled with brilliant saturated colors and a playful interactive landscape. "High above clear blue skies, there hangs a place accompanied by the stars, glowing luminescent wonders, each one waiting patiently to be wished upon..." she adds. This alien-looking world seems to be under exploration by little creatures in UFOs who hover over the scene (image above), and clicking on their search beams will draw you toward their spacecrafts. Poses and cuddles for couples abound throughout the fields, and a carousel spins in the tall turquoise grasses.

And more awaits overhead: via a network of teleports — there are a number here and there on the ground level — one can visit floating asteroids for t'ai chi, meditation and more cuddles. The "Just in case" teleport option sends visitors into a dense cloud of stars, a skydiving platform provides parachutes for a 500 meter drop, and "Moon" gives access to a beautiful and glowing space-station like environment with spaces to explore and beds for couples (image below).

Visitors should be sure to accept the region windlight, shown here, and Kandiii encourages the use of the atmospheric music stream. Often in the sim, she invites visitors to message her to join her group, which provides access to "mini flyers from both ships" (although I can't profess to know what those are). If you enjoy Cool Rush, please consider leaving a contribution toward its support.