Tag Archives: Art in SL

The ethereal beauty of Somewhere in Second Life

I received a notice about a new exhibition by WuWai Chun which opened on Sunday August 3rd at the Rose Theatre & Art Gallery. I didn’t make it to the opening, sadly, due to other commitments, but managed to pop along as soon as time allowed.

The exhibition is in support of Feed A Smile, a project run by Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK), to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project (see my article on Feed  A Smile written to accompany Draxtor’s excellent World Makers video on the work).

Called Somewhere in Second Life, the display features selected images from WuWai’s travels across Second Life, which also appear in her Flickr photostream of the same name and which she describes as a personal destination guide. However, the pictures on display are not simply snapshots of in-world locations.

WuWai’s passion is to turn her pictures into paintings. Having taught herself the sometimes arcane art of post-processing, she labours over her scenic snapshots to give them the look and texture of watercolour or oil paintings. The results are images that are quite stunning in appearance, with many of them having an ethereal look to them which quite captivates the eye, drawing you into it.

These are pictures which really do immerse you in the sensation of visiting a gallery and slowly walking through the halls. There are no Constables or Browns or Balmers among the pictures hanging on the walls between WuWai’s pictures but frankly, had I come across one or two, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised,her work is that evocative.

As the exhibition is in support of Feed A Smile, the pictures are available to buy – simply right-click on any that take your fancy.

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Sculpture in motion

Neeks Karu - Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Neeks Karu – Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Kelly Yap Art Gallery is hosting two exhibits, both of which opened on Saturday July 26th, 2014. On the ground floor of the gallery is a series of sculptures by Neeks Karu, while upstairs is Betty Tureaud latest installation.

I confess that Neeks Karu is not a name that rings bells with me – which on the strength of this exhibit, really is to my loss. On display are a dozen free-standing and wall mounted sculptures, all but one of which include a degree of moment, and many of which appear to be founded on geometry – several of the wall-mounted pieces in particular are mindful of fractal progressions.

There are no descriptions accompanying the individual pieces – or at least, none I could find in clicking, but the names are evocative: “Exclusion”, “Web”, “Safety”, “Quest” and so on. Each piece is also somewhat hypnotic in its influence; or perhaps mesmerizing might be a better term, drawing the observer into them, encouraging close-in camming in order to watch the changing forms and patterns.

Providing you’re not completely hypnotised by Neeks’ work, make your way upstairs and you’ll find Betty’s latest work, rendered in her hallmark rich colours. This also uses geometry and movement in a piece which is quite deceptive when first perceived, and actually requires a little time (and perhaps a little careful camming) to appreciate fully.

Betty , Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Betty Tureaud , Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Floating in the multi-hued space are five brightly coloured frames. These wash back and forth along the length of the space, as if to the ebb and flow of the tide – or tides, as each frame can move both faster and slower than the others in a seemingly random pattern, and can suddenly reverse direction or pause. Depending on the rate of motion and speed of change, every so often the frames come together to brief nest one within another within another, largest to smallest. Or, if not all of them, then perhaps three or four of them, while the remaining frames slide away in one direction or the other, as if unwilling to be a part of the orderly gathering.

Careful camming is in order because when viewed from certain positions, such as either end of the room in which they sit, the frames use distance and perspective in an optical illusion familiar to all of us, but which is nevertheless fascinating to witness. Depending on their positions relative to one another, their sizes appear to be reversed: the largest may appear to be medium-sized, a medium-sized frame appears much smaller and the smallest suddenly appears to dominate the rest. Only when they reach their nested equilibrium as they slide along their shared path, is the truth of their relative sizes revealed.

Betty T, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Betty Tureaud, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

All told, two interesting and complementary exhibits.

UWA Transcending Borders challenge: L$1.03 million in prizes

On Monday July 21st, 2014, the University of Western Australia (UWA) announced the opening of their new combined Art and Machinima challenge, Transcending Borders, which brings together their 7th MachinimUWA and their 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge into one event.

Transcending Borders is sponsored by  Tom Papas & SciFi Film Festival, LaPiscean Liberty & SL Artists, AviewTV, Taralyn Gravois and Arts Castle Gallery, TheDoveRhode and Peace is a Choice and S&S Gallery of Fine SL Art, Jon Stubbs & UWA Student Services, as well as The UWA Virtual Worlds Project, and the prize pool is an impressive L$1,030,000, with a further L$240,000  available as special audience participation and other prizes!

Those wishing to participate are free to enter either the art or the machinima challenge – or both, if they wish; just so long as all entries are received no later than midnight SLT on October 31st, 2014. Winners will be announced in December 2014.

Entrants are invited to interpret the challenge theme, Transcending Borders, in any way they please. It might refer to transcending borders between space and time, or the past and present or the present and future, the borders separating nations or cultures or languages, or any one of the many borders we encounter as we navigate our physical and virtual lives.

The major rules in submitting any artwork or machinima to the challenge are (please also refer to the UWA blog post for the full set of rules and requirements):

  • Artwork entered should be able to be interpreted by the casual viewer as representative of the theme. If the link to the theme is difficult to ascertain, it should be referenced in a note card accompanying the work
  • Any submitted artwork should not exceed 150 Land Impact, and should preferably by submitted with COPY permissions, and art entries are limited to one per entrant
  • Machinima entries should preferably be no more than 4 minutes and 30 seconds in length, although this is not a “hard” rule
  • There is no limit to the number of machinima entries which may be submitted by an entrant, however, the average viewer should be able to determine how any given film fits with the theme; if this is difficult to ascertain, it should be referenced in the notes accompanying the film on the web
  • All submitted machinima must be made specifically for this challenge, and must include “For The University of Western Australia’s MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders” in the opening credits.

Art submissions should be made via the art entry receiver at the UWA Art Chellenge Platform in Second Life. Machinima entries should be uploaded to any publicly-accessible location, but preferably to YouTube or Vimeo, and the details of the entry (name, creator, location, etc.) supplied to Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty in-world or by e-mailing the details to Jayjay (jayjayaustralia@hotmail.com).

L$515,000 in prizes in both the art and the machinima categories, with each category having a L$100,000 first prize.

Furthermore, the machinima category has an additional special UWA Prize for the best machinima which features one of the Winthrop Clock Tower, the Sunken Gardens or the Somerville Auditorim.

There are also two special Curator Prizes, one for art and one for machinima (the latter will be awarded to best film which features one artwork from the current art challenge or a winning entry from past UWA art challenges).

For full information on the challenge, including infromation on the theme, all rules, submission guidelines, prizes (including audience participation prizes) and details of the judging panel, please refer to the UWA blog post.

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Second Life films top-out the Project Homeless machinima awards

HomelessIn February, and thanks to Jayjay Zifanwe, I carried an article about Project Homeless 2014, a Challenge run by Screen My Shorts Incorporated and the University of Western Australia in partnership with, and sponsored by, the Parramatta City Council.

As I went on to report at the start of the month, no fewer than four entries from noted Second Life film-makers had been selected as finalists in the competition, with a chance of winning in both the machinima and the overall film categories.

The selected SL finalists were: Rysan Fall, Tutsy Navarathna, Vilvi Rae and Secret Rage.

Project homeless invited film-makers of all ages cultures and ability were invited to submit original creative digital content (conventional film and / or machinima) of between 3 and 10 minutes in length, and based on one of 22 themes on the subject of homelessness. Entrants were asked to nominate two of the themes they would like to film, were then allocated one of their two choices and given 30 days in which to submit a completed film on their allocated theme, either as an individual or team entry. Prizes for the competition amount to $10,000 Aus (L$2.28 Million) cash and prizes, with at least $700 Aus  reserved for Machinima.

The awards ceremony took place at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia, on Friday July 11th, and was attended by some 250 people. Three of the films submitted by the SL film-makers took the top three prizes in the machinima section of the competition, with one of them also awarded the 2nd Runner-up prize overall.

Rysan Fall’s Invisible City, a powerful mixed format piece, featuring homeless people discussing their situations, their lives and their history, and represented by Second Life avatars, took the Best Machinima prize and was awarded the 2nd Runner-up prize overall.

Taking the 1st Runner-up prize in the machinima section of the completion was Tutsy Navarathna’s Homeless. Combining footage shot in India and in Second Life, this film focuses on the growing disparities between the really poor of the world and the very small minority of the very rich, as well as touching on those who have made homelessness a spiritual choice.

Vilvi Rae took the 2nd Runner-up prize in the machinima section for Sun Dog, an examination of homelessness among young people as its theme, focusing on estimates that around one-quarter of homeless young people in Western countries identify as LGBT, and who cite conflict at home as the main reason for leaving and taking to the streets.

Commenting on the success of his film in both categories, Rysan Fall said:

I can’t express how overjoyed I am at how well this film was received. This is such a serious subject and I wanted to be respectful in the way I presented the message. The message I was trying to convey was that it can happen to anyone. Even through no fault of their own. I was extremely excited to hear that “Invisible City ” came in first in the machinima competition. But I was even more excited to hear that it placed 3rd in the mainstream film competition. It was great to see a machinima film judged alongside real life films. I am honored to be part of such a worthwhile and important film contest.

The overall winner of the competition was Peacekeeper by Joshua Hoareau, the reflections of a former Australian Peacekeeper on his time served in Africa during peacekeeping operations. This entry also took the North Bondi RSL Prize for best film on Returning Veterans.

Congratulations to Rysan for Invisible City in both winning the machinima section and being so highly placed in the mainstream competition, and also to both Tusty and Vilvi. The full awards list can be found on the Screen My Shorts website. A final set of congratulations of course go to the overall winner.

Second Life machinima makers should keep their eyes on the UWA Second Life Blog for upcoming news on the next UWA machinima competition – MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders, which is set to have a prize pool of at least L$500,000. I’ll also have the details of the competition available on these pages, once announced.

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With thanks to Jayjay Zifanwe.