Tag Archives: Linden Endowment for the Arts

Taking a vision quest with Black Elk

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Black Elk, LEA1

Livio Oak Korobase returns to the LEA on Wednesday September 17th, with a new installation entitled Black Elk at LEA 1. The installation draws on the life and writings of Black Elk, a medicine man (wičháša wakȟáŋ) of the Oglala Lakota,  born in 1863, and author of The Sacred Pipe and Black Elk Speaks, a book responsible for sparking a renewal of interest in Native religions, based as it is on Black Elk’s experiences and those of the Lakota people.

Livio takes for the central theme of the installation, Black Elk’s great vision, which came to him as a boy of nine, while ill. In the vision, he was visited by the Wakinyan, Thunder Beings, who took him with them to the centre of the earth, and to the central mountain of the world, the axis of the six sacred directions, watched over by the Grandfathers.

This was the first of many vision he had throughout his life, and which, when he related it to the medicine men of his tribe when 17 years of age, established him as a great medicine man himself.

Black Elk, LEA1

Black Elk, LEA1

Symbolism is strong in the work at LEA 1 – as you might expect, given the focus – with horses, birds, bison, fish and more featuring large (literally as well as figuratively), together with more sacred characters. Around and among these hang quotes from Black Elk, powerful statements on who we are, where we come from and what we are a part of – that we are all, really, one nation; joined together and sharing hopes, loves, fears, life – and death. These words were formed through an early life marked by war and conflict and events such as Wounded Knee.

Given this, it should come as no surprise to see a quote by John F. Kennedy sitting alongside those of Black Elk. The quote is from Kennedy’s June 1963 Commencement Address at American University, given in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event which came so close to visiting a global calamity on the world, and time when Kennedy, whose early adult years were also shaped by war and conflict, resolved that East and East must find the ways and means to live and work together as peoples of a single world. In this, they offer something of a latter-day reflection of Black Elk’s words.

Black Elk, LEA1

Black Elk, LEA1

When visiting, I would recommend that you use the region’s default windlight setting – used to take the images seen here – as this will allow you to experience the installation to the fullest, the use of reflective surfaces is very well executed, and gives a further depth to the piece. Also, if you don’t feel like walking everywhere, there is a horse rezzer, so you can ride around the pieces in the installation – and don’t miss the two teleport arrows at the arrival point to get you to the more elevated parts of the installation; and do keep an eye out for Livio’s signature Creature!

All told, a thought-provoking piece, beautifully executed and well worth visiting.

Black Elk, LEA1

Black Elk, LEA1

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M*A*S*H remembered

 

4077th MASH - LEA2

4077th MASH – LEA2 – click any image for full size

Open now at LEA2, is an homage to what remains both one of the most highest rates shows in US television history, and one of the most internationally popular and instantly recognisable: M*A*S*H.

Created by Tahiti Rae, the build lovingly recreates the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital from the era of seasons 6 through 8. Within it are all the familiar sets and locations. The Swamp, the Nurses’ Quarters, the tents of Colonel Sherman Potter, Father Mulcahy and Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, the OR and offices – right out to the motor pool (remember Staff Sergeant Luther Rizzo?) and Rosie’s, the off-camp bar; all have their places here.

“I chose to build my representation based on this television series because so many people all over the world personally relate to how the human spirit, humour, diversity, skill and love can bring people together, regardless of War,” Tahiti said of the piece, “Does War send us apart?  Or actually bring us together?”

She continues, “To me, war has never changed. It’s always been either self-defence or defending the freedom of a friend. Otherwise, it is intolerant aggression.  Regardless, the human spirit always prevails.  And this particular portrait of those who went through the Korean War, based on real surgeons on the front lines, brought into our living rooms what they suffered, laughed about and loved in such a profound way, that it touched us all.”

You might wonder how I can pin-down the period of the show represented by the build. Well, such is the care with which Tahiti has put this all together, the clues are all there to be seen, both indoors and outside. One only has to explore to find them. And exploration is very much the key to this installation.

You start at an arrival point high overhead – a triage or pre-op station, if you will – where you can find information on the build and on M*A*S*H itself. From here you can teleport down to the region, arriving at the 4077th, as so many personnel did, at the helipad located on a mound to one side of the camp.

Walk down the worn track from the pad, and you’re free to explore the camp as you will. Do make sure you have local sounds enabled to full appreciate things, and keep an eye out for the clipboards located in places like quarters, the OR and so on – they contain information and video links related to both popular moments in the show and the experiences of actual Korean War veterans.

Within these clips is one from one of the most poignant moments from the show, which in its own way, underlines the complete futility and indiscriminate nature of war: Radar’s announcement that Colonel Henry Blake’s plane, transporting him home after having completed his tour of duty, had been shot down over the Sea of Japan with no survivors.

The level of detail in the build really is wonderful – as noted above, there are enough clues to pin down the approximate point in the series the camp represents. There may even be individual clues which allow the time to be pinned down even closer than I’ve managed; but the key thing is, it’s all here – from Colonel Potter’s beloved Sophie, to the small memorial to Colonel Blake, through to Hawkeye’s trademark red bathrobe and signature Groucho Marx nose / glasses and on to … well, visit and see for yourself!

Around the periphery of the build are what appear to be some incongruities, such as a “tiny” military encampment and a sniper’s position, uniformed soldiers, all from eras much later than that of Korea – perhaps a reminder of conflicts which exist to this day.

As well as leading you to those, exploration of the region is important as it will bring you eventually to the story’s end – a music video and then a final teleport (reached via a bus; your only clue!

Those who know and love the series will understand the symbolism presented at the “The End”, as they follow Tahiti’s directions and explore each of the rooms. The reference to the show’s final episode and the experiences within it of the lynchpin of the series: Dr. Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce, as portrayed by the brilliant Alan Alda.  Work your way up through the rooms to Hawkeye’s and then step out onto the fire escape. This will take you to a final goodbye – M*A*S*H style (although there ar teleports back to the start point and back down to the 4077th).

I’ll leave the final word on the build to Tahiti, “In a time of great conflict on this planet, I wanted to recreate MASH because I think it’s important that we remember how war separates us, and yet also how it brings us together.  I am humbled and honored to bring back the full gamut of emotion that the writers and actors burned into our memories with this television series.  We use the past as part of our foundation for the future.”

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On a high in My Space

My Space

My Space – LEA24

My Space, which officially opens on Friday August 29th at 13:00 SLT (with a concert by Ultraviolet Ultra from 14:00 SLT), is the latest installation by Betty Tureaud and a part of the AIR round 7 offerings. I had the opportunity to pay the installation a visit at the start of the week, and I have to say it’s …. interesting.

There are of course Betty’s trademarked vivid colours throughout, and much of the piece is interactive; but quite what it is, is hard to define – other than having a strong element of fun about it and most likely being a place enjoyed when visiting with others.

My Space

My Space – LEA24

At the landing point, you’re furnished with a set of simple instructions: grab a rocket hat, ride the flying saucers (or use the teleport squares), rise up through the various levels of the installation and then grab a parachute (a Cubey Terra e-chute), and ride back down.

The rocket hat isn’t actually vital to proceedings, although donning it will give you a foretaste of what is to come: touch it, and you’ll “launch” and start floating around and performing acrobatics against the bright background of your surroundings. To get up higher, you can either attempt to sit on one of the aforementioned rising flying saucers, or touch the green squares and teleport up between the various levels. Riding the flying saucers will set you dancing, while using the teleport squares is probably the easiest way of getting between the levels.

My Space

My Space – LEA24

Most of the levels offer something to do, be it dancing, floating, swimming with jellyfish-like creatures, and so on, and each level also has a parachute dispenser for those wishing to get down to the landing point. Right at the top of the installation is what I believe to be the dance floor and stage for the opening concert, where one can dance on the floor area or up on one of the hovering flying saucers. The picture at the top of the piece shows the stage area, and hopefully also gives the scale of the place; you can just see two of us dancing on the saucers.

To get down, one can either fly or use the aforementioned free parachutes. Simply wear one of the latter, step off a level and type “pull” in chat as you fall to open the ‘chute. Steering is best done in Mouselook when looking down (via the mouse) and using the cursor keys. Dropping down through the centre hole in the dance floor will take you through the middle of the various cones which form each of the levels, although careful steering is required, as you can “land” on the walls of the cone, re-packing your parachute in the process, something which will leave you falling. Should this happen, just type “pull” again to open the ‘chute once more.

My Space

My Space – LEA24

As noted at the start of this piece, defining My Space isn’t easy. The colours certainly give it a psychedelic feel, and the flying saucers, floating jellyfish, dancing on a rotating, spinning gold disk in defiance of gravity, certainly add to the “trippy” feeling one gets.  This feeling is perhaps further enhanced when parachuting through the centre of the cones on your way back down (particularly if you aren’t showing your avatar when in Mouselook and you’re not wearing any mesh), when the colours can become somewhat entrancing as they drift and spiral by.

Overall, and as also noted, this is a piece that is perhaps best enjoyed with others. Betty has also indicated that she may well add to the piece throughout its run at LEA24, which will be until the conclusion of this round of AIR grants in December.

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Of Spirits Within, plus sounds and seahorses

Two new installations have opened at the Linden Endowments for the Arts (LEA) of late; one as a part of the LEA’s Artist In Residence (AIR) series, and the other being the latest in the Full Sim Art  series sponsored by the University of Western Australia.

Spirit Within

Spirit Within – LEA6

Spirit Within, the Full Sim Art piece, is by Lagu Indigo and Stardove Spirit, and is based on a “life death” experience, which transports you to a walled garden surrounded by light and water. Within this garden sits a tall, translucent temple, the steps leading up to it bordered by amorphous forms, while before and within the temple, butterflies rise into the bright sky.

Spirit Within

Spirit Within – LEA6

In describing the piece, Stardove and Lagu continue: “The walk up to the temple you will have spirits on each side of the steps , this represents the spirits that where the guides that showed the way to the light, they where of pure light and like ancestors from the past. as you reach the top within the temple is the light and an Angel he was the giver of light and shows the way to the light though the darkness and back to reality and earth. The butterflies represent the rebirth and the beauty that there is life and that you can be reborn.”

Spirit Within

Spirit Within – LEA6

There is something of a personal expression here, the work having grown out of a situation experienced by one of the artists (which, out of Lagu and Starlove isn’t clear from the notes), the author continuing: “My experience of life  and death it is only a small part  of the journey and as the light was given so I am grateful to be  alive and free like the butterfly. There where many parts to this experience  and this is just the one part , maybe a dream of the mind or a reality,  but I know that I got though a bad time and am thankful for the experience, It like a cleansing of the soul to a new beginning of a new life.”

Note that applications are being sought for the December 2014 and January 2015 Full Sim Art slots. Interested artists should contact Jayjay Zifanwee, indicated their preferred month.

Searby

Searby’s – LEA16

David Searby Mason – known as Searby in-world, offers a very different experience in his AIR piece. Do make sure you have sound enabled when visiting (and wear headphone if you have them). The recommended time-of-day for the installation is either sunset or midnight.

Called simply Searby’s, the installation comprises three individual parts. At ground level is the Welcome Area, where visitors are invited to spend time relaxing in a watery environment from which rises a rises of low hills covered with geometric patterns. Multi-hued spheres and shapes roll, drift and slide over and above this landscape, and visitors  are invited to interact with them.

Searby

Searby’s – LEA16

Two teleport spheres at the arrival point will carry you up to the remaining parts of the installation. The first of these is Sound Spheres – and you definitely will need local sounds on for this. As the name suggests, it comprises a series of sphere of various sizes, all rotating on the spot, each displaying a quite psychedelic pattern of colour and light as it does so. Walking through a sphere triggers a unique sound: a tone, an electronic chord, voices, footsteps, excerpts from compositions, and so on. So wandering the space results in an interesting aural as well as visual experience.

The second teleport (you’ll have to return to ground level via the all white sphere in order to travel between levels) take you up to Seahorses, a huge kaleidoscopic  display focused on seahorses, and which is most certainly bet viewed in the suggested windlights of sunset or midnight.

Searby

Searby’s – LEA16

“The Seahorses are also designed to walk through like the spheres but here the visual aim is different.  I wanted to create a ghostly feel to add another dimension to the sounds,” Dave says of this part of the installation. Viewing the piece at midnight and running, flying through the display certainly achieves that; the seahorses seem to transform into ghostly forms drifting by or perhaps elements of some strange, otherworldly spider’s web, while the sounds they trigger all blend and mix to create a constantly changing sound scape for as long as you are moving.

Searby’s will remain open until the end of December.

Related Links

  • Spirit Within, an LEA Full Sim Art installation (Rated: Moderate)
  • Searby’s, an LEA AIR round 7 installation (Rated: Moderate)