Tag Archives: Linden Endowment for the Arts

Take a walk in The Wild Side

Heartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014 by Inara PeyHeartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014

One of the things I love about creating in this medium is that you can express the energy so easily.

- Jedda Zenovka

Heartseed: The Wild Side is a Full Sim Art series immersive environment which opened on LEA6 on April 12th and will remain open through until the end of the month.

Precisely how to describe the region is a little hard – other than to say it is a most fantastical landscape, one which extends both above and below the water. So I’ll let Jedda Zenovka, its creator, carry the load, description-wise:

Animism is the spiritual belief that everything is alive. I try  to recreate this within the digital domain. Cybertech designs that fuse naturally with organic forms; water, sounds, plant-creatures, inter-dimensional entities that blend into the ocean forest ecology of my environments so that it is impossible to tell where one ends and another starts.

Take a wander  through a textured cyboriginal landscape which evokes healing emotions and crystallises into moving, living sculptures; descriptions of ideas and experiences inspired by both human life of aspirations and necessities and with the practicality of hands-on permaculture in the rain forest.

Heartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014 by Inara PeyHeartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014

From the landing point, one steps out in to what might at first appear to be a fountain and water feature of a formal garden; it is not until one is fully outside of building that one fully appreciates the sheer alienness of what is presented here: a rocky landscape upon which the strangest plant life grows, some of it seemingly part plant, rock, some of it sculpted into anthropomorphic shapes, much of it appearing as if it has perhaps evolved from underwater life, and has found a new home on land.

Look up, and you’ll see more strange  – if not bizarre – forms sitting still in the air or moving through assigned orbits; inanimate objects which are both animated and filled with a life of their own. Here and there electrical discharges flicker across this strange landscape like cybernetic will o’ the wisps while other plant-like forms flicker in and out of existence.

Heartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014 by Inara PeyHeartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014

The cumulative effect of all this is to create a dream-like environment which can be degrees be soothing, filling with the gentle chiming of prayer bells but which can in places offer s hint of something darker, such as the rows of odd television-like formations, each with what appears to be a disembodied head within it.

The dreamlike feel of the installation isn’t accidental, as Jedda’s description explains:

While our minds and imagination evolves into the digital domain, our hands and naked feet remember the earth and other elements from which we are made. Dreamtime in this sense is the crossing over of two worlds; vision becomes solid and solid becomes visionary. It is instinct and the heart which guide us into and through this journey. The freshness of water, the spirit of a particular plant or mineral, is crafted into new form; the artist becomes the living conduit through which such essences express themselves.

Heartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014 by Inara PeyHeartseed: The Wild Side, April 2014

Exploring here take takes time – several items are interactive (including the trained attack fish, which can be set to chase others!), and there are number places where one can simply sit and enjoy the immersion – a music stream offers a suitably cyber-istic background for those who like to have more than just the ambient sounds around them while exploring. A particularly interesting interactive piece can be found at the end of one of the pier-like walkways, where visitors can sit and have their camera slaved to a script which will either move their camera through a series of “live” views of the installation, presenting a tour of many of the different elements in the build, or which allows the visitor to select specific views of the installation, moving their camera directly to the selected point.

And speaking of the piers – don’t forget this piece extends underwater as well.

This is  quite fascinating build, and if you like your art with a twist of the unusual and a hint of organic cybertech, taking a walk in The Wild Side may be just for you!

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Seeking secret Sauce of love

On Thursday April 3rd, Maya Paris returned to the LEA with what is in some ways the follow-up to her popular Celebrity Blow Your Own Tits Off, only this time she’s inviting people to discover the secret sauce of relationships … via spark plugs, fish and chips and a touch of sauce science which, visitors are assured, contains no dangerous or explosive chemicals.

Sauce, which forms a part of the LEA AIR round 6 entries, is designed to be enjoyed by people exploring it in pairs or as couples. As with Celebrity Blow Your Own Tits off, this is an interactive piece, which giveaways (including your very own spark plug avatar!), rides and more, which invite you to click, click, click as you explore. In difference to the earlier game, however, there is no overall aim or goal to the piece, rather the aim is to have fun in a British seaside saucy humour kind-of way, as Maya explains:

Slap on your wig and flash those knobbly knees because this time it’s personal.

Test your Sauce Factor, try your luck at the Modern Love Bureau, get sparky in the Saucy Science lab and take a headlong dive into a sea of plenty more fish&chips.

(Bring your own hair or teeth…and a friend)

Sauce: "Oh yes you did!"

Sauce: “Oh yes you did!”

Maya kindly granted me the opportunity to partner-up with Honour McMillan ahead of the opening and try-out the installation. All I can say is – it’s fun. And I’m not entirely sure we discovered everything. Indeed, to say too much about this piece would be to spoil the fun; you need to explore it for yourself and the good of your own teeth / hair / relationship with a friend…

Transportation around the installation is via public telephone box. If journeying with a friend, you should each select the same one to get the most out of your trip. There are a number of boxes available at the start, depending on your hair / teeth status, and it’s up to you which category you choose. Do keep an eye out for the number 1, however. You’ll need that to find your way back … or out. And while the sauce my not be explosive, at least one lot of chips is, when fired from a fish…

As well as being a lot of fun, the piece seems to include some very English cultural references – the seaside humour and sauce, the fish and chips being two. There also seems to be an oblique reference or two to the 1960s TV series The Prisoner, with large penny farthing wheels emblazoned with a “9″ that so easily might be an inverted “6″, and the appearance of translucent spheres prone to hunting you at one point. There’s even a hint of Brief Encounter with the trains…

However, I’m not saying a word about how the fireworks at the end might be interpreted! Instead, I’ll just say, go and enjoy. And take a friend.

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The art of philosophy

The Philosopher's Stone: Pixels Sideways

The Philosopher’s Stone: Pixels Sideways

Sunday March 31st saw the opening of The Philosopher’s Stone, a further entry in the round 6 Artist In Residence series run by the Linden Endowment for the Arts.

Curated by Pixels Sideways and Georg Janick, the installation is a collaborative piece featuring the work of 16 artists, including Pixels. The installation grew out of an on-line article Pixels had read about in which a teacher asked a group of young pupils to draw what they thought a philosopher looked like. Forwarding the article to Georg, in real life Gary Zabel, Professor of Philosophy at University of Massachusetts, Pixels mentioned the idea of doing an art piece on the subject of philosophy.

The Philosopher's Stone: Freewee Ling - Nietzsche

The Philosopher’s Stone: Freewee Ling – Nietzsche

The result is 15 artists paired at random with 15 philosophers selected by Georg, and charged with the task of interpreting the latter through art. The artists and the selected philosophers being: Aequitas – Plato; Ama Avro -  Descartes; Artistide Despres – Deleuze; Barry Richez – Heidegger; Bibi Rives – Wittgenstein; Feathers Boa – Marx; Freewee Ling – Nietzsche; Leoa Piek – Hegel; Lollito Larkham – Kant; Misprint Thursday – Leibniz; Robin Moore – Aristotle; Scottius Polke – Hume; Stardove Spirt – Epicurus; Ub Yifu -Spinoza; Winter Nightfire – Arendt.

These works are displayed on a series of islands above the region, and reached by clicking on the urn located at the arrival point. Urns also form teleport points for moving between the islands (or you can fly). Note that some of the pieces are interactive as well, and some contain local windlights – check for notes / warnings if your viewer doesn’t automatically change windlight setting – and streaming audio.

The Philosopher's Stone: Barry Richez - Heidegger

The Philosopher’s Stone: Barry Richez – Heidegger

In addition, Pixels has set-up a series of pieces at ground level which explore a number of ideas: the Philosophy of Love, the Philosophy of Struggle, the Philosophy of Media and Politics, etc. These can be interactive in nature, and require careful exploration if you are to fully uncover their secrets. This ground level area also includes an amphitheatre for special events  – SaveMe Oh featured during the opening – and displays of 2D art by the participating artists.

Given the nature of the installation and the broad range of participants, this is something of an eclectic mix, which may have a mixed response depending on your familiarity with the subject matter presented in each of the pieces – although there is enough here to encourage those wishing to understand more to go out and learn (Wikipedia can be your friend in this).

The Philosopher's Stone: Winter Nightfire - Arendt

The Philosopher’s Stone: Winter Nightfire – Arendt

There are also some delightful twists of humour to be found throughout – either visually or within some of the texts accompanying the pieces (Pixel’s write-up for the Philosophy of Struggle should raise a smile or two, for example).

While on the ground, I did experience a couple of issues with audio streaming clashing with local sounds, so remember to toggle media on / off when moving between pieces, and having a listen to the ambient sounds as well, just in case you’re missing something.

The Philosopher's Stone: Lollito Larkham - Kant

The Philosopher’s Stone: Lollito Larkham – Kant

The Philosopher’s Stone is likely to have additional events occurring during its time on LEA13 – which should be through until the end of April / early May. I understand Pixels is considering an additional exhibit on the region prior to the LEA round 6 drawing to a close at the end of June.

Addendum: I’ve swapped-out some of the images from this review in favour of others since first published, as I subsequently discovered that Ziki Questi had selected the same pieces for her coverage of the Philosopher’s Stone, and we’d opted to use similar angles for our respective shots. I do apologise to her for retaining the opening shot in this article – again the same as Ziki has used, and she published ahead of me – but Galileo’s words do serve as a perfect frame for a review. 

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A nostalgic Invasion

Sniper Siemens kindly allowed me an advanced look at her LEA Artist in Residence (AIR) installation, which opens at 15:00 SLT on Friday March 28th and will remain open through until the end of June. Like Da Vinci’s World, her installation from the fourth round of AIR works, this is another historic piece – but one of a very different nature!

Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Homeis just that: a loving tribute to the world of the Greenies, the tiny green aliens created by Rezzable, who were trying to get to grips with a slight matter of scale during a visit to Earth in the 1950s. Prior to their departure to Rezzable’s own OpenSim grid, they were pretty much a staple part of SL’s “must see” locations.

As with the original, the visitor is placed on the scale of the mischievous aliens, who have found their way into a home somewhere on Earth, and who are both exploring it, and setting-up residence in part of it. While the original was set in the 1950s, the home here has been considerably updated: there are DVDs, a boom box, flat-screen TV, CCTV and so on.

The aliens, too have changed somewhat. The original Greenies were / are the property of Rezzable, and in respect of that, Sniper has – for the most part – used her  own M&M-like aliens.  However, explore long enough, and you’ll find that the little green chaps are to be found in a special tribute space on their own, as the images topping and tailing this piece show.

In terms of exploring, there is a lot to see and discover, through big and little doors. Visitors can walk or fly or ride bikes or, again in a touch of nostalgia, race karts (which can take a bit of handling!) around a course, and more.   There are also some darker elements to discover as well, particularly through some of the doorways …

When you’re done on the ground, there is a teleport up to the aliens’ ship where some odd goings-on are evident. Are these attempts by the aliens to transmorgify themselves into humans? If so, they’re choosing some interesting subjects in two cases; although one appears to have been supplanted (in a clever touch of irony) by a naked young female out of the Boris Vallejo school of modelling. Look out, as well, to a small nod to Sniper’s previous AIR installation from May 2013.

For those who remember the original Greenies, a visit to Invasion is going to be something of a trip down memory lane. For those who arrived in SL after the Greenies departed, the installation offer a glimpse into why their world was so admired. Either way, there’s more than enough here to keep people smiling and engaged during their visit, and Sniper skillfully avoids falling into the trap of trying to re-create the original in every nuance and look, offering something that rightly stands as a tribute, and on its own.

Well worth a visit. As noted, Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenie’s Home will be open from 15:00 SLT on Friday March 28th, 2014 through until the end of June 2014.

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