Tag Archives: Art in SL

Standing together in Second Life

Stand is the title of a portrait exhibition currently open in a purpose-built gallery above the Relay Rocker’s Relay d’Alliez region and a part of Rocker’s Relay for Life campaign.

The portraits, all of which have been taken by Catalina Staheli, feature some of those who have been faced with cancer in one of its many forms and have either survived, or are living within its ever-present shadow – and in one case, someone who lost their life to the disease.

Each of the pictures features several images of the subject, which change every 30 seconds to show them in different poses (and even different forms, if they use more than one avatar in SL), with one image of each of them offering a quote.

Each of the framed portraits is displayed in its own space or alcove, allowing visitors to focus solely on each in turn without distraction. In addition, those featured in the portraits have each written a brief personal story, which offer moving reading, and can be obtained through the information givers found within the gallery space along with RFL kiosks for those wishing to make donations to RFL of SL and the American Cancer Society.

Taken together, the portraits and the gallery space – also, I believe, designed by Catalina – present a moving and inspirational exhibition, and full kudos should go to her for developing the idea for the exhibit and for producing such remarkable pictures. Thanks, as well, should go to the Relay Rockers for agreeing to host such an exhibition; even though there were some misgivings at first, as Trader Whiplash, the Rocker’s Co-Founder, freely admits.

Stand, Relay d'Alliez: Raven Cedarbridge

Stand, Relay d’Alliez: Raven Cedarbridge

“As always I asked the same question I have asked of the Relay Rockers for 11 years,” he said. “How much work it involved and how much will it raise?  The answer was unclear.  We weren’t even sure it would raise any money at all!  We talked for a few days.  We met resistance in several directions from the team, including myself.”

“I was however wrong,” he added with a laugh. “I totally underestimated the importance of this event. This exhibition  not only captures the essence of survivorship, it celebrates our diverse community here in Second Life and does much to explain how a virtual world can become the seventeenth largest Relay For Life in the world!”

Stand, Relay d'Alliez: some of the "Why I Relay" challenge portraits

Stand, Relay d’Alliez: some of the “Why I Relay” challenge portraits

Also on display in the gallery are some of Catalina’s Why I Relay challenge, which was also featured at this year’s Fantasy Faire. The challenge offered anyone supporting RFL of SL with the opportunity to have their photo taken by Catalina, together with a short message on why they participate in RFL.

This is a remarkable, inspirational and poignant exhibit; inspirational in the stories that are to be found here, and poignant through the presence of the portrait set of Riko Kamachi, one of the early participants in the exhibit, but who sadly lost her life to cancer before she could provide her story. Instead, she is remembered here in pictures and in the words of those who knew her.

Stand, will be open through until the end of the RFL Weekend on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July 2015, and I urge you to find the time to pay a visit; it beautifully encapsulates and spirit and meaning of Relay for Life of Second Life.

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Noble people and beautiful places remembered in Second Life

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

I’ve long admired and enjoyed the art and photography of both Nino Vichan and WuWai Chun. so given both currently have exhibitions being hosted at the Sabra Art Gallery, operated and curated by Kylie Sabra, I took the opportunity to hop over and tour both.

American Nobility, Nino’s exhibit, is a beautiful and powerful series of images of Native Americans, offering both a homage to their history and something of a reminder of their harsh treatment.

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Walk through the two chambers displaying Nino’s work, and you’ll meet proud and dignified individuals, previously captured in images from a bygone era, and here given a new lease of life by Nino. Some you may recognise, such as Sitting Bull, in a familiar pose with his peace pipe in one hand. Other may not be so familiar, such as Running Rabbit, immortalised in a 1900 black-and-white postcard for the edification of “civilised” people. All have, however, been captured in images  – mostly monochrome or sepia, and have here been given new life through Nino’s eyes and hands.

“This exhibition,” Nino states, “presents the contrast between the dignity and spirituality of the indigenous people of the North American continent and the genocide of these and other indigenous people throughout the world.”

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

All of these images are striking in their own way; but the all have one thing very much in common: the look in their eyes.

It is often said the the eyes are the windows of the soul; and in these images, Nino has powerfully captured this There is a deep dignity evident in the eyes of his subjects – very powerfully so. In fact, Nino told him it was the eyes of his subjects, as captured in images by others, which drew him to portray them himself.

Such is the life Nino has breathed into these images that it is almost impossible not to find yourself drawn to the eyes as well; there is very definitely a sense of nobility and wisdom to be found within them. I challenge anyone not to stand before his interpretation of Wife of Madoc Henry – Klamath (seen in the image headlining this article) and not be captivated by her eyes. And when you’ve done so, go back and look again at each of the paintings in turn.

And don’t be surprised if you hear the distant whisperings of the Great Spirit.

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Places is WuWai Chun’s latest collection of images captured from around Second Life and presented in her own unique and utterly captivating style.

“There are many beautiful places in second life,” WuWai says. “Some of the places in the pictures no longer exist, others have changed. The pictures are an expression of my perspective and mood of the places. Just as art is in the eye of the beholder, the creations of the SL-builders can be perceived from a personal and own point of view. I did this with the help of the windlight settings in the Firestorm viewer as well as the possibilities of image processing.”

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

The result is a beautiful series of images that capture some famous (and perhaps not-so-famous) sites from within Second Life, offered in a remarkable range of styles and finishes – so much so, that one could be forgiven for thinking the exhibit features the work of more than one artist.

These are images that evoke strong feelings of wanting and longing – wanting to visit those we’ve not previously witnessed and are still available, and longing to see again those we have visited in the past, but which are now no more.

Proceeds from the sale of any copies of WuWai’s images will be donated to Feed A Smile, the in-world charity arm of Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK), making this exhibit doubly worthwhile visiting. And don’t forget you can also find WuWai’s work on her Flickr feed.

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

And while there, do please visit the other sections of the Sabra Art Gallery, all are very worthwhile seeing; and consider making a donation to help towards meeting on-going running costs.

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Living in a Bowl

Living in a Bowl

Living in a Bowl – Cica Ghost

Living In A Bowl is the title of Cica Ghost’s latest installation, which opened on May 10th. It presents the visitor with a tropical island where almost everything is on a gigantic scale: flowers stand taller than an avatar, their delicate heads large enough to offer shade from the sun; coconuts the size of a man hang from palms and gigantic wooden-framed tanks and enormous fish bowls tower over the landscape, holding huge fish and seahorses within their watery confines.

At first, this might seem some giant’s idea of cruelty to fish; the tanks are all placed within view of the oceans from whence these curious fish may have come, almost as though to taunt them. Indeed, the huge glass bowl with its seahorses appears to have been intentionally placed on a rise in one corner of the island, as if daring its captives to perhaps try and unseat it and so gain their freedom in the open waters below.

But are these fish even aware of their circumstance? They drift in their tanks and bowls, in ones and twos, seemingly completely unperturbed by their situation, their movements languid and almost hypnotic as they float over and between the ornaments placed in their tanks – some of which would pass for a modest house for you and I.

Are they the observed, or the observers? There is a serenity about them which suggests that perhaps they know more than we might imagine – or equally, that they are content in their ignorance. And what of their fossilised brethren scattered across the sandy landscape?  What do they say to us – or to the fish drifting in their tanks?

If all this sounds disturbing – it’s not. Quite the reverse in fact; the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the gentle song of birds in their air together with the odd plaintive call of a gull, all combine with the gentle undulations of the glass-encased fish and soft swaying of the palms in the wind, to created a soothing feeling. The entire effect is, frankly, tranquil and further enhanced by the audio stream, a beautiful selection of music that had me exploring the island to a gentle, lyrical piano and then to soft a cappela Georgian chanting. Little wonder that those on the region with me all appeared to be rooted in contemplation and lost in the music and the motion of the fish.

Such is the peace offered in this strange, other-worldly environment, that I found myself drawn to the watchtower sitting on a little hill in the north-east corner of the island, and there sit down and watch the fish, the music washing over me.

Living In A Bowl will be open for the next few weeks, and is well worth a visit.

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Witnessing Molly’s Brain-Gasm

Brain-Gasm

Brain-Gasm (click any image for full size)

Now open at The Living Room, the art and music space curated and managed by Owl Dragonash and Daallee, is the latest exhibition of Molly Bloom’s remarkable 3D art.

Created  entirely within Second Life, with minimal additional post-processing, Molly’s work  is beautifully intriguing because with it, she plays with our perception of depth. For Brain-Gasm, The Living Room’s gallery space has been dressed as a schoolroom, which Molly uses to frame an invitation for people to share in her special moments of creation.

“Brain-gasms come from everywhere, a visual, a smell, the sound of a song or an emotion.   Sometimes the effect is fleeting, and sometimes you find yourself with the overwhelming need to express,” Molly notes in discussing the exhibit. “Creativity flows, and not just in the traditional arts, but maybe cooking an extraordinary meal, creating an astounding business deal, or the perfect computer program.   If you are lucky to have a fulfilling outlet, your expression becomes tangible.

“Often an artist expresses themselves in a much deeper raw form than the onlooker can even understand, drawing you into their ‘gasm’,” she continues, “trying to turn you on as much as they were.  Each and every gasm is not only a personal learning experience but also invites onlookers to learn about the artist.”

The pieces represent a mix of individual and paired works (Molly often creates duet and triple pieces); and I was delighted to see Cops and Robbers among those selected for this exhibition. This captivated me when I first saw it in 2014, and it was the springboard for my appreciation of her work.  Also at Brain-Gasm, I was strongly drawn to Political Prisoner (below, left), and the deeply compelling The Survivor (seen in the image at the top of this piece).

As I’ve said in the past, and will doubtless say so again in the future, Molly Bloom is one of the most engaging and engrossing artists working in the photographic medium in Second Life. If you’ve not seen her work before, Brain-Gasm offers you the chance for an introduction, and shouldn’t be missed.

Other events occurring at The Living Room this month are (all times SLT):

  • Thursday, May 14th – music with:
    • 17:00 – Bat Masters
    • 18:00 – Blindboink Parham
  • Tuesday, May 26th – Molly Bloom exhibit closes, with music by Bronze

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