Tag Archives: Linden Endowment for the Arts

Impressions: a personal view of Second Life

Impressions; Inara Pey, August 2015, on FlickrImpressions, LEA 6 – (Flickr) – click any image for full size

When Secret Rage approached me in mid-July and asked me to consider producing a full region installation in which to display my images from around Second Life, my first reaction was to refuse. Not out of stuffiness or false modesty, but because I genuinely don’t regard myself as an SL photographer, and am far from convinced the images I produce for blogging purposes are of interest as an exhibit.

However, Secret is a very persistent (and persuasive!) person; so I’m now pleased – and more than a little nervous – to say that my first ever art-focused installation in Second Life is now open, and I’m calling it Impressions. It can be found at LEA 6.

Impressions; Inara Pey, August 2015, on FlickrImpressions, LEA 6 – (Flickr)

So what is this all about? Well, three things, all summed up in the word “Impressions”.

  • The first is a display of my more recent images and videos of places I’ve visited around Second Life – the impressions they’ve given me, if you will.
  • The second is the 2D and (particularly) 3D work of a talented Italian student, CioTToLiNa Xue – work that made quiet an impression on me when I happened across it.
  • The third is the setting itself, an interpretation of and iconic American house of the 20th century, which has long made an impression upon me.

Impressions; Inara Pey, August 2015, on FlickrImpressions, LEA 6 August 2015 (Flickr)

I’m particularly pleased about the second of these bullet points. CioTToLiNa is an extremely modest woman who only started teaching herself 2D and 3D design six months ago, and I think what she is already producing speaks volumes about her developing talent. I came across her sculptures by chance whilst visiting Art on Roofs in July, and was really delighted when she agreed to display her work as a part of Impressions: they add a further depth to the house, the original of which features a range of sculptures and art pieces scattered around the buildings.

The house is a personal interpretation of a place I have yet to visit in the physical world, but have grown to love. I have attempted to be reasonably accurate in my interpretation ot the house and river over which it sits, but the rest of the region is purely made from my imagination, and offers places to sit in the sun or under moon, listing to the music, have a picnic, laze in a hammock, and so on.

Information givers at the landing point and in the great room of the house provide information on the art and images on display. So, I hope you’ll visit and enjoy! Impressions will be open through until the end of September – you’ll probably find me pottering around tweaking things here and there!

Impressions; Inara Pey, August 2015, on FlickrImpressions, LEA 6 August 2015 (Flickr)

There is no preferred windlight for the region – the sounds and lighting are designed to change with the SL day. However, if you wish to use a windlight yourself, I recommend the following for daytime lighting:

  • [NB]-MistyDay-5pm – set the Sun to around 11:00am-3:00 pm.
  • [TOR] MIDDAY – Baskaholic.

In closing, I would like to extend sincere and warm thanks to the following people, without their support, this installation would never have seen the light of day: Secret Rage, CioTToLiNa Xue, Jodi Serenity, Whirly Fizzle, Frankx LeFarve, and John.

With a very special and deep thank you to Cube Republic, whose generosity and support has been truly inspiring.

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The Seasons of Life in Second Life

Seasons of Life - LEA 4

Seasons of Life – LEA 4

Now open at LEA 4 is Seasons of Life by John (Johannes1977 Resident), a Second Life photographer who has been rightfully gaining a respected reputation in-world for his photographic studies, which straddle the virtual and the physical worlds. As a serving member of the US Marines, for example, he shot a series of photographs showing military life whilst on deployment to Afghanistan, and these were recently featured in an exhibition at The Rose Gallery, Angel Manor.

Seasons Of Life is focused squarely on John’s work as an in-world artist, and is his first exhibition at the LEA. In his words, it represents “a person’s life cycle combined with the scientific seasons of the Earth”.

It sees the region, which is largely flooded at ground level, divided into five areas. Four of these are devoted to the four seasons – Winter, Spring Summer and Autumn, each presided over by portraits of its Guardian, as modelled by Draakje Dailey (Spring), Eleseren Brianna (Summer),  Emma Portilo (Winter) and Issy Flatley (Autumn). The fifth area is given over to the Guardian of the Night, modelled by  Seashell Dench.

Seasons of Life - LEA 4

Seasons of Life – LEA 4

The portraits are individually and collectively fascinating, presented in a variety of styles which offer strong contrasts to one another, while at the same time complimenting their individual seasonal theme,

For example, the Winter Guardian is presented in two monochrome / grey-scale images, providing a subtle emphasis of the cold grip winters holds. However, where one has a bold, charcoal-like thrust to it, the other offers a more gentle, light-handed pencil feel to it. Thus they contrast with one another while at the same time complementing the scene they present – the stark boldness of the darker image emphasising the Guardian’s power as she towers over the landscape, arms raised and outstretched as if in invocation.

Similarly, Autumn uses a more painting-like finish to each of the images (both watercolour and oil), allowing colours to be over-emphasised, echoing the rich natural hues of nature at that time of the year.

Seasons of Life - LEA 4

Seasons of Life – LEA 4

Clever use is also made of animated gifs in places which again adds depth to the images concerned. The Guardians seem to shimmer into existence as you cam onto the portraits, for example, while in an Autumn images, the waters are the Guardian’s feet ripples gently. The animations can take a number of seconds to fully work given the rain, show and lightning effects in the installation, but the end result is certainly eye-catching.

All told, an intriguing installation which will be open through until the end of October, I believe – but do take care when walking around. Step off the walkways, and you might find the water a tad bit deeper in some places than in others :) .

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A Tudor love story in Second Life

Now open at LEA 8 is Tahiti Rae’s Love, Henry. Created with the assistance of Sonic Costello, Augurer Resident, Caryl Meredith, Annu Pap, Mitsuko Kytori, Abel Dreamscape, this is an interactive examination of the relationship between King Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn, from their courtship to her becoming his wife and Queen Consort, through to events immediately prior to her death just 1,000 days later.

An outline sketch of events would be to say that Henry was bound in childless wedlock to Catherine of Aragon when Anne caught his eye (having in earlier years taken Anne’s older sister, Mary, as one of his mistresses), causing him to desire her to the point of having his marriage annulled so that he might wed her. Thereafter, and unable to provide him with a son and heir, she also suffered a fall from grace, largely engineered, to suffer execution in the Tower of London.

Obviously, the full story is far more complex, involving as it does several figures key to England’s unfolding political and religious landscape, including Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell and  Thomas Cranmer, and the upheavals of the English Reformation; however, part of the intent of Love, Henry is to encourage people to explore Tudor history for themselves, so I’ll leave it at that.

As a love story, Love, Henry focuses on two things: a letter said to have been written or dictated by Anne Boleyn following her incarceration in the Tower of London, and a “new discovery” author Sandra Vasoli claims to have made. The provenance of the letter has been hotly debated over the years, and is believed to have never come before the eyes of the King, having been withheld and hidden by Cromwell. However, Vasoli claims to have found evidence that on his deathbed, Henry expressed remorse for his actions towards Anne. Thus Tahiti poses her question to visitors and invites their thoughts and feedback: did Henry come to regret his decision to have Anne executed?

The installation itself is split into three parts, which visitors are guided through in turn, from the welcome area, which offers information necessary to fully enjoy the experience together period costumes which can be optionally worn during the rest of the visit; through the Tudor Library, which forms the main interactive element of the installation, and is built around Anne’s letter from the Tower, together with notes on Sandra Vasoli’s “new discovery”; to a  ground level build focused on a grand Norman-style cathedral set within a beautiful garden space, in which there are secrets to be uncovered.

Love, Henry, deserves to be explored carefully. Not only because of the wealth of information it contains and opportunities to provide input and feedback of your own (which aren’t restricted just to the Library, which really does offer a lot), but because it is beautifully put together. For example, the garden contains a loggia which appears to have been inspired by the one at Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s home. Further, the cathedral the garden surround may be an imposing centrepiece, but it is also very symbolic, representing marriage and death, both of which have obvious significance where Henry and Anne are concerned, while simultaneously also reminding us of the religious strife their relationship caused. Nor are these the only touches to be found as one explores; hints of Anne’s fate might be seen, together with reminders of the brutality of the age.

The slant to the installation might be a little romanticised – the relationship between Henry and Anne was born as much out of ambition on both sides as out of love; but that doesn’t matter. This is supposed to be a romantic “what if”, one which encourages the visitor to explore one of England’s important periods of history, both through the information presented here and for themselves.

As mentioned above, do keep in mind when exploring that there are secrets to be found – including the gateway to the “final chapter” of Henry and Anne’s story. However, as bloggers have been asked not to reveal too much about these,  I’ll say no more here. Also, do make sure you have the audio stream enabled with exploring. Excellent and considered use is made of music by Canadian composer Trevor Morris, which adds further depth to Love, Henry.

Tahiti says that contributions from those willing to provide their thoughts and feedback will be incorporated into the installation, and she welcomes requests to bring in student or group tours to visit Love Henry.

Very definitely recommended.

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The mystery of the Egg in Second Life

Now open at LEA 19 as a part of the 9th Artist in Residence series is Livio Korobase’s The Egg. And a curious installation it is (slight pun intended).

The introductory notes provide a Theosophy Trust treatise on the role of the egg throughout human history. It’s a comprehensive piece, guiding the reader from the creation myth of the Cahuilla Indians by way of Scandinavia, Russia and China, through the Laws of Manu and asks us to consider the role of the egg in reproduction, the power of life, of creation, that it contains.  It’s also quite heady, and something that may well leave the reader just how it and the installation might relate to one another.

This presents a giant egg, supported atop a scaffold, and itself topped by a meditative frog. Below and around this lies a gently undulating landscape, semi-flooded and overlaid in places by mandalas. On this sits what I can only describe as a series of scenes, each one individual in style and presentation (and each uniquely identifiable as Livio’s work). Some of these offer elements those familiar with Livio’s past installations may recognise. Some of them are wonderfully interactive (touching and clicking is strongly encouraged, as is having local sounds enabled).

But what is their relationship with the introductory notes? Obviously, if one seeks meaning hard enough, it will be found; and in truth there are some subtle echoes between text and installation. The egg sits at the centre of everything, much as it is represented as being at the heart of all creation; and certainly, there is a lot of creation evident in the installation: scaffolds, ladders, wheelbarrows, and cement mixers. The egg is the source of life, and there are  references to life and love to be found. The egg is a cultural symbol, and there are cultural symbols in evidence here as well; some perhaps more obvious than others.

But all that said, I cannot help but feel that when all is said and done, Livio has approached this installation with a very large twinkle in his eye. While the Theosophy treatise on the egg may well stir the grey matter, he’s actually telling us not to look too deeply for a connection, but simply accept – and enjoy.

However you opt to interpret the installation, do be sure to visit – and make sure you spend time poking and touching and listening and enjoying. Above all, do make sure you pay a visit to the area under the egg, and follow the arrow (that is, click on it). It will lead you to the heart of the egg itself.

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