Portraits and studies in Second Life

We received news on two new exhibitions featuring portraiture and avatar studies that have recently opened in Second Life. The first is at the Surreal Gallery, featuring the work of Lily Summerwind (LiliMango), and the second features the work of Maddy (Magda Schmidtzau) on display at the Melania Art Gallery.

Simply Lily opened on April 23rd and runs until June 23rd at the Blue Room at Surreal Gallery is the smaller of the two exhibits, offering fourteen images by Llily Summerwind. Given the title of the exhibition, the majority of the pieces are self-portraits, which are striking in their use of poses to convey a story or mood.

Self-portraiture is a form of photography which tends to engage me peripherally; while I can appreciate the artistry that is involved, often times the fact that the pictures are posed and stand as self-studies, rather than carrying a narrative tends to leave me distanced from the subject matter. However, I found myself drawn to number of the images presented in this exhibit, and for numerous reasons.

The first is that narrative is clearly evident in a number, with several offering a sense of anticipation / promise which draws one into them, wanting not so much to discover the narrative as be a part of it –Shhhh being a case in point. Then there is the use of colour, shading, light and shadow, all of which are quite extraordinary.

In terms of colour and shading, everything from powerful monochrome (again, witnessed in Shhhh) through a joyous richness of colour demonstrated in the likes of Rainbow Bright or the balance of colour and lighting which is so powerfully used in Geisha. The skilled use of contrast is also presented, through pieces like Me and My Shadow, Spring Flower and The Butterfly Effect.

Maddy is the larger of the two exhibits, presenting around 40 images by Maddy on display at both indoor and outdoor spaces at the Melania Gallery, making full use of what is a charming setting, complete with canal, gallery buildings, a bar and canal-side walks built by Terrygold.

Once again there is a richness of style and approach to the pieces on offer, with a broad mix of subject matter, albeit again with a focus on avatar portraiture. In particular, sitting within the indoor spaces are a series of surreal / collage pieces which are especially eye-catching (see above). Colour is once again used to great effect, with a studied use of depth of field present in some images as well.

Many of the pieces are untitled, making it somewhat difficult to draw attention to specific pieces on  offer, which is a shame, as show really are deserving of recognition, such as the fantasy piece sitting alongside the landing point (and which is to the right of the image headlining this article), together with the aforementioned surreal pieces. There also appears to be some grouping of pictures thematically between the various exhibition areas – although this could equally just be the way I looked at things.

However, this does underline a small problem with this exhibition:  there are perhaps too many pieces on display. Sometimes, less is more and such is the volume of work on display, it can be a little overwhelming as one wanders through the exhibition spaces. That said, the pieces on offer are undoubtedly striking, and very much worth viewing,

SLurl Details

  • Simply Lily, Surreal Galley (Claressa, rated: Moderate)
  • Maddy, Melania Gallery (White Beach, rated: Adult)
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BURN2: Burnal Equinox 2017

BURN2 Burnal Equinox – poster via BURN2

Friday, April 28th marked the opening of the 2017 BURN2 Burnal Exquinox event, which will run through until Sunday, April 30th.

The theme for this year’s event is Scared and Profane, with the press release for the event reading in part:

What does this mean? The sacred–profane dichotomy is an idea posited by French sociologist Émile Durkheim, who considered it to be the central characteristic of religion, “Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden.”

In Durkheim’s theory, the sacred represented the interests of the group, especially unity, which were embodied in sacred group symbols, or totems. The profane, on the other hand, involved mundane individual concerns. Durkheim explicitly stated that the sacred/profane dichotomy was not equivalent to good/evil. The sacred could be good or evil, and the profane could be either as well.

Throughout the playa, is a series of builds offering various takes on the theme. As one might expect, religious symbolism is heavy throughout, together with the more “traditional” images of BURN2. Plenty of humour is also on offer – such as the Lanterns That Must Not Be Touched (but which rain carrots if they are…).

A full weekend of entertainment and festivities will be taking place through the three days of the event, which kicked-off at 10:00 SLT on Friday, April 28th with a Lamp Lighter procession. You can find full details of activities in the BURN 2 calendar, some of the highlights of which include (all times SLT):

  • Saturday, April 29th:
    • 19:00 – 19:30: BURN2 Acrobat Fire Dancers
    • 19:30 – 20:00: Royal Lepus Fashion Show
  • Sunday April 30th:
    • 10:00 – 11:00: Lamp Lighters and Fire Dancers
    • 11:00 – 12:00 noon: first Burn of the equinox
    • 12:00 noon – 13:00: Chang High Sisters
    • 15:00 – 16:00: DRUM
    • 17:00 – 18:00: Lamp Lighters and Fire Dancers
    • 18:00 – 19:00: second Burn of the equinox

About BURN2

BURN2 is an extension of the Burning Man festival and community into the world of Second Life. It is an officially sanctioned Burning Man regional event, and the only virtual world event out of more than 100 real world Regional groups and the only regional event allowed to burn the man.

The BURN2 Team operates events year around, culminating in an annual major festival of community, art and fire in the fall – a virtual echo of Burning Man itself.

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The song of the Spirit Pool in Second Life

The Spirit Pool by Kayle Matzerath, Fantasy Faire 2017

Since the dawn of the First Age, when the peoples of the world started counting the passage of Time, we have been here. Keepers of the waters; guardians of Life’s Way; shepherds to those seeking rest as their Path leads to the gates of Beyond.

Carved from the living rock above the waters and below the outspread arms of the Goddess, our halls are open to all, from above or below the waves. Like time itself, our waters flow outwards from their beginning in the hills, passing through tunnel and channel as they seeking the Spirit Pool, while the ebb and flow of landfolk and seafolk mark the beat of the citadel’s heart.

The Spirit Pool by Kayle Matzerath, Fantasy Faire 2017

To some we are a place of commerce, folded between land and sea. To those seeking Answers or uncertain of their way as their years wane, we are a place of Sanctuary and peace. The waters of the Spirit Pool offer rest and clarity of vision and thought to those who seek either. 

As the world turns, so we have seen the rise and fall of many; but while the years fall like leaves from a bough and the ages unfold as the petals of the flower, we remain. These walls, ancient before the world grew old, tire not. Though countless thousands of feet have walked our piers and halls, the stone beneath them does not fade nor wear. Our banners do not fade.

The Spirit Pool by Kayle Matzerath, Fantasy Faire 2017

“Timeless” some might call it; but that would infer we have escaped time. But how do you escape something to which you’ve never been held in thrall? We simply Are; and that is why the weary, the lost, the lingering souls caught between one realm and the next, find their way to us.

Beneath the Goddess’ outstretched arms, within the shade of covered terraces and walks, guided by the lanterns held aloft by the Handmaidens of the Pool or within the waters of the Pool itself, all who are uncertain, all who seek reset before passing beyond the realm of the physical, are welcome here.

The Spirit Pool by Kayle Matzerath, Fantasy Faire 2017

As a trader or traveller coming to this citadel for commerce, you may not see them moving among the people here, but we do. Our promises is to care for them, provide the peace they need so that they may hear their own calling. We do not offer direction; we do not encourage passage one way or the other. Each of those bound by time must make their own choice as to which path they will take. 

That is how it always has been, here in the midst of the Spirit Pool, and it is how it always will be. We greet you now as friend and traveller, and offer our halls as a place of trading and meetings. And we will welcome you again, one day, when your spirit is in need of rest and your thoughts in need of focus, when the Spirit Pool calls to you once more. 

The Spirit Pool by Kayle Matzerath, Fantasy Faire 2017

SLurl Details

Isla Pey: happiness is getting things *just* so …

The cottage and gardens on the plateau

We’re into another quarter, so it must be time for me to fiddle with the island home 🙂 .

In January, we reverted back to using the Fanatik Rocky Island to give a little elevation to our island home, and while happy with the results, I couldn’t help but feel tweaks were necessary. For one thing, the rotation of that huge rock made the walk from house to boat house something of a trek. It had ended up this way because I thought that was the only way the Rocky island would decently fit the north end of the parcel, where we wanted it. Turned out, I’d measured things a little inaccurately, so if we sacrificed the ‘plane docks, it would actually just fit.

So, around went the 118 LI slab of land by 90-degrees, moving the footpath winding down the side so that it descends directly to the “field” at the foot of the cliffs. So far, so good, other than the loss of the ‘plane docks – and the burying of half the duck pond (which was not looked upon too kindly by our TLC ducks!). Cue a reshuffle of the landscape 🙂 .

The Botanical Enchanted Forest Tower and MSD Among the ruins – Isolde tower can be nicely merged to form a single ruin, and as both are mod, the stonework can be textured to they match. The upper platform on the Enchanted Forest Tower makes for a perfect setting for our MSD Dragon Garden piece.

I won’t bore you with a huge delve into things. Suffice it to say that the reshuffle actually improved things no end. For one thing, moving the pond helped me realise that with a little bit of re-texturing of the stonework, Kriss Lehmann’s Botanical Forest Ruins Tower could be combined with the MSD Among the Ruins – Isolde tower to produce a nicely expanded ruin on the west side of the island. This in turn provided a new home for our MSD Dragon Garden  (which is (reviewed here alongside the Among The Ruins Tower), with a cosy little snuggle beneath it, overlooking the relocated pond.

Looking across the pond from the sitting nook under one of the ruined towers

Moving the Rocky Island around also presented a much more flexible space in which to set the house and  gardens, with a little bit of terracing to break things up a bit. Everything is now much more conveniently located, and finally provided just the right post for out old well (a genuine steal from DIVAs Design at L$25), accessed via a gate (from Cube Republic’s Meadow Farm Fence kit, another recommendation) opening off the back of the garden.

And the ‘planes? Well, moving the pond made room for a smaller set of moorings, and a quick raid of my inventory produced an old Smith Fizz scene rezzing system. Nicely customisable, this now lets us rez whichever float ‘plane or helicopter we fancy using, whilst keeping the dock otherwise clear for friends to use when visiting, whether they come by air or water.

The towers lit at night, and the cottage in its new cliff-top location

So, are we happy with things – finally? Believe it or not, we both are. Will there be more changes in the future? Obviously, as there will always be nips and tucks, tweaks and additions. But unless we decide on a total make-over of the island for something completely new, I think that this time Isla Pey with its walks, ruins and house, is exactly how we both like it.