Transcending Borders: further entries

Further art entires have been received in the UWA’s Transcending Borders combined Art and Machinima Challenge, on which I’m privileged to sit as a member of the judging panel. The challenge is open to entries through until midnight, SLT on October 31st, 2014, and offers a combined prize pool of some L$1,030,000 for entrants, plus L$240,000 in audience participation prizes.

Android Ascension by Sheba Blitz is an abstract piece of pyramidal sections within which sits a rotating sphere displaying images of figures climbing an endless spiral stair
Android Ascension by Sheba Blitz is an abstract piece of pyramidal sections within which sits a rotating sphere displaying images of figures climbing an endless spiral stair

Entrants are invited to interpret the challenge theme, Transcending Borders, in any way they please. It might refer to transcending borders between space and time, or the past and present or the present and future, the divisions between dimensions, the borders separating nations or cultures or languages, or any one of the many borders we encounter as we navigate our physical and virtual lives.

Submissions may be either a piece of art (one item per entrant) or a short film preferably no longer than 4 minutes and 30 seconds (as many films as entrants wish to submit, as long as they have been filmed specifically for the challenge). All submissions should allow casual viewers to interpret how the theme is represented, or provide a means by which the piece can be understood in the context of the challenge theme.

Dusty Canning presents The Yeellow House, which converts van Gogh's famous painting of the house he rented in Aries, France, back into a 3D model visitors can walk around
Dusty Canning presents The Yellow House, which converts van Gogh’s famous painting of the house he rented in Aries, France, back into a 3D model visitors can walk around

The most recent entries in the art section of the challenge are shown here, and comprise pieces by Sheba Blitz, Dusty Canning,  Ginger Lorakeet and Spiral Silverstar.

The challenge is sponsored by  Tom Papas & SciFi Film Festival; LaPiscean Liberty & SL Artists; AviewTV, Taralyn Gravois and Arts Castle Gallery; TheDoveRhode and Peace is a Choice and S&S Gallery of Fine SL Art; Jon Stubbs & UWA Student Services; and  the UWA Virtual Worlds Project.

Ginger Lorakeet's whimsical 3D diorama "In a dream somewhere between real life & second life"
Ginger Lorakeet’s whimsical 3D diorama “In a dream somewhere between real life & second life”

Art entries for the challenge are on display in the Transcending Borders gallery area above the UWA’s home regions. Machinima entires will be listed on the SLArtist website as they are received.

Full details on the challenge, including all rules and details on how to submit entries can be found on the UWA blog.

Spiral Silverstar's rotating fractal kaleidoscope
Spiral Silverstar’s rotating fractal kaleidoscope

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The serenity of Sarawak

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr) – click any image for full size

I finally made it to Sarawak, the home region of outstanding SL photographer Ermandalee. I’d actually been intending to visit since around the end of July, but time and tide have been keeping me away; as did the fact that many of SL photographers and bloggers have visited; I scarcely feel any pictures I take do justice to the region compared to their work.

But, time smiled favourably upon me, and with an hour or so on my hands I jumped across for a visit, and I have to say I’m glad I did. Given Ermandalee’s eye for detail and expression, which can clearly been seen throughout her Flickr steam, it will come as no surprise that Sarawak is beautifully conceived and presented; the camera can scarcely be turned without a picture being framed.

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr)

Predominantly rural in nature, Sarawak presents what might be a coastal scene, a flat headland with mountains rearing beyond and cut through by water to form a small series of islands linked by bridges, both stone and wooden.  A house is built out over the waters of one of the inlets, a sign welcoming visitors to Ermandalee’s home, which doubles as a small gallery presenting some of her photographs. Just across the water are signs of a farm or small holding: a barn where horses can be found, bales of hay and the rounded form of a stone windmill. The soil here is obviously rich, as a scarecrow stands guard over a field of yellow flowers.

The pastoral feel to Sarawak continues through the wildlife to be found across the region. Ducks swim in some of the inlets or waddle on the shorelines, geese rise from one of the smaller islands, gulls circle overhead while deer roam the grasslands, birds sing against the backdrop of flowing water and the gentle ringing of chimes caught in the breeze.

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr)

But there is more here than a simple country scene; I understand that Ermandalee originally had it in mind to build something more towards the fantasy side of things. Eechoes of this can be found as one wanders the region, mixed with a touch of ancient mysticism.  A tall tower stands to one side of the region; close to a set of falls stands a statue and pavilion of distinctly elven look and feel, while on the shoreline sits a circle of mossy standing stones.

The combination of elements within Sarawak is enticing; inviting one to try to define where it the world it might reside. To me, parts of it suggest the great outdoors of Canada (or at least, how I imagine them to be): lakeshore cabins, rich forests, tall mountains. At the same time Sarawak speaks of being more European in nature, while the fjord-like channel to the north-east suggests something slightly Scandinavian.

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr)

However you see Sarawak, and whether you witness it in the default windlight setting, suggestive of a cool late summer evening (or perhaps early morning, depending on your mood), or whether you opt for one of your own (as I did), it is a beautiful place to visit and explore.  With its many offerings of places to sit, down on the ground and up in the trees, it offers an open invitation to visitors to stop and rest a while.

Given the serenity one feels when wandering through the region, it is an invitation easily accepted.

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr)

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Of murders, aliens among us and getting bullish

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library.

As always, all times SLT / PDT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday August 17th, 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell once again open the pages of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

This week: The Problem of Thor Bridge.

“The faculty of deduction is certainly contagious, Watson,” Holmes informs his good friend one October morning after Watson had arrived for breakfast expecting to find Holmes in a depressed mood, wanting for a good, solid case, but finding him instead practically full of the joys of spring.

The comment comes in response to Watson’s observation that such a good mood could only mean that Holmes did indeed have a case. Even so, it is not until after breakfast that the Great Detective reveals the situation.

“You have heard of Neil Gibson, the Gold King?” he said.

“You mean the American Senator?”

“Well, he was once Senator for some Western state, but is better known as the greatest gold-mining magnate in the world.”

“Yes, I know of him. He has surely lived in England for some time. His name is very familiar.”

“Yes, he bought a considerable estate in Hampshire some five years ago. Possibly you have already heard of the tragic end of his wife?”

“Of course. I remember it now. That is why the name is familiar. But I really know nothing of the details.

The details are that the wife of the aforementioned J. Neil Gibson had been most cruelly murdered by none other than the family’s governess, Grace Dunbar. The evidence in the case couldn’t be more clear, nor Miss Dunbar’s guilt more sure.

So the letter Holmes has received protesting her innocence despite all the evidence indicating otherwise, sets the Great detective a pretty riddle. Particularly as it has been written by none other than J. Neil Gibson himself …

Monday August 18th, 19:00: Far From Home: The People: No Different Flesh

the peopleZenna Chlarson Henderson was one of the first female science-fiction authors, having started reading publications such as astounding Stories from the age of 12, and becoming a popular author in the 1950s and 1960s.

She is perhaps best known for her The People stories, which focus of a race of human-like aliens forced to flee their homeworld due to a natural disaster, and some of whom arrive in the American southwest shortly before the start of the 20th century.

The People have the very best of human qualities: love, gentleness, spirituality; and also special powers of healing, levitation, telekinesis and more, who wish only to preserve their home culture and beliefs amidst a world which, despite their human appearance, does not understand them.

Henderson’s tales about The People ran to some 17 stories which examined the lives of The People, their past on their homeworld, their attempts to live quietly on Earth, their interactions with their human neighbours,  all told in a beautiful, moving style. Why not join Gyro Muggins to learn more as he commences reading The People: No Different Flesh?

Tuesday August 19th, No Reading

The Library will be dark.

Wednesday August 20th, 19:00: More Selections from Chestnut Street

Maeve Binchy, journalist, columnist, playwright and author, began her writing career by accident, thanks to her father sending the letters she wrote to him while on a kibbutz in Israel during the 1960s to a local paper in Ireland, which subsequently published them. This in turn led to her being offered a job with The Irish Times on her return home, thus starting her on the road to becoming one of Ireland’s most successful and internationally recognised writers.

chestnut streetThrough her writings, she would often jot down short stories about an imaginary street in Dublin, where people would constantly come and go and experience the most diverse of times and situations. Once written, these stories would be put away for “the future”. That imaginary street was called Chestnut Street, located not far from the setting of her 2010 bestseller Minding Frankie.

In 2014, these tales of the folk who live along, or visit, Chestnut Street were gathered together in a single volume and published posthumously under the title Chestnut Street.

Join Caledonia Skytower as she delves into the rich diversity of stories to be found inside the covers of this book. Perhaps you’ll meet Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who finds himself going to extraordinary lengths to protect his son; or hear all the local gossip from Melly, and see how it helps a local fortune-teller for the good of all; or maybe you’ll find yourself sympathising with poor Nessa, whose summers are blighted every year by the arrival of her aunt from America on a vacation sure to turn Nessa’s life and home upside down. Chestnut Street is inhabited by the most colourful characters, and their stories are lovingly and humourously told; so why not join Caledonia as she pays them a visit?

Thursday August 14th

16:00: First Nation Tales

Caledonia Skytower and Dubhna Rhiadra sit down to bring us more native tales from the first peoples of the North American continent.

Drawing on  number of sources and resources, Cale and Dubna have, over the years, drawn together collections of stories and legends from across a number of First Nation tribes, including the Zuni, Omaha, Paiute, and Hopi as well as legends from Kwaikutlsome in Western Canada. Some of these stories have been published, others of which have come from the long tradition of the spoken word, with archetypal tales handed down through successive generations.

“We have everything from Raven stealing the moon, to how Winter and Summer came to be, and the Creation of Corn,” Cale says of the stories. “The thing I like about them, is the imagery and the “themes” are almost Aesopian. They are all lesson/moral/cautionary tales.”

Join Cale and Dubhna as they delve into this treasure chest of tales and legends.

19:00: the Minotaur

Join Shandon Loring as he plunges into the labyrinthine tale of queeny seductions, kingly puzzle gardens, monsters in the maze and young Athenian heroes all wrapped-up in a tale of strife, romance, torment and triumph!

21;00: Seanchai Late Night

Caledonia and Shandon present One Night with the Fae.


Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for July-August is WildAid: seeking to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.

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