The photographic eye of Slatan Dryke

Scenes - Slatan Dryke
Scenes – Slatan Dryke

Opening at 12:30 on Sunday, February 1st at the Seaside Gallery, which is owned an operated by JMB Balogh is the debut public exhibition of work by SL photographer Slatan Dryke.

As its name suggests, Scenes features images captured from around Second Life which each create a vignette of their own, each with a little story to tell. Most of the images (if not all) have been taken at well-known locations in Second Life, but such is the angle and nature of each picture, the locations aren’t always easy to identify.

Scenes - Slatan Dryke
Scenes – Slatan Dryke

A considered use of colour and lighting is evident in the images, affording them a unique look and feel. Slatan states that he rarely uses post-processing to enhance his images, relying purely on his eye and SL’s windlight capabilities. This has given rise to some very striking pictures, some of which are included in this exhibition, such as Jaundiced Sepia (seen at the top of this article, on the left). There is such a beautiful quality about this one piece that were it not for the recognisable form of the little café, the eye could be so easily fooled into believing it to be a picture taken in the physical world;  the bicycle in particular looking as if it is simply awaiting a delivery boy to jump onto the saddle and pedal off on his rounds. Slatan himself poses  in a couple of the images, and with Muse Amplitude (directly above on the left) in particular, this again gives the piece an added depth.

With 18 pieces on display, this is not a large exhibition, although a number of Slatan’s animated sculptures are also on display as well, and available for purchase alongside the pictures. I’d perhaps like to have seen the images themselves a little smaller in size, if only to see one or two more included. But this isn’t a complaint; rather an admission that I found myself rather attracted to some of the pieces presented – I mentioned two above – and would like to see others the artist has which encompass  a similar theme and / or approach.

Scenes - Slatan Dryke
Scenes – Slatan Dryke

A a debut exhibition, scenes serves as an excellent introduction to Slatan’s work for those unfamiliar with it, and I look forward to see his work displayed in other galleries in SL.

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Timeless peace in The Outer Garden

The Outer Garden, Calm Beach; Inara Pey, January 2015, on FlickrThe Outer Garden, Calm Beach (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Outer Garden, floating high over a quarter of a full sim region, is a true delight. Designed by Bisou Dexler, it is a tour de force demonstration that less is very often more as it presents visitors, and especially photographers, with an absolute treasure of a place to visit.

Central to the design is a huge pavilion of glass what I take to be wrought iron, a structure evocative of Victorian beauty, hung with climbing roses and surrounded by a lake of bright rose bushes set against the snowy white ground. Around this can be found a series of little scenes which can either been seen as a part of the whole, or form self-contained elements of their own, while inside the pavilion lies a romantic heart.

The Outer Garden, Calm Beach; Inara Pey, January 2015, on FlickrThe Outer Garden, Calm Beach (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Here one finds an aisle leading from the great doors to a single chaise lounge, the red petals of roses forming a soft carpet on the white floor. Close by, the ghostly form of a glass piano sits, waiting to be played or to play for visitors. Candles light the space on an evening, together with a sprinkling of  golden stars floating in the air under the high dome, while balloons are gathered near the piano and the seat, like clouds hovering at the horizon.

Outside, ices and cakes can be found not little tables next to an ice cream gazebo staffed by a a little white teddy bear, the translucent forms of butterflies hovering wisp-like between the tables. A little further away sits a little copse, a little hideaway nestling inside.

The Outer Garden, Calm Beach; Inara Pey, January 2015, on FlickrThe Outer Garden, Calm Beach (Flickr) – click any image for full size

There is a beautiful ethereal quality to The Outer Garden, partially due to the use of light (especially a subtle use of glow); this gives the entire scene a soft look that might be described as “timeless” or “other-worldly”, and which leads to opportunities for some clever photographic effects when mixing the right appearance with the surroundings. Just watch, for example, as someone can seemingly disappear into the rose bushes surrounding the pavilion as they walk away from you, their form gradually softening and fading the further they get from your camera.

The Outer Garden is an absolute treasure; if you’ve not already been there, it is a place I thoroughly recommend you add to your list of places to visit.

The Outer Garden, Calm Beach; Inara Pey, January 2015, on FlickrThe Outer Garden, Calm Beach (Flickr) – click any image for full size

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Casting a retrospective eye on Giovanna Cerise

Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise
Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise

Retrospective is the title of a new exhibition curated by Owl Braveheart, one of the powerhouses behind the FIAT (FIne ArT) project in Second Life. It features the work of Giovanna Cerise, presenting – as the name suggests – a retrospective of her art from the period 2009 (shortly after her arrival in SL at the end of 2008) through until the end of 2014.

On arrival, follow the arrows into the gallery building and through a miniature excerpt from Chaos, Kosmos, her installation at the LEA which form a part of the 7th round of the Artist In Residence (AIR) series there, and which I wrote about in both November and December 2014.

Habenera (2009) - Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise
Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise

Like Chaos, Kosmos, many of Giovanna’s more recent works have been on a region-wide scale, so the core of the exhibition focuses on her work from the period 2009-2011. Which is not to say elements from her larger builds cannot be found here. For example, Circe, from the magnificent Il Folle Volo (which I reviewed in August 2014), can be found here, waiting, perhaps, to trick visitors into drinking her potion as she once did with Odysseus’ crew.

Many of the pieces within this exhibition demonstrate Giovanna’s eye for fusing movement, colour, geometry and both 2D and 3D elements into quite striking pieces, so much so that still images really don’t capture the motion and interplay of colour and space found in many of them, such as with Lampo, Change Ball, Optical illusion and Optical Illusion 3, which can all be seen at the top of this piece, and which collectively date from 2010.

Also, and with respect to the degree of motion evident in many of the pieces on display, I would suggest that those on older hardware or with older GPUs and who generally have Shadows enabled might want to turn them (or ALM off) in order to fully appreciated the sheer fluidity of movement that is on display.

Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise
Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise

Offered with an environment that is itself quite striking and which is lit in a manner which ideally complements the pieces on display, Retrospective makes for a delightful and worthwhile visit, and will remain open through until the end of February.

Oh, and should you find yourself arriving at the ground level in the region, take the teleport disc at the landing point to reach the exhibition sky platform, then take the steps up to the exhibition entrance.

Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise
Retrospective, Giovanna Cerise

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Of pawnbrokers, caged kings, and tales of love and loss

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to Second Life and Kitely 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, or at their Kitely Homeworld.

Sunday, February 1st, 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street

This week, Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell sit down to relate the story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the second in his list of “top twelve” Holmes stories: The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, which first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, the story itself being set in October of the previous year.

Jabez Wilson tells his story to a bemused Holmes and Watson, Sidney Paget, 1891
Jabez Wilson tells his story to a bemused Holmes and Watson, Sidney Paget, 1891

When Jabez Wilson finds his pawnbroker business struggling in its usual evening trade, he heeds the advice of his recently-hired assistant, Vincent Spaulding, and responds to a rather specific job advert requiring that successful applicant must be male, prepared to work afternoons only and sport … red hair.

Apparently in possession of precisely the right shade of red hair, as well as finding the afternoon work agreeable to his need to take care of his own business in the evenings, Wilson finds himself hired by one Duncan Ross, apparently in charge of the “Red-Headed League”, and given the task of – copying out the contents of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Understanding the work is related to a will of some sort, Wilson finds himself gaining something of an education as he spends several weeks carefully copying out all the “A” entries from the Encyclopædia. However, before he can start on the “B” entries, he arrives at work to find the office of the Red-Headed League closed, and the League itself apparently dissolved. Unable to ascertain what has happened, and feeling somewhat upset over the loss of his £4 a week income from the work, Wilson turns to a bemused Holmes and Watson for help in finding out what has happened to Mr. Duncan Ross and his esteemed league.

Monday February 2nd, 19:00 The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

Gyro Muggins continues reading from Fredrick Pohl’s The Age of the Pussyfoot.

(Trident 1971 hardcover)
(Trident 1971 hardcover)

First published in serial form in1966, they republished as a novel in its own right in 1969, The Age of the Pussyfoot sees us transported to the 26th century along with one Charles Forrester, who has been in a state of cryogenic sleep for some 500 years, after being killed in a fire. His time in suspended animation, together with his revival – now that technology has developed to a point where revival is possible – has been paid for through his insurance, which (presumably through the act of compound interest down the centuries, his on-going medical expenses notwithstanding) has also left him comparatively well-off.

Forrester find the 26th century a place of delight; his spectre-like computer terminal, the Joymaker, puts almost everything – including drugs – at his fingertips. He’s able to take an apartment, still enjoy the delights of 20th century food and enter into a lifestyle of parties and fun, the money from his insurance making him rather wealthy.

Then things start to go a little sideways. First, there is Adne, who appears to be out to trap him into providing for her children; there’s also the mysterious Club, who also seem to be more interested in Forrester’s wealth than him. Add to the list the man from Mars who has taken out a hunting licence allowing him and his friends to track down and even kill Forrester – so long as his revival is paid for – and the future suddenly isn’t so bright a playground. And when his money starts running out, and he’s forced to take a job, he’s also forced to reassess who he can trust and who he can’t, and just what role he is actually to play in humanity’s future…

Tuesday February 3rd, 19:00: A Walk in the Woods

walk-in-woodsBy his own admission, Bill Bryson isn’t the world’s greatest adventurer. This being the case, you’d think he’d have serious misgivings about undertaking this particular “walk in the woods”, as he disarmingly calls it: taking the 3,500 kilometre (2,200 mile) Appalachian Trail – a journey which would take five months to complete.

Travelling with his good friend “Stephen Katz”, the book is both a humorous guide to the trail and a set of serious and insightful comments / discussion on the trail’s history as it winds its way from Georgia (where Bryson was living at the time the book was written in 1998), to Maine. These discussions cover a broad range of subject including the sociology, ecology, trees, plants, animals and people of the states through which the trail passes (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine).

Join Kayden Oconnell as he continues in Bryson’s footsteps through the pages of this classic.

Wednesday February 3rd,19:00: Beggars Day Book Two: The Caged King

Beggars Day 2Caledonia Skytower continues reading MJ McGalliard’s second novel, and the sequel to Beggar’s Day Book One: The Beggar Prince.

The Kingdom of Galaway has a law that every ruler must work a year and a day as a commoner; thus were readers introduced, through the first volume, to the kingdom and some of its notable inhabitants, including King Willy, Prince Larry, the scheming Percy, desperate to see himself on the throne, and the chicken-stealing crone Cruith.

Now, in the second volume, Vikings, hidden illnesses, ancient family squabbles and unplanned pregnancy are but a few of the changes in Galaway. Cruith is part of a conspiracy, Willy invents a new wagon, apples seem to be in the mix, while everything seems to revolve around a baby horse. And I haven’t even mentioned King Monaghan.

Intrigued? Then why not hop over to Seanchai library to hear this entertaining tale which, incidentally, is illustrated by one Judith Cullen – aka Caledonia Skytower!

Thursday February 5th

19:00: Tales of Adventure

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

With finn Zeddmore.

Saturday February 7th, Seanchai Kitely, 09:00 PDT: The Wooing of Etain

Tochmarc Étaíne, “The Wooing of Étaín” is a text from the early Irish Mythological Cycle, dating from around the 8th or 9th century, and with some cross-over into other Irish folk mythologies, such as the cycles of the Kings and the Ulster Cycles.

Now regarded as containing three tales within it, Tochmarc Étaíne recounted the live and loves of the beautiful Étaín, born of the Ulaid, king Ailill, who is courted by Midir of the Tuatha Dé Danann – much to the displeasure of his current wife, who turns to witchcraft. Thus begins a tale of loves won and lost of rebirths across time, in a tale thought to have been one of the source texts for the Middle English narrative poem Sir Orfeo.

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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 January / February is Project Children, teaching and building peace in Northern Ireland, one child at a time.

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