Art is always well represented at SLB events, and 2015 is no exception; there are a lot of art focused parcels scattered throughout the celebratory regions, as well as those which have been judged by the organisers to be worthy of special recognition.
It’s fair to say that the event can offer a great introduction to the many and varied forms of artistic expression that can be found within Second Life, and such is the range of art on display throughout SL12B, I’m not going to attempt to cover everything; rather what I offer here are some of the parcels that I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting this year, and why.
Loki Eliot – Childhood Dreams
Digital mischief maker Loki Eliot is one of Second Life’s great creative talents – his magnificent cake stage from SL11BCC remains one of the stand-out build from 2014, while his SL10BCC Behemoth will long stand in people’s memory, combining originality, mesh, storytelling and metaphor into one of the most entertaining visits of the 2013 celebrations.
This year, he uses the forthcoming Experience Keys to take people on a journey; a story combining drawings, mesh constructions, voice and imagination to demonstrate the freedom Second Life gives people to rediscover the joys of childhood and childhood dreams, and show just why child avatars are so popular within the platform.
He does so with a beautiful story visitors are invited to travel through and share; a story without the need to couch anything in matters of unhappy childhoods or metaphor or anything else; but which rather shows the unbridled joy of escape that can be found, of sharing something which – for whatever reason may have been lost or denied at an earlier age. In doing so, he also blows away the fog of misconception surrounding people’s self-expression through child avatars and offers a gentle, engaging challenge to those who persist in looking upon other who use child avatars with doubt and suspicion. This is a brilliant and captivating piece, and one that should not be overlooked by anyone visiting SL12BCC.
Juliana Lethdetter – Second Life Maps
I first visited Juliana’s marvellous collection of Second Life Maps back in 2012 (you can read about that visit here). For anyone remotely interested in Second Life’s history, it is a must-see destination (and one overdue for an update visit for this blog!). So it was with delight that I found her display at SL12B enjoying a prominent position just across the road from the main auditorium building.
In many respects, the idea that Second Life is a world is actually an illusion; while we can cross the mainland continents, and in some cases travel between continents and some estates, it simply is not possible to travel the entire “world” without resorting to the use of of the teleport – even, at times, for the simple act of visiting a neighbouring region.
But, the fact is that the illusion is a consensual one; we all freely engage in it; and through it, we gain more of a sense of place within Second life than might otherwise be the case. The rich diversity of maps which have been created over the years, both by the Lab and by residents, is both testament to the power of this consensual illusion, and a means of really understanding just how vast and diverse this digital realm really is – as Juliana beautifully reminds us:
The collective dreaming of Second Life Residents past and present
has resulted in the creation of a unique consensual reality:
a shared imaginal space far greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Ziki Questi – Matter and Memory
When it comes to SL photography, I wish I had just an ounce of the talent Ziki Questi consistently displays in her work. She has a eye for subject, composition, depth of field, colour, and framing that always has me in awe.
Matter and Memory presents a series of Ziki’s images captured from around Second Life between 2011 and 2015, which range from landscapes through unique takes on art installations through to the “not possible in real life” category, where the builds and creations to be found in Second Life far outstrip anything to be imagined or created in the physical world.
The images displayed represent regions past and present, offering something of a glimpse of Second Life’s history through the lens of an exceptional photographer, all of which are shown in what is, for me, one of the most visually appealing pavilions in SL12B, designed Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony).
Djehuti-Anpu (Thoth Jantzen) – Visions
Visions is a wonderfully immersive audio visual presentation spread across four vertical levels, and one which – providing you are not prone to epilepsy or are otherwise disturbed by rapidly changing lights and colours, is a definite must see – but make sure you allow it a fair slice of time; Visions is exceptional and more than worth the time taken to explore it.
The installation is offered as a piece that will have, “you (or at least your avatar) wondering if you’re dreaming, having a nightmare, tripping, or all three combined!” One entering, do make sure you accept the local windlight settings and also make sure you have parcel media enabled; this is, as noted, an immersive audio / visual installation.
Once inside, you are invited to explore the ground level, touch, poke and pry at things (there is a hidden treasure chest to be found somewhere), before embarking on a trip through the Mediamagic Mind – the Neovortex, the Mediabellum and the Hippycampus.
Each of these, reached by the brain-like teleporters, will take you on a trip – quite literally – in sound and vision. Again, there are things to be touched and enjoyed, particularly in the Hippycampus, which takes you directly into the mind of the dreamer – use the planets to really enjoy the trip; for Neovortex and Mediabellum, make use of the seats and slip into Mouselook. Or, if you’re like me… get a little cheeky with dance 🙂 .
I had a huge amount of fun at Visions – and getting Rutger Hauer whispering to me from Blade Runner was the icing on the cake, fitting the theme of the installation perfectly. I first visited Visions on Wednesday, June 24th and caught the all-day show featuring machinima by some of SL’s great film makers. I was back on Thursday, June 25th and will be back again on Friday, June 26th for the all-day Light and Laser show.
And That’s Not All
The above suggestions on scratch the surface of the art available at SL12B; I could go on to write at length about Frankx Lefavre, Mistro Hifeng, Livio Oak Korobase, and Ginger Lorakeet, all of whom have exhibits I can recommend for a variety of reasons. Then there’s Giovanna Cerise with Dream.. reminiscences… reality while David DuCasse celebrates the work of another great visionary and dreamer, Georges Méliès, who had he been able to see it, would doubtless have delighted in Second Life. Pixel Sideways brings us the beautiful Ethereal (which I pictured in my SL anniversary article) and Fuschia Nightfire presents Sweet Dreams are Made of This – and the list goes on.
So really, while I offer the above as a small sample of those art exhibits I’ve particularly enjoyed at SL12B, the only way to discover what is there is to go see for yourself! Use the exhibitor lists on the SL12B website to help reveal all that’s on offer throughout the rest of the celebrations.
And in closing, I’ll leave you with a short video I shot at Visions (told you I had fun there 🙂 ).