Pursue Impossible: celebrating art and machinima in Second Life

Image courtesy of UWA
Image courtesy of UWA / Eliza Wierwight


On Sunday, December 13th, 2015, the Grand Finale of the University Of Western Australia’s (UWA) Pursue Impossible was held at the impressive UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre. During the event, over L$500,000 was awarded in prizes to artists, machinima makers and those who took part in the audience participation competitions. The last in an impressive line of grand challenges organised under the umbrella of the UWA, the event was a very special celebration of artistic expression in Second Life.

Pursue Impossible took its theme from the UWA’s clarion call to students in the physical world to achieve their fullest possible potential by studying with the university. For artists and machinima makers it sought to have them consider what their “impossible” might be – personal, part of their lives or those they know, or a consideration of the things we deem to be impossible, but which yet be overcome, or illustrations of how the virtual encourages us to reach beyond the possible, etc.

The Grand Finale was hosted by the UWA’s Jayjay Zifanwe, with the UWA’s art curator, FreeWee Ling also on hand to announce the special Curator’s awards in both the art and machinima categories.

Opening the event, Jayjay said:

Today brings to an end the 6th year of the major art challenges at UWA, with 59 artworks by 61 different artists (2 entries were collaborations) in the running for the 3D Art Challenge and 43 machinima for MachinimUWA VIII: PURSUE IMPOSSIBLE.

As announced on the web previously, this winners ceremony also marks the end of the yearly cycles of major art and film challenges at UWA. UWA still remains, the UWA Art Gallery still remains, and is in fact renewed, as FreeWee will take the helm fully when it comes to art, without me meddling, and we have a new partner for art as well, as the Main UWA Gallery will be renamed the Windlight-UWA Gallery as Windlight Magazine will be providing support for the art initiatives that FreeWee will run in 2016. Much thanks to Johannes1977 for helping to make this happen.

It’s been an absolute pleasure for me to work with all of you over the course of these challenges, and over the years, and especially to those who went above and beyond the call of duty to make all of this a success. Thank you FreeWee Ling, curator of art at UWA & RL Honorary Fellow at UWA. Thank you LaPiscean Liberty, co-host for MachinimUWA VIII, champion of machinima of Second Life. Also much thanks to those who have provided support and sponsorship which sees the overall prize pool standing at more than L$500,000 across both art and machinima.

Audience Participation Awards

There was a total prize pool of L$82,000 for the audience participation challenge, split equally between the 3D art and machinima categories. This saw members of the public invited to submit invited to what they thought the top 10 items in either or both of the categories would be, as decided by the Pursue Impossible adjudicating panel. In all 5 cash prizes were on offer, ranging from L$5,000 to L$12,000 in each category.

Prize 3D Art Audience Participation Machinima Audience Participation
1st Prize L$12,000 Lalie Sorbet Karima Hoisan
2nd Prize L$10,000 Elle Thorkveld Lalie Sorbet
3rd Prize L$8,000 Morituna Watanabe Pearl Grey
4th Prize L$6,000 Pearl Grey Zakali
5th Prize L$6,000 Lira Savira / Vivian Shan (L$2,500 ea) MAagicfairy Merlin

Art Awards

Note that SLurls are given with the titles of all winning pieces, and all the entries into the Pursue Impossible 3D art challenge can still be viewed at the UWA art gallery.

There were no fewer than four 10th places winners, all tied on a total of 16 points from the judge’s selections. The four winners each received a L$1,250 prize and were:

Mistero Hifeng: "Dream", one of the 10th place winners in the UWA's Grand Art Challenge Pursue Impossible
Mistero Hifeng: “Dream“, one of the 10th place winners in the UWA’s Grand Art Challenge Pursue Impossible

The ninth through seventh place prizes, all of L$5,000 each, were awarded to:

Due to a 5th place tie, there was no award for sixth place.

Sharni Azalee 0 PLANET: Earth; RACE: Human
Sharni Azalee: “RACE: Human – PLANET: Earth“, 9th place winner, in the UWA’s Grand Art Challenge Pursue Impossible

The top five winners were::

The Bridge by Alpha Auer - the 1st place winner in the UWA's Pursue Impossible Grand Art Challenge
The Bridge by Alpha Auer – the 1st place winner in the UWA’s Pursue Impossible Grand Art Challenge

UWA Special Prize and UWA Curator’s Choice Prize

In addition to the prizes above, the Pursue Impossible 3D Art Challenge featured three additional awards: the UWA Special Prize and the UWA Curator’s Choice Prize, and Jayjay’s Personal Choice prize, which was awarded to mark the conclusion of the Grand Art Challenges and the fact that since they were conceived in 2009, Jayjay has never had the opportunity to vote on any entries other than as a member of the adjudicating panel. These were awarded as follows:

Machinima Awards

The MachinimUWA VIII: Pursue Impossible yielded over 40 short films, from which the adjudicating panel selected the following winners:

  • Joint 10th prize winner (L$2,500): Magic Mirrors – Artistik Oluja (UK / Kuwait)
  • Joint 10th prize winner (L$2,500): Touching White – Haveit Neox (USA) and Lilia Artis (Switzerland)
  • 9th prize winner (L$5,000): Ghost Race – Panda (France)
  • Joint 7th prize winner (L$5,000): Pursue Impossible? – Livio Korobase (Italy)
  • Joint 7th prize winner (L$5,000): Pursue Impossible –  Sarah Whitney (USA)
  • 6th prize winner: (L$5,000): Folding Time – Chic Aeon (USA)
  • 5th prize winner (L$20,000): Parallel Universes – JaeSang (USA)
  • 4th prize winner (L$30,000): Don’t Look Back – Vilvi Rae (Finland)
  • 3rd prize winner (L$40,000):  Tis an Egg – Haveit Neox (USA) and Lilia Artis (Switzerland)
  • 2nd prize winner (L$50,000): Death of Death?Tutsy Navarathna (France / India)
  • 1st prize winner (L$60,000): Pursue Impossible – Kobuk Farshore (USA)

MachinimUWA Special Awards

In addition to the prizes above, the MachinimUWA VIII Pursue Impossible challenge saw the following special awards made:

  • UWA Special Prize was selected by UWA members of the panel for the film starting at the same point as the UWA created Pursue Impossible TV advert (L$17,500): Pursue Impossible on UWA Today – Diana Al Martini (Indonesia)
  • UWA Special Prize was selected by UWA members of the panel for the film best encapsulating the UWA Pursue Impossible spirit (L$17,500): Tis an Egg – Haveit Neox (USA) and Lilia Artis (Switzerland)
  • Jayjay’s personal choice (L$7,500): Chasing a Butterfly –  Natascha Randt (Germany) & Karina Hoisan (Costa Rica)

Personal Note

I’ve followed UWA’s patronage of the arts through these pages for the last several years, and for the last two have had the honour of sitting on the adjudicating panel for the Grand Challenges. Throughout all of this, I’ve admired and appreciated the amount of work Jayjay and FreeWee have poured into all aspects of this work, in curating art exhibits in he UWA regions, in organising major challenges like Pursue Impossible, and in bringing major and very special art events into Second Life such as Project Homeless and The Freedom Project.

Second Life has been immeasurably enriched by all of these activities. While the UWA will continue to have a presence in Second Life, and indeed the UWA art spaces will continue under the patronage of Johannes1997 Resident – another individual who has had a remarkable and wholly positive impact on the world of art in Second Life -, with FreeWee remaining at the helm, I would like to pass on my personal thanks to Jayjay for all of his work over the years, and for his encouragement to and support of artists across Second Life through these challenges and events.

Related Links

(Note with the last two links, the audience participation element referred to in the linked posts has obviously closed),

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