Essence and existence in Second Life

DaphneArt: We Are No One
DaphneArts Gallery: We Are No One

“In We Are No One, artists, Jammie Hill and Joslyn Benson, seek to approach the eternal existential quest of the individuals  … In the beginning, we only exist, ‘we are no one’ but material. We are nothing else but what we make of ourselves …  We, human beings, create our own values and meanings for our lives, but this responsibility may bring a sense of anxiety, anguish and fear.”

Thus Daphne Arts curators SheldonBR and Angelika Corral state of their current guest artist exhibition. We Are No One is a series of evocative (and predominantly nude) images by (and of) artists Jammie Hill and Joslyn Benson which offer a rich mix of human emotion: the aforementioned anxiety, anguish and fear, together with comfort, fragility, longing …

DaphneArt: We Are No One
DaphneArts Gallery: We Are No One

While both artists have enjoyed an exhibit in the past, We Are No One presents a series of images exclusively produced for the DaphneArts  exhibition, their collaborative approach to art resonating with Angelika and Sheldon, who also collaborate with ideas, themes and presentations, as evidenced by Shadows of a Dream, hosted by Dido Haas at Nitroglobus Hall, and which you can read about here.

“Sheldon and I like to say that our works are having a ‘conversation’,” Angelika notes of their work. Sheldon agrees, adding, “For this reason we asked Jammie and Joslyn to exhibit here at DaphneArts.” Angelika then concludes, “There is a connection between them in their work.”

DaphneArt: We Are No One
DaphneArts Gallery: We Are No One

And this is clearly evident in the pieces displayed on the ground and lower floor of the 3-storey gallery. Nude images they may be, but it is the emotional content which strikes the observer, rather than any statement of sensuality or nudity. The emotive resonance in the pieces continues through to the upper floor of the gallery, where Sheldon has a series of his RL drawings on display, and the complimentary approach to the subject matter is clearly in evidence between his work and that of Jamie and Joslyn.

We Are No Open is a powerful exhibition, and should be running through until at least mid-April, possibly a little longer. It marks the first in an ongoing series of such events at DaphneArts which will see Sheldon and Angelika inviting artist who they feel match their approach to art to display at the gallery – and potentially collaborate with them on joint exhibitions.

DaphneArt: SheldonBR's work
DaphneArts Gallery: SheldonBR’s work

I  know that on the strength of this exhibit, I’m looking forward to making return visits to DaphneArts, and reporting on future exhibitions held there.

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Visiting Nowhere in Second Life

Nusquam; Inara Pey, March 2016, on Flickr Nusquam – click any image for full size

Nusquam (latin: “nowhere”) is an atmospheric homestead region designed by Randi Lenroy, and which is currently featured in the Destination Guide Highlights for the week ending March 18th, 2016.

The name for the region becomes evident on arrival: the setting echoes the looks and feel of so many remote coastal regions to be found around the world – Canada, America, Europe, Australia, South America, New Zealand, it could well be anywhere. And so, because of all these echoes, it is in fact, nowhere other than where our imaginations decide to set it as we wander its rugged and open spaces.

Nusquam; Inara Pey, March 2016, on Flickr Nusquam

The Landing point is located in the north-easy corner of the region, within a barn spanning an old railway line. The tracks run from north-west to south-west, running along the eastern seaboard before rising to run back westwards along the south side of the region,  coming to an abrupt end at the ruins of a trestle bridge. This in turn suggests that the region was once connected to somewhere, further inviting our imaginations to extend or create a setting for the region.

Within the arms of this sweeping, undulating track – which frankly, has seen better days and was doubtless abandoned following the loss of the bridge to Wherever, is open farmland. This is neatly dissected into two fields by a dirt track pointing the way to an old workshop and barn, complete with a makeshift pier, the possible home for two fishing boats lying offshore.

Nusquam; Inara Pey, March 2016, on Flickr Nusquam

A lighthouse sits atop the highest point on the land, occupying a rocky shoulder in the south-east of the island. The spur of the railway line sweeps by outside, just the other side of a cement wall, to continue out along a  finger of rock, open sea on one side, narrow watery channel on the other, on its way to the bridge to (or is that from?) nowhere.

The lighthouse, barn and workshop are the only structures on the land, although it is clear this is still a place of work: hay bales are neatly rolled, a tractor has been working in one of the fields, whilst someone has been using another in an attempt to shift a fallen tree. Whether the latter came down by accident or design is hard to tell, but the way the telegraph poles are angled as they run beside the old train line suggests this place can suffer from high winds at times, so perhaps age and the weather took its toll on the tree.

Nusquam; Inara Pey, March 2016, on Flickr Nusquam

Horses roam one of the fields, their sleek coats suggesting they are well cared-for, adding a further sign of long-term habitation here, and giving the visitor more hints by which they can weave a tale of their own about the place. East of the railway tracks, the unsurfaced road continues, passing a small parking lot bearing a sign promising fried chicken and gasoline further inland.

An overgrown board walk winds its way from this to barn landing point, while the road quietly dips under the lapping waves on the east side of the island, again suggesting this is a place that was one somewhere – or at least linked to somewhere. now a young apple tree rises slowly from what’s left of the track, a silent sentinel warning the onward progress is perhaps not advisable.

Nusquam; Inara Pey, March 2016, on Flickr Nusquam

With it’s rugged, looks and open spaces, complemented by a subtle sound scape which is more noticeable along the coastline than further inland,  and presided over by a dusky windlight which plays beautifully with lighting as you cam around, Nusquam presents the perfect  destination for whenever you feel like you’d like to go Nowhere.

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Of rocks and ruins

The new flagstone courtyard at the entrance to our island ruins, which helps integrate the pavilion (centre right) with the rest of the design
The new flagstone courtyard at the entrance to our island ruins, which helps integrate the pavilion (to the right) with the rest of the design

Another month, and another weekend fiddling around with the home island (we’ll get there one day…!). I’m not entirely sure how it all started, other than thinking the “bath house” ruin on the mid-level of the island looked in need of something. So, up went additional walls, a shifting of a few things, and so matters snowballed a bit 🙂 .

The result is that the ruin with the bath is now the remains of a fair-sized 2-storey structure which now contains the steps linking the upper and mid levels of the island, making things a lot tidier. This in turn allowed the water feature on this level to be revised, with new shorter board walks making it easier to cross the water and leaving it more open. Some additional tweaks to the waterfalls improved things a little more as well, offering a more natural flow through from the main pool.

The extended "bath house" ruins, sitting below the house, and reached via revised board walks
The extended “bath house” ruins, sitting below the house, and reached via revised board walks

As someone asked me after I last wrote about the island, the main component used in building the ruins has been Rya Nitely’s mesh Medieval Ruins. Available as either a pack sold through his SL Marketplace presence or via his in-world store, the various parts can also be purchased individually in-world as well. I like these as they are modifiable, and so can be both resized (with care, where doorways are concerned) and re-textured to fit with most designs. They can also be easily tweaked here and there with the addition of a prim or two.

Rya’s pieces aren’t the only elements I’ve used to create the ruins, but they are the most numerous. Alongside of them, and equally invaluable in bringing things together, has been Alex Bader’s Lush and Enchanted Wall texture pack. This has allowed me to give a (largely) uniform stone wall finish to all of the various part of the ruins, which also include (as I’ve mentioned in the past) Kriss Lehmann’s beautiful Forest Ruins Tower, together with Reid Parkin’s Mesh Ruins and the .:BTH:. Medieval Ruined Chapel (which I’ve extensively modified).

The new "bath house" ruins now also contain the steps linking the house with the mid-level of the island
The new “bath house” ruins also contain the steps linking the house with the mid-level of the island

One part of Rya’s set which has come in handy this time around is the stone flooring segment. I’ve always been a little bit bugged by the layout of the lower section of the ruins, and the stone flooring segments have provided the means to solve the problem. So we now have a flagstone courtyard linking the island entrance with the chapel and tower stairs, as well as providing a home for the old well.

The stone flooring has also allowed us to better integrate the Trompe Loeil Rustic Pavilion, thanks to a quick swap-out of the latter’s base for some prims to give it a suitable finish. With a footpath of nicely uneven (as with age and settlement) stone slabs, the lowest level of the island now looks more like a complete whole, rather than an assortment of bits occupying the same space.

The flagstones and new path - finishing touches?
The flagstones and new path – finishing touches?

The finishing touch came via a suggestion from Caitlyn: adding ivy to help break-up the stone walls and give a further sense of age. Once again, Kriss Lehmann had just what we needed, with vines “borrowed” from the Forest Ruins Tower which, with a little reshaping and rotation, fitted well with the “bath house”, towers and the chapel.

So is this it finally for the island? Well, we do still have the upper level lawn to think about. Caitlyn has already suggest a croquet court might be in order – so who knows 🙂 .