Always Closer in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer

Now open at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Hass is Always Closer, a selection of personal images by Elo (elorac Paule).

Through the sixteen images on display, we are asked to join with Elo as she reviews her exploration of BDSM and discovery of submission (which might not be what you might believe it to be after reading those four letters) as a part of her in-world time. Alongside of this, they are presented as a reflection of Elo’s year, which she acknowledges has been an emotional one for her in both the physical and digital realms.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer

Displayed in the familiar large format used at Nitroglobus, these are sensual images presented – for the most part – in soft lighting and muted tones. Often, with photographs featuring nudity and / or adult theme like BDSM, the observer is cast into the role of the voyeur; we are given a sense of being given an illicit peek at a situation. With only a couple of possible exceptions, that’s not the case here; with these images we’re being asked to share in the emotions evoked by the images: moments of loving affinity, of vulnerability, of introspection, of surrender, and of human change.

Alongside the desire to evoke an emotional response in her audience, Elo notes that she also sees her pieces in terms of songs, and offers Affection by Cigarettes After Sex as a companion piece to this exhibit.  in walking through the gallery. For reasons I can’t fully determine, Swing Out Sister’s cover of Windmills of Your Mind Iooped its way through my head; perhaps it was a subconscious linking of Elo (who is French) to Michel Legrand, composer of the song’s score; whatever the reason, it didn’t seem inappropriate.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Always Closer

Accompanying the exhibition is a personal note by Elo, alluded to above, which should be read alongside of the visit. Not only does it offer further insight into the very personal aspect of her photography, it also reveals her own understanding of the true nature of “submission”, devoid of the trappings of labels such as “BDSM”: that it is effectively the expression of love between two people; the willingness for each to give their best to the other without question or hesitation.

Always Closer is a fascinating exhibition. both through the art and Elo’s own words. Introspective, intimate, personal, it  both reveals Elo’s life and journey and gives rise to contemplation of our own thoughts, feelings and – perhaps – direction, as we straddle the physical and the virtual.

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A Winter Trace in Second Life

Winter Trace; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Winter Trace – click any image for full size

With winter now folding its arms around us in the northern hemisphere, regions with a winter’s theme are once again starting to appear across Second Life. This being so, it seemed appropriate – thanks (again) to a nudge from friend and fellow grid traveller Shakespeare (Skinnynilla) – to pay a visit to Winter Trace.

This is one of three regions jointly designed by Kylie Jaxxon and Elvira Kytori, the other two being Summer Trace (see here) and Fall Trace (which is on my list of regions to visit, but time hasn’t as yet allowed me to get to it).  Each of them presents a vision of the season after which it is named, with Summer Trace also incorporating a touch of spring, and are presented as such all year round for people to visit and enjoy.

Winter Trace; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Winter Trace

Almost completely surrounded by snow-covered, craggy hills, Winter Trace offers a rural landscape rising from frozen waters which wind their way into the land, slicing it into a series of islands. Most of these are relatively low-lying, although the largest and most central has a humpbacked hill near its centre, crowned by an old ruin.

Across the islands, snow has covered the ground, in places offering something of a salt-and-pepper mix where it has been pressed into the underlying sand by the passage of feet and wheels along tracks and paths. Wooden ties and sleepers are set out on the ground in places, forming footpaths of their own, further suggesting that in summer, this is a warm place, with sand underfoot.

Winter Trace; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Winter Trace

Windmills occupy two of the islands, a narrow strait of water between them. One contains the region’s landing point, the other offers the potential to be a cosy little home for the budding conversion enthusiast. Across another channel from both sits the dark hulk of the ruins, a great stone bridge close by adding to the suggestion that perhaps long ago, this was a place of strategic importance to someone. Now, however, the ruin offer nothing more menacing than the chance of go sledding down the open slope of the hill pointing eastwards from it.

Further east and across a modest wooden bridge, stands a converted barn, its interior now a comfortable home, the horses it may once have housed now relegated to the field outside where the grass pokes up through the blanket of snow. To the south side of the barn there’s a narrow neck of frozen water, offering quick route back to the largest island, the trails that wind between larch and beech trees denuded of their leaves, branches raised to the grey sky, while between them fir trees carry a powering of snow on their shoulders.

Winter Trace; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Winter Trace

There are other signs of habitation to be found scattered across the land besides the windmills and barn, such as the little farmer’s market – currently the home of a woodcutter going by the piles of trimmed logs – and a little cottage sitting alone on an equally little island. Also to be found and places to sit and admire the view and / or have the odd cuddle with someone close. There are outdoor fires to help you stay warm, and fires in the hearths indoors should it prove too cold outside.

With snow gently falling from clouds moving lazily across the sky, a soft, subtle sound scape and opportunities for photographs in every direction and at every turn, all of which is set under a perfect windlight suggestive of a fresh, cold winter’s morning, Winter Trace is not a place to be missed – at any time of the year.

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