Daily Archives: April 29, 2017

An Asian Fusion in Second Life

Asian Fusion: Oyster Bay – click on any image for full size

We received word that Sera Bellic had given her Homeland region of Oyster Bay a further make-over some 24 hours before it appeared in the Destination Guide Highlights for Friday, April 28th – and I was immediately intrigued by the theme title: Asian Fusion. Regular readers of this blog will know that anything having any kind of Eastern or oriental flavour is bound to get my attention. So, off we hopped to take a look.

Now, truth be told, “Asian” and “oriental” fusions in Second Life often tends to lean towards regions with a blending of predominantly Chinese and Japanese elements, so I was curious to see if Sera would cast her net wider than purely Sino-Japanese influences. And she has. Quite marvellously so.

Asian Fusion: Oyster Bay

From the landing point in the north-west corner of the region, visitors are encouraged under a rocky arch and into a land that immediately puts one in mind of Indochina (or as we more boringly refer to it today: South-east Asia). Across a small river spanned by a simple yet ornate wooden bridge, a paired tier of rice paddies are stacked against a rocky bluff. Working oxen stand on the grassland between stream and paddies,  ignoring the click-clank of a nearby shishi odoshi which forms part of the region’s nods towards Japan. Another such nod can be found on the north bank of the river, where a small Japanese style cabin sits amidst elephant’s ears and clover, refreshments on offer inside, a sampan sitting at the river bank close by.

Immediately to the right of the rocky arch guiding visitors into the region is a clear nod to China. A bamboo grove rises on a step of clover-covered rock, home to a bamboo of pandas (I much prefer that to the the idea of an “embarrassment” of pandas, or the Royal Society’s 1866 decree that a group of pandas should be called a “cupboard”).  Like the oxen across the river, these bears are not the slightest bothered by the steady clank of an shishi odoshi.

Asian Fusion: Oyster Bay

Southwards across the region, and the landscape becomes home to a dense, forest-like woodland. Here one is put in mind of Myamar (Burma), such is the jungle-like feel, coupled with the presence of another vulnerable / endangered species: the tiger. Within this mini reproducion of what might be  the Hukawng Valley, can also be found a Japanese torii gate marking a set of ancient stone steps leading to a decidedly Chinese pavilion where Buddha sits, all of which speaks further to the beautiful fusion of influences provided. Guarding this pavilion and hilltop are white Bengal tigers, offering a further and interesting fusion.

Travel north from the forest, and another  torii gate and flight of steps await. These lead up to a Japanese house sitting behind the rocky bluff against which the rice paddies have been built. Another house stands further to the south, beyond the forest and not far from the pandas in their bamboo grove, while in the middle of the region, rich in cherry blossom petals, sits a tranquil pond which feeds into the little river.

Asian Fusion: Oyster Bay

I’ve long enjoyed Sera’s designs. each one tends to be unique and offer food for thought when considering designs and ideas of use at home or elsewhere. However, every so often there is a design which tends to stand slightly above Sera’s other builds for one reason or another. Asian Fusion is, for me, another such design; the way a range of influences have been brought together is simply marvellous (I even felt Sri Lanka, a country I love dearly reflected in a couple of places).

This is not so much a place to be visited as it is to be savoured. Simply wonderful.

Asian Fusion: Oyster Bay

SLurl Details

Asian Fusion (Oyster Bay, rated:  Moderate)

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Portraits and studies in Second Life

We received news on two new exhibitions featuring portraiture and avatar studies that have recently opened in Second Life. The first is at the Surreal Gallery, featuring the work of Lily Summerwind (LiliMango), and the second features the work of Maddy (Magda Schmidtzau) on display at the Melania Art Gallery.

Simply Lily opened on April 23rd and runs until June 23rd at the Blue Room at Surreal Gallery is the smaller of the two exhibits, offering fourteen images by Llily Summerwind. Given the title of the exhibition, the majority of the pieces are self-portraits, which are striking in their use of poses to convey a story or mood.

Self-portraiture is a form of photography which tends to engage me peripherally; while I can appreciate the artistry that is involved, often times the fact that the pictures are posed and stand as self-studies, rather than carrying a narrative tends to leave me distanced from the subject matter. However, I found myself drawn to number of the images presented in this exhibit, and for numerous reasons.

The first is that narrative is clearly evident in a number, with several offering a sense of anticipation / promise which draws one into them, wanting not so much to discover the narrative as be a part of it –Shhhh being a case in point. Then there is the use of colour, shading, light and shadow, all of which are quite extraordinary.

In terms of colour and shading, everything from powerful monochrome (again, witnessed in Shhhh) through a joyous richness of colour demonstrated in the likes of Rainbow Bright or the balance of colour and lighting which is so powerfully used in Geisha. The skilled use of contrast is also presented, through pieces like Me and My Shadow, Spring Flower and The Butterfly Effect.

Maddy is the larger of the two exhibits, presenting around 40 images by Maddy on display at both indoor and outdoor spaces at the Melania Gallery, making full use of what is a charming setting, complete with canal, gallery buildings, a bar and canal-side walks built by Terrygold.

Once again there is a richness of style and approach to the pieces on offer, with a broad mix of subject matter, albeit again with a focus on avatar portraiture. In particular, sitting within the indoor spaces are a series of surreal / collage pieces which are especially eye-catching (see above). Colour is once again used to great effect, with a studied use of depth of field present in some images as well.

Many of the pieces are untitled, making it somewhat difficult to draw attention to specific pieces on  offer, which is a shame, as show really are deserving of recognition, such as the fantasy piece sitting alongside the landing point (and which is to the right of the image headlining this article), together with the aforementioned surreal pieces. There also appears to be some grouping of pictures thematically between the various exhibition areas – although this could equally just be the way I looked at things.

However, this does underline a small problem with this exhibition:  there are perhaps too many pieces on display. Sometimes, less is more and such is the volume of work on display, it can be a little overwhelming as one wanders through the exhibition spaces. That said, the pieces on offer are undoubtedly striking, and very much worth viewing,

SLurl Details

  • Simply Lily, Surreal Galley (Claressa, rated: Moderate)
  • Maddy, Melania Gallery (White Beach, rated: Adult)