In February, I relayed news on what is to be the final mixed-media art exhibition at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) presence in Second Life, which is currently scheduled to be scaled back from the end of July 2017.
Held in the tradition of the UWA’s Grand Challenges albeit it on a non-juried basis and as an exhibition rather than a contest with prizes, Transformations ceased accepting entries at the end of April 2017, and all of the submissions received prior to the closing date are now on display at the UWA’s skyborne gallery space.
“Our final show is about beginnings, endings, transitions, change,” UWA’s art curator FreeWee Ling said in the original announcement for the exhibition. “The theme is deliberately vague in order to allow for the broadest possible interpretation. It is intended to highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that reflects on the past in SL and/or imagines the future of virtual art.”
In all, just under 30 artists from across Second Life responded to the call, producing both 2D and 3D art pieces, and short machinima pieces encompassing the theme, with some offering artists submitting works in more than one medium. As always with a UWA event, the finished pieces are extraordinary in the richness of creativity shown, and the manner in which that acknowledged broad theme has been interpreted.
3D art makes up the larger part of the exhibition, occupying most of the floorspace. 2D art can be found within a horseshoe display area on one side of the exhibition hall relative to the landing point, and the machinima entries in the opposite direction, against the wall separating Transformations from a display of works from past UWA challenges and exhibitions.
All of the pieces are provided with an artist’s name plate which, which touched, may furnish you with information on the artists and on the piece itself. In a small departure from previous exhibitions, the machinima is provided for in-world playback – touch the associated screen to start a video. Those who prefer, or have a viewer that doesn’t support CEF can still touch the artist’s name tag and receive a link to video on YouTube or Vimeo, where they can watch it.
Given the breadth of work on display in Transformations, offering a review of individual pieces is not easy – but I did find myself draw to a number of pieces, such as Grow, a stunning time-lapse video by Glaz Decuir in which we witness Silas Merlin taking s raw idea and transforming it into a finished 3D piece – and it is a truly fascinating study. Then there is Noke Yuitza’s Transcendence Despite Falling Rain, depicting the transformation and transcendence which grow from a failed relationship, beautifully and evocatively presented.
Alongside of Noke’s work is ErikoLeo’s marvellous A Virtual Wander In Two Dimensions And A Half, which uses 2D panoramic images within a 3D model to offer transformative views of Second Life past and present – complete with and interactive element that puts you in to the scenes (take the anywhere door, then touch the arrows and go to mouselook in each sphere). Thoth Jantzen provides a dimensional defying Transubfabulous – be sure to teleport up from the part of the installation in the main gallery.
Given the number of entries, this is an exhibition which requires time to appreciate – and you can find a full list of the artists involved on the UWA in SL blog across three posts starting here. One thing I would recommend when visiting – set your viewer to midnight; it removes much of the distraction of surrounding spaces and skyboxes.
- Transformations (University of Western Australia, rated: Moderate)