Melusina’s Absences in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Absences

“Absence,” Melusina Parkin states in introducing her exhibition, Absences, at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, “is a negative concept: it means that something should be there and it doesn’t. So, when we look at an empty place – a room, a seashore, a road or even a chair – we can’t avoid thinking of something or somebody who has been or will be there. That’s even more true when a world, including nature and landscape, is entirely made by humans, like Second Life.”

Absences is a set of twelve images on this theme, presented in Melusina’s familiar approach of offering a macro-like study, each scene a single point of focus – a beginning, not an entire story. Rather than the entire room, we are instead given an empty hanger on a hook, deserted chairs at a table, a glimpse of an empty couch facing windows without a landscape, the rumpled sheets on one side of the vacated bed, and so on. All suggest a story, of a presence lost but still felt; of  time when two were once one, but now only the one remains, the observer, the keeper of memories.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Absences

But are the absences we see permanent – the result of the ending of a relationship or the passing of someone close to us? Or are they temporary –  the absence felt when a lover is away for an extended period, or who has just departed for a time and with the promise of reunion in the future? Or are they the absence created by changing circumstances – the empty room symbolic of possessions packed and gone, in transit to a new home while we remain, recalling all that has happened in the now deserted spaces – and the promise of new beginnings when next we see those possessions in their new home?

“I’m not completely aware of these thoughts when I take a photograph,” Melusina notes. “But when a detail, a colour shade, a light catches my eye and pushes me to freeze it in a photo, I think it happens ’cause they suggest me an atmosphere that any word, any human presence could better express.”

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Absences

And here is where the power of these pieces resides. Because they are each so focused, so macro in content, there is no sense  that we are being particularly directed to view any of them one way or another. Instead, each is but an opening word or line, awaiting its story to be told.

In this, we become not so much observers of each image, but playwrights, sharing each canvas with Melusina, writing stories of ending and beginnings unique to each of us, filling the page she offers us through each image. Because, and as she notes, the blank page holds so much more power than the sheet upon which words have already been written. And so these images, as evocative as they are, are made even more meaningful to each of us through our involvement in the narratives that flow from them.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Absences

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SL14B: in the quiet of the weekend

SL14B Community Celebration; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Community Celebration

The excitement and the entertainment of SL14B has come and gone – but the regions still there for a while, and there’s still a fair amount to see, if you haven’t taken the time to do so before now. What’s more the regions are all now a lot quieter, offering more chances to see things, enjoy the rides and take photos. This being the case, I thought I would, as with previous years, share a handful of the exhibits I enjoyed just in case they appeal to you as well.

I’ve already covered some of the art exhibits I particularly enjoyed in the regions in The Art of SL14B, so consider this a companion article to that piece 🙂 .

Cassini’s Grand Finale – Diamond Marchant / Leeward Cruising Club

Location: SL14B Beguile

Cassini’s Grand Finale – Diamond Marchant / Leeward Cruising Club

Regular readers of this blog can perhaps guess one of the reasons I’m selecting this exhibit – my love of space exploration (and a tenuous “personal” connection to the Cassini mission). But there are other reasons as well.

One is the use of connections between the Cassini mission, the SL14B theme and the sailing. NASA’s Cassini probe has been revealing the secrets of Saturn and his moons to us for the last thirteen years, in a mission which goes back two decades to its launch – and then a further 15 years prior to that. So now, as the mission draws towards its final conclusion in September 2017, is the time to celebrate all that it has revealed to us. At the same time, Cassini ventured forth into the great ocean of space just as mariners her on Earth have put to sea under sail, navigating its way via Venus, Earth and Jupiter to reach its eventual destination.

With links to NASA’s video and website on the Cassini mission’s Grand Finale, as well as to information on Leeward Cruising Club, this is a clean, elegant display – and one where you can catch a ride on Cassini itself. And that’s another reason to visit – Diamond’s recreation of the Cassini spacecraft is simply stunning in its level of detail.

You can also learn more about the Cassini mission in my Space Sunday series, which features regular updates on the mission, including an overview of the Grand Finale, and the first pass between the planet and its rings.

Virtual Railway Consortium – Qie Niangao

Location: SL14B Beguile

Second Life offers many means to travel – teleport, walking, running, driving, boating flying. One of the most fascinating ways to travel the Mainland is via the network of railway lines which cross-cross the lands. The Virtual Railway Consortium do much to promote and support this infrastructure, and Qie’s display at SL14B is a celebration of their work, presenting visitors with and opportunity to visit VRC locations across the mainland continents, visit their website and discover more about rail travel in SL.

Virtual Railway Consortium – Qie Niangao

Bay City Caranvanserie – Marianne McCann

Location: SL14B Spellbound

Bay City is one of the most active Mainland communities in Second Life, with Bay City itself a vibrant place to visit, with lots to see and do. Marianne McCann is one of the leading lights of the community and works tirelessly to promote it, and in bringing people together to host events from the Bay City anniversary parties through the Christmas and New Year events to the annual Mole Day – a festival focused on the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

Bay City Caravanserie – Marianne McCann

At SL14B, the Bay City exhibition invariably offers a rich insight into the community, its events and its members, and this year is no exception. Located in a design that encapsulates the community’s 1940s through 1960s theme, it’s a definite stop on any tour of SL14B. Step inside to discover more!

Venetian Masks Gallery – Shayla Sideways

Location: SL14B Spellbound

Occupying an original build by Shayla, the Venetian Masks Gallery is not alone at SL14B in celebrating the use of the mask at festivals and celebrations, but it is an informative look at the role of masks in Venetian carnivals. Inside, it encapsulates the importance of the mask, and offers some intricate examples used at carnivals and festivities, from harlequin style half masks through to intricate, full-face items. It’s another simple, elegant display set within a gorgeous design of the building which draws inspiration from the architecture of Venice.

Venetian Masks GalleryShayla Sideways

The exhibit is doubly fitting for SL14B: not only does it celebrate the use of masks in carnivals, it also reminds us that within Second Life, we have the mask of our avatar to offer us the freedom to express ourselves and our desires and creativity free from the demands of the physical world, allowing our imaginations to take flight as they will; unfettered and  – often times – in full career!

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