Art of the Artists: machinima challenge with L$350,000 prize pool

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

At the start of July I was able to break the news that the University of Western Australia would be retaining a presence in Second Life for at least two more years. As a part of that report, I made mention of an upcoming UWA machinima challenge. It has now been officially announced.

Art of the Artists – subtitled SLartist@UWA Machinima Challenge is not a resumption of the UWA Machinima Grand Challenges, the last of which took place in 2015 with Pursue Impossible. Rather, this is a special challenge, sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore. On offer is a combined prize pool of L$350,000, including two special prizes.


The aim of the challenge is to produce a machinima film focused on any of the art exhibits located on the UWA regions in Second Life.

Entrants may choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art must be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing.

Films entered for consideration of any of the prizes can be no longer than 8 minutes duration; films with longer running times than 8 minutes may be submitted for showing, but will not be eligible for any of the prizes.

The Prizes

  • 1st Prize: L$75,000
  • 2nd Prize: L$50,000
  • 3rd Prize: L$40,000
  • 4th Prize: L$30,000
  • 5th Prize: L$20,000
  • 6th – 10th Prizes – L$7,000 each

In Addition, there are two special prizes:

  • L$50,000 UWA Art of the Artists Special Prize: this will be awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia
  • L$50,000 The Merlion Special Prize: this will be awarded by Singh Albatros on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the film which – in the view of the judge –  best represents the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore (see below for more).

The 10 main prize winners will be selected by a selected panel of judges. Details of the full panel will be available on the UWA website soon.  Each of the special prize winners will be judged independently to the judging panel, and as such, may be eligible for a prize in the general classification as well.

The full Merlion installation at Monash University

Where to Find the Art

Art which can be used in films submitted to the Challenge can be found in the following locations:

  • The UWA Main Gallery – the primary exhibition space for art at UWA, including entrants to the most recent challenge, Transformations, which is expected to remain up at least through the end of this year.
  • The UWA Main region – this is the home of the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Somerville outdoor cinema, the Moreton Bay Figs, and Sunken Garden. Some of the art from the UWA regions which will be closing will be relocated to platforms above this region. The relocation work is expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
  • The Merlion – celebrating Singapore’s iconic Merlion sculpture, the full-sized version is hosted by the Monash University in Second Life. The smaller version at te UWA offers information on Merlion Portal Project concerning cultural, literary and artistic significance of the Merlion. It also provides a landmark to the full size installation.

Note that selected art for a film may be filmed in its current location. however, films do not need to be restricted to these locations, as long as the art is the focus of the story being told. Entrants may contact artists about filming their works in other locations and / or collaborating with them on a film. Should you require a blue screen for part of your filming of the art, please contact FreeWee Ling or Jayjay Zifanwe.

How To Enter and Guidelines

  • The challenge is open to all machinima makers, unless involved in the judging process.
  • Films entered in consideration of any of the prizes should not exceed 8 minutes in length.
  • Films with running times longer than 8 minutes may be entered, but will not be eligible for any prizes.
  • Completed films should be uploaded, preferably YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the film sent to  Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty.
  • The closing date for submissions is December 31st 2017
  • Please acknowledge all art featured in your film, and please acknowledge and get authorisation for any music you use.
  • You own all rights to the films you create, but by entering the challenge you give permission for it to be shown on the UWA Blog, the Slartist Website and to be played on UWA lands.
  • The ten winners of the general prizes will be adjudicated by a panel of 5 judges. The special prize winners will be selected by Jayjay Zifanwe (UWA Special Prize) and Singh Albatros (The Writer’s Centre prize).
  • If you have questions, want to discuss anything, or add to the prize pool,  please contact Jayjay Zifanwe.

Creatures of Light in Second Life

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

Creatures of Light is an exhibition of images by Harbor (Harbor Galaxy) which opened at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, on July 8th.

“For those of you who are familiar with my work through Flickr or shows here in-world. Creatures of Light may be something of a departure from my usual style,” Harbor says in introducing her work. “My objective was to use an avatar devoid of ornamentation and to only utilize poses, light and colour to create these pieces and to give myself permission to play and to step outside my comfort zone.”

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

I cannot speak to Harbor’s work on Flickr – no link is provided, and Flickr’s search doesn’t appear to recognise her as “Habor Galaxy”, making a targeted search difficult. However, what I can say is that in the nineteen images presented at MetaLES, Harbor has produced some quite extraordinary art, which in places encompasses abstract expressionism and in others seemingly touches on fractal patterning, whilst in all of them is a study of the human (or in this case, avatar) form.

In this latter regard, and considering the lack of facial features, some of the images are quite exquisite in their portrayal of mood and emotion, easily matching more traditional portraiture. Take Contemplating the Standards Beauty, for example; there is a wonderfully layered narrative to the image – the heads of the subject may only be wire frame, but they carry with them the sense of expressions, while the body language of figure contemplating them – the artist? – speaks clearly of her or his contemplation of the images.  Further along, The Body wonderfully presents action, the swirls of colour, sweeps of lines all suggestive of motion and the power of sinew and muscle, tendon and ligament.

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

All told, an intriguing exhibition, currently on display alongside Ini’s (in Inaka) Melancholy and Romy Nayar’s Empty Minds.

SLurl Details