The poet and the Prince of Denmark in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli – Nino Vichon: Hamlet 5 Scenes

Opening on Thursday, March 15th at La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, are two new exhibitions by three well-known Second Life artists: one by Nino Vichon, and the second by Tutsy Navarathna and JadeYu Fang. They are two very different exhibitions, but they are drawn together through each of them having literary foundations. Both are reached via an initial arrival point, and can be reached via either the teleport disks or by clicking on the artist’s names on the main board (which will also deliver note cards). There’s also a direct drop down to one of the installations.

In Hamlet 5 Scenes, Nino Vichon presents his interpretation of five Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. As Nino points out in his opening notes, we know of three versions of the play have survived through to modern times: the 1623 First Folio edition, considered to be the “definitive” version of the play; and the “First Quarto” (1603, aka “Hamlet Q1”) and “Second Quarto” (1604, aka “Hamlet Q2”).

La Maison d’Aneli – Nino Vichon: Hamlet 5 Scenes

The former of these two Quartos is now widely regarded as the “bad Quarto”, possibly written by an actor who participated in a production of Hamlet. While the Second Quarto is now regarded as an attempt by Shakespeare to published the “full” version of the play (it is some 1600 lines longer than the First Quarto) to set the record straight. In support of this, historian point to the title page of the Second Quarto stating that it is “Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect coppie.”

For his part, Nino takes these three versions as the leaping-off point for imaging Shakespeare within his study, struggling over the play, writing and revising it. For the purposes of the piece, we are Shakespeare, invited to take a seat – in turn – in each of the five chairs ranged around a central table. Each chair represents a specific element of the play, which we see through the playwright’s eyes, as it were, as he contemplates each.

La Maison d’Aneli – Nino Vichon: Hamlet 5 Scenes

For this to work. make sure your camera is not free-flying when sitting in a chair (hit ESC before sitting in each one). This will allow the act of sitting to take control of your camera and focus it on each scene. The chairs should be occupied in numerical order (each has a number visible on its upholstery), so that the scenes can be seen chronologically in reference to the play.

These scenes start with the sightings of the ghost of Hamlet’s father which set the events of the tragedy in motion, and conclude with Hamlet’s encounter with the skull of a jester he knew in his childhood (“Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times.” Between there sit the famous soliloquy, the murder of Polonius and the death of Ophelia. Modelled in 3D , using a mix of mesh and particles to achieve their effect, each offers unique view on the aspects of the play it represents, while the liner notes accompanying the installation offer further context, should it be needed.

La Maison d’Aneli: Tutsy Navarathna and JadeYu Fang – Bring Me Your love

For Bring Me Your Love, Tutsy and JadeYu present a tribute to the German-American poet, novelist, and short story writer Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16th, 1920 – March 9th, 1994). The title of the installation is taken from Bukowski’s 1983 short story of the same name, illustrated by Robert Crumb.

This installation brings together images taken from around Second Life together with quotes from Bukowski and excerpts from his writing – poetry and stories. Blunt, at times aggressive in his use of language, Bukowski was forthright in his writings and views, and this is very much reflected in this installation, which is presented as a single piece – art and quotes making up walls and floors. To one side there is an area set aside for sitting and contemplation, complete with a  television set playing a loop of clips of television shows and films for the later decades of Bukoski’s life.  This area is also home to what might be regarded as the bric-a-brac of Bukowski’s life.

La Maison d’Aneli: Tutsy Navarathna and JadeYu Fang – Bring Me Your love

As noted above, these are two very different exhibitions, drawn together through each of them having a literary foundation. Each is individually fascinating, their core subject matter being very different, thus they make an ideal complimentary visit.

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