Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) are two very disparate exhibitions by Second Life artist / photographers which each have their own very individual nuances – and, if I’m subjectively honest for a moment – niggles.
Suspiria (“Sighs”) is the more recent of the exhibitions being held at the gallery, having opened on Sunday, May 6th, 2018. It is by Sophie and Dorian Gray (Sophie Stuer and dorianderrida), and is located on the mezzanine level. It presents 11 images, framed by a blank verse poem which reads more as a moment captured in time: two people reflecting on the nature of sight – do they each really see the same thing within a moment – and more particularly, the strength of their relationship.
Each of the pictures captures a scene from (presumably) this relationship; eleven emotive vignettes. Some appear clear in their meaning: a moment of tenderness, a mutual expression of love. Others, however, tend to reflect the questioning raised in the poem / narrative: are these two people really experiencing the same closeness, or are they in fact in different emotional places?
In several, this is perhaps reflected in the physical distance separating them as they sit across a room from one another, or even in separate rooms. In others, it is more subtle: crossed arms in the face of an oncoming kiss, suggestive of seeking self-comfort in the face of sign of affection the recipient is uncertain about (and, of course, there is also the psychological myth of crossed arms being a sign of defensiveness); the attempted hug that is blocked by am arm held across the recipient’s body. Throughout all of the pieces, one can almost hear the accompanying sighs that give the exhibit its title – but whether they are sighs of contentment or regret, I’ll leave to you to decide.
Rainbow in the Dark, by Cipher (Ciphertazi Wandin) is located on an overhead platform, reached via a ground floor teleport door.
This exhibition utilises lighting projectors, so you must ensure Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) option for your viewer is enabled (Preferences > Graphics). The ground level instructions also state Shadows should be set to Sun/Moon+Projectors. However, this isn’t actually required – SL’s lighting projectors do not require Shadows to be enabled (which can be a massive performance hit) in order to work; so nothing is lost by ignoring this instruction, providing you can use the suggested windlight option (Phototools – No Light, if installed on your system) or set your viewer’s time of day to Midnight.
Rainbow in some ways mirrors Suspiria, in that it presents 11 images, all framed by a poem (found on one wall of the display space). However, the subject matters in these images is much more diverse: encompassing landscapes, avatar studies and object studies, each image having its own story to tell entirely independently of the others.
Nuanced, evocative and exceptionally eye-catching in tone and study, each of the images has a depth to it which is quite breathing – and the use of projectors to superimpose them on their canvases, rather than simply presenting them as mounted / framed images is quite inspired. (Hence why you must have ALM enabled in your viewer – if not, all you’ll see is eleven white panels in a dark room.)
The subjective niggles I have with Suspiria and Rainbow are just that: entirely subjective. With Suspiria, I couldn’t help feel that many of the images have been finished a lot more darkly in tone and colour than necessary; one is often left peering at them, trying to make out what’s there rather than appreciating their narrative. With Rainbow, there is perhaps a risk that specifying a Windlight option only to be found in a specific viewer (unless manually installed), regardless of the popularity of that viewer, might put some off visiting. Better, perhaps, to specify Midnight as the setting, particularly as nothing is really lost in using it.
Nevertheless, both Suspiria and Rainbow in the Dark are more than worth taking the time to see, either individually or together – and when doing so, please also take time to appreciate Land of Confusion, the first public exhibition by Norri (Iron Emerald), which is still open on the ground floor of the gallery. Modestly sized with just a handful of images, it nevertheless reveals an artist whose work deserves to be seen much more widely in Second Life.
- Club LA and Gallery (Amano rated: Moderate)