The main festivities for the SL15B anniversary celebration are now over; the parties have all happened, the DJ and live performers have left the stages – but the regions remain open to visitors through until July 1st, 2018.
This being the case, and with the numbers packing some of the regions likely to decrease, now is an excellent opportunity to visit some of the resident built exhibits within the anniversary regions, so I thought I’d offer a short series of looks over the next few days at some of the ones that caught my eye, starting with some of the art exhibits.
Ciottolina Xue – Little Paradise in Second Life
Self-taught in 3D art, Ciottolina Xue is – in the interests of full disclosure – someone whose art I admire and who is a personal friend with Second Life. However, this isn’t why I’m including her in this article – I’m doing so because Little Paradise in Second Life is engaging and beautifully conceived.
Offering a sculpted garden environment, accessed through wrought iron gates, Little Paradise presents paths – some under open sky, others passing under the boughs of trees – that lead visitors around a series of rose-centric sculptures in which scenes of babies (and the occasional adult) are set.
It is, first and foremost, a very personal setting – many of the child sculptures represent Ciottolina’s Second Life persona, with some of them, together with the adult sculptures representing those with whom she has friends, and who have supported her throughout her time in Second Life.
Roses are my sensations; sensations that have taken over with time, passing by and emotions perceived by meeting new people who I esteem today. People who have become fond of me and without Second Life I never would have met. Some of them have become acquired mothers, aunts, uncles and other are precious friends. They support and encourage me in every step I take. People who are very capable in what they do.
– Ciottolina Xue
But just as these little scenes are personal to Ciottolina, so too can they represent all of us: the roses offer us a chance to recapture memories of our times in Second Life and the scenes within them reflect our own friendships and relationships over the past however many years we’ve been active in SL. Similarly, the paths through and around the garden represent our own journey through Second Life.
Little Paradise is designed to be seen in a night setting (accept the parcel windlight on entering if you are using Firestorm or a viewer supporting parcel level windlight, otherwise try setting your viewer’s time of day to midnight); however, it also works under daylight settings as well – as I hope the images here demonstrate.
The Art of Viviena
Located alongside Little Paradise in Second Life is an enclosed art display by Viviena, marking her return to SL15B after illness prevented her being a part of SL14B – she was previously an official photographer at SL11B through SL13B.
Presented under a night-time sky, Vivena offers another garden environment, this one home to her Second Life photography, with individual easels set out along the winding path, each home to one of her images. These are all landscapes, taken from right across the main grid – just click on and image and use Edit to obtain the name of the region if it is not immediately familiar to you.
What is delightful about Viviena’s work is it shows no real sign of post-processing, but instead offers images of Second Life as we can expect to see it in-world. Each picture is perfectly composed, cropped and presented for our appreciation. This makes her work a must-see, whether exhibited in-world, or displayed on website such as the SL15B site, or through her Flickr stream.
As well a presenting their art, the gardens offered by Viviena and Ciottolina allow a perfect escape should exploring the rest of SL15B start having you feeling a little tired.
Thoth Jantzen – Moments of Immertia
Djehuti-Anpu (Thoth Jantzen) is an artist whose work never fails to captivate me. Specialising in mixed media, Thoth’s work is always immersive, interactive and captivating. For SL15B, he presents Moments of Immertia, a multi-layered piece which includes some past work as well a new pieces.
A visit to Moments of Immertia does come with some prerequisites, and the instruction boards in the exhibit explain. In short:
- Make sure you have Advanced Light Model (ALM) enabled via Preferences > Graphics – this is essential, but you do not need to have shadow rendering enabled as well.
- If you can, raise you viewer’s rendering to High or Ultra (you can reduce draw distance down to about 100 metres to help compensate for the rendering load, if required).
- Make sure your viewer is set to auto-play media, and disable your media filter (if your viewer has it and you use it) – you can reset both to your preference on leaving the exhibit.
- Allow the parcel windlight settings, if your viewer supports them. If not, set your time to midnight.
To this I would add a small warning. if you are prone to motion sickness or are sensitive to flashing lights, note that parts of Moments of Immertia involve moving and rotating colours and moving optical surfaces which can fill the screen.
Finally, also note that due to the quirks of SL, parcel media textures may not always activate as expected. If you find yourself in what is clearly intended to be an immersive media space and media is not playing, simply toggle the parcel media (movie) button off and back on again.
Virtual environments are should be immersive, providing experiences difficult or impossible to replicate in reality. That’s the point of this exhibit – to provide a few moments of immersion in strange virtual environments – just to give you a “wtf?” moment or two. Some of the displays may even give you pause to reflect.
– Djehuti-Anpu (Thoth Jantzen)
On the ground level of this exhibit sits COVFEFE: The New World Disorder, a (rightfully, in my personal view) irreverent consideration of the mind of the 45th President of the United States, whose head resides within the wreckage of a chess board – symbolic, perhaps of the impact this POTUS has had on the world as a whole. Chess pieces are tumbling through the air, and visitors can become part of the chaos by sitting on any of them, while touching the head poking up through the woodwork will offer some pearls of, um, wisdom from Duh-Donald, which are either direct quotes or concatenations of quotes from the man himself.
I’m so smart, I’m highly educated! I know words … I know the BEST words! COVFEFE!
– Duh-Donald, COVFEFE: The New World Disorder
COVFEFE: The New World Disorder shares the ground space with two more elements: TJ’s Tetrapylon, where visitors might ask the oracle and where touching is again encouraged. Alongside of this is In Surreal Time: Evolutions of a Theme, TJ’s contribution to the First Biennale Digitale part of the Santorini International Biennale exhibition of art and architecture (which is now in its fourth edition).
Directly in front of the latter is the teleport to the remaining elements in the exhibit:
- Vertigogo – a mirrored room and observation deck based on materials and projection.
- OMFG! and WTF? – massively immersive multimedia environments.
- K-Scope 1.0 – TJ’s first immersive media environment and introduced to the public in 2008.
These all require your viewer’s ALM and media options to be set per the notes above.
No amount of worlds can do this exhibit justice, it genuinely has to be experienced – and really shouldn’t be missed (again, remembering the above cautionary note on motion and light sensitivity).
Ginger Lorakeet – Inside Art
There can be few who are unfamiliar with Ginger Lorakeet’s images which allow avatars to become a part of an overall picture. She has presented her work at a number of past SLB events, and is once more present at SL15B with her Inside Art – and this time with a set of images that follow something of a fantasy theme.
Ginger’s images are always well presented, but the ones offered at SL15B are special. Using muted colours and tones well suited to the overall theme, they each offer an entire narrative, and these individual narratives can in places perhaps be woven into a complete story.
Whether or not you’ve seen Ginger’s work at part SLB events or elsewhere, these pieces are very definitely worth the time to visit and try.