When thinking about art is Second Life, the mind perhaps tends to focus on thoughts of paintings and photographs and sculptures and 3D models. It’s rare that why immediately think of the written word as a form of art in SL, despite the extensive use of the spoken word in readings and performance pieces like plays and musicals.
So it was with a degree of pleasure I found myself at the Lin C Art Gallery, which is – through until the 10th of August, 2018 – hosting an exhibition of the poems of Tim Timaru.
Occupying two levels within the gallery, Tim’s poems are presented framed within images that help define the mood and tone of the written word. Most of these images have been taken from the physical world, but some have come from Second Life. In terms of subject matter, many of the poems are focused on a subject close to many a poet’s heart: love and relationships (and loss). Others are perhaps more philosophical in nature, questioning or seeking to challenge our perspective. All cause the grey cells to cogitate as the eye appreciates the accompanying images.
Most of the pieces here stand as a perfect fusion of image and words giving rise to a response from within us. But some reveal just how liberating the medium of Second Life might be for a poet as much as a photographer, painter or builder. Words are, by their nature, static. Once arranged and written, their metre and measure generally points towards a single interpretation. But within Second Life, the poet has a certain freedom: words unchanged can be presented side-by-side, but with different images to underpin them, rendering their interpretation dynamic.
Take The Deck and The Deck 2, in this exhibition, for example. Both are the same poem, but where the image of one presents a couple walking hand-in-hand up a crystal-like staircase leading to a cabin floating idyllically against a night sky, the second offers images of a coastal setting behind a wind-blown sky coloured by a sunset. Thus, with the first image, we’re encouraged to think of the poem in terms of togetherness and what is and what will be; poem and image are together, uplifting. However the second leads us in a different direction. Here, perhaps, is not promise, but regret; no looking forward to what is now beginning and will grow, but what has passed and what was – and will never be again.
With playful tickles of humour, considered reflections on life and love, echoes of Eliot and even Shakespeare (in form if not in words), this is an enchanting collection of poems and images; an absolute delight for any lover of the written word.
- Lin C Art Gallery (Hana Aloha, rated: Moderate)