It’s been nigh on a year since my last review of an exhibition at Blue Orange gallery, the music and arts venue in Second Life curated by Ini (In Inaka). Part of the reason for this was that the last exhibition at gallery I covered seemed to be drawn out over an extended period, and then the gallery was reported as being closed for re-building. However, I hopped over recently out of curiosity to find it once again open for business – and the rebuild has left a visit feeling less like a trip to a gallery and more of an adventure of discovery.
The familiar subway landing point is still present – but now with a second platform on the far side of the track, the first indication of changes as ghostly trains roar between the tunnels at either end of the station. The familiar music venue lies at the end of the tiled hall leading away from the platform, a hall displaying images by various photographers taken whilst visiting Blue Orange.
From here – or earlier, if you opt to walk along the platform to the doors labelled Art Corner – the adventure begins, as the Art Corner can be accessed via a hole in the wall of the club. This route leads visitors first to the Library. Inspired by The Colour of Pomegranates, a 1969 Soviet arts film directed by Sergei Parajanov, this is a surreal place with unfinished walls, against which books are pinned, with more floating in the air. Each book offers a web link to a writer or poet’s website where the given story or poem can be enjoyed.
Beyond this lies an assortment of halls, some connected directly to one another, others reached via doors or through connecting passages (including the second platform), still others reached via stairs and ladders or by actively jumping down well-like holes. Within each of these spaces art can be found.
At the time of my visit, this included 2D photography and art by Grady Echegaray, Harbor (Harbor Galaxy), Natalia Seranade, Gitu Aura, Thea Maiman, Daze Landar (DaisyDaze), and Ina herself. 3D work by Kimeu Korg (Kimeu) and Bryn Oh (the latter reached via the stairs behind the club’s DJ area) is also to be found, while Wakizashi Yoshikawa and Aïcha (Tubal Amiot) present a mix of 2D and 3D art.
Finding your way around the art spaces is, as noted, something of an adventure; confusing in places (are you supposed to go through the blue door and then drop down to a space apparently between the exhibition halls?), but definitely worth the time taken to explore and discover.
I’m not sure if the gallery will feature a changing roster artists, or whether some of the halls are intended to offer permanent spaces in which artists-in-residence will offer different exhibitions of their work – Bryn Oh’s space, for example, now appears to be a permanent fixture within Blue Orange.
However, such questions are secondary to the time spent in explorations here: the art is rich and diverse, and the nature of the gallery’s halls means that each corner or stair can lead to a pleasing discovery for any lover of art in Second Life. However, when visiting do make sure you have enabled Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) on your viewer (Preferences > Graphics), in order to ensure you see all of the art as intended.
- Blue Orange (Empire State Island, rated: Adult)