G.B.T.H. Contaminated in Second Life

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Mistero Hifeng (foreground)

Now open at the G.B.T.H. Project is a an ensemble art exhibition featuring no fewer than 37 artists from across Second Life. Entitled Contaminated, it is both a fun piece and something of a curio.

The curators of the project – Marina Münter, Megan Prumier and Nath Baxton describe it thus:

Each participant was given figurine[s] to act as a blank canvas to be textured and decorated in their own individual styles. With Contaminated onlookers find themselves situated in a built-up urban environment faced with an intervention of an abundance of of characters.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Nathali Luik

This description is offered at the landing point for the installation, which forms a part of the “urban intervention” (aka “street scene”) in which the figures are presented. Also offered at the landing point is a map to the installation, with a numbered key to where each artist’s piece(s) can be found.

A HUD is also available, which shows a total of 41 figures on its opening page (the additional numbers being the result of Luc Renoir presenting 2 figures in the installation and Mistero Hifeng a  total of four), and allows the visitor to page through individuals images of the figures in the alphabetical order of the artists’ names. To be honest, I found the HUD to be of passing value; it was easier to wander through the installation and just right-click / Edit figures, as this not only supplied the artist’s name but also the title for each figure – a basic piece of information missing from the HUD.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Luc (eslucas), Kato (Kato Salyut), Praline (PralineBarjowski Ghost), Mich Michabo

The figurines themselves will be immediately familiar to anyone who has seen the classic LEGO® figures in the physical world. They are a fitting means of presentation, given it is possible to (at least to a degree) customise such figures, just as these have been customised by the artists. They present – like life itself – a rich mix of characters, each unique whilst remaining recognisably “LEGOy”.

While the figures may initially appear to be static, this is not entirely the case. Several feature animated textures. In this, I particularly liked I Am A Soul – I have a Body by Hope Something (NovaApache), with its burning soul, and Boy Meets Girl by miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond), which are in turn evocative and charming. Others are interactive, as with tutsy Navarathna’s Russian Dolls with its video media surface and Megan Prumier’s cheekily naughty “>_<“.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Daze Landar

Some of the pieces might be seen as reflections on the rich diversity of life found within Second Life itself. Ash (Ashratum) offers 7 Faces of Dr Alt, for example, appears to be a comment on the manner in which Alt accounts can be used to deceive; Megan Prumier and Toods (Toodles Telling) appear to give a nod towards adult themes and nudity that are a part of Second Life (although obviously also found in the physical world). Yet others appear is reflections on life, love, memories, and more as we each encounter them on a daily basis.

To be honest, I have no idea why the title Contaminated was selected for the piece; is it perhaps a reflection of the figures being used as canvases? Might it be some form of comment on how we “contaminate” Second Life with out own thoughts, feelings, outlook and so on? Does it necessarily have to be contextualised with the figures rather than simply being a randomly selected title? I’ll leave that up to you to decide; I was happy simply wandering and viewing the figures as I came upon them.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond), Mavi (Mavi Beck), Hope Something (NovaApache)

Contaminated will remain open for approximately two months.

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A slice of Russia in Second Life

COBKOBO; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrCOBKOBO – click any image for full size

COBKOBO, a Full region in Second Life designed by Света Денискина (Seller Xenno), has been gaining a lot of attention of late for its presentation of a Russian provincial town. It’s a place Caitlyn and I were first alerted to (within a brief period to one another) by Annie Brightstar and Shakespeare.

In truth, it is a scenic setting – although apparently still under construction in places, given the fact there are footpaths being placed, rezzing boxes still visible. It is surrounded by tall, green hills coated by fir trees and wrinkled by fast-flowing streams that help to give the impression this is a town sitting on a small lake, a river meandering away through the hills.

COBKOBO; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrCOBKOBO – click any image for full size

There is a certain Soviet / historical feel to the town, dominated as it is by large theatre-come-music hall, outside of which stands a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov – better known by the alias Lenin – holding the hammer and sickle in outstretched arms. Other suggestions of the past lie scattered around the region in the form of military vehicles parked or abandoned, the badge of the Soviet army displayed above a garage / barn, and so on. But whether the setting is meant to be representative of a bygone era, or a modern setting where echoes of the past linger on, is for visitors to perhaps decide. 

Certainly there is enough going on in the region for it to be set in modern times: the theatre is available for showing videos, and there are areas given over to live entertainment, both outdoors and indoors. And there are obvious Western touches – such as “Roady’s” bar, and a motel sign.

COBKOBO; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrCOBKOBO – click any image for full size

This is a place that appears to be newcomer friendly for SL’s Russian community. The block-like schoolhouse offers information boards on using the viewer and may also provide viewer lessons (I’m not entirely sure on this), with the events spaces offering a reason for people to come to the region.

The town is an interesting mix: large, solidly built structures on paved roads, their plain bulk suggestive (again) of the kind of structures we in the West regard as being from the Soviet era. But the roads quickly give way to tracks, the solid structures to wooden houses.

COBKOBO; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrCOBKOBO – click any image for full size

Around the edges of the region are open, rugged spaces, including a beach and a pair of islands. One of these is topped by camp sites, one of which can be used as a music venue.  There are also private places to be found scattered around the edges of the region, where it is possible to to get away from the bustle of visitors. All of this is watched over from a corner by a lighthouse sitting atop a drum-like base.

As noted earlier, elements of the region still appear to be under construction, but this doesn’t make it any the less photographic in its current state. However, it will be interesting to see what else is planned for COBKOBO, and how it will appear once completed.

COBKOBO; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrCOBKOBO – click any image for full size

In the meantime, the region makes for an interesting and somewhat different visit; a glimpse of a bygone era sitting within modern times.

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