Truth at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

Artful Expressions Gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, has (another) new home, and with it, a new exhibition.

Veritas (“truth”) is a selection of images by Anu Papp split into two groups of fives images apiece in the gallery’s two exhibition wings. Avatar studies all, the majority appear to be a mix of self-portraits and images that feature Anu’s SL partner Ferdinand, with around three photos of friends rounding out the mix.

Each of the images has its own sense of mood and presence, which can be added to by hovering the mouse over each in turn to see the title displayed. In this, I found the title of the exhibit somewhat intriguing. While each of the images offers its own narrative (and insight into mood, the possible creative intent), etc., there is little that intrinsically link the images back to the ideal of truth.

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

This actually offers a possible conundrum, as it leaves those so minded (like myself) to ponder over title and subject. Is the title a reference to the truth that however hard we try to insist “SL is SL and RL is RL and never the twain shall meet”, we actually cannot avoid imbuing our avatars with some (or all) of the traits and foibles of our personalities? Is it the truth that our avatars present the means for each of us to express our inner self to the world more openly and as we would like to be seen by others?

Determining what truth is being referred to can have darker shades, such as the idea is there in truth no beauty? For truth is harsh to almost everyone; it forces us to accept our flaws and snap out of our grand illusions – and our avatars are perhaps one of our grandest illusions. So beautiful they may be – but do that reflect truth? But what then of the individual titles of the pieces presented? Do they fall into place with the idea that in truth, our digital presence is mere illusion, or do they push back against it, revealing that other truth referenced above: that they actually reveal who we are, more so that all of the masks we might otherwise wear in life?

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

Not that this exhibition demands we engage in such an internal debate. The images are captivating in and of themselves – and I admit to becoming very drawn to the two period pieces offered. Both are marvellously presented, and the case of Les Nobles in particular, I once again saw the greatest truth Second Life offers to us: that no matter who or where we are in life, SL gives our imaginations wings.

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