Homage to Surrealism on Second Life

Itakos Project: Homage to Surealism – PatrickofIreland

Officially opening on Saturday November 30th, 2019 at the Itakos Project, is A Homage to Surrealism, a dual exhibition by the gallery’s owner and curator, Akim Alonzo and PatrickofIreland.

Hosted in the gallery’s Blue Pavilion, the exhibition is split across two levels, with Patrick’s work on the lower level, and Akim’s on the upper, linked by reproductions of classic surrealist works by the great Salvador Dalí and Renè Magritte.

As a cultural movement, Surrealism encompassed multiple aspects of the arts: literature, music, film, theatre, sculpture, and – perhaps most famously – art itself – whilst also touching on politics. It has its roots in the early 20th century, rising to become a major form of expression in the 1930s – the period when the likes of Dalí and Magritte joined it.

Itakos Project: Homage to Surealism – Akim Alonzo

The movement carried within it its own manifesto, and was created with the aim of resolving “the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”. Surrealist work is most often marked by the use of juxtaposition and non-sequitur elements and ideas. Within the visual medium, this can result in the most startling, attractive and thought-provoking pieces of art, and this is very much the case with the pieces presented by PatrickofIreland and Akim.

The eleven pieces PatrickofIreland offers embrace originality, with some almost touching on hints of post-modernism. Each is richly expressive, strong in narrative and engaging to the eye. So much so, that picking out individual pieces would be unfair; all need to be seen and savoured for their depth and appearance.

Itakos Project: Homage to Surealism – PatrickofIreland

With his exhibition, Akim builds on his Matrix series, a selection of his art I’ve covered previously in these pages (see: Water and a Matrix: reflections on life by Akim Alonzo, April 2019). It is a series rich in story and interpretation within it lie questions of reality and identity, and the riddle of worlds within worlds, that allows them to stand as a collection in their own right.

Here, Akim’s work offers a unique perspective of both surrealism mixed with a strong sense of post-modernism and futurism – take the title of the series, for example, drawn as it is from the film series of the same name. This might appear to be a step away from the ideal of surrealism – until you consider that the Matrix franchise both presents a surreal world view and carries a manifesto (and warning) of its own concerning automaton and the superior reality offered by technology – just as surrealism carries its own manifesto drawing on the same themes – albeit one aimed at broadening horizons and opportunities. Thus, Akim’s works present both a visual representation of surrealism and an underlying thesis.

Itakos Project: Homage to Surealism – Akim Alonzo – note the Dalí reference

This is an engaging and provocative exhibition. It is already open to visitors, but those wishing to celebrate it with the artists might like to attend the official opening at 13:30 SLT on Saturday, November 30th, 2019, when the music will be provided by D.J. Ramel Markova.

Akim as also produced a video to introduce the exhibition, which I’ve taken the liberty of embedding below.

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A Calas Christmas for 2019 in Second Life

Calas Christmas 2019, November 2019 – click any image for full size

Currently open for group members to enjoy, and shortly to open to the general public, are the 2019 Calas Christmas regions. Once again, Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith and the Calas team bring a Christmas winter delight for all Second Life residents to enjoy, spend across two regions of snow-bound fun.

The regions once again feature all that we’ve come to love about a Calas Christmas: the Christmas Pavilion, entertainment, sleigh rides, skating, and balloon and reindeer tours. However, this year introduces some new twists to things.

Rather than being at the ground level, the landing point is located high over the regions., on an icy, snowbound plain where polar bear play with their young and a snowman dances in greeting. Follow the candy striped arrows to where the mouth of a tunnel beckons (be sure to pick up a note card of landmarks from the candy cane at the cave entrance – you can use them to return directly to points of interest in the regions). The tunnel leads the way down to what might seem to be a shallow cavern – but be careful as you step forward into it; the floor is not what it seems!

Calas Christmas 2019, November 2019

The cavern is in fact the entrance to a series of tunnel s that lead you through (and past) other caverns (including Santa’s grotto) and, in reflection to past Calas holiday builds, to a portal that will deliver you to the ground level of the regions. This sits with a snowy tunnel of rock, the traditional automated sleigh rides to one side. These offer a choice of rides for couples or for up to four people to share, and we thoroughly recommend them, as they provide an easy way to discover the sights of the regions, which can then be visited on foot or via horseback.

If you prefer not to take the sleigh rides, you can either opt to follow the path they take  northwards out of the tunnel, and thus around the northernmost of the two regions, or they can take the southern exit from the tunnel, and a more direct path to the Christmas Pavilion and the ice skating.

Those who have wearable horses might want to wear them when exploring the northern region – although there are horse rezzers to be found that will provide you with a marvellous Shire horse to ride, and with kit in keeping with the season; just click the sign, accept the attachments, and you’ll be ready to go – use your usual movement keys to direct the horse (turn off your own AO!), and use double taps on your forward key to cycle through the walk, trot, canter and gallop option (your “backwards” key will step down through them).

Calas Christmas 2019, November 2019

As well as the sleigh rides, there are also flying reindeer tours (located along the trail of the sleigh tours) and a balloon ride (located to one side of the Christmas pavilion, just above the ice skating lake). All of the tours drop people off at the Calas Polar Express, where a meal and drinks can be had within the carriages – but don’t expect a ride home – not until “sometime after Christmas”, at least!.

A brisk walk down the slopes from the station will bring you to the lake and the pavilion. The latter is perhaps the most noticeable change from previous years, being of a new design for the regions.  The main hall offers a stage and dance floor (look for the golden deer on two of the pillars for dances), while the two wings offer the traditional lounges and Christmas tree, but in a brighter finish than past years. I believe the Pavilion will be home to this year’s entertainment within the regions. Nor is this the only place to enjoy a dance – a smaller pavilion sits on the far side of the lake, also waiting for visitors.

As is always the way with the Calas holiday regions, there are a lot of little details to be discovered: a nativity scene here, penguins sliding and skating on the ice, reindeer awaiting riders  – look far enough, and you might even spot a yeti / abominable snowman and a nod towards the Calas Halloween region designs! Group members should also keep an eye out for the group gifts (one per avatar).

Calas Christmas 2019, November 2019

The Calas team always bring us visual treats to enjoy through December to the New Year, and have done so again for 2019. However, when visiting, there are some rules and notes to keep in mind:

  • To help lighten the load on resources, it is requested that active scripts are kept below 100Kb. So please, do remove unnecessary HUDs and accessories.
  • The regions can get very popular – and avatars can place the heaviest load on the viewer – so your own experience may be affected in terms of performance, by the number of other visitors in the regions (there is also a lot within the regions to render, so other than for photos, you may want to reduce your Draw Distance and turn off render-heavy options like shadows.
  • Given there can be a lot of people wanting to visit, be aware that if you go afk for more than a few minutes while visiting the regions and one is particularly busy, you may be asked to make your way to the other, or sent home if there is no response.
Calas Christmas 2019, November 2019

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