A Recollection in Second Life

Recollection, December 2019 – click any image for full size

Recollection is a 1/4 Full region designed by Edge Shabazz with HanaFairy that offers those who seek it, a summery place of rest, peace and  – if they choose – reflection.

As one might expect from the description above, as well as from its name, the parcel offers a relaxing, gentle setting that is easy to explore and appreciate. It is also a place that hides a secret for people to discover. That said, at the time of our visit in late November, the landing point had a decidedly Halloween feel to it, with a tiny Japanese style cemetery complete with ghost, skeleton and pumpkin. This feeling is increased by the somewhat gloomy default parcel-level windlight – I’d actually recommend flicking this to something a little brighter to fully appreciate the setting.

Recollection, December 2019

On arrival, it’s clear this is a place where free roaming is encouraged – while there is a “path” running through the landing point, it is not necessary to follow it; there is more than enough to see beyond it. For those who opt to use it, it links a small island to the south and the bridge stretching over the water to it, to a central (to the parcel) pond or lake, the way marked by tumbled drystone walls.

To the west of this path is a small beach and to the east the ruins of an old tower. both offer places to sit and enjoy the location, as do the grasslands connecting them: benches midst the grass and sings hanging from tree branches.

Recollection, December 2019

Across the parcel are touches of fantasy, starting with the old tower mentioned above and continuing across the little brook that lies just over the little hillock from the tower, where colourful ‘Shrooms and a fairy ring can be found on the way to the central lake.

The sense of fantasy continues with the lake itself. Rich with a carpet of spider lilies, this is home to koi swimming serenely and quite naturally above the lilies and water as a flying boat is suspended overhead on a pair of balloons. Elsewhere, awaiting discovery is a summer greenhouse, an open air picnic bench and an ancient piano playing softly. Nor is that all that is to be found.

Recollection, December 2019

However, it is across the lake that the parcel’s secret can be found. Marked by a Torii gate and surrounded by a circle of rocks young trees, is a pond-within-a-lake. Step into the waters here and you’ll find them considerably deeper than those surrounding the ring, however, hiding as they do the entrance to a set of underwater caves and chambers within which can be found a hidden shrine.

Filled with oriental touches, Recollection is a delightful place to visit, finished with an appropriate sound scape. It is a place for photography or spending time with someone close or alone and reminiscing, and is very much a worthwhile visit.

Recollection, December 2019

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Hannington Endowment for the Arts (HEA) in Second Life

HEA, December 2019: Thoth Jantzen

The Hannington Endowment for the Arts (HEA) is a new, community-fostered arts centre and group that has been founded to “to unify The Arts and artists in SL by providing a central info location to find all participating art related events and locations .”

Established following the closure of the Linden Endowment for the Arts  – with which it has no official connection, being entirely resident supported and run, HEA has been made possible by long-time Second Life resident Hannington Xeltentat, for whom the centre and group have been named, and who directly sponsors HEA activities and art installations available at the HEA’s in-world gallery spaces, which are managed by Tansee and available on a grant basis for 1, 3 or 6 months at a time.

HEA, December 1029: Cica Ghost

For the inaugural HEA grant series, which opened on November 30th, 2019, the gallery spaces present installations by Cica Ghost, Thoth Jantzen, Lorin Tone (building structure by Elicio Ember) and Betty Tureaud. Set to join them soon are two further installations by Patrick Moya and Bryn Oh respectively, although at the time of our visit, the space for Bryn’s exhibit was “temporarily” home to The Garage Gallery of Happy Stuff, presented by Impossibleisnotfrench (aka Harry Cover).

It’s important to note that the gallery setting – and the exhibits – are best appreciated by having your viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) function enabled via Preferences → Graphics (you do not need to necessarily enable shadows, however), and having local sounds enabled. For Thoth Jantzen’s installation you should also be willing to accept the local parcel media.

All four of the “main” artists present at the time of our visit offer 3D installations that perfectly reflect their art. Cica offers Drawn Town Small, a charming miniature of her February 2019 installation Drawn Town (which you can read about here). Like the larger version, this one comes with sit points and animations for people to discover, while Betty presents a nicely layered piece with Art of the Game that reflects her traditional use of colour as expression.

HEA, December 2019: Betty Tureaud

For TJ’s Mess, Thoth Jantzen presents a selection of pieces, some of which might be familiar to those who have enjoyed Thoth’s work at events such as past SL Birthday celebrations. Combining light, colour and sound, Thoth’s work can be living pieces, interactive pieces, and this is certainly the case here with the three larger elements. Be sure to note the instructions on entering the exhibition space.

I’ve always enjoyed Lorin Tone’s use of sound and his demonstrations of what can be achieved with sound and LSL scripting in Second Life. Within Borealis Revisited, he presents another master class – one with a deeper narrative to it than might be apparent, so excuse me if I delve a little more deeply into it.

Within a structure built by Elicio Ember, lie four small moons / planets, all orbiting a central sphere. Together, these five orbs form a set of musical emitters, the sound from the lower four constantly shifting aurally as you sit on the benches below them. Between the benches and the upper spheres are four larger, interactive orbs (three of which have a passing resemblance to the Jovian moons Io, Ganymede and Callisto respectively, and the fourth to Mercury), also circling a central point while rotating slowly about their own axes. As Lorin then explains:

The build is based on and inspired by a musical piece titled Aurora, composed by Hans Zimmer (used with permission from his management). [It] has been cut into almost 60 pieces and rebuilt into five sound emitters. Each set gradually fades in and out, and each sound emitter has a different number of silences built in; the result is five musical sections that constantly evolve, never repeating the same combination twice. [The lower spheres] contain 36 solo female voice sounds. When clicked, each will randomly play one sound one time.

– Lorin Tone, on Borealis Revisited.

HEA, December 2019: Lorin Tone

Aurora was written by Zimmer to commemorate those killed or wounded in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting (at the time the 3rd largest mass shooting in the United States but which is now ranked 18th – which says a lot in and of itself). It’s a hauntingly beautiful piece, and Lorin’s installation presents it as such and entirely uniquely given the way the composition constantly shifts and changes between each silence, complete with the opportunity for visitors to add their “voice” to the choral by touching the interactive spheres.

Harry’s The Garage Gallery of Happy Stuff – which as noted is a temporary installation pending Bryn Oh’s arrival at HEA, although I very much hope Harry considers an installation of his own work – is a charming mix of pieces, 2D and 3D, many of which cannot fail to raise a smile. When visiting, don’t miss the eggshibition of his charming mesh eggs, which present scenes drawn from Harry’s life experiences and memories. Most are interactive (touch the lids to close / open them and hear an accompanying sound), and the “?” plaque on the plinths supporting six of the smaller eggs can be touched for a note from the artist on the meaning behind the egg.

HEA, December 2019: The Garage Gallery of Happy Stuff – Impossibleisnotfrench

All of the HEA gallery spaces are gathered around a central landing point and information centre / arts hub, the lower part of which presents room for events, and the upper platform the information centre. The latter includes a seating area, a teleport connecting HEA to other major art galleries, installation and facilities in Second Life, and a computer terminal where artists can obtain a grant application.

As noted above, grants are available for one, three, or six month periods, with awardees presented with a total land capacity of 1,000 LI each. Grants are awarded at the discretion of the HEA staff on the basis of concept, originality, ability and space availability, and applications are open to all who are “dedicated to The Arts to learn, teach, and display their own unique original style of creativity in Second Life for all to enjoy.”

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