Now open at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is The Meaning of Love, an exhibition by street photographer Natalia Serenade.
Noted for her vivid use of colour and composition, Natalia notes that her art is centred on physical world photography that are very much images caught in the moment as she roams with her camera, and then mixed together, given life and colour through Photoshop to become statements in their own right.
For the Meaning of Life, Natalia brings together a series of images that offer reflections and comments on love and relationships as they can occur in the virtual realm (but do not always remain there). Such relationships can, as many have learned over the years that Second Life has been around, be deeply rewarding – adding depth and light to our virtual presence, offering love, closeness and comfort that never need to stray out of the confines of this digital medium.
Sometimes it is possible for such relationships to reach beyond the digital and into the physical and become even more enriching for those involved. This is something the Lab has sought to emphasise through the video series Love Made in SL. But virtual relationships can also be fraught with uncertainty.
Anonymity allows us far greater freedom than the physical world; this is both a blessing and a curse – a point people can so easily forget when blithely quoting Wilde. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth” is only half the story. While we may well speak a great truth through the freedom given us by the mask of an avatar, so to does that same mask allow those who would – if I might use half another famous quote, if slightly out-of-context and this time from Sir Walter Scott – “practice to deceive”.
To put it another way, when restricted to the the virtual, how can we ever be sure what we’re being told is the truth? What about those who enjoy the art of deceit and think nothing of using one or more alts achieve their own satisfaction? How can we even be sure such thoughts as these really have a grounding in “reality”, rather than being a product of our own uncertainty / hidden fears?
All of these ideas are explored in the images Natalia presents here: the warming glow of being basked in the happiness of love and of having “found someone”, the first rising concerns that al might not be as it seems, the realities of being manipulated, the uncertainties created by our own thoughts, the deceptions of which we might be guilty in keeping our on-line life and lives hidden from those physically around us. Each image in this collection of thirteen represents an aspect of love and the rewards / risks it brings. Each image richly makes use of colour as much as form and subject to convey visceral feelings and emotions.
It’s an engaging, vibrant exhibit (be sure to mouse over individual pieces to see names / gain context, and one in which Natalia appears to be asking a question – perhaps of herself more than anyone else: is love in SL real, or just – for most at least – a fantasy?
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)