Of twins and lock downs in Second Life

The Carbone Gallery

The Carbone Gallery is a new gallery venture by Milena Carbone that opened at the start of May 2020, offering a venue in which she can display her own work and that of invited guests.

Milena is a relative newcomer to Second Life, having joined in mid-2019; as an artist, she is not afraid to use her work to stimulate the grey matter and challenge perceptions. In doing so, she draws inspiration from a number of sources: science, psychology, philosophy and religion chief among them. I became enamoured with her work after visiting Agape in Pace, a fascinating exploration of art, love, hate, religion, politics all offered with reflections on quantum field theory (see Art and quantum states in Second Life). As such, her art is not intended to be seen so much as experienced.

For me, art is not just about aesthetics or fashion, but must open reflection to the questions of our chaotic time. Art can help for a better world. An artwork addresses an important question with more questions. Otherwise, it is decoration.

– Milena Carbone

For the opening of her gallery, she offers two installations: Twins and Locked.

The Carbone Gallery: Twins

Twins, as the teleport board to the first of these installation notes, have long been the subject of many myths, with artists using them as symbolic representations. Describing itself as an expression of “four mythical aspects of twinship”, Twins is a layered piece that, while couched in in studies of twins, though the use of eight images, is equally an exploration of self. The four story elements of the installation  – Identity (also routed in the onset of puberty via the use of the “character” of “ephebe”), The Opposite, Replication and Fusion – all being as much about people as individuals as it is about the notion of twins sharing their lives.

Within this structure are also commentaries of conformity in the modern age, together with questions on whether the desire  / need / pressure to conform really offers happiness; philosophical musings on the the deals of love and partnership; and observations about outlook, human nature and the need to understand ourselves if we are to achieve balance.

Carbone Gallery: Twins

Locked is a four-part story focused on the trials and tribulations the world-wide lock down that has resulted from the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

As with Twins, it is reached via a TP board from the foyer of the gallery space, and takes for form of a four rooms opening off of a central hallway. Within these rooms are the four parts to a story. These can be visited in any order, although I’d personally recommend following them in the order Breakdown, Sideration, Glimmer and Amnesia; doing so allows the narrative threads and themes within the story to naturally grow in complexity as you progress.

The Carbone Gallery: Locked

Each room contains three images by Milena, a sculpture by Mistero Hifeng, and a “chapter” of the story; a seat in the middle of each room offers visitors the chance to sit and read the story and reflect on it through the presence of the images and sculpture. Again, while the core of the piece offers  reflection on isolation as a result of the pandemic, so too does it fold in many others aspects and thoughts – up to, and including a question on the nature of God him / herself.

This layering is nuanced and subtle. in the central hall, for example, is a wall of photographs carefully selected by Milena over a period of days that both reflects our natural inclination to be close to others. However, interwoven with these images are others with a dark edge – reflections of both the darker sides to life and the anger and frustrations that can grow out of enforced isolation.

The Carbone Gallery: Locked

Also to be found within these rooms are question and musing about the current politic climate – notably the jingoism espoused in the petty nationalism / totalitarianism exhibited by the extreme right, the kind of future we are leaving to our descendants, and the choices we face for our own immediate future. All of which makes for a compelling, provocative piece.

As a first guest exhibition, the Carbone gallery also presents The Privilege of Ageing, a meditation on the subject by Harbor Galaxy, and which itself is a captivating study of eight images.

The Carbone Gallery: The Privilege of Ageing by Harbor Galaxy

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