Taking in an American Shot in Second Life

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

Opening today at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is the first element in a two-part exhibition entitled American Shot, by Milena Carbone.

Both Nitroglobus and Milena have reputations for presenting and creating thought-provoking exhibitions that challenge perceptions and thoughts; and in this exhibition, we have one of the most expansive and provocative installations I’ve seen within Second Life. For her canvas, Milena essentially takes the entirety of human history, using it to outline the rise of civilisation – notably western civilisation – and the corruptions that have inevitably followed, with a focus on the American Empire.

To  say American Shot is richly layered would be an understatement; truth be told it is a complex piece that, for some at least, might make for uncomfortable viewing, given it is exceptionally timely in its presentation, indirectly touching, as it does, on events that have recently unfolded in the United States.

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

This layering starts with the title of the installation itself. The “American shot” (or plan américain), was a term from French film criticism. It refers to a medium-long (“knee”) film shot used in the early years of cinematography to record a group of characters engaged in complex dialogue,  with all of them visible to the camera, thus negating the need for a more complex (and time-consuming at the time) multiple shots that might otherwise be required were close-ups of individuals to be used. It particularly became a staple of early American western movies of the 1930s and 40s, thus earning it the name.

Within the exhibition, the term refers not so much to the framing of the images, but to the idea that, in the history of world shaping civilisations, it is currently the “American Empire” that holds sway  – is calling the shots -, although it now appears to stand at a junction in its own history, the paths before it leading either to further greatness for the benefit of humankind, the other leading to collapse and decay.

Further layering comes in the form of presentation: for the first part of the exhibition, fourteen out of 28 images are presented; these will be swapped at around the mid-point of the exhibition’s run for the remaining fourteen. Each of these images offers something of a reflection on humanity and / or the American experience, the commentary within them both clear and subtle.

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

The “clear” commentary among the first fourteen images is perhaps best exemplified in Million Dollar Priest, an underscoring of the way in which the Christian religion has been subverted over the decades in America through the rise of the “tele-evangelists” with their messages of godliness being invariably tied to the idea of their own personal aggrandizement through the acquisition of wealth through the concept of prosperity theology.

The inclusion of this image also brings into focus one of the themes that can be found throughout Milena’s art: questioning the nature of God and religion. Nor is it the only one of her themes. Also to be found here are thoughts on the collapse of humanity, the roles of science and spirituality, our perception of fiction, reality and consciousness. Some of the pieces also are relevant to the current US situation in their commentaries on the nature of authoritarianism and the role of violence in  shaping civilisation – again, notably, but not exclusively, Army of Bataclan.

I’ve selected the latter image both to highlight the the point made above, and because it encompasses another element of the pieces here: a neo-classical linking of modern civilisation with the great empires of the past. These are again both somewhat clear in places, and elsewhere subtle, with some also layered in broader references. The mirage of democracy, for example, reminds us that the democratic ideal has been the goal of western civilisation – but is something that can easily be subverted (as seen with the Rome Empire and, again, the events in the United States of the first week of January 2021).

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

Much more awaits discovery within this installation, including a a book that helps chart the way through the images and Milena’s ideas in American Shot. Rather than forming a simple expositional piece, however, the book actually forms an integral part of the installation, offering categories for the images that help with their context as well as a story that brings together Milena’s ideas and focus for the installation. It can be found for sale both at the landing point for the gallery and at the café, and I recommend visitors consider purchasing it.

There really is a lot to unpack within this exhibition, as such a visit is highly recommended – as is a return when the second group of images in unveiled (all 28 are contained with the accompanying book), something I’ll be doing later in the month. As such, I’ll finish her by pointing out the official opening takes place on Monday, January 11th at 12:00 noon SLT.

SLurl Details

More tales, myths, and letters from history in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Monday, January 11th, 19:00: The Dark Bright Water

Gyro Muggins reads Patricia Wrightson’s second novel charting the life of Wirrun of the Inlanders.

First encountered in The Ice Is Coming, when Wirrun set out on a quest to overcome the rise of the ancient enemy of Australia, the ice-bearded Ninya, the young janitor now has a reputation as a Hero among the Inlanders (Wrightson’s fantasy view of the Australian Aboriginals). It’s not a title he appreciates; he would much rather just get back to his janitorial work.

But the spirits of the land are restless: Yunggamurra, a river spirit is lost, so uses her siren-like powers of song to draw to herself those who might might take her home. Her singing come to Wirrun’s ears, and those of an elderly aboriginal emissary, and he realises he must journey to the very heartlands of Australia to better understand what he is feeling.

This he does, with the old emissary and his friend Ularra. Once there, he discovers that a storm is indeed rising within the domain of the spirits, and he is uniquely placed to both find Yunggamurra and prevent the coming storm. And so his new adventure begins.

Tuesday, January 12th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen

Music, poetry, and stories in a popular weekly session.

19:00: Written in History: Letters that Changed the World

WRITTEN IN HISTORY celebrates the great letters of world history, creative culture and personal life. Acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects over one hundred letters from ancient times to the twenty-first century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling; some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse and frankly outrageous; many are erotic, others heartbreaking.

The writers vary from Elizabeth I, Rameses the Great and Leonard Cohen to Emmeline Pankhurst, Mandela, Stalin, Michelangelo, Suleiman the Magnificent and unknown people in extraordinary circumstances – from love letters to calls for liberation, declarations of war to reflections on death. In the colourful, accessible style of a master storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essential reading: how they enlighten our past, enrich the way we live now – and illuminate tomorrow.

Join Caledonia Skytower as she reads selections from this remarkable book.

Wednesday, January 13th 19:00: In Walt We Trust

More from Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Longmire Series with Kayden Oconnell.

Thursday, January 14th

19:00: Monsters and Myths

The Pig’s Ploughman – Part 2, Shandon Loring presents another mythic adventure from the works of Bernard Evslin. Also in Kitely!  Find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Finn Zeddmore presents contemporary sci-fi-fantasy from such on-line sources as Escape Pod, Light Speed, and Clarkesworld  magazines.

2021 viewer release summaries week #1

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, January 10th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12th – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), updated to version 6.4.12.553798 on January 7th, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, updated to version 6.4.12.553437, on January 7, 2021..
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7th, 2021.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • Black Dragon updated to version 3.9.4 on January 8th and then 3.9.5 on January 9th.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links