Grauland’s lights in Second Life

Grauland, October 2021 – click any image for full size

JimGarand has established a reputation for making his Grauland region designs as places well worth visiting. Each iteration offers something just that little different around the central idea a setting for exploration and photography mixed with the idea of each also being an environment intended for artistic expression.

As my last visit was in June, I decided to jump across and see what the current iteration holds – and was surprised to note that (in August, I believe), Jim had relocated the Grauland builds away from their long-term home of Mobile to a new Homestead region – prompting me to update the SLurl featured in past articles in this blog. On bumping into Jim on the region, he explained he decided to take a break for a couple of months to recharge, and so needed to obtain a new Homestead on his return.

Grauland, October 2021

The new setting is once again an interesting mix, a scene suggestive of an older part of a city, one overlooked by more modern skyscrapers alive with their walls of lights and neon, but separated from them to indicate that while they may be part of the same conurbation, they are not the same neighbourhood.

While there are high-rises within the main portion of the region, they are clearly older and smaller, speaking to a part of the town much older than the gleaming towers of glittering light. And while there is light and neon to be found here, it advertises establishments that might be considered unsuited to upmarket downtown spaces.

Grauland, October 2021

Caught under a twilight sky, the region is bracketed to the east and wet by a beach with pier and the tall city blocks with mountains beyond respectively. Between, it offers road that cut the buildings into tidy blocks – the majority façades, admittedly, but which offer numerous opportunities for photography.

However, that’s not the primary purpose with the build: whilst it blends that familiar sense of space with physical art elements – which I’ll come to in a moment -, the primary focus of the build is that of lighting. In this respect, I cannot stress strongly enough that the resign is viewed under its default EEP setting and with Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences → Graphics enabled (no need to also enable Shadows, etc).

Grauland, October 2021

This theme is represented in multiple ways, from the aforementioned skyscrapers with their shimmering rows of lights to represent towering floors, through the presence of the neon business signs, the lights that illuminates advertising hoardings or the streets themselves. Some of this is subtle in nature and form – such as at the Japanese noodle bar (inside and out), and elsewhere a little more obvious but still artfully presented – such as the red used at the strip club façade, compete with reflections in the puddles from a recent bout of rain.

The most striking elements of light and art however, can be found within the setting’s largest structure and around the south and west coastlines of the region. In and along these are pieces of modern art – blocks, triangles and squares, all of which have holes running through them, which offer projected lights to illuminate the inner circumference of the holes in the most engaging of effects. Further lighting can be found a long the sides of the main road, whilst further examples of lighting effects sit hidden around corners and within alleys, encouraging exploration and – again – photography.

Grauland, October 2021

SLurl Details

Dido’s Minimal art in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

Dido Haas has slipped back into the smaller exhibition hall of her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – a place I’ve taken to calling “Dido’s Space”, as it was used to be reserved for her personal art selections prior to her offering it as a space other artists might use. On display is a selection of eight images Dido is exhibiting under the title of Minimal.

All of the images are, as Dido notes herself, a step away from her usual style of work on a number of levels. Noted for her elegant, posed avatar studies and art that offers a clear narrative or sentiment to entice the audience into it, Dido’s work also tends to carry with it a delicate hand with post-processing to offer works that are richly finished in terms of their photogenic depth.

With this selection, however, Dido present pieces that are lighter in the touch of post-processing (if used at all) that is minimal in its finish, thus giving us the first reflection of the exhibition’s title. Further reflections of the theme are found in the way each piece is minimal in terms of its setting and framing, together with the fact that the props, etc. used by Dido all come by way of the Minimal in-world brand. Finally, there is the placement of Dido’s avatar; for those of us familiar with her exceptional still life and avatar studies, the majority of the pieces within Minimal reduce her avatar’s presence to a minimum, encouraging use to consider the scene as a whole.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

And this is where the final take on the idea of the “minimal” theme can be found: each and every piece is of such a nominal nature that, a Dido herself states:

The images … depict several scenes which make you wonder ‘what is happening there’? Use your imagination and make up your own story. 

In other words, these are pieces framed without overt commentary by the artists (other than the title), leaving the audience totally free to consider each piece, thus making them pictures that should be viewed as much by our imaginations as they should be by the eye of arts appreciation.

Take Telephone Booth for example – what brought the woman to the public telephone? Is it an innocent chain of events – such as being in a remote coastal area where cell ‘phone coverage is poor; or is due to more clandestine reasons – such as trying to avoid any record of the call appearing on her ‘phones records? Is her call to a loved one or is there something more to the call? Indeed, is she even making a call – or was it chance that she was passing when the ‘phone oddly rang; or is she even interested in it at all? It sits on the hook, and her attitude suggests she has no interest in it. Is the booth a means of escape, a place to hide  – and if so, from whom or what?  So many potentials for what may have happened  – or what may follow, as each image need not be the end of its narrative, but the beginning or even the middle.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

Intriguing and cosy in size, Minimal is an engaging experiment by Dido, one that exposes a different side to her work, one I certainly hope to see more of.