It has been a fair while since I’ve had the pleasure of viewing Haveit Neox’s 2D artwork in SL outside of the entertainment regions he and Lilia Artis produce annually for Fantasy Faire. So when Akiko Kinoshi (Akiko Kiyori) informed me he and Lilia would be teaming with another artist I admire – Bamboo Barnes – to present a new installation at her Akimori art centre, I knew I’d have to pay it a visit.
Located within is own skybox, Clay and Seed takes as its core theme the erosion of the environment and human relationships, with the work of all three artists interwoven, each taking inspiration from the other two. But before getting into specifics, it is worth noting some key points: you should use the local EEP settings (World → Environment → Use Shared Environment); you’ll need to have ALM enabled (Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked) and you should set your draw distance to 256m so that the entire skybox remains rendered during your visit, as it is a part of the overall installation.
This skybox offers a desert scene centred around a single body of water, the dunes rolling away into the distance under a sky rich in fields of clouds, the Sun low in the west. The predominant colour caught by the clouds is red, as if the light of the lowering sun is illuminating them from below. But the more one looks at it, the more the red, the more it speaks to rusting metal, its surface bubbled and marrred.
Together, the desert and sky speak to that theme of erosion of the environment, and each supports various elements making up the core of the installation. On the desert sits a number of structures. In particular, sitting close to the lake – possibly the last body of water in this realm? – is a combined 2D and 3D mini-installation by Bamboo Barnes that utilises lighting projectors within cube-like spaces visitors can wall through to experience her 2D art.
Around this are several structures placed by Akiko. Through the largest of these – a Japanese style house that partially extends out over the water – a train of horses prance before they snake their way up into the sky to where the second element of the installation, a pair of citadels, are floating.
Linked by curling paths that wind about both buildings and around a central set of net-covered rings over which fish-ships float, the two citadels are home to more of Bamboo’s art whilst their high windows offer poems by Lilia. Their combination of words and images further convey commentaries on destructiveness, growth, abuse, hope, gratefulness and loneliness. Follow the paths that roll and wrap themselves around the two citadels, and further vignettes by Haveit, each with its own symbolism.
And symbolism is very much the key here. Whilst offering something of a fantastical scene with centaurs and merfolk, Haveit’s city in the sky offer echoes of our own religious mythology. These range from painting on the outer walls of the citadels, and are also formed by the the likes of the the procession of horses that rise from the desert to climb the steps leaving up to the fish-ships in what might be seen as an echo of the story of Noah’s ark.
Further metaphor might be seen in the manner the the citadels and their surroundings float in the sky like a kind of New Jerusalem with all its promise of salvation. But the the desert below and sky above, together with the centaur vignettes speak the the reality of the matter, as do the images and words by Bamboo and Lilia: we, and we alone, are responsible for the fate that might befall us – just as we alone might yet be able to lift ourselves into a form of salvation (or at least, one of recovery), if we are prepared to work together.
Or that is my interpretation at least. Your might well be entirely different. And that is the marvel and beauty of Clay and Seed, in presenting the interwoven work of three superb artists, it has the power to speak with many voices.
- Clay and Seed (Akimori, rated Moderate)