An Asperger’s Mood Diary in Second Life

Desideratum Art Gallery: Xia Chieng – Assburguer’s Mood Diary

Asperger Syndrome (AS or sometimes referred to just as Asperger’s (without the “syndrome” when used with the apostrophe)) is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. As a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom, and can be demonstrated by sufferers in a variety of ways, and also presents them with numerous means of dealing with it in their daily lives.

Xia (Xia Chieng), for example, has found a means of addressing the condition through art, using oils and watercolours to express the feelings and emotions she experiences and to give a sense of the her personal situations, outlook and experiences.

This is something I’ve covered twice in the past with regards to her work – the first in 2019 with Life through Xia’s Diary in Second Life, and the second in 2021 with Art and Asperger’s in Second Life, back in September of the year. However, for those who missed those exhibitions, Xia now offers Assburguer’s [sic] Mood Diary, now open at Desideratum Art Gallery.

Desideratum Art Gallery: Xia Chieng – Assburguer’s Mood Diary

If anything, this is a more expressive exhibition that either of the previous two; not because there is more art on offer through this exhibition, but because Zia herself provides a commentary on her art and her life that takes us deeper into her art and her exploration of self.

I see artistic creation as a tool for self-transformation and healing, a way to dialogue with my internal demons and those of our culture, a means to create my own myths with which one moves through the world. 
I am on a personal journey; personal exploration into the essence of life, the relationship between the relationship between my senses, ideas and perceptions and the external world; my conception of space and substance. Only things that are personal can be truly real for me. 

– Xia Chieng

Desideratum Art Gallery: Xia Chieng – Assburguer’s Mood Diary

As a result, this is a powerful series of self-portraits that delve into Xia’s world, each telling a specific tale or mood whilst also being placed into groups defined by both style of the art itself and a collective narrative that flow through them. In this, there is an incredible amount of care and thought that has gone into this exhibition – up to and including Xia’s spelling of “Assburguer’s”, which she notes is a common mis-spelling of the syndrome used by those afflicted by it), all of which further deepens the power and personal nature of the art in display, making it an exhibition best explored through Xia’s words more than my own.

My art is narrative, but not literary, it tells stories but does not create their meaning. It may not mean anything more than we can individually feel. My work is a thing, an object, presented to you for your pleasure and for my relief. It just is what it is. It is not explained alone. I found in art and Second Life a way to escape from the ordinary world, creating my own worlds.

– Xia Chieng

Hence why these are images that should not just be taken physically or literally, there is a metaphorical / symbolic element to them as well – hence the use of the keyhole in Xia’s forehead in several of the images in the case of the latter, and with pieces like Memento Mori, Shadowman, The Keys and Lying Mirror.

But it was in art that I found away to express my feeling and thought. with this I do not pretend that others understand me, but that I find in it a way of knowing myself and transcending what torments me. 

– Xia Chieng

Desideratum Art Gallery: Xia Chieng – Assburguer’s Mood Diary

Thus, Assburguer’s Mood Diary is an exceptionally powerful, emotive selection of art, and one that I – again – highly recommend.

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More seasonal tales with Seanchai Library 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.

Sunday, December 12th, 13:30: Teatime Holiday Radio Classics

At the Seanchai Winter Holiday setting.

Richard Clarke is a lawyer with his own legal practice in Pottsville, New York who has a reputation for been far too nice to be a profitable businessman, since he always fails to demand payment from his poor clients and never takes on those he doesn’t believe are innocent. But Clarke’s main problem is that he is hopelessly in love with the lovely Janie Brown, even though her wealthy father has decided that she is to marry the even wealthier Bill Potts.

When Clarke’s too-kind attitude fails to impress Janie’s father, he decides to heed Brown’s advice and move to New York City and earn money. This doesn’t go too well, forcing Clarke to play games of deceit to impress Janie and her father, starting him on a spiral that eventually leads him to gaining a reputation as a “mean” lawyer. While his newfound reputation brings him the adoration – and business – of wealthy clients, it doesn’t endear him to Janie. Could his success wreck his chances of marrying her – or is all she is hearing about his new approach to business and life really true?

Originally a stage play starring George M. Cohan (who was famously portrayed by James Cagney in the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy), The Meanest Man in the World became a 1934 comedy film starring Jack Benny and Priscilla Lane. Now it is brought to us by the Seanchai team of Corwyn Allen, David Abbot, Gloriana Maertens, Elrik Merlin, and Caledonia Skytower, Live at Seanchai’s Winter Holiday setting.

Seanchai Winter Holiday setting

Monday, December 13th, 19:00: A Few Miles

Join Gyro Muggins as he reads the 1960 short story by fantasy and sci-fi author Philip José Farmer.

Tuesday, December 14th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym

With music, and poetry in Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: Vintage Christmas – stories by L. Frank Baum and Lucy Maud Mongomery

Live in Seanchai’s Winter Holiday setting with Caledonia Skytower. The landmark will be distributed on the day.

Seanchai Winter Holiday setting

Wednesday, December 15th, 19:00 Adventures from Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather

Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.

There are those who believe and those who don’t. Through the ages, superstition has had its uses; nowhere more so than in the Discworld where it’s helped to maintain the status quo. Anything that undermines superstition has to be viewed with some caution.

There may be consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. When those consequences turn out to be the end of the world, you need to be prepared. You might even want more standing between you and oblivion than a mere slip of a girl – even if she has looked Death in the face on numerous occasions.

Caledonia Skytower read selection from the 20th book in Pratchett’s Discworld series at Seanchai’s Winter Holiday setting.

Seanchai Winter Holiday skating pond

Thursday, December 16th:

19:00: The Season in Music and Poetry

With Ktadhn Vesuvino and Caledonia Skytower, Live at Seanchai’s Winter Holiday skating pond.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary sci-fi with Finn Zeddmore.