CyberNorm: the two sides of an artist in Second Life

Art Korner Main Gallery: CyberNorm – The art of “Cyber”

Recently opened in the Main Gallery at Frank Atisso’s Art Korner is an intriguing exhibition that presents two sides – two personalities, if you will – of a single artist: CyberNorm (aka ndl1971).

As “Norm” the artist – who has had their work displayed in several exhibitions in Düsseldorf, Germany, between 2018 and 2020 – explores art using the brush and canvas, using the medium as a means to explore life and politics in a somewhat playful manner, and explore aspects of gender politics. Meanwhile, as “Cyber”, the artists works with the digital medium, expressing their imagination through structured, mathematical terms – in this case through the use of fractals.

Through both forms of art, the CyberNorm particularly explores the subject of control: the use of political standpoints to exert control over the world as a whole, and the ability of mathematics to present structure and control within the digital domain.

Art Korner Main Gallery: CyberNorm – The art of “Cyber”

At Art Korner, these two sides of the art’s work are displayed across the two floors of the gallery building. The lower level is primarily given over to the art of “Cyber” (with one exception), and the upper level to the work on “Norm”.

The digital art offers a vibrant richness, bringing together the richness of natural forms with those of more abstracted elements to form pieces that are all individually unique and captivating. Some of these offer suggestions of Nature and life, while some capturing the infinite beauty of the Mandelbrot set, while others suggest textile-like pieces that offer their own fascination.

Art Korner Main Gallery: CyberNorm – The art of “Norm”

The display on the gallery’s upper floor offers paintings that demonstrate “Norm’s” approach to political commentary / satire, together with broader pieces that offer food for thought on the topic of what might be seen as commentary on gender, continuing female sexual emancipation and societal freedoms, including how (for some) these might be seen as threatening (as with Dragon and the Firefly, for example).

Taken individually, both halves of this exhibition contain much to hold the attention; together the present a wealth of expression and contrast the play off one another, revealing as they do two very different sides of the artist’s nature. For those interested, it will remain open through until February 2nd, 2022.

Art Korner Main Gallery: CyberNorm – The art of “Norm”

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A Winter’s Lost Dreams in Second Life

Lost Dreams, January 2022 – click any image for full size

It’s been three years since I last visited Cathy Vathiany’s (zaziaa) ever-evolving region design Lost Dreams (which started life as Les Reves Perdus (“Dreams Lost”), which has itself hopped around the grid a few times. So when I learned it had re-opened in a new location and with a new design in November 2021, I added it to my list of places to visit – although after initially dropping in in December, I had a couple of issues getting back to it in order to take photos.

Cathy has always had an eye for engaging, rural-themed region settings; places where Nature tends to stake a centre seat and where there is always a richness of detail waiting to be found and appreciated. Sometimes these looks have had a distinctly European / North American lean, although it has also taken us to the orient and to Scandinavia. With this iteration, we slip to somewhere that presents something of a sense of both Arctic and Antarctic climes.

Lost Dreams, January 2022

The current Lost Dreams might be mentally split into five areas: three on the main landmass, and the remaining two formed by a pair of outrigger islands. One of the latter is where the landing point can be found, a rocky plug of an island to the west of the region. Small, and dominated by two large trees, this island at first appears to offer little beyond the landing point itself. However, below the cliffs, a stone outthrust heavy with fallen snow has been taken over by penguins that lend that suggestion of the southern hemisphere to the region.

A bridge sitting upon high stilts connects the landing point’s island with the largest landmass in the region: a large, rugged space that can, as noted, be mentally / visually split into three. First, there are the rugged westerlands, sitting on the far side of the bridge, a hulking shoulder of rock splitting the path from the bridge into two. The left branch descends downwards close to the cold-looking waters of the bay in which the landing point island sits, passing through a narrow defile before rising once more to the uplands of the island.

Lost Dreams, January 2022

The second arm of the path twists around the rocky shoulder to reach a second bridge spanning a smaller cove formed by the outflow from waterfalls that mark the terminus of a fast-flowing stream. Here the path splits again, one arm twisting by to descend the down to the shingle shoreline that huddles around the feet of sheer curtain wall cliffs.

The other arm of the path passes across the second bridge before winding upwards, and doubling back on itself as it reaches the bank of the stream, itself fed from a further set of falls that drop from the highest peaks in the region. Crossing this is possible by way of a pair of tree trunks trimmed into a rough bridge to re-join the path rising up through the defile mentioned above.

Lost Dreams, January 2022

Once joined, the path lead up to the centre part of this large island and a large stone lodge sitting on an outstretched table of rock that is home to a skating rink, a children’s play area, a carousel and other outdoor points of interest. It is here that a more northern hemisphere aspect to the setting can be found in the form of deer wandering the grounds.

Paths wind around the grounds here, with one curling back down to the low-lying eastern end of the land, and the rest of the main landmass. This is home to a a cosy hideaway and, a little further away, a little folly. from here, a final bridge – this one made of stone – reaches the final aspect to the setting: a small, low island that is home to a pool of water and a little camp site.

Lost Dreams, January 2022

Such is the nature and aspect of this little island, that is it possible to image that once upon a time it many have formed a headland reaching outwards from the rest of the main island, but time and tide have intervened, creating a channel of cold water to separate the two and necessitate the stone bridge.

Within all of this, there are lots of additional elements and details: water birds stand along the coastal areas, there are outdoor sit points and places to dance awaiting discovery, and further wildlife give the setting additional depth, as does the local soundscape. All of which leaves us with another thoroughly engaging place to explore and photograph and not to be missed before a seasonal change comes along!

Lost Dreams, January 2022

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