Visiting Longing Melody in Second Life

Longing Melody, January 2022 – click any image for full size

Bambi (NorahBrent) is the owner of the Oh Deer brand and is also is well-regarded among Second Life bloggers for her Missing Melody region designs – I’ve reviewed several iterations of that region myself in these pages. However, in 2021, she launched a new region setting – Longing Melody – which I finally managed to visit at the start of 2022.

Utilising a Full region rather than a Homestead as seen with Missing Melody, Longing Melody presents three different but interconnected seasons / settings that offer little hints of England and the British Isles and plenty to see and appreciate.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Visits start at the Longing Town train station, where a train with a decidedly continental lean sits at the platform to form the landing point. Exiting the train places new arrival on the platform (no surprises there), where two maps on the London underground are mounted on the platform walls. One of these is likely to be very familiar to users of the Tube, the other somewhat older and offers a more “natural” look to how London’s underground lines actually sit under the city’s roads and reaches. On a second wall is what might appear to be a further Tube map but is in fact a stylised map of the region that offers clues to a form of homage Bambi presents in the design. Alongside of this map in an information giver for the Second Life Nature Collective club.

Beyond the turnstiles for the station sits Longing Town itself, there the homage mentioned above is largely located, taken the form of links to Liverpool’s Fab Four. The road leading from / to the station for example, is called Abbey Road, home of a certain recording studio and also the title of the group’s eleventh album with its iconic (and much imitated) cover photo – which is also reproduced in the forms of silhouettes of John, Ringo, Paul and George filing across the road.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Before reaching the silhouettes, the road also passes Penny Lane, an alley leading in to courtyard behind the houses lining the road. Beyond the four silhouettes, the road makes a 90º turn to the right continuing to to a waterside promenade called The Globe. This in turn might be a reference to The Globe Theatre, Stockton on Tees in the north-east of England, famous for being the venue for two Beatles concerts that effectively bracketed their “breaking into” the US market after a lot of resistance from US record moguls (and the first of which took place shortly after John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas).

Outside of the town proper, and reached via an arched passage, is a further reference to the Beatles, in the the form of Strawberry Fields, a broad concrete path runs north to reach the second element of the region. Here, beyond the gardens of some of the houses is a more rural setting, a place of meadows, sheep, a bubbling stream, rough footpaths and ruins. And where the town might be thought of as being caught  in a late summer, this northern rural area sits more in autumn, a place where the trees are turning a golden brown and sheep and deer roam free.

Longing Melody, January 2022

A canal cuts through this rural area; deeper than the local stream, it is crossed by a single hump backed bridge. The path beyond this continues eastwards, passing between more farm buildings and a large field guarded by drystone walls and home to sheep and cows. Once past these, the path starts a gentle climb to where a high brick wall bars the way, except for the open wooden door set within it.

This wall marks the point where the third of the region’s seasons commences, the hills beyond the wall being blanketed in winter. Snow cover the land, a narrow path winding up between the hills. Here the trees are either fir or denuded of there leaves, all equally frosted by the snow.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Cottages and more can be found on the shoulder and crown of the hill; one of the former cosily furnished, the other a shell. Watched over by foxes, snowmen and polar bears, this winter area offers further places to sit and pass the time and further opportunities for photography.

All of the above just scratches the surface of things. In the town, many of the buildings are simple façades, other have interiors that can be viewed through windows or entered and explored. Similarly, the gardens, the promenade, the rural spaces, all offer places to sit and relax. and needles to say, the region in rich in opportunities for photography.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Sharing a spiritual design with many of the settings that have surfaced within Missing Melody, Bambi’s Longing Melody offers visitors its own richness and diversity that should be savoured during a visit.

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Invisible beauty: more art of the microscopic in Second Life

Desiderartum Gallery: Guille – Invisible Beauty

In November 2011, I wrote about an intriguing exhibition of images by Guille (Antoronta) entitled Unseen Beauty, held at the Annexe of the Limoncello gallery. It was one of the the most unusual, engaging and informative exhibitions of photographic art I’d witnessed during the year, taking us as it did on a journey into the world of the microscopic (see: The art and beauty of the microscopic in Second Life).

While (at the time of writing) that exhibition is still open), I’ll delighted to say that the Desiderartum Gallery, managed by Peru Venom is hosting what might be regarded as the “part two” of a display of Guille’s work, in the form of Invisible Beauty, which formally opened on January 10th, 2022 (and my apologies to Guille for not being able to attend the opening in person).

Desiderartum Gallery: Guille – Invisible Beauty

The virtual incarnation of Antonio Guillén, Guille is a doctor in Biology and professor of Natural Sciences, whose background is as fascinating as his art, given his research projects span the environment, microbiology and astrobiology. He also has a refreshing – almost holistic, one might say – perspective on art and science in which the two interact with one another sans borders, informing one another and helping to jointly educate students and the public at large.

In particular, and given his professional focus on the microscopic, he has become a noted photographer-artist who captures the tiny worlds of micro-organisms – bacteria, fungi, archaea and protists – in all their exquisite beauty. And by “noted”, I mean precisely that not only has his photography been exhibited across his native Spain – including the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid -, it has also garnered awards such as Spain’s National Prize for Scientific Photography and the Giner de los Ríos Prize, the country’s most prestigious educational award. In addition, his project The Hidden Life of Water received the first world award at a Google Science Fair (2012).

Desiderartum Gallery: Guille – Invisible Beauty

As I noted in November 2021, Guille’s work doesn’t just present images of these incredible, tiny and diverse living organisms, it takes us on a journey into their worlds, the images revealing them individually or collectively in the the most amazing detail, while the texts he has supplied to go with the images (obtained by clicking the title card either below or to the right of each image) reveal more of the realities of these micro-organisms – and not in in dry, scientific terms that are starved of emotion. Rather, Guille’s descriptions are wonderfully fluid, descriptive and in places poetic. It thus offers further life to the tiny creations his microscope has captured in still form, whiles also underscoring his belief that art and science should freely interact.

Like most of the algae of the desmids family “Euastrum” it seems to look at itself in a mirror creating a pair of green Siamese joined by the same heart in a game of symmetry in which survival today and that of the future are bathed of this simple and intense beauty.
A thick transparent layer, adorned with winding valleys, spines or sculpted buttons and made with cellulose and pectin protects the body from these beautiful algae and helps them to float and move slowly both floating and on the bottoms where they live.

Guille’s sparkling description of the supernova-like Euastrum Verrucosum

Desiderartum Gallery: Guille – Invisible Beauty – Euastrum Verrucosum

Split across the two levels of the gallery building, Invisible Beauty mixes some of the images seen within Unseen Beauty with those specific to this exhibition, providing a natural overlap between the two, and making a visit to both a natural experience.

In addition to the  journeys into the worlds of prokaryotes and eukaryotes presented by Unseen Beauty and Invisible Beauty, more of Guille’s work can be found on his Flickr stream, whilst in-world, his has – with the support and assistance of Kimika Ying – created El Universo en una Gota de Agua (“The Universe in a Drop of Water”). There, visitors can see more of Guille’s photography as well as learning about the history of the microscope and about the study of micro-organisms – and even enter their world, where a human hair offered at a scale to represent its magnification by a factor of 10,000 helps put all of this tiny life into perspective.

Universo en una Gota de Agua

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