Two immersive exhibitions are awaiting discovery at the Love&Love Factory Art Gallery that are well worth visiting by anyone who appreciates art with a message and a story in Second Life, produced as they are by two artists skilled in the art of narrative presentation.
Before getting into details, these are two installations that should be experienced with the following enabled in the viewer:
- Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) – Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model enabled. Note that you do not need to have Shadows enabled (should ALM activate them) – while projectors are used, it is sufficient to just have ALM enabled to see them in action, so Shadows can be safely disabled via the drop-down to improve performance.
- Shared Environment should be used for best viewing of both installations (World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked.
The first of the pairing – and I use that term loosely, as these are very much individual installations is The Melt by London Junkers.
This is a single, magnificent sculpture, framed by a poem – also called The Melt – set within an environment suggestive of the sea and under a night sky, both of which evoke a sense of age. The centrepiece might be an iceberg or the face of a glacier; cold and blue, it seems timeless – but pieces have clearly broken away and are caught mid-fall, hinting at the actual state of things – the vast piece is in fact melting and breaking, caught in a continuous state of flux.
It is a state of flux mirrored by the poem itself. Outside of the skeleton of the long-dead great whale, details might not be immediately apparent – but look closely and you might start to make out features: the suggestion of a broken nose here, the outside of an eye, the drop of icy tears.
What do we make of this? To me, The Melt sits as a commentary on the existential threat of global warming; of all we stand to lose if the required actions needed to curb our own massive contribution to the increasing rate of climate change are not taken: that the loss of the glaciers and ice caps is but the precursor to the loss of all life itself, as symbolised by the whale skeleton and the bones of human at the foot of the sculpture.
Meanwhile, Selen Minotaur presents H, a multi-media immersive piece offering its own statement of life – both physical and virtual. Within it, we follow the story of “H”; a neutral character whose very initial suggests either male “H(im)” and female “H(er)”, and their travel through life, told in part through local chat and through our following the path through a “maze” which eventually leads to a series of rooms – or rather, boxes.
Once upon a time…H. Since H was born, H loved boxes. H started to build some as soon as H was able to. So H was sleeping in a box, H was eating in a box, H was working in a box, H was shopping in different boxes. When H wanted to have fun, H was visiting dedicated boxes: one to meet friends, one to dance, one to listen to music, one to watch a show, and so on. Even after death, H planned to be laid down and locked in a box. Isn’t this weird?…
Again, the core theme is clear; through the maze, we follow H as they try to make sense of life; then through the various rooms (be sure to accept the Experience when prompted at the end of the maze by walking into the sign, and then walk into the additional signs to be auto-TP’d between rooms).
Within these rooms we witness the places and activities H users to define their life – be sure to sit on objects, click walls to activate media, etc). However, this is not intended to be purely a means to put us on the strange journey of someone called “H”; rather it is a reflection how we all increasingly live our lives; reliant as we increasingly are on the role of “boxes” – devices, electronics, apps (including Second Life, where we spend all our time in “boxes” – regions), and so on for our sense of connection and engagement. That despite all the so-called promise of a “connected world” offered by the Internet, the web, and – as the hype would have it – “the metaverse”, we are perhaps becoming more an more insular in our search for “meaning” (or at least engagement) in life.
Both H and The Melt are marvellously expressive and deeply layered in the potential for interpretation and consideration.
Incanto is rated Adult