Now open at Akiniwa, a region within the Akipelago estate of arts regions founded and operated by Akiko Kinoshi (A Kiko), is an engaging exhibition of art by Haiku (Haiku Quan), one of Aki’s partners in organising and hosting art and music events within Akipelago, and who is herself both a photographer-artist and patron of the arts in Second Life.
In this latter regard, and as well as the work she carries out with Aki and Violet Boa at Akipelago, Haiku founded the Free Museum on 2021, giving away copies of works by some of SL’s most gifted artists (with their approval). In 2022 she sponsored the first annual Lyrics Prize and awarded over L$100,000 in prizes to the residents who wrote the best original lyrics to a dozen popular songs.
Now at Akipelago, Haiku launches a new phase of her work in supports art in Second Life, a new complex of three gallery buildings of a unique neo-industrial design by Blue Tsuki, all of which are to be curated by Haiku and are ranged on three sides of an open air events area. One of these units will eventually be home to additional works from the Free Museum, and the other will host rotating exhibitions by other Second Life artists. The fourth side of the venue is occupied by Nessuno Myoo’s As Mammoths In the Middle Of Butterflies, an installation I reviewed in April 2022.
As for the first unit, this is home to Haiku’s exhibition With Just who do you think you are? This is a collection of no fewer than 300 avatar portraits captured by Haiku. Many of the subjects are themselves artists and musicians using Second Life as their medium of expression, with one or two SLebrities mixes among them (see if you can spot Simon Linden for one…).
However, rather than being offered as individual pieces, Haiku has opted to place up to 16 portraits in a single frame and then use a scripted timer to rotate through them, showing etc i turn for a period long enough for us to appreciate each one. This results in an exhibit in which the pieces are almost constantly in a state of flux (or change), presenting visitors with the choice of observing the changes a picture frame at a time until all the portraits it contains, or to wander around the gallery floor, each circuit revealing different portraits, giving the sense of walking through a space much larger than the hall.
In terms of the portraits themselves, they are almost all head-and-shoulder shots, the subject looking directly at the camera and with a minimum of post-processing. Thus they present an honest view of each avatar, unburdened by the play of digital tools – and in doing so, perhaps allow us a glimpse one their eyes to the person who lies, so to speak, within them.
Engaging and rich in content, Just who do you think you are? offers a noel manner in which to present avatar portraits – and I look forward to returning to Akiniwa and witnessing the development of Haiku’s new endeavour as the galleries all become occupied.
- Just who do you think you are? (Akiniwa, rated Moderate)