An Unusual statement of freedom in Second Life

Kondor Arts Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Unusual, May 2023

There are two exhibitions I recently visited in turn at the Kondor Art Centre, curated by Hermes Kondor. Both are by artists I greatly admire, and there is what might be seen as a thread of connection between them. However, given that such a thread is by no means certain, I’ll be looking at them over the course of a couple of articles, tackling them in the reverse order to how I viewed them, but rather in chronological order in terms of when they opened.

The first is that of Unusual, the latest selection of art-in-reflection-of-thought by Bamboo Barnes, which opened on April 20th, 2023 within the Kondor Art Centre’s Main Gallery.

Bamboo is, as I’ve often noted in these pages, one of the most vibrant and evocative digital artists displaying her work in Second Life. And I mean this not just in terms of her use of colour or form or subject – but in the way she layers her work both physically and narratively, such that it offers a depth of emotion and sense of being, it draws the observer into it, dominating both the space the work occupies and to the eye and mind.

Kondor Arts Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Unusual, May 2023

A major theme within Bamboo’s art is that of identity; who we actually are in life in the face of an ever-changing world, when society, ego, id, work, friends, politics, and more continually impinge on us. Sometimes these pressure encourage us to flow and change and reach beyond who we are; at others they demand we conform; confine ourselves to ideas and dreams others see as being what (or all) we can achieve, thus preventing “disappointment”; or that we “stay in our lane” (always a pejorative outlook often born from a mistaken idea of self-privilege by those voicing it), and so on.

Unusual takes the latter point – that we must conform and limit ourselves without crossing the lines others have drawn for us – and asks what happens when we decided to step beyond them, much as Bamboo has done, particularly the mix of joy and wonder an excitement (and the sometimes chaotic results of doing so). These disparate elements can be seen – to my eyes, at least – in a variety of ways. Take, for example, the use of geometry in some images, with its suggestions of limits or boundaries.

Kondor Arts Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Unusual, May 2023

Elsewhere, the use of repetition within some images might be seen as a dichotomy in its statement; on the one hand, it might appear to say “we are free to express ourselves, but only so far; we should still conform”; hence the repeated poses, limited used of colour palette within them – as with Kagerou A, as an example. At the same time, the very title (which might be translated as “heat shimmer” (or “haze”) or “mirage”) suggests how we are all so much more than we appear to be, the mirrored nature of the piece adding to the notion that we have more than one side to our nature, despite those aforementioned constraints others would place on us.

Then there is the use of colour in some of the pieces; vibrant hues which seem to have a life of their own, echoes perhaps that sense of excitement, wonder and chaos as we step beyond the constraints to which we have been subjected. All of this perhaps comes together most of all within the 3D piece Little Girl Blue, with its constant movement and shifting images suggesting the true fluidity and changing nature of life.

Kondor Arts Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Unusual, May 2023

However, in this I’ve said enough with which to colour your thoughts; as such, I invite you to hop over to the Kondor Art Centre and view Unusual for yourself.

SLurl Details


2 thoughts on “An Unusual statement of freedom in Second Life

Have any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.