A little Skewered in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre: Etamae – Skewered, May 2023

Currently open at the Kondor Art Centre, curated by Hermes Kondor, is an exhibition of art by Eta (Etamae) entitled Skewered. It forms the second of two exhibitions at the centre I recently visited, the other being Bamboo Barnes’ Unusual, which I recently wrote about in An Unusual statement of freedom in Second Life.

Of the two, Eta’s was actually the first I visited, and as I toured both, I felt a thread of connection between them which I initially saw as a means of writing about both in a single article. However, given the idea there might be a connection between them was purely subjective, I decided against and joint-write up, and to instead focus on each in turn, starting with Unusual, as that had been open a few days longer than Skewered.

Kondor Art Centre: Etamae – Skewered, May 2023

The latter is presented within a sky gallery designed by Etamae’s SL partner, Jos; it is also best viewed through the use of a specific EEP setting – Bryn Oh’s Virginia Alone. The latter is one of over 200 former Windlight settings converted to EEP assets (through the hard work of Whirly Fizzle) which can be found in the Library section of your Inventory. To use it, just run an Inventory search for “Virginia”, and it should show up in your results (located in the folder Library → Environments → Skies → Bryn Oh). When located, right-click on it and select Apply Only to Myself. A copy of the asset is also contained in the introductory notes for the exhibition (available from the information giver close to the landing point), and can be copied from there to Inventory an applied to your avatar from there.

In addition, the installation makes use of the viewers Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) and looks its best with Shadows: Sun/Moon enabled (although this is not vital). Both of these can be set through Graphics → Preferences, if needs be.

The core of the installation comprises 10 free-standing mounts, each displaying two layered images on reverse sides of each mount. Abstract in nature, these pieces have about them the suggestion of human flesh / the body in a fluidic state, as if in motion across a darkened surface, subtle animations layered in to each adding an almost subliminal additional sense of motion. This is further added to by the installation space itself through the use of sine wave patterns along the walls and part of the floor and the play of projected lighting (hence the requirement for ALM being enabled).

Kondor Art Centre: Etamae – Skewered, May 2023

It is this sense of fluidity and gentle motion that – for me – suggested (tenuously, admittedly) the incidental connection with  Bamboo’s Unusual and, perhaps more appropriately – if equally tenuous – a link to Eta’s recent installation entitled Pariah – The Hidden Persona, displayed at the Hannington Arts Foundation (see: Art and our Hidden Personas in Second Life).

I say this because both Unusual and Pariah in part (or fully) focus on matters of identity and what lies within each of us, often hidden (or forced into hiding) by the demands of society / conforming to what is expected of us, and only given the opportunity to thrive / find release when we are alone or as we embark on a journey of self-discovery. Though highly abstract in form, the images within Skewered might be said to suggest the idea that life is a transformative and we are organisms in a constant state of flux and change, revealing (or discovering) new facets of ourselves – perhaps in defiance of the demands of “fitting in”, whilst also hiding others through the fluidity of expression.

Kondor Art Centre: Etamae – Skewered, May 2023

I’ve honestly no idea if this interpretation is anything close to Eta’s intent – if indeed she had any intend beyond getting us to engage the grey cells between the ears -, and it is not something I’ve discussed with her. But even if you don’t see Skewered as it occurred to me, there is no denying the manner in which this exhibition engages and draws the visitor back to it, each viewing of the pieces often revealing something new / causing additional cogitation. As such, I suggest you hop on over and take a look for yourself.

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