Enjoying Cica’s Summertime in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Summertime, July 2020

For July, Cica Ghost has offered her latest installation for people to enjoy. Summertime is a reminder that summer days can be, for all of us, “the best of what might be”, as her quote from Charles Bowden, the late American journalist, essayist and author, reminds us. It’s also a reminder that despite all the shadows cast by the current SARS-CoV-2 situation, happier, brighter, days will come along.

This is another quirky, light and fun installation with more to see than might initially meet the eye. At its core, it offers what might be a giant’s overgrown yard garden. Much of the ground forms a tiled surface that undulates slight, giving the impression of an aged, uneven terrace. Set upon this, and the grass beyond it, lay a series of planters of assorted shapes and sizes, from which sprout a variety of plants.

Cica Ghost: Summertime, July 2020

Tall willow-like trees watch over this landscape, whilst scattered flowers and grass grow free of the pots and planters – perhaps grazing for the cows that are also present here.

Standing or sitting alone or in pairs or small groups, the cattle are curious souls, their large eyes constantly roving over the land around them, seeing all that goes on. The set to the brows of some suggest they might not entirely welcome avatars traipsing over their grass and flowers, while others look more interested in one another than in any visitors passing by. All of them offer opportunities for photos to be taken in their company, that can be hard to ignore.  Nor are the only occupants of this land; representative of Cica’s cats and crows are also waiting to be found, while a unique coop provides a stacked home for snow-white chickens.

Cica Ghost: Summertime, July 2020

There’s more to see throughout the setting, as well. Some of the planters have the distinct look of houses or buildings about them – with one even the home of a little cinema – while others have the feel of being little hideaways. As with all of Cica’s installations, there are multiple places to sit, although one or two might require a little careful seeking – so be sure to carefully mouse-over planters and plants as well as simply looking for the chairs and garden benches. And if you’re not in the mood to walk, hop on to one of the seed carriers that are fluttering around the landscape and be scooted around.

A heart-lifting setting caught in the light of a late afternoon Sun, Summertime is another delightful visit, while those so taken by them, can obtain Cica’s cows from  the little store in the north-west corner of the region.

Cica Ghost: Summertime, July 2020

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Grauland’s rugged summer looks in Second Life

Grauland, July 2020 – click any image for full size

JimGarand has re-opened his Homestead region of Grauland with a further iteration of its looks; one that brings a new face to the region whilst also offering echoes of past designs.

For this iteration, the region has been split into two islands, each with its own particular look, although both make excellent use of Alex Bader’s modular cliff sets to give them form. The smaller of the two sits roughly rectangular in shape, and is home to the Stonehenge seen in the last iteration of the region (see: Art and a fort in Second Life), with the region’s signature “Giant’s Causeway” (via Cube Republic’s Basalt columns set) on its west side.

Grauland, July 2020

Broad and flat and the home of wild flowers, this island is connected to its larger, L-shaped cousin via a truss bridge of an exceptionally sturdy build. This spans the intervening channel to arrive at the region’s landing point with its customary teleport to Jim’s sky-borne store.

Topped by woods and trees, this larger island descends in tiers from the north plateau to the south-west beach. Three  furnished houses occupy these major elevations, two of them – to the north end of the island an in the mid-elevation comprising somewhat blocky designs that help them feel a part of the block-like nature of the plateaus on which they sit. However, in terms of position, the mid-level and beach-level houses are perhaps the most striking, as they bracket the island’s most interesting aspect: what might be called a “concrete garden”.

Grauland, July 2020

Built partially over water, this is a curious and engaging feature, comprising a rich mix of elements: a maze of cube-shaped rooms, a glass-domed pavilion with sculpture within it, seating areas marked by oak and ash trees in planters, water features and stepping stones and the regimented lines of cement blocks that formed a part of the Grauland landscape when we first visited it in March 2019 (see: Art as a landscape in Second Life). There’s more here waiting to be seen, but that will suffice for a brief introduction.

This garden area both forms an artistic statement in its design and contains art. The maze of cube rooms, for example stands more as an artistic statement than a puzzle as the ways through are easy enough, but in winding one’s way through the rooms will reveal paintings and graffiti on the walls and carefully placed items of furniture. There’s also the sculpture within the pavilion, more sculpture in the open; even the position of a large angular rock (courtesy of Alex’s Bader’s Zen garden kit) is offered as a part of the art in the setting.

Grauland, July 2020

Further statues and sculptures lie at various points around the landscape – overlooking the waters, sitting with the trees, etc., that further add depth to the region. Even the rounded stones and rocks on the west beach, mixed with curved cement walls and a line of marching turtles, make a unique, artistic statement.

As well as extending out to the west, the beach also forms a separator between the higher elevations of the large island, splitting them in two with a narrow ribbon of sand spanned above by an arched bridge. This path leads to a further ribbon of beach running south-to-north along the region’s eastern side and around the island’s south side.

Grauland, July 2020

Each of the Grauland designs has always had a certain attraction about it – not just photogenically, but in the overall approach and layout. This is certainly the case here as well, whilst a sense of romance is added through the inclusion of dance systems around the landscape.

I’ve always enjoyed Grauland’s various looks, but there is is something about this design that I find particularly engaging. It has a pot-pourri of elements – Stonehenge, rugged islands concrete constructs, water features – that stand individually as focal points to be appreciated by those visiting, whilst also flowing together as a very natural whole. There is also the considered mix of the “new” and the “old” (in terms of previous designs) that is sure to appeal to those who are familiar with the region’s past iterations.

Grauland, July 2020

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Resolution’s art in Second Life

Resolution Exhibition, July 10th-12th

Running from Friday, July 10th through Sunday July 12th is the Kultivate Dene Gallery’s latest exhibition, Resolution. This is a special 3-day event curated by Tempest Rosca-Huntsman, and forms Dene Gallery’s first exhibition as a part of the Kultivate family.

Some 30 artists are taking part in the event, as follows: Beuanna Banana, Brian2 Werefox, ByrneDarkly Cazalet, CalebBryant Resident, Giselle Chauveau, Inara Pey, Ivyana Szondi, Johannes Huntsman, Kacey Macbeth, Kalina Sands, Ladycharis, Lam Erin, LawrenceD, Morgaine Blackrain, Myra Wildmist, Nugget Ichibara, Paradox Mercury, PinkRayne, Reya Darkstone, Rockcail Resident, Roman Godde, serenaelia, sirspanking, Skip Staheli, Skye Fairywren, Sugarfairy88 Resident, Tempest Rosca, TrishaSrose, Whata Conundrum, & Wicca Merlin.

Resolution Exhibition: PinRrayne

The event will feature live entertainment across the three days, with the schedule lining up as follows (all times SLT):

  • Friday, July 10, 2020:
    • 15:00-16:00: Samuel James.
    • 16:00-17:00: Abby Jaidov.
    • 17:00-18:00: Mavenn.
  • Saturday, July 11, 2020:
    • 14:00-15:00: Wolfie Starfire.
    • 15:00-16:00: Jesie Janick.
  • Sunday, July 12, 2020:
    • 11:00-Noon: Max Kleene.
    • Noon-13:00: DimiVan Ludwig.
    • 13:00-14:00: Samm Qendra.
Resolution Exhibition: Giselle Chauveau

About Dene Gallery and Kultivate

Dene Gallery is located in Rosehaven. The gallery is curated by Tempest Rosca-Huntsman and highlights one artist each month. As a part of the Kultivate brand, it joins the Windlight Art Gallery, The Edge Gallery, Kultivate Loft Gallery, Kultivate Signature Gallery, & Kultivate Select Gallery. To mark Dene Gallery’s joining the Kultivate family, Resolution is being held at Kultivate’s home region of Water Haven.

Kultivate’s goal is to promote and support the cultural aspects of Second Life. Kultivate is also the official sponsor and media partner of Team Diabetes of Second Life, an official and authorized team of The American Diabetes Association. Learn more by visiting their website.

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Journeying through mineral fractals in Second Life

Gem Preiz: Journey to the Centre of the Fractal Earth

Gem Preiz, the master of the fractal image, is once again back with a new exhibition of pieces that opened on July 7th.

For those familiar with his work, Journey to the Centre of a Fractal Earth sees him return to familiar territory after his trip into the world of scale city design with Skyscrapers (see: Gem’s Skyscrapers in Second Life) as he presents some 16 fractal images linked by the theme of mineralogy, whilst also touching on some broader themes common to his art.

The core of the exhibit is an exploration of mineral formations, carried out through a hypothetical journey to the centre of the Earth, that we might see them in their natural environs.

Gem Preiz: Journey to the Centre of the Fractal Earth

Our Universe, whose laws of thermodynamics teach us that its disorder is constantly increasing, nevertheless conceals in some places such extreme conditions that matter is organised in a perfectly ordered way. At the scale of our vision, the optimal arrangement of the atoms produces crystals with flawless geometry and colours entirely determined by the composition and structure of the mineral.

There are a few hundred mineral species on Earth (a few thousand if we include those that the microscope only can reveal), born of the fantastic pressures suffered by the rock in the Earth’s crust, the sudden cooling of volcanic material, or the accumulation of sediments crushed by their own weight. While tectonic movements and volcanoes lava have brought to Man many of these natural treasures (quartz, gypsum, sulphur, obsidian …), many of them were discovered in the depths of the planet only through industrial research or scientific exploration. 

– Gem Preiz, introducing Journey to the Centre of a Fractal Earth

Gem Preiz: Journey to the Centre of the Fractal Earth

This journey is carried out through the visit of sixteen large rooms, one after the previous, topped and tailed by tunnel-like walks from and to the “surface”. Within each room is displayed one of Gem’s marvellous, multi-panel, high-resolution fractal images generated in the form of a mineral, or rock laced with mineral striate. In an of themselves, they are stunning pieces, their form echoed in the walls and floors of each room, which may also utilise particle effects  an Delain Canucci.

Whilst intended to be representative of mineral deposits ” at the bottom of the most obscure caves and in the most secret veins,” some of these pieces equally have an other-worldly feel to them that brings to mind objects that might be found in deep space. for example, a gold-and-grey comet that catches the light of a star, the outgassing of volatiles forming a bright halo around it. Others suggest not so much crystalline minerals lying deep underground, but fabulous coral formations sitting on the deep ocean floor. Thus, Journey weaves into itself, intentionally or otherwise, those mentioned broader themes that captivate Gem’s thinking, and so often influence his art.

Gem Preiz: Journey to the Centre of the Fractal Earth

My only slight reservation is with Journey’s general presentation. On the one hand, I could see how travelling through the rooms is intended to reflects on the idea of the great depths and pressures at which minerals can be found / are formed (and of course gives a physical link to the title of Jules Verne’s famous novel used in the installation’s title). But on the other, in travelling through so many rooms of near identical presentation, I couldn’t help but wonder if an alternative, more compact means of delivery couldn’t achieve the same result?

That niggle aside however, for those drawn to fractal art Journey is well worth a visit simply because the framed images are genuinely captivating and elegantly beautiful.

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Eris Isle’s expansive beauty in Second Life

Eris Isle, July 2020 – click any image for full size

Eris Isle is a full region design by Pablo Nova and Karma Koppel that is currently gaining a lot of attention courtesy of a MadPea Hunt – although the fact is, the region deserves recognition in its own right, although a visit can come at a little cost.

A Full private island making use of the 10K land capacity bonus, Eris Isle actually feels a lot bigger than a single region, thanks to a considered used of elevation. This breaks up the land to make some of the paths more circuitous at ground level whilst naturally concealing various locations, allowing them to come as a surprise to explorers (assuming people refraining from camming too much!). The raised elements of the landscape also provide additional space both on – and under – them.

Eris Isle, July 2020

It is on the central uplands that visitors arrive, an expansive table of rock that is home to a broad deck built partially over water. It is backed at one end by the cliffs of the island’s peak area, whilst the other falls away to waters that break up the land with a series of navigable channels. Grass tracks to the east and west offer starting points for explorations.

Take one of these, and you be taken down from the landing point and you can either pass over a rope bridge and continue on to a waterfront park area, or cross a second bridge and over a ridge line to where it descends to a farm  converted to house weddings within its large barn. Take the second grass track and it will lead down to where a covered bridge also provides access to the farm wedding venue.

Eris Isle, July 2020

It doesn’t matter which is taken, both offer a lot to see: a greenhouse and gardens, waterside paths running beneath ridges and cliffs and that lead to hidden places to sit; waterfalls that tumble from other high ridges and cliffs to arrive at rocky pools watched over by more seating areas and topped by lookout points, and so on.

Beyond these, more paths await discovery, some passing beyond the aforementioned gardens to reach northern headlands, bays and waterfront cabins (and a cottage) or wind their way up into rocky areas otherwise hidden from view, and / or reach the highest peaks and ridges of the island. The later include the lookout point mentioned, places to mediate and where Tai Chi can be practised.

Eris Isle, July 2020

It is finding all of the rocky routes that makes exploring the region particularly attractive. The care with with the region’s highlands have been built up means that these paths have a natural look and feel, so much so that in places they may not actually appear to be paths at first; even where they sit as steps, there is a natural cast to them entirely in keeping with the lay of the land as the lead the way to parts of the setting that might otherwise at first appear to be inaccessible, such as the west side camp site or the south-west horseshoe cove.

All of this still only scratches the surface of Eris Isle. There’s still the caverns to be found, either on foot or via the pedal boats off to the east side of the region. If boats aren’t to your liking, then a hot air balloon ride around the island might be. This can be found on the north side of the island (unless the balloon is in use) and is honestly hard to miss when moored.

Eris Isle, July 2020

Art also plays a major – and subtle role within the region, with sculptures to be found through the landscape (particularly around the garden area), and more can be reached via the gallery / ballroom teleport board at the landing point. Located in the sky over the region, at the time of our visits, the gallery was home to exhibitions by landscape photographers Charly Keeley-Keating, Pavel Stransky, Rawnie Lane and Shasta Laval.

Admittedly, all of the detail within the region does come at a cost, as mentioned at the top of this article. There is a lot of mesh and texturing that can hit viewer performance – particularly if there’s a large number of avatars present (numbers sat between 15-22 during our visits); with shadows enabled, I found my system running in single digit FPS. However, mitigating the potential hit by disabling shadows when walking / investigating, reducing the number of non-impostered avatars the viewer renders, etc., is worth the effort, as Eris Isle does have a lot worth seeing.

Eris Isle, July 2020

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A musical Pony Box in Second Life

Pony Box, July 2020 – click any image for full size

Pony Box is a half Homestead region designed on Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fortherington) on behalf of the Pony Box group as a location for them to offer DJ and live performer music to group members.

We are a community of Music Lovers. Where music speaks to the soul. Underground electronic sounds is what we are about.

– The Pony Box About Land description

The setting is that of a stretch of coastline backed by cliffs from which dual waterfalls tumble, the water from them cutting a path through the lowland grasses and shingles to reach the sea, while sandy beaches lie to the south and north sit as book-ends to the land.

Pony Box, July 2020

The land between the northern beach and the stream is home to Pony Box’s main structure: a warehouse converted into a pub. It sits in the middle of broad wooden decking, one arm of which stretches out over the beach on legs that dip toes into the blue waters at the deck’s far end. This decking is home to two of the setting’s DJ music venues; one at the end of the pier-like stretch, the other nestled alongside the warehouse-pub.

Steps descend from the stream side of the deck, providing a way to reach the shingle bank, home to a set of white bleachers. These face a live music stage sitting on the humped back of crooked finger of shingle that reaches into the stream, partially blocking it.

Pony Box, July 2020

Two bridges span the lower extent of the stream, providing the best route to reach the southern extent of the land. This is a low, rugged landscape marked by the tall fingers of fir trees and the rounded, squatter spread of crab apple, oak and walnut trees that shade the island’s second major building. Empty at the time of our visits, this suggested it might be intended to become a club house or perhaps an indoor venue for music.

We aren’t open all the time for music. We currently have a DJ who spins tunes every Friday at 1:00 pm SLT. We also do parties advertised through our land group, which I organise. The best way to find out about events is through the group.

– Mr Frosty (JackFrosstt), Pony Box co-owner

Pony Box, July 2020

The highlands to the est of the land aren’t direct accessible, although there are also signs of old habitation on them to give a further sense of depth to the vista as the land rises to form a natural barrier between Pony Box and the rest of the region.

There are one or two rough spots in the landscaping – some of the lowland rocks have been stretched so that their physics shapes no longer match and so you can end up wading through them rather than walking on them, but on the whole, the setting offers good scope for photography and he beaches offer places to sit and relax, as does the pub in the old warehouse.

Pony Box, July 2020

So, if you’re looking for a place to visit or a new place to find music, why not keep an eye on the pony Box in-world group, and hop over to the island and take a look?

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