A re-visit to L2 Gallery and LHOOQ Gallery in Second Life

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021 – click any image for full size

In checking back through my visit history, I was surprised to see the last time I dropped into L2 Studio & LHOOQ Gallery, the Full region held and operated by Lindini2 (Lindini2 Lane) and Jessica (jessicabelmer) was in 2016.

Surprised, because the region – the home to Lindini2’s store and Jessica’s art gallery respectively – used to be on my list of places to visit semi-regularly due to it being highly attractive and subject to periodic changes, and I enjoyed dropping-in semi-regularly to see what had changed. So this being the case, I took a trip to see had things are today.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

No landing point is enforced, although one is defined – and used as the SLurl here – that brings folk down in the gardens between the L2 store and the LHOOQ gallery, allowing quick access to Lindini2’s creations (including teleports up to the demo areas in the sky for her buildings) and to appreciate Jessica’s art

The gallery and store are located on the largest island in the region, where they sit within the south-east corner, forming two of the biggest structures within the setting. The gallery in particularly is impressive, its design light and airy, the two floors offering plenty of space for Jessica’s work to be displayed in a fairly large format.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Surrounding them, the gardens and land beyond are presented as a something of a wildling environment that is both managed and also left to grow fairly free: manicured cypresses mixing with shaggy fir, the grass mixing with scrub and rock whilst being maintained more by the munching of sheep than by any bladed means. It’s an effective, natural environment that climbs westward to where a Japanese teahouse sits within stone walls, the passage through its grounds literally forming the gateway between east and west

The teahouse is not the only structure to be found when wandering the paths around the studio and gallery, nor are the sheep the only animals waiting to be found. Some of the former are obvious, others take a little more discovery as they meander around and climb up and down through the landscape. The easiest to follow will lead you to an old gazebo, the way up to the teahouse close by; others might take you to a folly guarded by foxes or a little fenced garden offering a way down to a shingle beach and a view out to the north-west, or off to the north-east side of the land, of which more anon.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Nor are the foxes and sheep alone in claiming the wildling setting as theirs; horses wander the grasses. An attempt has been made to cultivate a small part of the wildling, but I did find myself wondering how long it might last, given the way some of the sheep appeared to be eyeing things!

The store and gallery are balanced to the south-west by a house with garden and outhouses. A narrow neck of rock connects this headland with the rest of the main island, pools of water feeding waterfalls on either side.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Such is the design here that it is hard not to avoid the feeling the water – whilst crossed by a hump of rock – is there to form a natural barrier to indicate the house and gardens beyond are perhaps private property, a feeling added to by the steep shoulder of a hill rising between the falls and the house beyond that is sans obvious path up or around its slope. There are no signs to confirm this, but is did leave me a little circumspect in my wanderings so as not to trespass, just in case.

To the north, the region is given over to settings that showcase Lindini2’s houses. The first of these is laid one in a manner suggestive of Dutch waterways, although the houses are perhaps more North American in styling. Water forms a narrow basin with walled sides and cobbled road surfaces surrounding it and a pair of little bridges arching over it. Four house sit on the cobbled ways, while across a narrow channel of water, a low-lying, sandy island offers a beach-like setting for more houses.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

The final element of the landscape is a little town are that sits sandwiched between the island houses and the store and gallery. Located on its own little promontory, it balances the hill-top teahouse in having a Japanese vibe to its styling (perhaps with the exception of the little hi;;top greenhouse overlooking it, set is it is form a spot of very English afternoon tea!). There is a wealth of detail packed into this little town that it makes for its own entirely photogenic spot.

Finished with multiple touches that help bring a sense of life to it, from boats on the water to the animals and birds and the various places visitors are encouraged to sit and pass the time, L2 Studio & LHOOQ Gallery is richly detailed and a visually engaging visit. The layout allows exploration to be carried out in a single visit, over a course of days, depending on your mood.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

However, all this does come at a price; the the vast majority of the region’s land impact has been used, so there is a lot of mesh and textures for the viewer to handle, which can impact performance, so depending on your settings, you my need to make some adjustments. I found it a lot easier to get around by turning off Shadows when exploring, and only using them for photographs.

Even so, I would say the region remains enticingly photogenic, and is well worth a visit be shutter bugs, and Jessica’s photography stands as a very worthy reason for patrons of SL arts to also hop over and visit.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

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miu miu miu’s Stamp in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021
Miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond) is an artist who – I believe I’m correct in saying – tends not to exhibit to frequently within Second Life, preferring, as many do, to use Flickr as the medium to present her work.

What is striking about her work – as revealed by even the most casual flip through her Flickr photostream –  is that whether focused on avatar studies or landscapes, whether posed or offered as a “natural” take, miu miu miu’s art is always given a sensitive touch of post-processing that allows her to offer pieces that are evocative of many different genres and presented in different styles – but which are all connected through an undeniable richness of narrative and content.

She is also an artist who is not afraid to express her joy in creating images or to openly publish multiple versions of the same image as she experiments with technique, colour and light. And both of these aspects of her work appear within in the portfolio she currently has offered for display within Dido’s Space at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021

Entitled miu miu miu’s Stamp, this is in some respects an impromptu exhibit; Dido explained that she’d been trying to get miu miu miu back to Nitroglobus since much earlier in the year, but schedules and inspiration hadn’t been good enough to align themselves. Then miu miu miu came across a folder of previously unpublished images on her computer, and decided to offer them as a collection to exhibit.

The central focus of the images is that of the COCO ball joint dolls (BJD) avatars produced by Cocoro Lemon and available through her in-world store, with the emphasis on head-and-shoulder portraits. While the doll avatars might not be everyone’s cup of tea, miu miu miu has used them here to great effect, the individual pieces offering what might be regarded as a surprising wealth of emotion considering their construct – and I’d cite in particular Indigo through Turquoise as they share one wall of the gallery as evidence of this, although every single piece carries an emotional depth.

There is also a sense of joy that permeates these pieces, mainly that is transmitted through the post-process colour palette that suggests miu miu miu genuinely lost herself in both the creation of the look, mood and tone of each piece and the the joy of simple experimentation with both the doll avatar and within PhotoShop itself.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021
Captivating, warm and marvellously expressive, miu miu miu’s Stamp also sits as an excellent companion / contrast to Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire within the main hall of the gallery, and with which Stamp currently overlaps (and you can read about here).

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Luane’s lost world in Second Life

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021 – click any image for full size

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Luane’s World, the estate held and operated by LuaneMeo, but a recent blog post by Rig Torok of the estate’s main Full region – Le Monde Perdu (The Lost World)- gave me pause to take a jump back and take a fresh wander.

Le Monde Perdu is a beautiful, romantic Island far away from everything. A place where you can find inner peace, enjoy and relax. Landscaping by LuaneMeo and Gorba McMahon.

– from the region’s About Land description

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

I first visited the region in 2016, and then again in 2018. At the time of both of those visits, Luane’s world occupied a different location as an estate with two regions encompassing public spaces, Luane’s store and Luane’s Magical Garden. Today, the estate comprises five regions  – the main public region of Le Monde Perdu, and four residential regions gathered to the north of it, and both the store and Luane’s Magical world have shifted into the sky, reachable via teleport.

The ground level of Le Monde Perdu presents itself as a rugged island with a high horseshoe of hills skirted from south to north via the west coast by a sandy beach, with the eastern side falling to a narrow ribbon of rocky, shingle waterfront sitting between cliffs and shallows. At roughly the mid-point along the island’s south side, the hills break, allowing the sand to flow inland and cup the waters of a freshwater pool at the heart of the island, fed by falls that tumble down the cliffs that form the pool’s north side.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

Within this setting there a a lot to see and capture, thanks in part to a use of altitude and landscaping – the hills aren’t all of a single height but offer stepped rises that present natural shoulders that present spaces which Luane and Gorba have used to the fullest. To the south-east, for example, the hills rise from the entrance to the inner pool to offer a choice of routes: one around the statue at the top of the rise and then down to a ribbon lake that sits on a lower shoulder, or left along a cobbled path that branches at the foot of a further rise.

The right branch of this path curls up around the the next rise of the hill reaching its top and the small farmhouse sits there alongside a sparkling, fast-flowing stream that tumbles down along the spine of the hill to help feed the freshwater pool below via its own falls. The left branch of the path, meanwhile, descends along a gentle slope to where a dining table has been set out beneath a net awning that also overlooks the central lake. The path to this dining area also offers a way down to (or up from) the lake via steeply-set steps, so giving visitors a further route of exploration.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

The top of these steps is also home to a zipline that spans the mouth of the southern cutting, giving a means to reach a cabin that sits above the beach to the south-west, nestled under a truncated peak that feeds another stream that runs around the ridge of the hills to reach the north side waterfalls..

The shelf on which the cabin sits runs west and north around the island to reach a cavern, passing steps that climb up to it from the beach, whilst also offering visitors a further option to go horse riding within the region (there is one at the landing point, alongside a bicycle rezzer, although options for comfortable riding are a tad limited due to the lie of the land).As a further attraction, a little pond sits just down from the cabin, the home to a family of otters.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

These otters are just a touch of the wildlife to be found across the island, and part of the fun in exploring is that of coming across the various animals and birds / waterfowl. Some are easy to spot, others might require keen eyes; some might even appear a little threatening / intimidating – the shark casually swimming alongside a part of the beach where paddling is clearly encouraged, and the bears within one of the island’s caverns (the second of these runs through the western hills between inner and outer beaches).

The richness of detail across the region cannot be over-emphasised; wildlife, plants, overall design, placement of buildings and structures, and places to sit have all been carefully considered to present Le Monde Perdu as a perfectly natural environment that flows from point to point, whilst also offering numerous individual locations that are either highly photogenic or offer places to sit and appreciate the surroundings – or both. And if you want to catch a different perspective of the island and its surroundings, try hopping up to the hot air balloon that floats serenely above it.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

Finally, don’t forget that there is also Luane’s Magical World awaiting a visit in the sky overhead as well. You can reach it via the SLurl here, or via the experience-based teleport sign alongside the ground-level landing point for the region. I’m not going to delve into that here; suffice it to say it is another engaging setting, and I’ll leave a little taste of it with an image.

Captivatingly set and with a lot to see (and do), Le Monde Perdu remains a thoroughly engaging visit.

LLuane’s Magical World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

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Le Monde Perdu is rated as Adult.

The Scale of Love in Second Life

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Agape

The Scale of Love is the title of Milena Carbone’s latest solo exhibition, which is now open at The Carbone Gallery in Second Life. It is something of a refresh of her 2020 exhibition, The Nine Levels of Love, presented at Noir’Wen City, but which I failed to blog about at the time – so I hope this makes up for that oversight.

The central theme of the exhibition is a visual exploration of the various types of love as espoused by the ancient Greeks; but as with the majority of Milena’s work, the canvas she paints within this compact installation is – quite literally – cosmic in scale, and carries with it some religious undertones that indirectly link the piece back to one of Milena’s central themes: the nature of “god”.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Pothos

To address the art first – as this can be appreciated quite  independently of any more complex cogitations if one so wishes. This is set within a marble-walled structure stand nine large format images, each representing a state of love as defined by the ancient Greeks.

Each image interprets the selected ideal of love through a simple statement utilising posed avatars pictured against white backdrops and then processed to be presented in soft, neutral tones and / or monochrome (with a single notable exception). The result is a single frame encapsulation of their subject that has a depth of structure about it that is captivating.

Take, for example, Harmonia, with its two figures joined in form by dance both in the foreground and through their shadows (which in turn have amore nuanced meaning, to which I’ll return in a moment). It perfectly and simply encapsulates the idea of harmonious love – two souls united, able to move as one, sharing outlook and motion, a concord of expression.

The exception to the general approach of soft tones and monochrome – each of which offers a subtle statement on both the positives of love: gentleness, lightness of mood and touch, and the negatives: broodiness, possessiveness – is that of Eros, which Milena defines simple as “flesh love”, but which might be more correctly seen as primal lust, and the form of love the ancient Greeks saw as the most base and frightening, involving as it does a loss of control. To represent this, Milena utilises a sea of red washing around her two lovers, symbolising the heat of passion (and which may perhaps also be looked upon as having more subtle undertones).

The broader aspects of the installation revolve around the origins of love, both as a human concept and as a part of the cosmos as a whole.

The latter involves considerations on the universe as a whole, how everything we can see, everything we know, everything we are, is the result of particles coming together under the force of gravity, the one seemingly immutable and universal force of attraction. Thus, given that love – in all its forms, including its expression through our various religions – is an immutable part of human life, might it not be a continuance of that universal theme of mutual attraction?

Bound with this is a consideration of Aristophanes‘ speech from Plato’s symposium on the origins of human love. Intended as a humorous morality tale, the speech as referenced here is used to draw a further line through the idea of human love being part of the natural state of attraction found in the universe as a whole. At the same time, Milena perhaps offers a subtle reference to the speech through the positioning of the figures in Hormonia, I commented on earlier; note how they appear to be conjoined to form a double-headed, eight-limbed creature as imagined by Aristophanes whilst considering the nature of love.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Harmonia

One might niggle over Milena’s selection of types of love – where is Ludus or Pragma, for example? When considering their definitions, are not her Agape and Charis one in the same, both effectively referencing unconditional love? But the fact is, there are multiple ways to look upon the ancient Greek concepts of love; as such, it’s likely not advised to get too hung up on definitions or individual references.

What is worthy of appreciation is the art itself, even if you don’t follow the broader themes contained within it, because The Scale of Love is beautifully executed. The art is exquisite, while the setting offers a Greco-religious theme suggestive of both a temple and a church that are in keeping with both the focus of the exhibition and its broader themes: the marble and Doric columns echoing the former, the central hall and end rooms echoing the nave and crossing of a church. And in the latter regard, make sure you look down the “nave” from one end towards Agape at the other, and the marvellous way it has been framed (and consider the subtext within that framing).

As always with Milena’s Work, The Scale of Love engages the eye and mind on multiple levels, the art and setting alone making it visually appealing, the themes and ideas contained within them making it cognitively rich.

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Leloo’s land of the sea in Second Life

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021 – click any image for full size

‘Twas off back to Leloo’s World, a corner of Second Life offered for public enjoyment by LeLoo (LeLooUlf), for me during the week, as I wanted to witness the latest of her designs following a suggestion from Shawn Shakespeare for the poke!

The last time I visited, a scant two months ago, the quarter-region parcel offered an inland setting that put me in mind of Old Mexico, with high canyons and desert environment. The new setting – Tierra Mer Mar – retains a sense of high rocky walls, but rather than being the walls of canyons, they are now the faces of the high cliffs of a coastal area that cup within their arms a small bay as they face a sandy island rising out of the blue sea.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

To the south, the cliffs are set far enough back to allow for a shelf of land to sit between them and the waters below. This shelf is home to the parcel’s landing point. It also provides the first area of exploration, with a gacha area tucked into the trees to the west, and narrow walk along the foot of the cliffs that runs to the east, the land dropping away along one side, the path itself eventually coming to a blunt end.

A set of rope steps runs down from the end of the path to offer a way down to a shallow bay that otherwise sits almost completely hidden from the rest of the setting courtesy of a low headland. Thee steps down to this little bay might be missed, thanks to clearer wooden steps and platforms leading the way down to the water’s edge at the head of the larger bay, and a floating deck topped by a shaded piano. A further route down to the water’s edge can also be found closer to the gacha / landing area, where stone steps offer the way down to another floating deck.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Those wishing to make their way to the north side of the bay can do so by following the track from the landing point and through the gacha before doubling back along a hanging footbridge that runs above the rocks of the bay’s edge and alongside a series of tanks in which sharks watch visitor progress. After turning to run along the base of the western cliffs, the footbridge provides access to the the north-side beach and headland.

As well as being an eye-catching setting, Terra Del Mar is home to a host of wildlife. Seals play in the shallows or bask on the shore and on floating platforms – the latter practically thumbing their noses (so to speak) at the orca swimming nearby. Dolphins also play on or close to the surface of the water, whilst the dorsal fins of sharks can also be seen cutting through the the waves in places.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

On land, bears are also enjoying the sun, and a couple of sea turtles appear to have been carried up from the water and unfortunately left on a deck well above the water. Birds and waterfowl are also much in evidence; gulls fly overhead, and pelicans and cormorants have found perches along the water’s edge, doubtless keeping at least one eye on the waves lest a meal swim into the shallows, whilst sandpipers scuttle back and forth on the sand.

There are more creatures to be found in the water as well – fish, sharks, rays, the aforementioned orca and dolphins, more turtles – all of which make spending time in / under the water strongly recommended. Indeed, swimming and puttering about on the water is encouraged: there’s a dive point at the end of a pair of logs extending from one of the over-water platform and float rezzers await use, while boats can also be found that offer sit points. If you have a swim option on your AO or a dedicated swimming system, then this a a place to put it to good use!

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Staying on land offers a lot to discover as well – such as the secluded bay mentioned above, where shoreline snacks can be enjoyed or a shark balloon obtained and played with. There’s also the various decks and narrow stretches of beach where seats can be found for sitting one your own or with a friend or friends, with more shaded by the inland trees and swings are awaiting passengers here and there.

Once again rich in detail and demonstrating you don’t necessarily need the space of a full-sized region to create an engaging and noteworthy setting, Terra Del Mar at LeLoo’s World is deserving of a visit and offers multiple opportunities for photographers.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

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The Borderless Project: immersive explorations in Second Life

The Borderless Project: Delain Canucci

Currently open within the region of Akimitsu, held and curated by Akiko Kinoshi (Akiko Kiyori) and forming a part of her “Akipelago” group of regions, is The Borderless Project, a multi-element, immersive exhibition that brings together a number Second Life artists known for their work in 3D spaces, and / or in using light, sound and immersion to create engaging and interactive spaces.

In the simplest terms, the Borderless Project is inspired by the work of Japan’s TeamLab, originally founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, and which in 2021 marks its 20th anniversary with an immersive installation in Tokyo entitled Borderless, billed as “a world of artworks without boundaries, a museum without a map”, and which is the latest in their globe-spanning immersive experiences.

The Borderless Project: Betty Tureaud

As with TeamLab, the Borderless Project team – Betty Tureaud, Delain Canucci, Gem Preiz, Thoth Jantzen, Mitsuko Kytori, Blaise Timtam and Akiko herself – have created an installation that stands as a “gallery without a map” so to speak, through which visitors can wander and explore. Each artist has at least one space, each with at least one installation within it, the majority providing multiple elements within them.

The “gallery without a map” element comes from the fact that the various installation spaces  – located at different altitudes – are all linked by a teleport portals (touch or walk through to activate), which also link to the ground-level location I’m using here as a landing point. However, none of the portals are labelled in terms of artist or destination; therefore there is no implied hierarchy or order to the installations in terms of which should be seen “first”, etc., – visitors have utterly free choice.

The Borderless Project: Gem Preiz, tribute to TeamLab

What is key to spending time at the Borderless Project, is that you have your viewer correctly configured.

Of the recommendations given it is crucial you have Advanced Lighting Model enabled, (Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked – there is no need to also enable Shadows), together with media (the button with the movie camera on it, top right of the viewer window) turned on – and note that there are times where you will need to toggle this off / on again in order to pick-up the sounds within individual elements (keep an eye out for the in-world text requests to toggle). Less important is having draw distance set to the recommended 250m+; given the size of the individual installations and the distance at which you’re seeing things, this is frankly overkill.

The Borderless Project: the gardens by Akiko

The “primary” installations are by Betty, Delain, Gem, and Thoth, with Gem and Delain offering the largest by area / content, including two “secondary” displays apiece (Gem proving a hat-tip to TeamLab via two reproductions of elements from their Borderless installation, and Delain a separate “dino cave” that comes with places to sit). The garden spaces by Akiko, Blaise and Miyduko also offer places to sit and relax, and opportunities to play with EEP and more.

Each of the installations is richly diverse in terms of elements, colours and sounds (both local and via media – remember to toggle this off / on as directed), with some of the artists including interactive elements that can be walked into / over or pushed around. In respect of the local sounds, it’s important you avoid running / flying, as the scripted object can take a second or so to fire-up and call the sounds to be played in the viewer, so if you run you could easily miss hearing them – and if you fly, you won’t hear them at all!

The Borderless Project: in one of Delain’s smaller vignettes

I’m not going into great lengths about the individual installations here, as frankly, they should be experienced first-hand, and people should approach them unburdened by my own perceptions and ideas. I will say that when visited the large cubist environment Betty Tureaud has created, make sure you follow the big white arrival at the arrival point and grab + wear the teleport HUD – you might have problems finding your way inside the cubes if you don’t! Also, keep an eye out for the poses within Delain’s vignette settings – they offer multiple choices for photography.

I admit to having a couple of niggles during my visit – notably as a result of the local environment settings within Delain’s main setting, where I found it so dark I walked back through a teleport disk when trying to leave the landing point (and no, I didn’t have Shadows enabled alongside of ALM). More particularly, the low light makes it hard / impossible to read in-world guidance notes in places. As such, it might be better to either make them Full Bright (if they are not) or to add a couple of point lights to illuminate them to make them more obvious.

But niggles aside, there is no denying the depth of content to be found within the Borderless Project, and I enjoyed the several hours I spent exploring, trying and poking (including playing god and shoving the solar system around!).

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