Category Archives: Reviews

Holly Kai Park: supporting Feed A Smile in Second Life

Brique Zeiner (Brique Topaz in SL), the driving force bethind Feed A Smile and some of the Kenya children from poor families for whom the programme provides daily warm meals

Brique Zeiner (Brique Topaz in SL), the driving force behind Feed A Smile and some of the Kenya children from poor families for whom the programme provides daily warm meals

We’ve made another small but important change at Holly Kai Park. Following discussions with Brique Topaz of Feed A Smile, we’re very pleased to announce that from February 2017 onwards, Holly Kai Park is an official supporter of Feed A Smile.

Feed A Smile is a programme run by Live and Learn Kenya (LLK) to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project – and over a third of the money comes from donations made by Second Life users. It is part of a broader programme managed by LLK, which includes finding sponsors to finance the education of children in Kenya, helping to provide them with everything they need: uniforms, shoes, text books, school supplies, etc., and even building a school in Nakuru, Kenya.

In addition, the organisation also provides medical and dental care for children, including check-ups and vaccinations. 100% of the donations received by LLK are transferred directly to Kenya to care for children, provide education, medicine, food, shelter and foster care. Nothing is lost to salaries, fees or administrative costs at LLK.

The Feed A Smile kiosk just inside the entrance to Caitinara Bar

The Feed A Smile kiosk just inside the entrance to Caitinara Bar

To mark this modest collaboration, we have located a number of Feed A Smile donation kiosks around the key venues and locations in the park: the landing point, at the stage area on the Art Hill, at the Pavilion live events venue and, of course, in Caitinara Bar. We very much hope that when visiting the park, should you enjoy your time, you will consider making a donation to Feed A Smile in lieu of the more usual venue tips (we prefer not to take venue tips at the park).

Also, as we do not charge for the use of our venue spaces, we also ask that anyone booking and using them to please consider a donation to Feed A Smile / advertising the boards during their event.

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Call for entries: UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

The University of Western Australia looks likely to cease most of its presence in Second Life at the end of July 2017. However, before then the long-time patron of arts and artistic expression in Second Life is running one more major art exhibition, and recently put out a call for entries.

“Our final show is to be titled “Transformations” and is about beginnings, endings, transitions, change,” UWA’s art curator FreeWee Ling stated in the announcement. “The theme is deliberately vague in order to allow for the broadest possible interpretation. It is intended to highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that reflects on the past in SL and/or imagines the future of virtual art.”

Those wishing to apply to be a part of the exhibition are invited to subject one piece in any or all of the following categories: 2D art, 3D art and / or machinima (so entrants can subject up to 3 pieces, one in each category). The closing data for entries is 23:59 SLT, on Sunday April 30th, 2017.

It is important to note that this event is an exhibition and not a UWA challenge / competition. There is no judging panel and there will be no prizes offered. However, official exhibition catalogue will be published on-line as part of the UWA Studies in Virtual Arts (UWA SiVA) journal series.

General guidelines for entries are:

  • As noted above, artists may submit up to one entry each in 3D, 2D, and/or machinima (up to 3 entries in total). Collaborations are encouraged, so if you participate as a named collaborator on any entry, you may also submit a separate entry as an individual.
  • Land Impact limit for 3D work is 300. Sound and light emitting objects should be carefully crafted in consideration of other nearby entries. Objects that might impact other nearby entries may have to be placed on a platform to isolate it. In such cases a poster and TP device will be placed in the gallery. Any entry with excessive script lag may be refused or returned for revision.
  • 2D entries should reflect the theme and must be images substantially created in SL. Post-processing (e.g., Photoshop effects) should be kept to a minimum.
  • Machinima entries can be of any length or subject matter as long a they are substantially produced using SL as the primary medium and conform to other criteria listed here. A poster and/or screen shot will be placed in the gallery and in the exhibition catalogue along with a link to the machinima.

For the full entry guidelines, including how to submit your entry, please refer to the call for entries blog post. All enquiries, concerns, etc., about entering the exhibition should be addressed directly to FreeWee Ling, who has final say on any issue.

Good luck to all who enter!

Additional links

A Shot of Tequila and a Love Story in Second Life

Shot of Tequlia

Shot of Tequila – click any image for full size

I received two invitations almost simultaneously recently. The first came from Krys Vita and the second from my region finder extraordinaire, Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), and both were pointing to Arol Lightfoot’s recently opened Shot of Tequila.

Those who have been around Second Life for a while may remember Arol’s Just Another Tequila Sunrise (which you can read about here). Shot of Tequila occupies the same region, Isle of Love, although Arol now shares the region, with Shot of Tequila occupying the northern half.

Shot of Tequila sits under an overcast sky (set by default by Firestorm, or use Annan Adored Dusty to get the effect Arol intends with the windlight), and presents a scene which carries some of the essence of Just Another Tequila Sunrise, although the environment is clearly very different.

Visitors arrive on a lush, largely open and flat space, where the grass grows long and trees scattered around the periphery. A large house sits to the north, backing on to a steep fall down to the water. To the west, the grass descends more gently down to a beach, overlooked by a stone terrace and wooden deck build to one side of the house.

Facing the front of the house and close to the shade of tall trees, sits a converted greenhouse, with an old caravan and pick-up truck close by. Eastwards, the land also dips slightly, this time to a small body of fresh water, before rising to more rugged scenery, topped by a flat plateau, home to a little summer-house.

It’s a simple, elegant setting marked by the presence of wildlife: bears wander the edge or the watering hole, possibly vying for fish with the cormorants that are cautiously watching them. Goats and deer graze on the uplands, observed by an eagle perched in a tree and looking quite regal. Closer to the house, stoats and raccoons play, while birds wheel overhead or sit on branches, their song filling the air.

Throughout all of the landscape are little touches which may take time to spot, and visitors have plenty of opportunities to sit and relax or cuddle, be it in the summer houses, in the back of the pick-up truck or at many of the hang chairs and beds or benches scattered across the land.

Sitting on the southern side of the curtain of cliffs which split the region east-to-west, is Love Story, designed by Lauren (Daisy Kwon) and lit by the springtime skies of the region’s default windlight setting. Also open to the public, it again presents a decidedly rural environment, but this one with a touch of the Mediterranean.

To the west, and overlooking another beach (which is not connected to the one at Shot of Tequila), sits a Tuscan villa, which also overlooks tidy ranks of vines as they descend a gentle slope towards  the stream which cuts diagonally through the landscape. This is feed at one end by a fall tumbling from more cliffs, while at the other it joins a long ribbon of water nestled under the dividing cliffs, also fed by a waterfall.

Bright with colour from plants and trees in full bloom, this is another place where animals both domesticated and wild, abound. Horses, sheep and pigs graze in a paddock, watched over by cats and an enthusiastic puppy – as well as a nearby young fox. Ducks waddle along one of the two tracks and swim on the water. And this is just the start.

Follow one of the tracks up into the copse of fir trees, and more wildlife awaits, including several endearing bear cubs, one of whom seems to be playing peek-a-boo while another goes all Baloo Bear as he enjoys a back scratch. Hares, foxes and raccoons can also be found here, as can be one of the romantic cuddle spots. Climb the hill to the west of the copse and another such spot can be found, watched over by a red squirrel, while a blanket is spread nearby on the banks of another pool of water.

Both Shot of Tequila and Love Story make for an engaging join visit, although you will need to teleport between them, as there is no obvious path connecting them. Both require a keen eye to spot everything that’s going on, indoors and out (keep an eye out for the raccoon playing hide-and-seek), and together they make for an enjoyable visit.

SLurl Details

Isle of Love is rated Moderate.

Molly Mirassou’s Studio M in Second Life

Hi, I’m Molly.  I’d like to invite you to my very first gallery exhibition. I am new to the world of SL photography and through a strange and unexpected series of events, I find myself with a warehouse gallery space for a month, and the need to fill it with (hopefully) beautiful things. I hope you can come for a visit!

So reads the invitation I received from Molly Mirassou concerning her first exhibition in Second Life. As I’m always keen to see work by artists who may not have (yet) had the exposure others have gained through their time in SL, I was only too happy to hop across and take a look.

As the invitation notes, Molly’s exhibition, simply entitled Studio M, can be found inside a large warehouse building rather than the more usual gallery space. Seven large format pieces are displayed against the walls, with the floorspace and a raised wooden area occupied by easel-mounted pieces.

The pieces on display is a broad mix, from avatar studies (self portraits, I believe), through architectural and art studies (notably Mistero Hifeng’s sculptures, which Molly has photographed to great effect) to landscapes. Most of the pieces appear to have minimal or no post-processing and simply utilise windlight settings. As such, they are refreshingly clean in style, crisply capturing their subjects.

She may be new to SL photography, but Molly clearly has an eye for subject and angle – something which can clearly be seen in the likes of Burning Cathedral (which I believe is a capture of the cathedral at Chouchou), the untitled Studio m alongside it, and, facing them, the powerfully evocative Enough, which can be seen at the top of this article.

Exhibiting your SL photography can be a daunting proposition – we all harbour doubts and uncertainties about our abilities. Molly, however, shows a definite ability to capture mood and emotion. As such, I’m certain that while this may be her first exhibition, it will not be her last; I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of her work, and witnessing how her technique develops and the directions in which it might take her. The current exhibition will remain open through until Thursday, March 16th.

SLurl Details