The art of Hermes Kondor in Second Life

Hermes Kondor: Reflections

In July I wrote about an exhibition of physical world photographs by Hermes Kondor, available at his own Kondor Photo Gallery (see: The beauty of steam machines in Second Life). However, that gallery is only a part of a complex that Hermes has put together, so I decided to hop back for a further look. The complex comprises several individual areas linked by a teleport disc system. These facilities comprise: a boulevard of rental studios for artists, an attractively Deco night club, and three galleries – including the photo gallery noted above – and a studio/gallery used to display Hermes’ SL avatar studies.

Hermes’ primary gallery is the Kondor Art Centre, which at the time of my visit was home to an exhibition entitled Reflections.

I invite you to join on a journey deep inside a magical lake, where we will find strange and beautiful creatures, lightbeings and gates to an alternative reality, deep inside a garden of fantasy and wonder.

– Hermes Kondor, describing his exhibit Reflections

Hermes Kondor: Reflections

This is a collection of 24 digital images that are truly remarkable in their content and depth. At their heart, each image features a mix of light, water (that of the magical lake) and and the reflections of the exhibit’s title. The majority of the pictures feature macro views of plant elements presented in such a way as to suggest they indeed from some alien – as in unknown – environment; alien, and yet somehow familiar.

Beautifully composited and and framed, these are images that are entirely captivating in their use of colour and light to create a rich sensation of living creatures of the imagination.

Hermes Kondor: Flowers

Plants and macro photography are also the subject of the images displayed within the Kondor Art Garden. Here, sixteen close-up images of garden flowers, each again perfectly framed through the aforementioned macro lens, again offering a considered balance of light and depth of field that makes for another quite entrancing collection of photographs, each one deeply attractive.

For those who enjoy images produced in Second Life can visit the Kondor Photo Studio. This is both a gallery and a studio, presenting a series of avatar studio by Hermes. Those interested in engaging him for a photo session should contact Hermes directly.

Hermes Kondor: Flowers

As noted above, I first came across Hermes work in his exhibition of photographs taken at the Electricity Museum, Lisbon, Portugal. I was immediately taken by those images, which can still be enjoyed at the Kondor Photo Gallery,  and admit to be utterly taken by her work in touring the rest of the gallery facilities he operates.

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Announcing the Second Life Endowment for the Arts

via Linden Lab

In August 2019, and after an eight-year run (it’s first public exhibitions coming in 2011 after initially being announced in late 2010), the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) closed, the organising committee having decided to step away from managing it (see: Linden Endowment for the Arts to officially close, LEA: more on the closure, and a move to save it and Linden Endowment for the Arts: update).

Following the announcement, there were numerous discussions on how the work of the LEA might be continued. In particular, artists Tansee Resident and Riannah Avora launched an in-world group specifically with the aim of gathering ideas and viewpoints on how the work of the LEA – and Linden Lab’s involvement in the body – might be continued.

At the time, a lot of discussions were held and a considerable number of ideas put forward (I was happy to play a small background role in advising both Tansee and Riannah in a number of areas, including potential discussions with Linden Lab). Ultimately, both went on to found groups operating on similar principals to LEA, with Tansee co-founding the Hannigton Endowment for the Arts (HEA) along with Hannington Xeltentat, and Riannah co-founding United Artists of SL.

However, the idea of a Lab-supported facility to help promote arts in Second Life never entirely went away, and Tansee continued to pursue ideas, refining a proposal originally created from the ideas gathered after the LEA had closed down. Then, in June 2020, a conversation with Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg at the SL17B event opened a door of opportunity. This in turn lead to a series of meetings with senior staff at the Lab, including Patch Linden, Vice President of Product Operations, and Brett Linden, the Lab’s senior Marketing Manager. After several such meetings, which included reviews of, and updates to, the proposal, Linden Lab indicated a willingness to support a new body similar to that of the LEA, but operating on a more modest and flexible footing.

Announced today, and starting an January 2021, the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA) will operate across seven regions supplied by Linden Lab, and managed by Tansee and Hannington supported by a Board of Advisers (the full list of whom is yet to be announced), and a team of volunteers to help in the day-to-day operations, once the new regions are open.

The seven SLEA regions

The seven regions, which are currently being set-up, will comprise the following:

  • A  central hub (SLEA7). This will likely include:
    • A landing point.
    • Facilities for SLEA coordinators, advisers and volunteers.
    • An education centre.
    • A events centre to support arts activities and events across Second Life.
    • A teleport hub serving the SLEA grant regions and information on the artists currently exhibiting.
    • The SLEA Theatre for mounting art-related and special events.
    • An art Challenge corner.
  • Four Full regions (SLEA1-3 and SLEA6) for region-wide art installations ranging from 1 to 6 months duration.
  • A single region (SLEA4) providing four quarter-region installation spaces.
  • A sandbox region. This will include an artist hangout and club for events and parties along with a new underwater building area.
The planned SLEA 7 hub region

As  noted above, SLEA will formally début in January 2021. Between now and then, the plan is to release information over a period of time, starting in October. These activities will include:

  • Providing information on:
    • How those interested to volunteer to help run SLEA, and on specific volunteer roles that are available.
    • How artists will be able to apply for grants, and requirements / guidelines for exhibiting through SLEA.
  • Updates on region design status.
  • Detailed information on the SLEA website, social media channels, etc.
  • The opening of the first round of applications for artists.

The reason for not having the website / social media presence in place alongside of this announcement was explained by SLEA co-ordinator Tansee Resident as follows:

We intentionally do not have a Website or a FB page or any of the essential networking tools. The reason for this is we truly want to include the artists in building this community from the ground up. In order to build a solid foundation it is imperative that we establish a Volunteer base and find people who are willing to share their area of expertise.

Tansee Resident, SLEA Co-ordinator

Proposed time line for SLEA development

So, in the interim period, those interested in SLEA as artists and / or as potential volunteers are asked to join the SLEA in-world group, which will be the primary channel of communications for the next few weeks. Also, to help promote SLEA, there will be a special Designing Worlds show featuring Brett and Patch Linden, together with Tansee and Hannington, which will be show at 14:00 SLT on Monday, September 14th via the Designing Worlds website and channels.

You can also read the official SLEA announcement from the Lab.

I’ll also continue to provide updates through these pages.

The landscapes of Second Life

L’autre Oeil: Anouk LeFarve

Now open at L’autre Oeil (“The Other Eye) Gallery, owned and curated by Blaize Nightfire, is the gallery’s September 2020 exhibition entitled Landscapes. This is an ensemble exhibition featuring the work of Sandi Benelli, Charly Keating, Anouk Lefavre, Michael Lysios, Loegan Magic and Charlie Namiboo, who between them are some of Second life’s foremost landscape photographers / artists.

The gallery opened in June 2020, and was founded with a specific focus of promoting the work of artists to others in the Second Life arts community – although that doesn’t prevent admirers of the arts from visiting and appreciating the art on offer.

L’autre Oeil is a gallery for artists who love other artists. To be seen with the other eye, observers who appreciate a different perspective on the world around us.

– Blaize Nightfire, describing L’autre Oeil’s mission

 

For this exhibition –  my first visit to the gallery (and certainly not my last) – each artist is displaying three pieces of their work, some of which might easily be seen as story-telling triptych of images. Take Charlie Namiboo’s set, for example, the two outer images of plainslands neatly framing the black and white images of a river in what might be a tale of three parts, the two colour images supporting the centre image.

L’autre Oeil: Charlie Namiboo

Although the title of the exhibition is Landscapes, some of the artists have cast their net a little wider. Loegan Magic, for example, offers a richly evocative rooftop scene that is exquisitely composed, predominantly in black a white, but with a wall painting of John Lennon offered in colour, staring from the the lower part of the image in a haunting capture that carries echoes of Imagine in  Lennon’s eyes, and also a hint of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Dr. T.J Ekleburg from the Great Gatsby. Similarly, Michael Lysios presents an oriental street scene, whilst Sandi Beneli uses SL landscapes and coastal scenes as a means to frame broader narratives on life and living – from flying a kite to the promise of a car trip. All of these images present additional depth to what is a captivating exhibition.

L’autre Oeil: Blaize Nightfire

Tucked away in the exhibition are three images by Blaize himself, who demonstrates he is no slouch with the camera, offering three images of his own that are as evocative as any of the others in these exhibition.

An attractive ensemble exhibition, well worth dropping by to see.

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Pandemonium and Perspectives in Second Life

Attention Gallery – Jon Wyck

The September exhibition at Attention Gallery, owned, managed and curated by Isle Biedermann and Mirabelle Sweetwater (Biedermann), opened on Saturday, September 5th. It offers a double-header of an exhibition, displaying the art of Jon Wyck and Deckhard Neox  in what are two somewhat contrasting exhibitions in terms of their respective themes, which can perhaps best be described as “light” and “dark”.

With Perspectives of light and Life, Jon Wyck presents ten images that offer a mix of landscapes and avatar studies, each neatly reflective of its title. Each is intriguing in its representation of light, be it Moonlight over a shadowed tower, sunlight filters through drapes that adds warmth to a sculpture, the metronomic sweep of a lighthouse lamp caught in mid-rotation, the curtain of light created by the skyscrapers of a city backdrop, or use of colour throughout an image as a whole.

Attention Gallery – Jon Wyck

At the same time, and as the title of the selection indicates, each of the images in this selection offers a comment on life, from the desire for an island retreat to the thrill of living on the edge trying to control a powerful machine, going by way of reflections on art, mysticism and and beauty of nature around us.

With October and Halloween once again approaching, Deckhard Neox offers a trip into the darker side of life with his ten pieces, as he explains in his introductory notes:

PANDEMONIUM is my small gift to horror genre in film and literature, genre that I loved and feared since my early childhood. Emotions, either beautiful, uplifting, inspiring or in this case terrifying make us human and thus curious, enchanted and alive, forever searching for mysteries of life … and death.

– Deckhard Neox

Attention Gallery: Deckhard Neox

The result is a series of images that celebrate all that we tend to bring to mind when we consider in the silver screen’s (and television’s) delight in thrilling  / scaring us: werewolves, vampires, knife-wielding and masked maniacs, balloon-carrying clowns, the threat of shadows moving in the darkness and more.

These are – in a literal sense as much as thematically – dark images (so much so, I admit to finding myself wishing they were perhaps presented in a larger format just to bring more of their details to the fore). Each evokes a sense of atmosphere whilst also playing due homage to the film it is intended to evoke, sometimes clearly – as with The Well (The RingHalloween (Halloween), They All Float (It – film and mini series), etc. Others are more subtle – such as Ave Satani (The Omen – which also carries a hint of a certain “hell hound” from Holmesian mythology that has oft been played for horror).

Attention Gallery: Deckhard Gallery

Two small but engaging displays that will be available through until the end of the month, I believe.

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Getting Extreme at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus: Extreme by Poupée Anna-Nana (IMaestra) and Nathaniel Jehangir

Tuesday, September 1st saw the opening of the September 2020 exhibition at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas. Extreme is a joint exhibition by Poupée Anna-Nana (IMaestra) and Nathaniel Jehangir, who are apparently making their first joint foray into exhibiting their photography through the medium of an in-world gallery.

Both artists focus on avatar photography, although Nathaniel also produces landscape images as well. For Extreme, the pair between them present 14 images supported by sculptures by Igor Ballyhoo and the late Nitro Fireguard, bot of which  have been selected by Dido for the way they reflect the central theme of the exhibit.

Each of us has deep-rooted extreme feelings, often based in traumatic experience, that can be hard to control. We often aren’t even aware of these feelings. Sometimes these feelings make us move around in circles, influencing our relationships with others and our own self-awareness. It’s only through self-awareness that we are able to see and free ourselves from these feelings, that we can step out of the ‘circle’. We present these extreme feelings here in our images, each of us in our own way. We are two distinct artists, two different views and ways of interpreting the same themes.

– statement by the artists

Presented as a mix of monochrome colour images, the pictures are offered without further explanation other than their titles, the artists noting that they would prefer those witnessing the pieces to interpret them for themselves.

Nitroglobus: Extreme by Poupée Anna-Nana (IMaestra) and Nathaniel Jehangir

At first, it can perhaps be hard seeing the extremes of experience within some of these pieces. This is not to say they are without emotion or narrative; rather the reverse, in fact, both narrative and emotion are clearly visible in all of the pieces – but within some of them, it may initially appear  both narrative and emotion is more rooted in perennial questions related to our digital lives  – identity (What’s Left and Mask for example), and whether or not we can find love and companionship (Love Me, Be Mine), for example. Others, such as The Frame, The Whisper, the Kill may initially suggest stories of introversion  more than anything else; even those that touch the fringes of what society might regard as “extreme” (notably  Don’t Mess With Me) may not immediately speak of trauma.

But flip your viewpoint with a second look, and look upon these pieces not as the result of past trauma, but rather the propose of trauma about to be visited upon the subject or those they are about to encounter, and a new narrative is revealed. This is perhaps most evident in Don’t Miss With Me, with its threat of open violence directed towards the observer, and the hint of trauma that may come from it. Then, within Monsters, the scratches over breasts and the banding  about wrist suggest the observer is being cast into the role of the traumatiser, while The Kill similarly switches to reveal a man who is about to visit trauma on an unseen third party.

Thus, throughout this exhibition, we’re presented with a nuanced series of images, and kudos to the artists for not trying to overlay our reactions to their work by offering their own expositions.

Nitroglobus: Extreme by Poupée Anna-Nana (IMaestra) and Nathaniel Jehangir

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Landscapes and Dance in Second Life

Third Eye – Lynn

The Third Eye, curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108), opened its September 2020 exhibition on the 29th August, once again offering a double header of art featuring Lynn (Titaniclynn Ayres) and pieces by Jaz herself.

Lynn is a Second Life photographer whose work tends to centre on landscape photography, but also can encompass art and avatar studies. For Photos by Lynn she offers 18 pieces in both colour and black and white that are taken from her extensive portfolio of landscape images, and which incorporate some of Second Life’s popular public destinations.

Third Eye – Lynn

The colour images, encompassing places such as Boulder, Jambo, A Taste of Africa, Cherishville, Venesha – all of which are well known to seasoned Second Life travellers – offer unique views of their subject that are rendered in rich colours. In some, this post-processing suggests a painting-like finish, in others they provide a sense of warmth and lightness. All, however, do full service to their subjects.

Similarly, Lynn’s black and white pieces encompass SL’s more popular destinations of recent times and are all equally evocative – if not more so, given the way black-and-white images tend to draw out the secrets of their subjects. In this – and while I enjoyed Lynn’s colour works immensely, I found the black-and-white pieces like Waiting.., Tralala’s Diner and Elvion, to contain a particular vitality.

Third Eye – Jaz

For her exhibition, Jaz offers Navarasa a visual journey through emotions in Indian dance. The Navarasa is a dance form that represents the nine rasas, or emotions that an individual might display according to their situation. These are: Śṛṅgāraḥ (romance, love, attractiveness) Hāsyam (laughter, mirth, comedy), Raudram (anger, fury), Kāruṇyam (compassion, mercy), Bībhatsam (disgust, aversion), Bhayānakam (horror, terror), Veeram (heroism) and Adbhutam (wonder, amazement).

Each of these emotions is portrayed in a pair of images: the uppermost a scene captured from within Second Life, the lower a photograph over which has been set the dance step representative of the rasa itself. It’s an engaging, evocative display, dance figures and background photos (including in places the use of colour wash) capture the emotional mood, whilst the accompanying image from Second Life provides an expressive narrative for the emotion.

Third Eye – Jaz

Two intriguing and captivating displays of art.

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