Art of the Artists: machinima challenge with L$350,000 prize pool

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

At the start of July I was able to break the news that the University of Western Australia would be retaining a presence in Second Life for at least two more years. As a part of that report, I made mention of an upcoming UWA machinima challenge. It has now been officially announced.

Art of the Artists – subtitled SLartist@UWA Machinima Challenge is not a resumption of the UWA Machinima Grand Challenges, the last of which took place in 2015 with Pursue Impossible. Rather, this is a special challenge, sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore. On offer is a combined prize pool of L$350,000, including two special prizes.


The aim of the challenge is to produce a machinima film focused on any of the art exhibits located on the UWA regions in Second Life.

Entrants may choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art must be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing.

Films entered for consideration of any of the prizes can be no longer than 8 minutes duration; films with longer running times than 8 minutes may be submitted for showing, but will not be eligible for any of the prizes.

The Prizes

  • 1st Prize: L$75,000
  • 2nd Prize: L$50,000
  • 3rd Prize: L$40,000
  • 4th Prize: L$30,000
  • 5th Prize: L$20,000
  • 6th – 10th Prizes – L$7,000 each

In Addition, there are two special prizes:

  • L$50,000 UWA Art of the Artists Special Prize: this will be awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia
  • L$50,000 The Merlion Special Prize: this will be awarded by Singh Albatros on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the film which – in the view of the judge –  best represents the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore (see below for more).

The 10 main prize winners will be selected by a selected panel of judges. Details of the full panel will be available on the UWA website soon.  Each of the special prize winners will be judged independently to the judging panel, and as such, may be eligible for a prize in the general classification as well.

The full Merlion installation at Monash University

Where to Find the Art

Art which can be used in films submitted to the Challenge can be found in the following locations:

  • The UWA Main Gallery – the primary exhibition space for art at UWA, including entrants to the most recent challenge, Transformations, which is expected to remain up at least through the end of this year.
  • The UWA Main region – this is the home of the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Somerville outdoor cinema, the Moreton Bay Figs, and Sunken Garden. Some of the art from the UWA regions which will be closing will be relocated to platforms above this region. The relocation work is expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
  • The Merlion – celebrating Singapore’s iconic Merlion sculpture, the full-sized version is hosted by the Monash University in Second Life. The smaller version at te UWA offers information on Merlion Portal Project concerning cultural, literary and artistic significance of the Merlion. It also provides a landmark to the full size installation.

Note that selected art for a film may be filmed in its current location. however, films do not need to be restricted to these locations, as long as the art is the focus of the story being told. Entrants may contact artists about filming their works in other locations and / or collaborating with them on a film. Should you require a blue screen for part of your filming of the art, please contact FreeWee Ling or Jayjay Zifanwe.

How To Enter and Guidelines

  • The challenge is open to all machinima makers, unless involved in the judging process.
  • Films entered in consideration of any of the prizes should not exceed 8 minutes in length.
  • Films with running times longer than 8 minutes may be entered, but will not be eligible for any prizes.
  • Completed films should be uploaded, preferably YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the film sent to  Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty.
  • The closing date for submissions is December 31st 2017
  • Please acknowledge all art featured in your film, and please acknowledge and get authorisation for any music you use.
  • You own all rights to the films you create, but by entering the challenge you give permission for it to be shown on the UWA Blog, the Slartist Website and to be played on UWA lands.
  • The ten winners of the general prizes will be adjudicated by a panel of 5 judges. The special prize winners will be selected by Jayjay Zifanwe (UWA Special Prize) and Singh Albatros (The Writer’s Centre prize).
  • If you have questions, want to discuss anything, or add to the prize pool,  please contact Jayjay Zifanwe.

Creatures of Light in Second Life

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

Creatures of Light is an exhibition of images by Harbor (Harbor Galaxy) which opened at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, on July 8th.

“For those of you who are familiar with my work through Flickr or shows here in-world. Creatures of Light may be something of a departure from my usual style,” Harbor says in introducing her work. “My objective was to use an avatar devoid of ornamentation and to only utilize poses, light and colour to create these pieces and to give myself permission to play and to step outside my comfort zone.”

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

I cannot speak to Harbor’s work on Flickr – no link is provided, and Flickr’s search doesn’t appear to recognise her as “Habor Galaxy”, making a targeted search difficult. However, what I can say is that in the nineteen images presented at MetaLES, Harbor has produced some quite extraordinary art, which in places encompasses abstract expressionism and in others seemingly touches on fractal patterning, whilst in all of them is a study of the human (or in this case, avatar) form.

In this latter regard, and considering the lack of facial features, some of the images are quite exquisite in their portrayal of mood and emotion, easily matching more traditional portraiture. Take Contemplating the Standards Beauty, for example; there is a wonderfully layered narrative to the image – the heads of the subject may only be wire frame, but they carry with them the sense of expressions, while the body language of figure contemplating them – the artist? – speaks clearly of her or his contemplation of the images.  Further along, The Body wonderfully presents action, the swirls of colour, sweeps of lines all suggestive of motion and the power of sinew and muscle, tendon and ligament.

MetaLES: Creatures of Light

All told, an intriguing exhibition, currently on display alongside Ini’s (in Inaka) Melancholy and Romy Nayar’s Empty Minds.

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Not Only … But Also in Second Life

Solo Arte – Not Only … But Also

Opening on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 1:00pm SLT is a new exhibition at Solo Arte entitled Not Only … But Also. It features the art and images of Boudicca Amat and myself.

Receiving an invitation to display my images always comes as a mixture of thrill and nervousness. Thrill, because I don’t regard myself as any kind of Second Life photographic artist – my images are primarily concerned with illustrating the posts I write about the places I visit. Nervousness, simply because my work, as illustrative, tends to be a little “plain Jane” when compared with the true masters of the SL landscape.

Solo Arte – Not Only … But Also

I mention this not out of modesty, but because I’ve previously written about exhibitions at Solo Arte, and the idea of filling the space there with only my work actually filled me with a feeling akin to panic. Hence the suggestion to Solo Arte’s curators, Terrygold and Melania, that a second person is invited to share the available space. And to me, this second person could only be Boudicca Amat.

Boudicca’s work is, in a word, exquisite. Beautifully composed and executed, the artistry encompasses not only the image itself, but the vision and creativity poured into the entire process of producing such richly evocative moments in time, including, often, are care pouring over poses and sets. As such, I’m genuinely delighted to be sharing the Solo Arte space with her. Her avatar studies also – I hope – form a counterpoint focus for my landscape images.

Solo Arte – Not Only … But Also

As Solo Arte is a mixed indoor / outdoor venue, offering pleasant walks along a canal, a little bar and outdoor events area, Bou and I have split the space up between us in with the aim of making a visit more of a mix for people. On the landing point side of the art space, my own images can be found outside around the garden area, while further along the canal, Bou has a display inside one of the two exhibition halls. Across the canal bridge, the positions are reversed: I’ve used the second of the exhibition halls, and more of Bou’s would can be found in the courtyard behind the hall, which opens off of the events courtyard. We’ve add exhibition posters  to help point the way to the different locations.

When visiting, do note that Solo Arte is presenting two exhibitions: not Only … But Also, and Riflessi Sul Nero (which you can read about here). As such, you may be directed to Riflessi Sul Nero when teleporting. If this is the case, please use the teleport disc alongside the landing point to reach the main Solo Arte exhibition area to find us.

Solo Arte – Not Only … But Also

Not Only … But Also officially opens, as noted, at 1:00pm SLT on Wednesday, July 19th, featuring music by DJ Faby and DJ Melania.

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Art as ethereal beauty in Second Life

Commune Utopia: Cybele Moon

I often discuss the idea of narrative in images when review art in these pages. Not every picture has to tell a tale beyond itself, but for me, depth is added when it does; when the image before you becomes a glimpse caught in time of a far broader canvas, inviting the imagination into it and consider all that might lie beyond the window we see.

When it comes to the art of Cybele Moon (Hana Hoobinoo), we are given not so much a window into a narrative, but a doorway into entire realms. Her work is, in a word ethereal; there is a beauty and depth to it which is magnificently and hauntingly moving – and you can can witness this for yourself at the meadow art area in Commune Utopia, where she has been invited to exhibit her work. She presents 15 pieces (16 if you count her enchanting bio giver) and as always, all are truly marvellous pieces. To enjoy them to the fullest, be sure to set your time of day to midnight.

Commune Utopia: Cybele Moon

Cybele’s Second Life work is a reflection of her photography in the physical world, where she captures  landscapes – sometimes using an infra-red camera – and produces mythical scenes of extraordinary depth and life. Many of the pieces she displays in-world combine the physical and virtual worlds to create wonderfully layered pictures which – as noted – are richly narrative in nature.

Her muse for her work is a combination of history and myth – some of her work is inspired by Celtic and Icelandic mythology, for example, and other pieces are inspired by her own travels in north Africa and Central America. She describes her work as constantly evolving, and one of the attractions of the Commune Utopia exhibition is the breadth of her work on display – composites, colour and monochrome all share the space, offering the visitor a marvellous view into the various forms her worlds can take.

Commune Utopia: Cybele Moon

The will be an opening event for Cybele’s exhibition at Commune Utopia at 12:00 noon on Saturday, July 22nd in the art meadow. Also, no visit to Cybele’s work is every complete without also visiting her websites.  In Runes of the Gatekeeper’s Daughter, she presents tales and photographs inspired by her travels. Meanwhile, Virtually Yours presents her images from, and musings on, virtual worlds.

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