A Moonlight Dancer’s story in Second Life

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020

Currently open at the Third Eye Gallery curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108) is Moonlight Dancer, an interactive exhibition by Jaz and Harry Cover (Impossibleisnotfrench). Now, to be honest,this is another exhibit I’m getting to somewhat on the late side (again due to RL commitments), and so it may not be open too much longer – but I do recommend a visit before it closes, as it is something very unique.

The focus of the installation is the story of a young girl who is suffering from Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP).  This is a genetic disorder that causes a decreased ability for the body repair DNA damage such as that caused by ultraviolet light. Visible symptoms include a severe sunburn after only a few minutes in the sun, freckling in sun exposed areas, dry skin and changes in skin pigmentation. These can also occur alongside physical and nerve-related issues such as hearing loss, poor coordination, and loss of intellectual function, while complications can include high risk of skin cancer (with around 50% of young children suffering from the condition developing skin cancer by age ten without preventative measures), cataracts / corneal blindness, seizures, and the potential for sufferers to develop additional cancer, including brain cancer.

There is no cure for the condition, and treatment (outside of cancer treatments, should these occur) comprises protective clothing and sunglasses when outdoors,remaining out of the Sun for as much as possible and vitamin D supplements. The average life expectancy of those diagnosed is around 35 years if no neurological complications occur, or around 28-30 years should neurological complications occur.

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020

Moonlight Dancer presents the story of the girl as nine interactive chapters, each contained within its own display area. Chapters initially appear as an open magazine lying on a bare wood floor that can be read “as is”, but if touched will invite the reader to rez a scene that matches the chapter, creating a 3D scene. Included in this scene is a larger version of the magazine (for easier reading) and a headphones icon.  Chick the latter, and you’ll be able to hear the chapter as read by Fionn Bookmite – just click the offered media play button.

Set in India – where XP has one of its highest incidences – 1 in 370 – and life expectancy is at the shorter end of the range  for those suffering from it, the story follows a young man, Raj who encounters the young girl (Priya), as she dances by Moonlight. Intrigued, he strikes up a conversation with her, and thus starts to learn about her condition. Thus a relationship is struck between them, and we are able to witness its growth whilst simultaneously learning about XP ourselves, and the life those who are afflicted must live, their world a place where not only sunlight can be lethal, but in which just about any source of UV radiation can take its toll: television, computer and mobile ‘phone screens – even electric lights.

I’m not going to give the entire story away – people should visit Moonlight Dancer and follow it for themselves. What I will say is that the story and the installation is exceptionally well done – and quite moving as it builds towards its ending. I’ll also say that it is not merely an info dump about XP: it is also a story of strength, love, hope and light shining within a (quite literal) darkness.

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020
I come from India. I was shocked to learn the high degree of prevalence. We always think that because we have darker skin, it will handle the sun better, but that is not the case. Harry and I were looking at XP casually when I read about the cases in India and it is sad. The heroine in this story is fairly well off, but when it is in the poorer sections of the society it is even worse … And most people are not aware that something like this exists, so Harry and I wanted to make people aware of it.

Jaz, on developing Moonlight Dancer

I understand that Moonlight Dancer will remain open until the weekend of the 5th / 6th December 2020 – and I do recommend you stop by; you can also find more information on XP, including world-wideorganisations helping to treat those affected with it, via Google.

With thanks to Jaz for the invite, and Cale for the reminder to visit.

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Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery in Second Life

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

The Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery is a new gallery venture that has been established by Sevant Anatra to celebrate original Native American / Indigenous & other cultural artwork. Earlier in November, Sevant invited me to pay the studio a visit – and I must (again) offer an apology that it has taken me a good several days to follow-up on the invitation on account of physical world matters taking up a good deal of my time.

Sevant is herself is a contemporary fine artist of the Anishinaabe – a group of culturally-related Indigenous peoples that includes the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (including Mississaugas), Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples of the north American continent. The work she displays in Second Life is all her own, and is a reflection of the creativity that has been central to her entire life.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020
My preferred subject matter is people, and I use soft pastels on black or dark surfaces, usually recycled black artigain paper. I use my art to process knowledge, memories and emotions of either myself or those who pose for me.
In  recent years I have been focusing on reclaiming my Native American heritage and culture one art piece at a time. There is a unique story behind each piece that I often try to express through the use of composition and colour.

– Sevant Anatra discussing her art

Currently, the Gallery is displaying Sevant’s work, together with a slide show of physical world photographs (touch the slide projector to advance the images). Her drawings are richly evocative, fully capturing her subjects in marvellous detail. Native American culture is celebrated within them through the use of traditional clothing, whilst also encompassing simple emotions – love, uncertainty, simple joy – with one also offering a glimpse of a creation story. If I had one niggle at all with this selection, it is that it is potentially too small – this is art that deserves an more extensive showing.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

The gallery itself officially opens on December 5th, and Sevant is seeking artists specialising in pieces representative of indigenous and similar cultural art and heritage. The closing date for being a part of the grand opening on December 5th is Saturday, November 2020 – although applications will also be accepted for slots throughout 2021.

Accepted artists will be allowed 30 LI to display their work, and general requirements for applications can be obtained via note card from an info kiosk in the gallery, or artists can contact Sevant directly in-world. When visiting, do take time to explore the ground, which have by landscaped to reflect the landscape of the Pacific North-west – there are several places t sit and enjoy the setting, and the corner studio is available for exploration.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

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Around the World with Trinity Yazimoto and friends

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Trinity Yazimoto is an artist who at one time featured quite regularly in this blog after I came across her art. However, I’d managed to lose track of her in recent years, so it was with a good deal of pleasure that I received an invitation from Owl Dragonash to drop into her Hoot Suite Gallery to see a selection of Trinity’s work on display.

Having joined SL in 2009, Trinity started as a merchant-creator making women’s apparel “the old fashioned way” – using textures, system layers and flexiprims. Teaching herself GIMP and PhotoShop, circumstance saw her expand her skills to photography in  2013, as she started visiting regions and recording them via images.

As she candidly notes, the computer she was using at the time didn’t have the horsepower to allow her to use (what was then called) Deferred Rendering and shadows – but this didn’t deter her. Instead, after taking her pictures, Trinity turned to PhotoShop, adding the necessary shadows to her work as a part of her post-processing work – at least until she was able to provide herself with a computer with the power needed to allow her to use shadow rendering in-world.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Gaining confidence, Trinity started exhibiting her work, first at her own gallery and then via invitations to display her work and through participating in various charity events, although more recently, she hasn’t – sadly – had the time to remain as immersed in SL art as she once was.

In Around the World With My Lil’ Friends, Trinity offers us a series of images  – some new, some from her existing portfolio (although never previously published) –  captured around Second Life that feature, as the title of the exhibition suggests, Trinity’s little animal friends enjoying various activities.

I started this project a few years ago. I always loved the lil bears from “Boogers” and the idea is to take them with me around the world.  They are good company, you know?
P.S. There will probably some more pics to come in the future….

– Trinity on Around the World with My Lil’ Friends.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

This is a set of 11 pieces split between the two floors of the gallery that show Trinity’s bears and other little friends engaged in everything from a first romantic dinner for two through to racing go-karts and splashing around in a swimming pool or sitting in quiet contemplation, admiring nature – and more.

Each image offers a little story of its own, charmingly framed and easy to follow. Some of these actually spill out of the frame and into the 3D world of the gallery, with several little vignettes of these “lil’ people” set out in the various rooms and on the balcony, in either a continuance of a particular picture or in reflection of it.

This is a genuinely delightful selection of images, complete with engaging audience – and for those who want to see more of Trinity’s lil’ friends, make sure you wander the garden of the gallery.

Hoot suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

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Sisi and Michiel at Kultivate in Second Life

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

Currently open – for a while longer, at least, given I’m getting to this piece very much on the late side! – are two exhibitions by artists I both appreciate and admire: Michiel Bechir and Sisi Biedermann, who between them present two very different, but equally captivating selections of images for visitors to appreciate and, if they so wish, purchase.

Anyone who is familiar with my coverage of the arts in Second Life knows I am enormously inspired by Sisi’s work, which I categorise as some of the most unique and captivating in Second Life. A  digital mixed-media artist, Sisi’s subject matter tends to be wide-ranging, covering everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touching on the abstract and the near-surreal. This is enough to make her work attention-holding, displaying as they do a richness of imagination, style and colour.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

However, what, for me, makes Sisi’s work doubly captivating is her ability to layer her pieces such that whilst each is a static piece, it has a sense of being alive; there is something inherently tactile about it that makes you want to run your fingers over it and feel the life within.

All of this is very much on display with her selection of art on display at the Kultivate Signature Gallery. There, spread over the three floors of the gallery space are 24 pieces that richly demonstrate Sisi’s artistry, including a ground-level display of six pieces celebrating her visits to a number of famous cities around the world. These are particularly engaging as the both capture the very essence of landmarks from the places Sisi has visited – The Elizabeth Tower (originally the Clock Tower) of London’s Palace of Westminster, The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, and New York’s Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (appearing twice) should all be instantly recognisable.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

An aspect of these six in particular that I found particularly attractive is that five appear to suggest they have been physically etched rather than photo-layered, and the sixth – with Elizabeth Tower in the foreground – having an also embroidered look to it, thus making these pieces particularly organic in their styling.

The remaining two floors of the gallery hold further pieces of Sisi’s work waiting to engage and en trace. All are richly textured and coloured,  inviting the imagination to take flight.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir
A short walk (or quick teleport) away is the Kultivate Loft Gallery, where Michiel Bechir is currently exhibiting some 32 pieces of his Second Life landscape art, including several in a panoramic format that truly captures the breadth of the regions they represent, whilst four offer a dip into combining landscape with with avatar studies, featuring a subject in period dress suggestive of a Victorian woman of means on her travels.

What I find attractive in Michiel’s work is the manner in which he brings a location to life through camera placement and use of camera angle, always presenting us with a unique view of a place that brings out its natural beauty. His use of post processing also demonstrates a constrained touch that is just sufficient enough to add an evocative edge to his work without becoming top-heavy.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

For this exhibition, Michiel has taken the opportunity to present his pieces as collections: most of the the display areas between the building’s structural support offer three or four images from the same location – the aforementioned Victorian Lady images, for example, were all captured in Witchwood. Thus, these pieces become more than individual pieces (although they can be purchased as such), but also sets of images that can be purchased and displayed together at home, making them very collectable.

I admit to not being too sure as to how long Sisi and Michiel will remain on display at Kultivate – these were exhibitions that started in September, so I really would recommendation that if they tickle your artistic fancy, you hop over to Kultivate sooner rather than later.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

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Water Haven is rated Moderate.




Second Life Endowment for the Arts: first grants

via Linden Lab

On Friday, November 2020, the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA) announced the first group of artists who have been awarded grants to use the new SLEA art facilities in the first six months of 2021.

As I reported in September this year, the SLEA is the successor to the former Linden Endowment for the Arts, which ran from 20091 through until 2019, when the user committee responsible for running it decided to close it down. At the time of the closure announcement, moves were initiated to try to keep the LEA afloat, which transitioned into discussions with Linden Lab to develop a successor – the Second Life Endowments for the Arts.

Operating on a smaller scale than the original LEA, offering an initial group of five regions for art installations: four for region-wide installations and one offering quarter-region art spaces, all of which are supported by a central hub and a sandbox. Grants for the use of the spaces run for between one to six months in duration.

The seven SLEA regions.  Image courtesy of SLEA / LL

The first set of artists selected for the opening round of installations are as per the table below, and include artists who will be also be presenting on the core SLEA region (“Region 7”) – presumably using the SLEA theatre or the Art Challenge space.

Commenting on the selection, Tansee Trillium stated:

Rather than filling out a specific form to apply for a grant, SLEA requested the artist respond in his or her own words the concept of the submission.
Upon the initial review it was realized that a grading system was not necessary as each essay was clear, concise and very detailed and equally befitting of a grant. As the process continued, it was noted that a very interesting pattern was evolving. Out of 19 applications no-one requested a one month grant which made that region flexible for a longer period. The majority of requests were made for 1/4 regions, 8 to be exact.
It was at this point as Coordinator of SLEA, I made what I believe to be a very balanced, mindful decision to fill the first 6 months from January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 giving each of the applicants the chance to show us their original creations to be on display for others to enjoy, appreciate, be inspired, learn from and most of all represent The Arts.

– Tansee Trillium, announcing the first SLEA grants

The first group of SLEA artists, the dates when they’ll be exhibiting and the regions in which they’ll be exhibiting. courtesy: SLEA

In  addition to the awarding of the first grants, Tansee has announced that the SLEA regions will officially open to the public on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2020, with a special “ribbon cutting” event that will include fireworks and particle display, held simultaneously across five regions together with live music, DJ’s, and dancing.

There will also be a special SLEA Grand Opening on Sunday, January 24th, 2021, featuring a special 24-hour Celebration of the Arts. Any artists wishing to participate in this event should contact Tansee or Hannington Xeltentat.

Congrats to all of the participating artists.

Ladmilla and Eli’s Enigma in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

Currently open at Raging  Graphix Gallery, curated by Raging Bellls is Enigma, another fascinating selection of art and words by Ladmilla and Eli Medier.

Working as a couple, Eli and Ladmilla have gained a reputation for their joint pieces – an image (generally by Ladmilla, although Eli does produce his own as well) accompanied by words by Eli. More that just poems and pictures, these are illustrated pieces that encompass thoughts, desires, and reflections on life, love and more, that capture the eye and imagination.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

As I’ve noted when reviewing Ladmilla’s and Eli’s work, it is a perfect mix of styles: wonderfully layered images created by Ladmilla that have both a tactile richness and also a sense of great depth; and carefully constructed blank verse by Eli that compliment Ladmilla’s images as well as having to stand as poems in their own right.

An interesting contrast that I’ve noted with Ladmilla and Eli in their images is that Ladmilla often tends to lean towards the use of brighter, lighter colours in her work (although not exclusively so), while Eli tends towards cooler, heavier colours. This adds to the richness of the mix of images they can offer, and while Ladmilla does here present a couple of pieces that are of a deeper tone, they still retain a softer brightness within them, this contrast is visible within the pieces offered here, with Eli’s four image intentionally angled to the use of grey and colours that sit perfectly with his words.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

Enigma will be open through until at least the end of November.

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