My Second Life Landscapes at Konect Art

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

I genuinely don’t like self-promotion, particularly when it comes to my Second Life photography ( which I view as blog illustrations rather than “art”). However a couple of months ago Gonzalo Osuna (Jon Rain) asked me to exhibit at his Konect Art Gallery – and was not going to take no for an answer!

So, running from Friday, October 16th through until the end of the month is an exhibition of some of the many images I’ve taken over the years as I’ve explored Second Life, entitled Second Life Landscapes.

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

I’ll admit that it is my biggest exhibition to date – and as such, I’m glad it has had something of a “soft” opening rather than a big splash, as I think I would have been too nervous to do anything more than  hide in a corner. When invited, and given past exhibits at the gallery, I was anticipating being one of two people displaying their work – so I was stunned, surprised and deeply flattered (as well as slightly panicked!) when I arrived to set-up this week and find that the entire gallery had been made available to me!

So, the result is some 35 of my images are offered across the two floors of the gallery in a relatively large format and which feature many of the places I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting since around 2014. I’ve even managed to include one or two that haven’t shown up in my Flickr stream!

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

Anyway, I’m not going to prattle on about things here – but I hope you’ll pop over to Konect Art between now and the end of October and have a look around. And while there, why not chill out to the sounds of Konecta Radio?

My thanks again to Gonzalo for the invitation to exhibit!

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Cica’s Halloween in Second Life

Halloween by Cica Ghost

Cica is back with her October 2020 build, and given the time of year, she’s presenting Halloween. However, rather than going all dark and gloomy with things that go bump in the night and nasty things hiding in the shadows, she offers something very different: a homage to the the genius of a film-maker known for his unique style of fantasy / horror storytelling that’s mixed with Cica’s trademark lightness and whimsy.

That focus  of the homage is given away by the quote Cica offer with the installation:

Every day is Halloween isn’t it? For some of us.

– Tim Burton

And indeed, set out across the region is a series of little vignettes, many of which feature characters that may have popped out of the consciousness of Mr. Burton. They are all going about their business in this landscape of graveyards, pumpkin patches and strange little houses that appear to have grown, rather than having been built.

Halloween by Cica Ghost

Round-eyed and slender, these are characters who carry on their skull-like faces grins that appear genuinely happy as they go about their business, be it stroking a cat, pulling a pumpkin-filled cart, riding a swing, playing a piano or some other endeavour. Like many of Burton’s characters, while their appearance may be drawn from the ideas of horror, they carry a natural attractiveness that encourages us to wander among them.

However, they are not the only attraction here. There are lots of little touches that add depth to the setting: flowers that will cause you to consider the term “spider plant” in a new way, crows that watch over everything with mischievous look in their eyes, and footprints that magically creep across the ground whilst eyes stare out of some windows, suggesting menace whilst none appears.  And do keep watch for the rooftops that occasionally hinge upwards – they have a little surprise of their own.

There’s also interactive elements throughout the region waiting to be found as well, one of which carries a little touch of the macabre as it brings a whole new meaning to the words “dancing on a grave”, while for those who are taken by the folk occupying the region, a little shop offers the chance to purchase them, together with several of the other characters to be found at various points. And if the pumpkins in the patch take your fancy, they can be purchased directly from there.

Halloween by Cica Ghost

Finished in a semi-monochrome environment, Halloween is another Cica delight. So, if you fancy something a little more whimsical for your Halloween, be sure to pop over – it’ll be there for the rest of the month!

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Seiko Blessing and Raging Graphix in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Seiko Blessing

Raging Bellls opened the August exhibition at her Raging Graphix Gallery on August 13th, with a selection of art by Seiko Blessing (softandred), that will run through until Sunday, September 20th, 2020.

Seiko is a physical world artist and photographer, starting in the latter at the age of 14 and graduating to the role of her high School public relations photographer whilst still a student. In adult life, she has self-published two books of photography and has seen her work exhibited in museums, galleries and coffee houses.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Seiko Blessing

For this exhibition she offers a selection of her Second Life landscape photographs, many of which are linked by heavy, evocative skies, laden with cloud through which sunlight filters. This evens may of the pieces presented what at first glance might appear to be a dour look, but which actually emphasises the settings present within each piece, delineating houses,  trees, animals, boats and so on with a clarity that is captivating.

Others within the selection make rich use of depth of field to offer richly evocative images, each offering a story that easily captures the eye – so much so that I found it a little sad they were relegated to the stairwell area of the exhibit space, and they might easily be overlooked.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Seiko Blessing

Considered in their composition, tone and finish, sometimes framed with in-world props for a little extra depth, Seiko’s exhibit at Raging Graphix serves as an excellent portfolio of, and introduction to (for those unfamiliar with her photography) her work.

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The Uprooted in Second Life

The Sim Quarterly: Le Déraciné

Open as of June 14th, 2020 at The Sim Quarterly is Le Déraciné (The Uprooted), an installation by JadeYu Fhang.

Described as being a study about “How to transform the pain of uprooting into a poetic vision”, it’s a typically layered and semi-interactive piece by JadeYu; one that invites interpretation more than it offers one for itself.  Also, and in keeping with YadeYu’s viewpoint, it is a piece that perhaps blurs the line between the physical and virtual dimensions, being present in one whilst created from the other, whilst also standing as a dream linking both.

The landing point sits above the main installation, a board presenting the required graphics settings needed to best appreciate the installation, while local sounds should also be enabled for the fullest experience. Once visitors are set, an Anywhere Door teleporter offer the way down to ground level and the installation proper.

The Sim Quarterly: Le Déraciné

Here the setting is made up of multiple parts: a central hill form which grows an enormous tree; a great vale of flowers that extends out into the water; and a village in the air, set as if floating upon wafer-thin clouds. The tree at first appears to be denuded, but slivers of green flow over the branches and wrap around the trunk, which is in part carved into a female form, while more green floats around the branches as orbs. A second figure lies in the shallows below, legs entangled into a network of roots. As well as the green on and around the tree, paths of light glimmer as they rise from the lowlands to pass over the tangle of roots that form the hill’s crown, offering a way up to the tree as then converge upon it, whilst a single path rises to the cloud village.

Throughout the setting, the motif of roots is clear: but what of the idea of being “uprooted”? Perhaps it is in relation to physical relocation: there is the village in the air and the one at the landing point – are these then symbolic of the pain of moving home? Or is the meaning more bound in matters of ecology or in the erosion of cultural identity due to the demands of an increasingly homogeneous modern world, perhaps invoked through the dancing figures?

The Sim Quarterly: Le Déraciné

As noted above, interpretation is down to the observer. What is apparent is JadeYu’s rooting in surrealism, edged with a sense of spirituality.

Open through a period of three months, Le Déraciné offers plenty of time for you to visit and consider it for yourself.

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Bellisseria’s Limoncello Art Gallery in Second Life

Limoncello Art Gallery

As I’ve noted a few times in these pages, Bellisseria, the Linden Home continent, provides space not only for people to live and form communities, but also to express themselves and the creativity present in-world and through people’s talents. One of the key ways this is done is though residents in the continent given their homes over for the display of art – their own, the pieces they’ve purchased and / or the works of others they invite to exhibit.

One of the Bellisseria galleries I’ve only recently become aware of  – and my thanks to curator Fenella Allen for IMing me – is that of Limoncello Art Gallery.

While perhaps new to Bellisseria (given the continent itself is just over a year old!), this is a gallery with a long history. Originally founded by LastDitch Writer, the gallery existed in a 120-metre long airship hovering over the Mainland region of Nanga, and was home to his personal collection of art, both 2D and 3D.

Limoncello Art Gallery

The space available at Bellisseria is obviously a lot smaller that a 120 metre airship, but Lord Junibalya, who now looks after the collection, has provided a skybox for the art that forms a 2-storey gallery with a fair amount of room for pieces to be displayed – and there is a lot to see!

There is a lean towards art from the physical world – paintings, drawings, portraits, abstracts – but Second Life avatar studies are also well represented, while the upper level floor space lends itself to 3D pieces by Toysoldier Thor and Mistero Hifeng. Other artists represented in the collection whose names are likely to be recognised include Gitu Aura, Dido Haas, Carelyna, JMB Balogh, In Inaka, Audie Whimsy, Wyald Wooley and Asmita Duranjaya, to name a handful.

Limoncello Art Gallery

Given thes pieces are from a private collection, none are directly offered for sale. However it might be possible to purchase a copy of some pieces by contacting the artist directly (but please keep in mind that not all of the artists represented in the gallery may still be active in-world).

An impressive collection offering a lot to appreciate, the compact size of the parcel notwithstanding, Limoncello Art Gallery is well worth the visit for any patron of the arts in Second Life. My thanks again to Fenella for contacting me about it.

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Art and quantum states in Second Life

Milena Carbone: Agape in Pace

Having opened at the Itakos Project, curated by Akim Alonzo, on Sunday, February 16th, Milena Carbone’s Agape in Pace is a fascinating exploration of art, love, hate, religion, politics  – all of which might be summed up as the human condition; together with reflections on quantum field theory – specifically the quantum vacuum state and the Casimir effect.

Spread over two floors of the gallery space, the exhibit presents a mix of images and text panels, which together present a layered, nuanced story.

Initially, the exhibition was inspired by the strangeness of the quantum vacuum: a vacuum that was the result of interactions of matter, antimatter and quantum fields that cancel each other out. The image of the Agape and Lilith twins represented the course of matter and antimatter that arises and rejoins almost simultaneously to disappear in the peace of emptiness.

As my work progressed, I drifted towards the two parallel stories: of Agape, oriented towards love and the search for peace; and of Lilith, oriented towards hatred of the other and the search for destruction. These are two postures towards the world. Not just the world of humans, but of all forms of life and the mystery of our existence. The two stories inevitably unite in death and forgiveness.

– Milena Carbone, describing Agape in Pace

Milena Carbone: Agape in Pace

The stories of Agape and Lilith are told on the lower floor of the exhibition, Agape to the left and Lilith to the right as you face the hall. Each can be followed individually, while each acts as a reflection of the other. Neither can actually exist without the other, yet should they ever meet, they will mutually annihilate one another violently and completely. But while they stay apart each might continue indefinitely, as symbolised by the mirror-like triptych at the end of the hall.

Further nuance is added through the examination quantum field theory. The popular idiom life doesn’t exist in a vacuum tells us that everything is in relation to it’s context; thus, neither Agape nor Lilith exist alone; they are intertwined – love and hate, light and dark – each giving life to the other; neither occupies a vacuum, and together, whilst never touching, they operate as an example of the Casimir Effect: their very existence as individuals means that between them, they generate a non-zero energy that effects the space (or others) around them.

Milena Carbone: Agape in Pace

On the upper level, the exhibition, Milena both continues her examination of the human condition whilst offering her own examination of Agape in Pace. In doing so, she offers insight into her creative process and her use of layering in her art as a part of her storytelling. Here as well, there are nuances and reflections on the nature of life and existence, religion, and an understanding of our place in the universe – indeed, the idea that life itself is a reflection of the physical forces at work throughout the cosmos.

Provocative in stimulating the grey matter, attractive in its art presentation, and ending on a pointed commentary on both the small-mindedness we are all too often witnessing in modern politics, and the reality of our tiny presence in a cosmos that small-mindedness presumes we own, Agape in Pace is a captivating exhibition.

Milena Carbone: Agape in Pace

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