Cica’s Lullaby in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

Cica Ghost’s latest installation, Lullaby, opened on Tuesday, December 11th. It’s a curious piece, something of a celebration of the creatures that might be said to come out at night, together with touches of some of Cica’s previous installations.

For the byline to the installation, Cica has chosen the chorus from Lullaby for an Insomniac, by Kate Nash. Sung  acapella (albeit with an instrumental ending) the song fits the installation very well, offering something of a gentle subtext to the setting – although too deep an examination of song and installation should perhaps be avoided.

The idea was first, but I often listen Kate, so maybe it was influence. I listen her often when I work. I made the girl a few days ago; it was only house at first, but then she needed somebody to think of.

– Cica Ghost on Lullaby

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

The girl and house in question, can be found towards the middle of the strangely undulating region, perched on a curious table of rock and reached by a ladder impersonating part of the sine curve. She sits atop the house, staring into the distance, lost in thought, the landscape darkened by a greenish night. Her attitude suits the refrain of the chorus perfectly – a girl who is missing someone, and who finds herself unable to sleep and with little interest in how she looks or the state of her surroundings.

Her indifference to her surroundings is a shame, because across this weird landscape with its abrupt hills and valleys and unusual rock formations, the creatures of the night have all come out to play: flying bugs, spiders, curious worms with friendly, anthropomorphic “faces” courtesy of eyes sitting on slug-like stalks and very human tongues lolling happily, and heart-shaped flowers with large, unthreatening eyes. Even some of the hills have eyes, revealing themselves as the domed heads of creatures nestled far enough underground while still able to see what is happening around them.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

All of this night, in other circumstances, sound like the stuff of nightmares, particular given the giant snail watching over the landing point – but it is not; it is a night-time setting of playfulness. None of the creatures are in any way nefarious; most are going about their business without concern for whatever else might be happening, although one or two do appear to be a little curious about the stranger in their midst, sitting on her odd perch.

Also to be found in the region are echoes of some of Cica’s past works: a bear stands up on one of the hills, for example. While he may be without a shirt, he and the flittering night bugs bring forth memories of The Bees and the Bears. The three frogs sitting close to the landing point directly reflect Frogs; a spider’s web offers a faint echo of Arachnid, even the girl herself, sitting atop her house, is reminiscent of Moonlight.

And here lies the gentle  – if perhaps unintentional – subtext of the installation. Just as Lullaby for an Insomanic reflects on the things we have and the sentimental value they can have, so do these aspects of Cica’s Lullaby gives those familiar with Cica’s work pause to remember her past installations and the joy and other emotions they gave us when they were present in Second Life.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby – Cica takes flight

There aren’t too many places to sit within Lullaby (they are there, but you’ll have to find them!). Instead, and tucked away on the top of one of the odd stalagmite-like rock formations Cica offers a free flying bug. Simply take it, Add or Wear it, and use the WASD / arrow keys, together with PAGE UP and PAGE  DOWN to fly yourself around.

Lullaby should remain open through until early December for visitors. There are several tip jars scattered around the installation, so do please consider a donation towards this and Cica’s future work in Second Life.

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  • Lullaby (Ai Atoll, rated Moderate)
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Ribong Gallery and The Art of Being

Ribong Gallery

Ribong Gallery is a new exhibition centre developed by San (Santoshima) that opened in December 2018. Located in a large black-walled environment, the gallery offers a mix of exhibition spaces and what might be public areas where people can relax. For the opening, two exhibitions are presented, the overall design of the gallery allowing them to blend together.

The first of is an ensemble exhibition, mixing 2D and 3D art by  Aphrodite Macbain, Bleu Oleander, Bryn Oh, Cica Ghost, Gitu Aura, Grady Echegaray, Harbor (Harbor Galaxy). ini (In Inaka), Kara Mellow, Meilo Minotaur, San (Santoshima),  Storm Nordwind, Theda Tammas, Xirana Oximoxi and Zen Arado. In’s not clear if the pieces on display are the result of invitations to the artists to display their work, or whether they have been drawn from San’s personal art collection.

Ribong Gallery

The 2D art can be found along the walls of the primary display space, just inside the main doors, and within some of the areas that appear set aside for resting and casual chat. The 3D elements can be found around the walls, mounted atop display plinths and  – notably with Cica’s pieces – could be mistaken as part of the setting itself. Thus, careful exploration and study is advised!

The second exhibit  is entitled Big Bang Theory, and features animated photo-sculpture installation utilizing original physical world black and white and light-painted photographs by San herself. This takes the form of a number of large 3D elements located in both the main hall and the upper mezzanine-like level of the gallery. As the name implies, these are gently animated sculptures, each of which features one of San’s photos, the full set of which can be found pinned to the wall at the entrance to the exhibition, but you may need to cam in to see them in detail.

Ribong Gallery: Big Bang Theory

Each of these pieces is multi-faceted and almost hypnotic in their flowing movement, but whether intended to infuse a sense of the beginning of time – as suggested by the title of the installation – or not, I leave up to you. For my part I found them intriguing and – as noted – soothing pieces. Again, to appreciate them fully, I’d recommend careful camming (if you can flycam around the individual pieces, so much the better).

Also to be found on the same platform – but just across the region boundary –  is the Art of Being gallery, featuring the work of Bleu (Bleu Oleander). At the time of my visit it featured Bleu’s imaginative take on art by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, David Hockney, Adolph Gottlieb, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Jasper Johns and Edward Hopper.

Art of Being Gallery

Also found on the same platform, and beyond Art of Being is the Play as Being theatre, home to the Play as Being group, which defines itself as:

A group of people exploring reality by using our own life as a laboratory. A thought experiment to see what is left if we put down what we have, to see who we are. Can we make conjectures, hypotheses about what Being could be, and play with those in our day-to-day life? What happens when we do?

You can find out more by visiting the Play as Being website, which includes a schedule of weekly events for those wishing to join in.

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Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise in Second Life

Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise

Jane and Eloise, the latest installation by Bryn Oh officially opens on Saturday, December 8th. As with much of Bryn’s art, this is an immersive installation that carries both a story and a level of interaction – although the latter is perhaps more of a focus than may have been the case with prior pieces.

I wanted to play with the idea of what art can be in the virtual space … In a museum or theatre we stand back and look at a painting or sculpture, we don’t touch them nor interact usually, while in the theatre the movie tells us a story and we sit and listen. We follow the camera where it leads us and should we wish to open a door or look under a bed.. well that is not part of the experience … With this work I wanted to have a short narrative within an artistic environment focusing on colour, line and form but also creating a gamification of the artwork itself.

– Bryn Oh on Jane and Eloise

Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise

The narrative is that of two sisters – Jane and Eloise – who go fishing on Lake Superior. Theirs is not a happy tale, as they are caught by the changing weather, their boat capsizing on them. Sadly, Jane drowns, witnessed by Eloise, whose life is almost lost as well. Afterwards, Eloise is left tortured by guilt that she survived and nightmares – and the major part of the installation encourages visitors to share in those nightmares and to experience her confusion and distress first-hand.

The first element of the installation is a beach setting – the shoreline of Lake Superior, with changing tents set out on the sand and bathing wagons up to their axles in the water. If you have not previously accepted the Bryn Oh experience (or have revoked it since your last visit), you should accept it when prompted – as it is essential to your participation in the installation.

Travel along the breach and you’ll come to a small vignette depicting the final part of the fishing trip: Eloise, alive, washed up on the shore, the waterlogged canoe drifting just off-shore and Jane, laying just before the waves. Beyond this vignette, out on the horizon, the main part of the installation awaits: the brooding bulk of the maze.

Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise

The maze is a symbolic recreation of the nightmares that get embedded within our mind after a traumatic experience. It is the mind of Eloise … With a traditional artwork you can then step back and say observe and contemplate [with] this work,  you enter the mind of Eloise and navigate a fairly scary maze trying to find the exit.

– Bryn Oh on Jane and Eloise

Providing you have accepted the experience, arrival at the entrance to the maze should equip you with a miner’s style lamp with head strap. A sign board on the wall near the entrance provides additional information on how best to enjoy it – in short, if you can’t use the recommended windlight (Firestorm should automatically switch to it), make sure you flick your viewer to at least midnight, enable projectors by turning on ALM and remove any face / body lights you are wearing. In difference to the instructions, you don’t need to have shadows enabled to obtain the projected light from the head lamp – but if you can run with them enabled, it adds considerably to the depth of the experience, allowing you to see it exactly as Bryn intended.

Within the maze, are corridors – patrolled by the demons of Eloise’s subconscious – and safe rooms. The idea is to make your way through the corridors, avoiding the monsters with the aid of the safe rooms. It’s a place best experienced in first-person Mouselook, and running may be required at times! In addition, some of the walls of the corridors include paintings, and elements of Bryn’s art can also be found in some corridors and in the safe rooms.

Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise – exploring the maze with Bryn

Along the way you might find what I call mouse holes. The mouse holes are thin doorways that only a single avatar can squeeze through into another hallway, if a monster is coming you can slip through and they can not follow, but if you are with friends then there might be some frantic pushing and screaming as the monster approaches 🙂 The maze can be scary and cause some anxiety, in tests I have watched people who find mouse holes and linger by them afraid to go further out into the maze.

– Bryn Oh on Jane and Eloise

Bryn invited me to try the maze with her, and I have to confess, it is addictive. If the monsters do get you, you’re teleported back to the start – and they are quite capable of sneaking up behind you! I also recommend having local sounds on; this both allows you to hear the monsters and adds further depth to the piece.

Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise

This is also a fascinating piece from a technical standpoint as well – and those from the Lab who read this review, I hop you’ll take note of what Bryn has to say vis-a-vis Pathfinding! Essentially, to prevent cheating, the maze rebuilds itself every hour, and as it includes creatures roaming it, it presented special challenges, as Bryn notes:

This work required that a whole new set of scripting was built because other forms would not work with it. For example, pathfinding is a great way to have a monster navigate a maze, except when a maze randomly rebuilds itself. In pathfinding the monster would need to know where each wall is, and then it could move through them.. when you make a new maze every hour the pathfinding creature can’t see those new walls. So a new type of movement had to be created where the creatures would “see” the maze as they move while also looking for people to chase.

– Bryn Oh on Jane and Eloise

All told the development of the maze took some 3 months, and the results are incredible – particularly if you happen to catch the maze rebuilding itself, as I did while exploring with Bryn.

Jane and Eloise has all the classic ingredients from Bryn: narrative, a beautiful use of light and shadow, colour and contrast, interaction and engagement, and despite the sadness of the narrative – offers a game element that when played with others or on your own can get to be addictive.

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Megan Prumier at DiXmiX

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Megan Prumier has been a presence at DiXmiX Gallery since it opened. She is responsible for the galleries’ overall look, some of her work has often been a subtle presence in the gallery. However for December 2018, she takes centre stage at the gallery with a major exhibition of her photography.

Moments of Intimacy is located in the Gallery’s lower floor Black exhibition hall. It is somewhat NSFW exhibition featuring nudity, but this should not overshadow the fact that it is captivating in tone and presentation.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Some 17 images are present, all self-studies. Each presents a combination of a moment, a mood, an emotion, and / or a feeling – or some combination of these elements. In using just a single character in each piece, Megan presents a series of great personal depth; we are not so much viewing images as sharing in a particular moment of intimacy – be it happy, sad, introverted or extroverted.  In this, the nudity / potential erotic nature of any given image runs somewhat secondary to the story it has to tell.

Taken on its own, this is a remarkable exhibit, one that draws the viewer into the pieces on offer with great subtleness. When taken with Kimeu Korg’s Osmosis De Un Sueño, displayed on the mezzanine level (and which you can read about here), Moments of Intimacy has perhaps the perfect partnership.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

While the two artists are very different in tone and style, and yet they complement one another perfectly in the way in which both resonate at the emotional / mood level. As such, and even if you’ve previously seen Kimeu’s exhibition, I strongly recommend taking the time to see both side-by-side whilst they are both on display.

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La Robbiani and Wintergeist at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), are two small exhibitions by Eviana (eviana Robbiani) – under the name La Robbinani – and Wintergeist herself.

For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses the theme of Shoshin (初心) – the idea of separating yourself from all preconceptions when studying a subject -, and of being open to all ideas in an attempt to avoid becoming trapped in a closed loop of thinking and missing everything a lesson my have to teach us.

It’s a concept that has its basis in Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts – although it can be applied to almost any subject. For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses it to encourage the observer to come to each of the six images she displays with fresh eyes and to avoid any preconceptions about their nature clouding our ability to see them as they are.

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

This actually makes reviewing this exhibition, beautifully presented within and Oriental structure (perhaps more Chinese than Japanese), a little hard: anything I say here is liable to result n readers visiting the exhibit to enter it with at least some preconception. But – that’s why it is important to keep the idea of Shoshin at the forefront of any thoughts about the exhibition on entering.

What I will say is that each of the six studies are beautifully presented, each with its own theme – but again more Chinese in nature that Japanese. A couple of them should perhaps be considered as NSFW as they contain a degree of nudity, but all six should be considered both individually and in the context of its title.

Club LA and Gallery: Wintergeist

Also located on the ground floor of the gallery is Wintergeist’s own exhibition.

Comprising twelve images, both easels and wall mounted,  this is an exhibition that demonstrates the full beauty of her work; they cover landscape images and avatar studies presented in both colour and black and white. Some have admittedly been previously exhibited, but this doesn’t lessen the fact that all of them speak to the art and craft of a gifted photographer and artist.

Taken with the exhibition by oYo (Oyona), which continues on the gallery’s mezzanine level (and which you can read about here), these make for a further engaging visit to Club LA and Gallery.

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A return to Rainbow Painters in Second Life

Rainbow Painters Art Gallery

In September 2018, I wrote about the Rainbow Painters Art Gallery. Curated by Timo Dumpling and Patience Dumpling (patience Roxley), the gallery offers free space to artists both new to exhibiting their work in Second Life and those who are established on the exhibition circuit.

The open nature of the gallery means that it presents a broad range of art, both from within Second Life and from the physical world, with the Second Life art encompassing both 2D and 3D work.

Rainbow Painters: Pure Lovee

At the time of my second visit, the gallery featured another broad spectrum of art, including 3D work of reycharles, the physical world art of Moya Patrick (Moya Janus – actually French artist Patrick Moya), the physical world photography of Black Rose, the marvellous mixed-media portraiture of Cybele Moon (hana Hoobinoo), the fabulous nature photography of Anibrm Jung, the surreal art of Tani Thor, and Monroe Snook, displaying some of her fractal art.

These artists alone make a trip to the gallery, however, they are also joined by a number of artists I’ve not previously encountered, and their work adds further depth to a visit.

Rainbow Painters: Gwen Enchanted and Boog (Merry Gynoid)

There is the fascinating physical world art of Pure Lovee, for example, or the line drawings of Viktor Savior (which includes a stunning portrait of David Bowie), to name but two of the talents on display. Of them all, I confess to being particularly drawn to the two pieces offered by Siobhán Muintir (Qorell); taken from within Second Life, they are in a world, beautiful.

Those wishing to add their art to that being displayed at Rainbow Painters should contact either Timo or  Patience in-world. As I noted in September, the gallery shares a quarter-region with an open-air games area (table games and 10-pin bowling) and dance / events space. Join the local Rainbow Painters group for details of local events.

Rainbow Painters: Reycharles

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