Third annual “RL Photo Festival” announced

Photographer Nils Urqhart is organising the 2021 “RL Photo Festival” – you can see his work at his Art Gallery Rill’Arts

The Third “RL Photo Festival” (formerly  the Annual International RL Photography Festival) will take place between Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 and Sunday, April 25th, 2021. organised by photographer Nils Urqhart, and  hosted at the Helvellyn Gallery).

The festival is intended to be a celebration of artistic photographic  expression for the physical world, and is open to anyone from across Second Life with an interest it, or passion for, photography. All submissions should meet the following guidelines:

  • Submissions must be original photographs recorded in the physical world (to images captured in Second Life or computer games).
  • Submissions may be in colour or black and white, and may be on any theme,  and in accordance with the following criteria:
    • All content must be family friendly. Submissions can depict the human form in all of its forms, but any content with nudity must be presented tastefully.
    • No sexually explicit imagery will be tolerated (and will be returned).
    • All content must be in keeping the the requirements of the Second Life  Terms of Service and Community Standards.
  • Images may be offered for sale (there is no fee or commission for any sales), and participants are free to promote their SL and RL presence as a part of their exhibition.
  • Submissions for participation should be made to Nils Urqhart in-world.
  • All submission must include:
    • Four sample photographs in the form of individual textures of at least 512×512 pixels resolution.
    • All textures must have the following permissions: Copy, No Modify / No Transfer.
    • The textures must have the photographer’s avatar name (NOT display name) in the Name field and image title in the Description field.
    • If desired, submissions can include a photographer’s biography note card.
    • Submissions can be made in the form of a single note card containing image textures and biography – please do not forward them as boxed items.
  • The deadline for submissions is 23:59:59 SLT on March 20, 2021.

Successful entrants will be contacted with details of their location within the exhibition space. Up to 20 LI may be used per display, and entrants are responsible for the layout of their images. The four images sent as a part of the  submission process must form a part of the exhibit.  It is requested by the organiser that scripted items are not used.

For further information, or should you have any questions concerning the festival, please contact Nils Urqhart.

Khaos in motion in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Khaos Part 1 is the title of a new 3D installation currently open at La Maison d’Aneli, operated and curated by Aneli Abeyant. It marks the latest collaboration by Cherry Manage and YadeYu Fhang, two artists noted for their distinctive style and for presenting art installations that tend to be layered and nuanced, and which require time to experience, rather than simply observe.

All three of the attributes mentioned above are very much in evidence with this latest work, particularly as there do not seem to be any liner notes supplied by either artist as to their intent with it, this requiring the grey matter to be cranked into action.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Reached via the teleport disk at the gallery’s main landing point, it is important that visitors take note of the basic requirements for visiting the installation. In short, these are:

  • Make sure your viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) is enabled (Preferences Graphics make sure the Advanced Lighting Model option is checked).
  • Enable Used Shared Environment (World menu Environment make sure Use Shared Environment is check).
  • As you walk into the installation space, make sure you accept the local Experience when asked to join (this happens as you walk towards the installation from the teleport).
La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

To these I would add a moderate Draw Distance of around 150-200 metres is ideal for viewing the installation, and that visitors should be prepared for some fairly visually violent interactions. Finally, if you’re in a position to freecam / flycam, you most definitely should do so, as this is a 3D installation with multiple perspectives and where the local verticals are not necessarily oriented to the plane on which you walk.

Situated in a sharply-defined sky – while below, a black, star-studded sky above across which square clouds pass, the installation might be described as an artificial, geometrical landscape made up of translucent blocks. Almost transparent around the teleport point, these become more opaque towards the far horizon, where they form a tumble of large cubes and blocks suspended in such a way as to suggest a wall frozen in the act of collapse.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Before this wall are humanoid figures, some of whom appear to be falling from the wall, tucked into tight balls, others appear frozen in a motion of action – some mid-fall, some apparently trying to run away, two caught mid-fight. Many appear to be coalescing out of smaller blocks – or perhaps breaking up into them, depending on your viewpoint. Lines of light spear they way through some, adding to the impression they are breaking up; elsewhere solid lines pass through others, slanted as if to present a visual  indicator of their motion.

The overall sense of the setting is one of disordered randomness – which is added to by the fact that within this basic setting, nothing is constant. Light shifts and glimmers, other figures both large and small appear and vanish, some performing actions, some caught in whirlwinds of blocks swirling around or a maelstrom of wind. As time passes, a forest of rectangular beams many appear, some seeming to rise and fall as light plays over and through them, or avalanches of white cubes will suddenly rain down the “slope”, or masses of while lines will roll and twist in place, like streamers of snow caught in a storm.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Nor is this all – as you explore the scene on foot, and having accepted the local experience, you will suddenly find yourself part of it, being shaken violently, or pulled roughly into Mouselook as your body hang bent doubled only to be slammed several time into an invisible floor before being released to fall – and then returned to the platform.

Disconcerting, chaotic, ever-changing within the main backdrop, what is to be made of all of this? For my part, I was drawn to the idea that Khaos Part 1 is perhaps a reflection on the idea of chaos theory; the concept that while dynamic systems may well have apparently random states of disorder and irregularities, they are in fact governed by underlying patterns and deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to their initial conditions. And in a mirrored reflection of this, perhaps there is also the idea that whilst life can appear to be well-ordered and subject to patterns and laws as defined by society, it is at its core the product of a chaos that is never far from the surface, simply because of the unpredictable nature of basic human emotional response and outlook.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

However, I’ll leave further interpretation to you; as noted, there are no liner notes provided with the installation, and I’d prefer not to to colour reactions with my own interpretations, and will leave things here, other than to speculate that given this is “part 1”, there may will be a follow-on installation at some point.

SLurl Details

John and Tempest at Raging Graphix

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang

Currently on show at Raging Bellls’ Raging Graphix Gallery is a joint exhibition by Second Life partners, John (Johannes Huntsman) and Tempest Rosca-Huntsman (Tempest Rosca) entitled Yin and Yang.

It’s a title that reflects both the art on display and the artists themselves on a number of levels. At its most literal, the title reflects the fact that whilst opposites on several levels (e.g. male and female, the fact that they originate on opposite sides of the Atlantic, etc.), Tempest and John naturally combine to form a whole. There’s also the fact that all healthy relationships contain within them the ability to grow and change, for both sides to contribute to the whole – and through their art and other endeavours in Second Life this is very true of John and Tempest.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Tempest Rosca

The title might also apply to their respective art: Tempest’s work is primarily Second Life focused, with a strong – if far from exclusive – lean towards avatar photography; John’s palette tends now to be a strong mix of art produced in the physical world that is then brought into SL. Thus, like yin and yang, there is a strong mix of what may appear to be different or even contrary forces (physical vs. virtual), which ultimately comes to form a whole.

This is certainly the case within this exhibition. With images presented exclusively in monochrome – again, something that might be a reflection of the black / white symbol of yin / yang – the pieces displayed here form a contrast that comes together towards the centre, allowing both halves of the exhibition to be seen as individual displays by individual artists, and also as a unified whole presented by a couple.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Tempest Rosca

For her part and along the outer walls of the gallery, Tempest presents a series of images that have been taken in-world. Whilst they can be considered portraits, in difference to my statement above concerning her work, they are not of avatars but of objects – cars,  a lifebuoy, a tram and a Hawker Hurricane.

Inanimate they might be, but thanks to their black-and-white nature, lines stand out clearly, giving each of her subjects a depth of life much as the lines and creases found on a face speak to the life within it and experienced by it.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Johannes Huntsman

Across the hall, John offers a collection of quite marvellous abstract and abstracted pieces, some of which appear drawn / painted and others produced with digital tools. All  are striking in their form, with a sense of the dynamic presented through line and shape, and that sharply contrast with the more familiar subjects found within Tempest’s images.

Also to be found within several of these pieces is an organic element:, form the flow of a liquid substance complete with spheroid droplet, through the creation of a human face within the sweep of line and the patchwork of light and dark, to suggestions of crops and a desert seen from above, the former being brushed by the wind, the latter left as ripples formed by the winds of the past. Thus, these pieces also give a sense of life within them, and in doing so, they create a natural flow before the two halves of the exhibition, unifying them.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Johannes Huntsman

Having opened on February 6th, I believe Yin and Yang has a further week or so to run, and recommend a visit.

SLurl Details

The digital mastery of Kraven Klees in Second Life

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

Currently open at the Janus I Gallery at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat is a truly magnificent exhibition of the art of Kraven Klees which is an truly must-see event.

Working in the digital medium, Kraven specialises in the creation of pieces encompassing a range of techniques –  art, photography, mixed media = whilst also embracing a spectrum of approaches and styles including fractals, abstraction and photo layering, to create pieces that explore the boundaries of what we might consider art to be, and what it means to us personally.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

As a result, his pieces are both highly esoteric and instantly captivating. There is both a richness of presentation and melding – conscious or otherwise, given the artist notes he deliberately embraces an aleatoric approach to his work such that the final appears of each is a mix of predetermination on his part and circumstance encountered in the creative process – that gives them immediate visual appeal while can be immediately experienced and enjoyed, whilst also calling the eye and mind to look again, and more deeply.

This approach to mixing concious decision with the passage of chance taken by the artist means that while many of these pieces many be linked by a core theme – portraiture, living study, the very richness of colour palette – each and every piece is genuinely unique content, form, colour, style, and expression. This adds enormously to multi-faceted appeal of the exhibition as a whole whilst giving each piece a sense of individual beauty and depth that sets it apart from its neighbours.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

But there is more here as well; even within those that may appear to be “straightforward” portraits, there are elements that can trigger our emotions and alter our perception. Neural Network, for example, initially appears to offer commentary on the nature of intelligence and our growing reliance on  technology. But a closer examination offers other potentials for interpretation – the potential for, and form of, artificial life; questions on the nature of life  – are we simply little more than the filaments of the brain and the neurons that fires across them? and more.

Alongside of it, Bamboo Man sits as an intriguing study on the human form: flesh, sinews, bone; but at the same time, the entire image in form and colour opens the door to discomfiting thoughts of evisceration and / or hints of Geiger-esque horrors. There is also a certain psychedelic aspect to many of the pieces that comes to us through both the stylised  use of expressive colours and fragmented, fractalised form that heightens our response to them. Like the effects of a drug, they seem to expand our consciousness, reflecting the artist’s desire to increase the dynamic between audience and art / artist.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

All of this makes The Art of Kraven Klees an exhibition a rich exploration of art, ideas, emotions and outlook. Whether you are drawn into the deeper layering of individual pieces or chose to admire them for their natural beauty and styling, this is a collection that will attract and beguile. As such, this is very much an exhibition that should not be missed, and it will remain available through until the end of the month.

SLurl Details

A HAUS for the arts in Second Life

HAUS Museum of Art, February 2021

An entry in the Destination Guide drew me to the HAUS Museum of Art, an impressive undertaking in celebration of physical and virtual arts led by Cyraphir. And when I say “impressive”, I mean just that.

Having opened in January 2021, this is an expanse facility. Utilising the Omega XL prefab by GullyRivers. with a 100 x 64 metre footprint, the museum presents around 6,400 sq metres of display area across two floors. That’s a lot of space in which to display art, and I’m happy to say that it is space that is well utilised.

HAUS Museum of Art – Itō Jakuchū

From the entrance lobby, the gallery is broadly divided into six areas, five covering individual facets of art: classical (covering the period 1500-1900), couture, modern art, music, and gaming art, with the sixth devoted to literature and the spoken word.

The largest section, located on the main floor, is that of classical art. It is devoted to “some of the most well-known artists in art history”. Displays within it include pieces by Hieronymus Bosch, da Vinci, Michelangelo (including two superb reproductions of both David and Pietà rendered by Cyraphir), Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Itō Jakuchū, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Katsushika Hokusai, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Sir Frederic William Burton, Théodore Chassériau, Gustave Doré, John William Waterhouse, Van Gogh, Utagawa Hiroshige, Gustav Klimit, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

HAUS Museum of Art – Michelangelo

There is no discernible  ordering as to how individual artists have been placed within the section, which means that Dali rubs shoulders with da Vinci and Picasso, whilst Klimt faces Bosch. Such juxtapositions might jar with the ordered mind used to dealing with so broad a spectrum of art being presented chronologically, but it actually makes for interesting contrasts / comparisons. Take for example the three approaches towards the representation of objects and the human form seen with da Vinci (realism), Picasso (cubism) and Dali (surrealism).

Other artists such as Van Gogh and Michelangelo have there own display space in which their work can be duly appreciated, whilst others might be more closely associated in terms of time frame (Bouguereau and Burton, Itō Jakuchū and Katsushika Hokusai, for example – with the latter two located with Utagawa Hiroshige, noting their mutual country of birth). In all it is a rich and varied selection, and one in which I was pleased to see the likes of Itō Jakuchū, and some of what might be the lesser-known, but still captivating, pieces by the likes of Van Gogh.

HAUS Museum of Art – Vincent van Gogh

However, I must admit to a tinge of disappointment: outside of a single piece by by Sophie Anderson, female painters are conspicuously absent. Where are the likes of les trois grandes dames of the French impressionist  movement: Marie BracquemondBerthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, or the works of Élisabeth Le Brun, Angelika Kauffmann, Clara Peeters and Marie-Denise Villers, to name but a handful? I hope they will yet be seen in a future exhibit.

On the opposite side of the ground floor area is a hall that, at the time of my visit, featured avatar studies by Kouralee, together with three spaces devoted to a celebration of both physical and digital couture, one of which – the Sketchbook – was still under construction. Between these is a further exhibition of avatar-centric art by Jasmin Kyong.

HAUS Museum of Art -Jasmin Kyong

The upper floor of the galley is home to a mix of displays encompassing anime art, video games, music and literature.

The first of these comes in images taken from Nagabe’s Totsukuni no Shoujo, published in the web-based Online Magazine Comic Blade. Alongside of and opposite this exhibit are celebrations of art, music and literature, the first being the museum’s reading room.  Located next to the Nagabe display, it plays host to live reading events, while across the hall is a section devoted to the late Leonard Cohen.

HAUS Museum of Art – James Jean

The latter reminds us of the breadth and depth of Cohen’s of talent and insight into the human condition as a singer-songwriter, poet, novelist and occasional drawer of cartoons. With a brief biography (with a link to his wikipedia page), a discography and quotes from his songs and books, it’s an effective celebration of Cohen’s life.

Reached via a lounge devoted to live music events, the remainder of the upper level of the gallery hosts a display to Taiwanese-American contemporary visual artist James Jean, whose paintings and drawings have drawn world-wide acclaim. Across a further hallway from it is a homage to video game art that features a look at Valve’s puzzle-platform game, Portal, which contains an interactive element and is somewhat eclectic in its appearance here.

HAUS Museum of art – virtual couture

Overall, HAUS offers and engaging selection of exhibitions, some (or all?) of which I believe I’m correct in saying will change on a quarterly basis. As a gallery, it works well; as a museum, I’d perhaps perhaps like to see more in the way of interactive links to things like wikipedia pages to allow visitors to find out more about a subject and / or artist (and in the case of Sl artists, perhaps the opportunity to obtain their biography). Details on upcoming events can be found in the Info hall behind the entrance lobby, as can an application to be considered as an exhibiting artist.

All-in-all and impressive and engaging project well worth visiting.

SLurl Details



Moki Yuitza’s CELLS in Second Life

The Sim Quarterly: Moki Yuitza – CELLS

CELLS is a new region-wide animated installation created by Moki Yuitza that is now open at Electric Monday’s The Sim Quarterly. As is common with exhibits in this Homestead Region – and as indicated by the region’s name – the installation will remain open for a period of three months, allowing people plenty of time to visit and re-visit.

Moki’s work embraces many subjects – the art of creativity, the relationships between sound and colour, perception, the inner workings of the mind, the interpretation of dreams, explorations of abstraction, geometry  and more. Several of these aspects are combined within CELLS to present a unique environment that is both frustrating and fascinating at the same time.

Before visiting the installation, you should make sure your viewer is correctly set-up:

  • Enable Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) – Preferences → Graphics → ensure Advanced Lighting Model is checked. Note there is no need to have Shadows enabled as well.
  • Set your Draw Distance to greater than the width of a region – I would suggest 300m.
  • Ensure your viewer is set to Use Shared Environment – menus → World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked.
  • Consider using the region’s audio stream  as it adds a certain aural depth to the installation.
The Sim Quarterly: Moki Yuitza – CELLS

Teleporting will initially deliver you to a sky platform over the main installation where a note card on the installation will be offered. Be aware that the avatar mover at the landing point can be a little aggressive – it planted me in a wall with sufficient force to leave me stuck and in need of a teleport offer from Caitlyn to get free.

Once safely on the platform, touch the blue glowing sphere in the opposite corner to the landing point to be transferred to ground level and the installation itself, which Moki describes as an attempt to look inside the brain of an artificial intelligence to determine how it works, and what we might see as a result.

It’s a highly abstract idea – we all probably have our own views on the matter – and Moki’s presentation is thus justifiably abstract and entirely unique. Blending light, colour, motion and – if you opt to have the audio stream active – sound, the installation is perhaps best described as a kind of lattice of cube-like (or the most part) spaces that climbs upwards through several levels.

The Sim Quarterly: Moki Yuitza – CELLS

Within the cubic spaces of this lattice are groupings of spheres – some coloured and solid, some themselves a simple lattice, some large, some small. Some sit within defined cubes, others float freely. Every so often, and frequently in close succession, these groupings on sphere will rotate around a central axis (with those inside a defined cube turning with the frame of the cub itself) to create new alignments with their neighbours.

Given the context of the installation, this motion perhaps suggests the passage of thought and / or the firing of individual synapses and the AI brain processes information. And visitors can become part of this: at the centre is a double helix-like strand of ramps that climb up through the installation. I doubt their form is accidental, but I’ll leave it to visitors to determine how they interpret them. Along the way they pass through the levels of the installation, allowing visitors to step off the ramps and wander through the spheres as they rotate.

The Sim Quarterly: Moki Yuitza – CELLS

It is here that frustration creeps in as frankly, travelling on foot through CELLS diminishes both its beauty and its complexity. This an installation that should the soared through and witnessed from within and without. As such, I urge you to consider taking flight when visiting (and if you’re comfortable flying in Mouselook, so much the better), or if (like me) you are graced with a 3D mouse – make use of it.

Simply put, beings able to free translate movement from vertical to horizontal and to be able to rise and fall through this installation without constraint utterly alters one’s perspective and heightens appreciation of, and engagement with, CELLS.

The Sim Quarterly: Moki Yuitza – CELLS

A colourful, engaging, potentially mesmerizing and visually impressive, installation, CELLS is definitely worth taking time to visit and explore (again,particularly aerially). For those who like hunting gifts, look out for the conical white prims that are scattered through the installation and rotate   around their own axes. Touch the right one and accept the folder it offers, and you might just gain a reward for your efforts.

SLurl Details

  • CELLS (The Sim Quarterly, rated Moderate)