Dathúil: Welcome to My Brain

Welcome to My Brain, Isa Messioptra – Dathúil Gallery

“Ever wanted to take a journey through the human brain? No, not really? Eew? Well too bad because I am going to make you!” Isa Messioptra says of her new exhibition at Dathúil Gallery, which opened on August 6th, 2017. She describes Welcome to My Brain as being unlike anything else she has worked on before – and it is certainly quite unlike any previous exhibition held at Dathúil.

For it, the usual gallery space has been converted into a series of rooms across two levels, all of which need to be explored. However, before doing so, visitors are asked to ensure their viewer is correctly set. Information on requirements are provided in the foyer space, just inside the gallery entrance – albeit for Firestorm / Phototools only. If you’re not using Firestorm, ensure you have Advanced Lighting Model enabled (via Preferences > Graphics), local lighting is enabled and you have windlight set to Phototools – No Light (if installed) or a similar very dark environment. Once you’ve set your environment, proceed through the entrance to the exhibition proper.

Welcome to My Brain, Isa Messioptra – Dathúil Gallery

“[This] but is intended to be an immersive experience,” Isa says of the installation. “As you walk through the exhibit you travel through different chambers of the subconscious each completely different from the next much like a Fun House. In this exhibit I use light projection, reflective surfaces, mesh builds, photography, video, physics, animated textures…”

The result is a fascinating jumble of images, lyrics, scenes and lighting which offers an extraordinary trip through the subconscious – or a dream state where the mind is trying to re-order events and experiences – complete with a political comment.

Welcome to My Brain, Isa Messioptra – Dathúil Gallery

Passage through the various rooms is via stair, door and teleport; the dark windlight setting can made finding your way difficult, the journey is worthwhile. Commenting on the various scenes is not that easy, representative as they are of the subconscious; the best way to appreciate them is via a visit and tour through the rooms, and seeing how they speak and or reflect your own subconscious.

That said, this is a skilfully executed exhibition richly demonstrates what can be done with Second Life lighting, reflections, materials, and more – and the hall presenting images apparently behind walls of water or liquid really should be seen to be appreciated. All told, it’s a beautifully immersive installation.

Welcome to My Brain, Isa Messioptra – Dathúil Gallery

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Dathúil: Her and Him – Hillany Scofield

Moon Edenbaum, Her and Him – Dathúil Gallery

Opening on Monday, June 5th at Dathúil Gallery, curated and operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd), is Her and Him, the second in a two-part exhibition, featuring images by Hillany Scofield. The first part of this series, entitled Me_You, by Moon Edenbaum, which you can read about here.

The focus of the two exhibitions is the relationship between a man and woman, whose story arc runs from initial meeting through getting to know one another and intimacy, to drifting apart, and following on from Moon Edenbaum’s take on the man’s perspective on the relationship, June presents Hillany’s take on the woman’s view of things. “On a day like any other she walks into that little café on the corner. She knows it`s never crowded at this time of day. when she grabs a coffee and her favourite lemon pie on her way home,” she explains. “But this day is unlike the other days and this man is unlike any other she had seen around here.  And his presence felt different to all the others….”

Moon Edenbaum, Her and Him – Dathúil Gallery

Through the 18 images on display, we’re invited to follow their relationship – which rapidly develops to one of intimacy – to the first hints of drifting apart. The lines of the story closely follows the overall narrative, but the perspective is a little different.

In both exhibitions, there is a focus on sexuality which suggests this is a relationship based more on physical attraction, of sating desires and pushing boundaries, than it is of emotional deep and sharing. Thus, perhaps it is one doomed from the start; after all, and to borrow somewhat from a classic film: “the passion that burns twice as brightly burns half as long”.

Moon Edenbaum, Her and Him – Dathúil Gallery

Within Her and Him, this physical element is perhaps given even greater prominence that with Me_You, particularly as evidenced by the images suspended from the ceiling of the gallery and on the upper floor. Again, the narrative is much the same as Me_You, but the greater prominence of images with a clear-cut sexual content perhaps underlines the fact that this is a relations with shallows foundations, and so doomed from that first moment of flirting in the café. Nevertheless, there is also a sense of regret presented here, in what I take to be the final image in the series, located above the entrance to the gallery.

In it, she appears to be slowly walking away from a café table – perhaps one outside the place where they first met – while he keeps his back resolutely towards her. There is an air of regret contained within it, her hand raised to brush fingers along chin as if in a physical response to thoughts of how it might have been different; his hunched pose suggestive of one resigned to the fact passions have run their course, his words would be unable to span the chasm now sitting between them.

Moon Edenbaum, Her and Him – Dathúil Gallery

There is perhaps a certain “sameness” between the two sets of images in these two exhibitions. In some respects, this is down to both portraying the same narrative arc; but it is also perhaps something more. By focusing on the same points in time, the same events, Hilly and Moon are perhaps gently underlining the inevitable run of this relationship, gently directing our thoughts on each series to the same closing words of the story.

Her and Him will remain open through until the end of June.

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Dathúil: Me_You – Moon Edenbaum

Moon Edenbaum, Me_You – Dathúil Gallery

Open now at Dathúil Gallery, curated and operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd), is Me_You, the first in a two-part exhibition by Moon Edenbaum and Hillany Scofield.

The focus of the two exhibitions is the relationship between a man and woman, whose story arc runs from initial meeting through getting to know one another and intimacy, to separation. In this part of the exhibition, Moon Edenbaum presents his / the man’s perspective on the relationship through 13 large format pieces.

Moon Edenbaum, Me_You – Dathúil Gallery

These broadly encapsulate the core elements of the story, some with obvious clarity, others are more subtle in their approach, suggesting, rather than informing. Take the two images against the ground floor wall to the left of the gallery entrance, for example. These clearly portray an early meeting between the couple towards the start of their affair. However, the image placed in front of them offers a beautifully subtle view of their eventual separation, the cropping that cuts through her face and the complete obscuring of his speaking to them being a couple unknown to one another.

To me, what is interesting in this entire tableau is the use of language within the narrative and how the is reflected in the images. Nowhere is it stated the couple actually fall in love, rather “they become lovers”. The distinction here is important, suggesting as it does their relationship is born of little more than a physical attraction. Hence, perhaps, why the more intimate moments between them are shown purely in sexual terms.

Moon Edenbaum, Me_You – Dathúil Gallery

On the one hand, this lifts the images to an almost tragic level: the unfolding story of a relationship doomed from the outset, the players within it unable to avoid their eventual fate of separation. But on the other, it brings forth questions of perception within the relationship.  This is, after all, the relationship seen through the male eyes; so could they indicate an unwillingness on his part to engage beyond the physical? But what of the image of her with another woman? Might this indicate that it is she  – regardless of who suggested / initiated the encounter –  who is less engaged as he, and this scene has served to open his eyes to this fact?

Depending on how one views things, this particular image lifts the lid on a plethora of questions which range well beyond the simple narrative given as the exposition of the exhibit. It feeds directly into how we might interpret some of the other images in the set. For example: those of her in a white jumper, apparently trying to once again attract his attention. Are they because she earnestly wants to recover whatever intimacy they once had in the hope of taking it deeper? Or is it an attempt to overcome the growing gulf between them for what he sees as her “betrayal”?

Moon Edenbaum, Me_You – Dathúil Gallery

It will be interesting to see how the lines of thinking play out when Hillany presents her take on the relationship. This will be in June, with Moon’s interpretation of the story remaining on show through until the end of May.

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Dathúil: Lulu Jameson’s magic in Second Life

Lulu Jameson – Dathúil Gallery

Sunday, April 9th saw the opening of an exhibition of Lulu Jameson’s photography at Dathúil Gallery, curated and operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd). Apparently untitled, it offers just under 30 pieces of Lulu’s work bound together with a quote from Roald Dahl:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Lulu Jameson – Dathúil Gallery

The quote very much sets the tone for the pieces on offer. While the majority might appear to be avatar studies (one or two of which touch upon the NSFW boundary), the majority of them actually offer much more than this – although a careful eye – and a willing ear – is required to fully appreciate all that each image might have to say.

These are pieces which each tell a story – that’s guaranteed to get my attention, given my love of narrative. However, each story is in two distinct parts. The first comes when looking at it on your own. Each piece demonstrates an extraordinary use of tone, colour, depth of field, perspective, angle, and so on, in various combinations to make each piece harness our attention. Then within each of them is the story itself, conveyed through the emotions we see and sense:  love or loneliness; wonder, joy or sharing; regret, loss, contemplation or reflection; desire or passion.

Lulu Jameson – Dathúil Gallery

It’s an evolving narrative; one which grows as we take in more of the detail, focusing down while at the same time considering the whole. These are pictures that feel alive, as if responding to our appreciation.

The second part of the narrative comes from the artist as he directs our thoughts in examining his work. It is achieved in on or two ways, depending on the picture. The first and most obvious, common to all the pieces, is the name. Carefully chosen, the title of each paces draws our response in a certain direction. The second – and only present with some of the pieces – is through an audio link in the form of a volume button, which takes us to a song or poem on YouTube. Some of these reinforce initial impressions gained directly or through considering the title of an image, other carry our response and thoughts in an entirely new direction, encouraging a reconsideration of the picture and the story it may want to tell.

Lulu Jameson – Dathúil Gallery

This is a truly fascinating and magical exhibition. Lucy and Max have never really missed a beat with the exhibitions at Dathúil.  However, Lulu has provided something very special with this one; the mix of visual and aural art is perfect. And if you have an eye for detail – keep a look out for Lulu’s cat in the gallery 🙂 .

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