Yúcale: an arts community in Second Life

Yúcale; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrYúcale – click any image for full size

Saturday, May 4th, 2019 saw the grand opening – in fact the official return – of a base of operations for the Yúcale project and community in Second Life, Originally called the Yúcale Café Gallery (the name by which it is still known on Facebook), the project has a long history, as founder Samiraa Adderstein informed my during the second of two visits at the weekend.

Yúcale started in December 2014, we ran from then until June 2018, when I had a half years break from SL due to RL stuff. I started with a 300 LI parcel back then, and we’ve grown a lot since then, and actually moved three times!  We also had some smaller events before the official re-opening, and a benefit for Feed A Smile.

– Samiraa Adderstein founder of the Yúcale Coffee Gallery

Yúcale; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrYúcale

Now called Yúcale Giramondi Virtlantis, the new location for Yúcale covers just under 1/3 of a Full region, and has been designed by Samiraa  – Samum to her friends – with the support of Pater Bac (Bacoo Balut) to be a place for mixed arts: exhibitions by photographers and painters (which will change bimonthly), together with readings by authors, music events. It is also a place where people can – as the About Land description notes, “meet every now and then to play games, listen to radio plays or watch movies together”.

We used to be the Yúcale Coffee Gallery, but I changed the name this time, because Kip Boahn of the Virtlantis language project sponsored us for almost a year, and it is a way for us to say “thank you”. Also, Giramondi was a small café in my home town that ran events like we do here. It has now sadly closed, but I wanted to remember it in our name.

 – Samiraa Adderstein explaining the name change

Yúcale; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrYúcale

The new design for the community has a pleasantly Mediterranean feel to it. With a southern aspect and shoulder to the west and east by high cliffs, there is an intimate village feel to the location. With moorings down at the water’s edge connected by path and steps to the village above, it’s easy to imagine coming across it whilst sailing along the coast of Italy or Spain, and deciding to come alongside and enjoy an exploratory stroll up to the village square.

For the official opening, Yúcale features art by Belice Benoir, Jaëlle Faerye, Xirana Oximoxi, Balbera Resident and Samiraa herself. Individual exhibitions are located in different buildings both in the village and the parcel as a whole – Jaëlle’s work is displayed within the out warehouse in the south-west corner of the region overlooking the southern moorings and outside of the village, while Belice’s art can be found up in the little chapel looking down on village from a perch on the eastern highlands.

Yúcale; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrYúcale – Balbera Resident

Yúcale is less a place than an idea. We do cooperative events quite often. On Sunday May 12th we have Sunday Lounge, a travelling event if you like. And As May 25th is International Towel Day, we’ll be holding an event to honour Douglas Adams with author readings, etc.

– Samiraa Adderstein

Scattered around and between the art locations are various venues for music – notably the village square and the circus tent down close to the waterfront, while some of the gallery spaces are large enough to accommodate music and dancing during openings. A restaurant / bar sits to one side of the village square, while a little book store (still being finalised at the time of our visits) pays homage to Yúcale’s café origins. In the unlikely event you have problems finding your way around, major venues within the location are linked via a teleport system as well.

Yúcale; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrYúcale

Details of events at Yúcale are published via the Yúcale Café Gallery public Facebook page, the in-world .::Yúcale::. (subscribers at the location), and via a Flickr group. A new in-world publication has also been started, again available from Yúcale.

SLurl Details

Advertisements

Waifs and Lala in Second Life

Lalalala Gallery: CybeleMoon: Waifs

I received an invitation from CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) to drop in to a boutique exhibition of her work at the Lalalala Gallery complex owned and curated by Lala Lightfoot. An invitation that allowed me to both visit CybeleMoon’s work – which is something I’m always only too happy to do, being a confirmed fan of her work – and pop in to see Lala’s current exhibition and see preparations in hand for a new exhibition.

Waifs, located in the North Gallery provides a gathering of Cybele’s art focusing on children, and carries with it a definite Parisian theme. It mixes physical world and virtual world images in another captivating display of art with a story, helped among by Edit Piaf via the easel-mounted media board.

Lalalala Gallery: CybeleMoon: Waifs

Those familiar with Cybele’s work will likely recognise a fair few of the images on offer. However, this doesn’t lessen the impact on seeing them here, particularly when framed by their groupings: Place de la Sorbonne, Boulevard Montmartre, Rue Poissonnière. These provide a uniquely Parisian feel to the set of images on each of the walls, and are centred on at least one of Cybele’s pieces in-world art, which perhaps binds images and place names together.

Take Rue Poissonnière (“Fishmonger’s Road”), for example, or Boulevard Montmartre. Both offer images of young children – the waifs of the exhibition’s title. The former brings to mind the route fish would take to the market of Les Halles from Boulogne and other ports, with Cybele painting The Siren’s Call offers and image of a little girl dreaming, perhaps of taking flight like the gulls overhead, or of diving into the waters and becoming a mermaid, free to escape the troubles of land life. With Gigi sitting among the images of Boulevard Montmartre, there is an echo of the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur (admittedly, there are no domes on the house to assist in the suggestion – but the echo is there). This, together with the image of the Eiffel Tower roots the surrounding images in thoughts of the artists who once painted the street life of the district, and he views it offers across Paris, maintaining the Parisian thread through the exhibition.

Lalalala Gallery: LaLa Lightfoot

The rest of the gallery complex comprises two exhibition spaces, one of which was being prepared for a further exhibition by Lala, and other of which features a collection of her paintings, and Lala’s studio space, a cosy social space.

A physical world artist, Lala offers a number of her painting through the exhibition space, all of which  – again at the time of my visit – were on a floral theme. Most (all?) appear to be pastel images, rich in colour and presented in an uncluttered style. The new exhibition appears to be focused on digital art, and I look forward to returning to Thistle in the future to visit it.

SLurl Details

Vallys and Moki at DiXmiX in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Moki Yuitza

Recently opened at DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, are two new exhibitions by Vallys Baxter and Moki Yuitza, which are contrasting in both style and content.

With La Rumeur de Paris (Rumour of Paris), Vallys presents around 15 images in series – although what the underlying theme might be is hard to judge. All avatar studies, most are presented as avatar studies on a white background, although some are conversely set against a dark backdrop, and one – in difference to the rest  – is a landscape image.

DiXmiX Gallery: Vallys Baxter

Are these simply memories of past events? Are they designed to imbue a feeling? are they representative of a memory or idea? Or are they images that simply exist in and of themselves, sans wider thematic narrative wither within themselves or as a collection? You, as the observer are left to decide this.

When viewing some of the more intimate images, I did find my thoughts drifting towards Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 erotic drama Last Tango In Paris. Why this should be, baffles me, if I’m honest. Perhaps it simply the fact I’m not operating at 100% at this point in time and my brain is tending to wander hither and thither. There is certainly little in the individual images to suggest a link between them and the film, so perhaps its just a subconscious linking of naked male and female bodies with the use of Paris in the exhibition’s title, spurred by the (intentional?) anonymity of the figures in those images that sent my thoughts in that direction.

DiXmiX Gallery: Vallys Baxter

None of which should be taken as any kind of critique of Vallys’ work; her artistry is clear from the outset, and she is a gifted purveyor of emotions through her avatar studies; so much so that one might say that it is the emotional reaction to these images that is more important than any wider context of theme or ideas.

Meanwhile, down in The Womb, the basement exhibition space of the gallery, Moki Yuitza presents The Net, which is perhaps best described as a living piece of art: a gridwork of lines and shapes, some of which are zooming to and fro, a single 3D sculpture at its heart.

DiXmiX Gallery: Moki Yuitza

Complicated, carrying (perhaps) echoes of The Matrix or maybe Tron, Moki’s piece really should be seen rather than described, so I’ll leave it to you to drop in and see it for yourself.

SLurl Details

Rofina Bronet at The Eye

The Eye: Rofina Bronet

Currently open at The Eye art gallery, curated by Mona (MonaByte), is a stunning exhibition of avatar photography by Rofina Bronet. And it is a quite extraordinary collection of images.

Featuring what might be termed “traditional” style studies focusing on the head and face, these are pieces presented in the most marvellous of digital colour and backdrops: celestial skies, iridescent clouds, futuristic grids, and – in places – soft-focused “natural” backgrounds.

The Eye: Rofina Bronet

In addition, rather than presenting individual portraits of avatars, in places Rofina offers multiple images of the same person. These, together with the selected backdrops and digital elements against which they are posed adds considerable depth in capturing the personality of each study.

Also found within the gallery are media TV screens offering slide displays of the images on offer (click to page through the images), thought with other that may not be offered in large format on the walls. Larger, wall-mounted media screens feature You Tube recordings of some of the individuals featured within the exhibition, and offering further depth to the still images Peeter presents.

The Eye: Rofina Bronet

All of this makes for a remarkable and deeply engaging exhibition of art and photography, which words alone really do not do justice a visit to The Eye to see them first-hand is strongly recommended.

SLurl Details

The Spirit Blooms Timidly in Second Life

Ribong Gallery: The Spirit Blooms Timidly

Currently open at Ribong Gallery, curated by San (Santoshima), is a new exhibition entitled The Spirit Blooms Timidly by Artistik Oluja.

An interestingly curious exhibit, combining 2D and 3D art, The Spirit Blooms Timidly requires time to absorb, and also includes media elements as well; so make sure you have media enabled within the viewer, and be sure to toggle the media panels (and some of the artwork itself) whilst visiting.

Ribong Gallery: The Spirit Blooms Timidly

This exhibition merges several personally inspiring concepts, beginning with a passage by George Santayana: “The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.

– Artistik Oluja, describing The Spirit Blooms Timidly

In short, life is transient, changing, imperfect; nothing lasts forever nor does it ever really remain the same; through imperfections, through growth, ageing, decay, everything is in a state of flux.  Thus the art within the exhibition is intended to reflect this.

Ribong Gallery: The Spirit Blooms Timidly

From the landing point, visitors are asked to jump down into the gallery space, wherein they will find the exhibition proper, a place of “light-hearted optical illusions, hypnotic mandalas, and vibrant dandelions”. Among the pieces on offer are Cylent pieces, which are described as:

A technique that Art developed in-world. It is a hand-made process that merges virtual photography with Lenticular Motion printing [hence the merging of Cy(ber) and lent(icular) to form “Cylent”], and she describes them as being “like those fun little animated cards I got in cereal boxes as a kid 🙂 .

Ribong Gallery: The Spirit Blooms Timidly

When all is said and done, this is a difficult exhibition to quantify, simply because it is layered in several ways, all of which can have a different appeal, from the visual through to the underpinning ideas of change and impermanence. As such, a viewing is suggested.

SLurl Details

Lalbu’s Desert at DiXmiX

DiXmiX Gallery: Lalbu

Now open at DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source is Desert, which I understand is the first exhibition by artist Lalbu. Unfortunately, as Dixmix maintains the habit of not providing bylines on the artists who display at the gallery (marking DiXmiX Gallery as one of the few that doesn’t), I have no idea who Lalbu is, nor can I tell you any more about them.

In fairness, the lack of further information might be because that is how the artist would prefer things – but without any outline commentary supplied by the gallery, it’s hard to know.

DiXmiX Gallery: Lalbu

That said, from an art appreciation standpoint, a lack of background information doesn’t prevent one from recognising this series of images for what it is: a remarkable set of studies offering a glimpse of life in the sub-Saharan / Sahel region of Africa. Each image is focused on a single figure, dressed in what might be regarded as “traditional” desert garb. Female and male, these are intense studies, an entire story written into each one of them.

Such is the emotional depth of each piece, coupled with pose, framing and tone, we don’t need the accoutrements of daily life to recognise these people and the lives they live in what is one of the hardest regions in the world to live on a daily basis. Every single picture speaks volumes in the most marvellous way. Looking at them, it is impossible not to be drawn into the tales that have to tell.

DiXmiX Gallery: Lalbu

Take Desert #12 as an example. A close-up profile of a man standing at what might be the entrance to his tent. There is an intensity in his eyes that speaks volumes: intelligence, determination – love; emotions reflected in the soft turn of his lips. But there is more to the image as well: notice the slight scar under his left eye that has a story of its own to tell. Each picture in this collection has a similar depth and layering of story to tell.

As a total aside, I’ll also confess to being drawn to Desert #12 for another reason: the question of who may have been the model / inspiration for the piece. Was this an avatar study post-processed to resemble a painting or is it – as I lean towards – and original piece of art; and if indeed the latter, might the actor Michael Dorn served as inspiration for the piece, because the profile resemble is uncanny.

DiXmiX Gallery: Lalbu

And this is why it really would be nice to know more about Lalbu – because the truth is, these images are so remarkable, the story behind them, which necessarily involves the artist, deserves to be told.

Nevertheless, this  is definitely not a exhibition to be missed.

SLurl Details