G.B.T.H. Transients in Second Life

G.B.T.H. Project – Transients

Now open through until Friday, April 19th at the G.B.T.H. Project is Transients, an 3D exhibition by Mr. and Mrs. S (respectively Saka Infinity and LauraLar Resident).

Given both of the artists are rightly noted for their exceptional photographic work (see here and here respectively), Transients is tempting in its promise of a 3D installation. And it is one with an intriguing concept, a series of individual elements drawing inspiration from memories and dreams, colours and sounds, objects and settings.

G.B.T.H. Project – Transients

In all, nine individual settings are provided (excluding the start and end points).  Access is gained via the G.B.T.H landing point – take the green bicycle teleport up to the installation start point. Here, if you’ve not already done so, make sure your viewers settings are adjusted to meet the requirements of the installation: time of day set to midnight, Advanced Lighting Model enabled and local lights set to Sun/Moon+Projectors. Once you have, proceed to the individual elements of the installation by using the green bikes to teleport up to each in turn.

Each scene is presented in its own room, each room identical in design. Thus they are the foundation for dreams and memories established: as we move from one to the next, the environment remains the same, but the scenes they present change, each one unique, yet in a way, transient – passing thoughts and memories framed within the “familiar” – the structures representative, perhaps, of our grounding in self.

G.B.T.H. Project – Transients

These are scenes that deserve time to contemplate – and in some, the opportunity is presented through the provision of chairs or seats. Like dreams, they need interpretation, like memories, their meaning perhaps needs to be considered and given context; and like both their interpretation and / or meaning can be ephemeral, shifting in context the more we observe them and moods and emotions shift and change as our observation of the whole focuses down to the individual – or vice versa.

But are they echoing our own memories, or are we recalling something else? Something from an enacted dream sequence within a film or a scene from a story once read? Thus, our sense of understanding again shifts, our thoughts become more convoluted. Soundscapes designed by Mr. S add a further layer of imagery to each scene, increasing their depth and – perhaps – stirs a further sense of familiarity and strangeness.

G.B.T.H. Project – Transients

A fascinating installation, offering an engrossing combination of ideas and designs from two artists that marks their first public exhibition of this particular style.

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G.B.T.H. Contaminated in Second Life

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Mistero Hifeng (foreground)

Now open at the G.B.T.H. Project is a an ensemble art exhibition featuring no fewer than 37 artists from across Second Life. Entitled Contaminated, it is both a fun piece and something of a curio.

The curators of the project – Marina Münter, Megan Prumier and Nath Baxton describe it thus:

Each participant was given figurine[s] to act as a blank canvas to be textured and decorated in their own individual styles. With Contaminated onlookers find themselves situated in a built-up urban environment faced with an intervention of an abundance of of characters.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Nathali Luik

This description is offered at the landing point for the installation, which forms a part of the “urban intervention” (aka “street scene”) in which the figures are presented. Also offered at the landing point is a map to the installation, with a numbered key to where each artist’s piece(s) can be found.

A HUD is also available, which shows a total of 41 figures on its opening page (the additional numbers being the result of Luc Renoir presenting 2 figures in the installation and Mistero Hifeng a  total of four), and allows the visitor to page through individuals images of the figures in the alphabetical order of the artists’ names. To be honest, I found the HUD to be of passing value; it was easier to wander through the installation and just right-click / Edit figures, as this not only supplied the artist’s name but also the title for each figure – a basic piece of information missing from the HUD.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Luc (eslucas), Kato (Kato Salyut), Praline (PralineBarjowski Ghost), Mich Michabo

The figurines themselves will be immediately familiar to any who has seen the classic LEGO® figures in the physical world. They are a fitting means of presentation, given it is possible to (at least to a degree) customise such figures, just as these have been customised by the artists. They present – like life itself – a rich mix of characters, each unique whilst remaining recognisably “LEGOy”.

While the figures may initially appear to be static, this is not entirely the case. Several feature animated textures. In this, I particularly liked I Am A Soul – I have a Body by Hope Something (NovaApache), with its burning soul, and Boy Meets Girl by miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond), which are in turn evocative and charming. Others are interactive, as with tutsy Navarathna’s Russian Dolls with its video media surface and Megan Prumier’s cheekily naughty “>_<“.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: Daze Landar

Some of the pieces might be seen as reflections on the rich diversity of life found within Second Life itself. Ash (Ashratum) offers 7 Faces of Dr Alt, for example, appears to be a comment on the manner in which Alt accounts can be used to deceive; Megan Prumier and Toods (Toodles Telling) appear to give a nod towards adult themes and nudity that are a part of Second Life (although obviously also found in the physical world). Yet others appear is reflections on life, love, memories, and more as we each encounter them on a daily basis.

To be honest, I have no idea why the title Contaminated was selected for the piece; is it perhaps a reflection of the figures being used as canvases? Might it be some form of comment on how we “contaminate” Second Life with out own thoughts, feelings, outlook and so on? Does it necessarily have to be contextualised with the figures rather than simply being a randomly selected title? I’ll leave that up to you to decide; I was happy simply wandering and viewing the figures as I came upon them.

G.B.T.H. Project – Contaminated: miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond), Mavi (Mavi Beck), Hope Something (NovaApache)

Contaminated will remain open for approximately two months.

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The artefacts of love and lust in Second Life

Artefatos, the G.B.T.H. Project

The hotel sits alongside a canal, the one building lit within the gathering gloom of night. Limned in teal, the entranceway beneath the heavy awning looks cold even in the gloom, but inside is the warm yellow glow of ceiling lights offering a more friendly invitation to come inside, while more of the warm illumination pours out of the entrance leading up to the hotel’s rooms.

This is clearly a discrete establishment: the fact that the rooms can be accessed without the need to pass through the lobby area once a room is booked means patrons – and their guests – can come and go without too much notice. Thus, it is the perfect setting for a lover’s tryst – and for Artefatos (Artefacts), a provocative story-as-art installation by Ash (Ashratum), the latest exhibition presented at the G.B.T.H. (Grab By The Horns) Project, curated by Megan Prumier and Marina Münter.

Artefatos: The G.B.T.H. Project

The hotel lobby offers an introductory guide to the installation. In short, ensure you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (absolutely essential, as the installation uses projected lighting and effects) – just go to Preferences > Graphics and ensure the ALM option is checked. Then climb the stairs to each floor in the hotel and visit each room in turn – there are two rooms to a floor for a total of 6 visits (although the 6th room offers more of a farewell, suggestive that the individuals in the stories might all be one in the same), each with a teleport door that should be touched to “enter” the room (touching the door also returns visitors to the landing “outside”) so they might proceed to the next door.

Each room forms a chapter of a story – the meeting of people brought together in love and – particularly – lust; erotic and sexual encounters. Written from a personal perspective (that of the / a woman in each story), they cast those visiting the rooms into multiple roles.

Artefatos, the G.B.T.H. Project

The most obvious of these roles as that of the storyteller’s male lover; written as recollections of recent encounters. In this, some might be stories designed to titillate and arouse as a kind of foreplay between lovers; in others they might be seen as expressions of regret for what has passed, while other hint at an unburdening of hurt. At the same time, there is an air of revealing secrets through the stories, casting the visitor almost into the role of confidante – although this is overshadowed by the sense that we are in fact voyeurs, having stumbled across the intimate letters from lover to former lover.

Thus, Artefatos presents a layering of interpretation through the stories, which are themselves made further tangible through the objects found within each of the room. These both reflect the story specific to each room whilst also casting visitors into two roles: that of the male lover – the props making us very much part of the story; and (again) that of voyeur, witnessing individual moments from each story from the outside, through the study of the artefacts that have been left behind.

Artefatos, the G.B.T.H.. Project

There is more to these objects than passive illustration, however. For those who speak Portuguese, approaching the items in each room allows the story to unfold through the spoken word via local sounds. For those who don’t speak Portuguese, a note card giver in the wall of the entrance hall to each room will supply the story in English, while extracts are projected onto each bedroom wall – hence the need to have ALM enabled.

The audio project can sometimes be disconcerting, as it is possible to stand within the room and hear multiple voices; but it can also deepen the sense of immersion within the installation, regardless of whether or not you understand what is being said. The passages layered one over the other can become fragments of memory; words said in the past, echoing in our ears. Thus we become not only the man to whom each story is projected, but the male half of the story as he perhaps revisits the scene of an encounter, hearing once again the words said to him in its wake or aftermath.

Artefatos, The G.B.T.H.. Project

A fascinating installation offering a different perspective on artistic expression in Second Life, Artefatos further establishes the G.T.B.H. Project as a forward-thinking gallery space in-world, and will remain open through until November 8th, 2018.

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A Concrete Diorama in Second Life

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

The G.B.T.H. (Grab By The Horns) Project, curated by Megan Prumier and Marina Münter, and described as being “focused on the extension of creative processes, 3D environments and art related subjects”, opened its August 2018 exhibition at the start of the month.

Concrete Diorama features the work of sculptor Mistero Hifeng, presented in a strange, semi-dark environment where the contrasts of dark  – black and grey – spaces with the bursts of brilliant white within some chambers is as much a part of the exhibition as Mistero’s pieces.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

From the landing point, visitors travel along a semi-dark hallway, lined by port holes lit by spotlights. Each portal looks out over individual scenes of couples caught in acts of tenderness, suggesting a theme of love (and perhaps loss or regret). A second darkened hallway follows, windows on either side looking out onto scenes of figures floating in bubbles. Further along, two large proportioned figures stand beside cracked models of the moon, ramps to either side of them leading up to the first of the white chambers. Here, figures lie in a circle, prostrated under fine mess nettings, all facing a central lone tree.

In further chambers dancers perform ballet as couples lie in shallow troughs in the floor, whilst a grand diorama focused on a piece called Bruciando Ricordi (Burning Memories) awaits in the uppermost chamber of the exhibition space.

It’s a haunting, evocative setting, rich in mood and emotion. The expressions of love and loss, coupled with pleading, desire, and regret are all present throughout – most clearly through the crowning piece that features Bruciando Ricordi, which joined by the likes of La Magia di Quell’incanto (The Magic of That Enchantment) and Su Questo Silenzio…Balla (On This Silence … Dance). But the nuances and measure are broader than may first appear.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

The couples in their troughs beneath a transparent floor, for example, perhaps carry with them the idea of loss through death, and a desire never to be parted. Meanwhile, the figures prostrated around the tree under their fine netting, appear to be in a different kind of mourning. Are they perhaps a reference to the way we humans can be indifferent to the plight of nature at our hands – at least until it is too late, as signified by the denuded and barren tree sitting at the centre of their circle and the apparent focus of their grief? And what of the large women beside their broken moons? Are they attempting to hide their heads in shame, the result of seeing the slender figures before them, and the  knowledge that society encourages us to embrace the slim as figures of beauty and reject the over-sized?

I’ve long appreciated and enjoyed Mistero’s sculptures, but this is perhaps the first time I’ve seen them brought together in a way that suggests a layered, nuanced narrative; one that resides not only in the individual pieces or in the way some have been brought together to form a diorama, but also right throughout the different levels and chambers within the installation as a whole. It’s an approach that, despite some of the darker tones (literal and metaphorical) apparent in the exhibit, is both effective and captivating.

Concrete Diorama – G.B.T.H Project

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