No Frontiers in Second Life

No Frontiers - Gem Preiz
No Frontiers – Gem Preiz

I’ve long been an admirer of Gem Preiz. His work in creating magnificent vistas using fractal art is simply astonishing. So it was a genuine pleasure to once again be offered an opportunity to previewing his latest installation, which opens on Thursday, January 12th, and runs through until the end of June.

No Frontiers is, in at least some ways, a sequel to his last two environments, Hertiage: Vestiges and Heritages: Wrecks (which you can respectively read about here and here). Within it, we are again asked to engage upon a journey through space and time. But where the Hertiage pieces were perhaps rooted in a dark vision of a future encompassing loss and departure, only brightening at the very end, No Frontiers presents something altogether more optimistic, a vision of a vast cosmos awaiting us, with opportunities unbounded, the potential for new encounters and a celebration of what we are, and what we may yet mature into.

No Frontiers - Gem Preiz
No Frontiers – Gem Preiz

As with is previous works, No Frontiers invites the visitor to travel through a series of vast halls, in which each of is placed a single, gigantic fractal image, each comprising around 18 individual elements. The halls are all interconnected by tubes, and are so vast, flying is the most practical way to see them. To assist in this, Gem provides two flying vehicles, a single-seater and a tandem two-seater (although visitors are welcome to free fly is they prefer). These are found in the “departure hall”, where instructions on how best to appreciate the installation can be found. I recommend the latter are read, and that in particular, particles are turned up and the music stream is enabled.

In addition to the massive, intricate and breath-taking fractal images, the halls include 3D elements designed by Gem which further enhance both the environment and add to the narrative suggested by each image. Some of these may be easily translatable, others may actually be more subtle, and require observation to pick up on their nuance.

No Frontiers - Gem Preiz
No Frontiers – Gem Preiz

For example, within one hall, two spirals of spheres slowly rotate, horizontal arms extending from the spheres. Each resembles a strand of DNA vertically split, and as they rotate, every so often they align to become the familiar double helix. But on either side of this joining, when they almost align, there are perhaps hints at other forms of DNA, suggesting life alien to ours, waiting to be discovered in our voyage out into the cosmos.

Suggestions of alien civilisations appear elsewhere as well. Take, as another example, the tiny spacecraft forming orderly lines of traffic heading towards a planet being orbited by a vast structure (the 2nd image in this article). Are these intergalactic commuters on their way to / from work? And what of the giant ringed sphere floating before a similar such object orbiting another world with one of Gem’s images? What tale of intelligences might they hold?

No Frontiers - Gem Preiz
No Frontiers – Gem Preiz

Meanwhile the connecting tubes themselves suggest two things. On the one hand, they are offered to us and connecting tunnels between environments, capped at either end by airlocks. On the other, they resemble wormholes we fly through, tunnels through the fabric of space and time, allowing us to travel the vast distances of the cosmos in mere seconds.

At the very end of the journey, visitors enter a vast space, surrounded by distant stars, and within which, as one rises through it, lay planets, spheres, the funnel of a black hole, the billion and billions of stars contained within an ever-spinning spiral galaxy. And, eventually, a landing platform / arrival point where they can safely lands and exit their craft.

No Frontiers - Gem Preiz
No Frontiers – Gem Preiz

Gem’s work is never less than awe-inspiring; and while he has used 3D elements in past installations no Frontiers offers something entirely new in how physical elements are images have been combined to add to our sense of voyage and immersion. Add to this the soundtrack he has provided, and No Frontiers makes for a stunning experience, visually, aurally and for the imagination. Not something to be missed. The official opening will be at 13:00 SLT on Thursday, January 12th and as noted, the installation will remain open until the end of June 2017.

SLurl Details

Advertisements

Of Heritage and Wrecks in Second Life

Heritage: Wrecks
Heritage: Wrecks

Wrecks, which opened on Monday, March 7th, is the concluding element of a two-part immersive art installation created by Gem Preiz, the master of the high-resolution fractal landscape. It’s a piece, together with the initial part of the installation, Vestiges (which you can read about here), is presented under the over-arching title of Heritage.

“Heritage is the theme of the two exhibitions,” Gem explains of the pieces. “The heritage passed to us by our predecessors, and the one we shall bequeath to our descendants in the endless fight of life against Time.”

Vestiges, which opened in January, examined the first part of this statement: looking at the heritage passed down through the ages. We were cast into the role of archaeologists examining past (or perhaps even alien) civilisations; those which had come before us, as who influenced our existence.  With Wrecks, Gem poses a question to us: what are we going to bequeath to those generations that follow us?

Heritage: Wrecks
Heritage: Wrecks

The inspiration for Wrecks comes from the recent global summit on the threat of climate change held in Paris at the start of 2016, and what will happen if we continue to ignore the warnings nature is giving us as to the consequences of our continued abuse of the planet’s ecosystem, presenting one possible future our descendants might face.

Thus we are taken on a journey into the 22nd century, and a vision of a world which has come to ruin directly as a result of our failure to act responsibly. We become a part of the crew and passengers aboard what is perhaps the last vessel capable of leaving Earth in the hope of finding a new home far out within the Kuiper Belt.

Heritage: Wrecks
Heritage: Wrecks

This voyage takes the form of a physical journey through 15 rooms, each one with one of Gem’s magnificent fractal pieces standing together with a journal entry. Some of the latter appear to be from passengers, other are clearly from the crew. All make soulful reading: personal fears, anguish, melancholy, even despair, at  all that has come to pass, founded on a lament for an Earth thoroughly ruined by the hubris and folly of humanity.

What if, as one entry hints, as the space vessel Orpheus transit the Moon, we had heeded the gentle warnings of the first astronauts to stand on those desolate plains, only to look back at Earth and recognise it as a fragile, precious jewel of life suspended in a coal-black sky?

Meanwhile, the images serve to both underline and also counterpoint the essence of the text. While the landscapes and scenes presented may appear desolate and shattered, so to do they remind us that humanity and nature are powerfully creative forces: what might come from us combining our inane abilities with those of nature, rather than simply putting our needs before those of nature?

Heritage: Wrecks
Heritage: Wrecks

If this sounds an overly dark piece, rest assured it isn’t. Rather it is a layered, nuanced piece which aims to get us thinking about matter of ecology, climate change, and our relationship to this one cradle of life we have: Earth. Yes, there is the warning that if we don’t mend our ways, if we fail to act responsibly towards this fragile environment surrounding us, then we are ushering in the potential of ruin and heartache for future generations.

But so to is there a message of hope; a reminder that it is not yet too late. Just as the crew of the Orpheus, in the final chapter of their voyage, find the means to return to Earth, to reunite with those left behind and offer a way to recover and restore the planet, so to are we reminded that there is still time. We can still take the firm, committed step of ceasing our self-centred denials, excuses and procrastinations and decide we will act more responsibility towards this planet, and in doing so lay the foundations by which we can bequeath a rich, vibrant and healthy world to our children and those who follow them. All it takes is a little collective courage.

Heritage: Wrecks
Heritage: Wrecks

SLurl Details

Of Heritage and Vestige in Second Life

Heritage: Vestiges - Gem Preiz
Heritage: Vestiges – Gem Preiz

Heritage is the over-arching title of two immersive installations created by Gem Preiz. The first, Vestiges, opens On Thursday, January 7th,  with the second, Wrecks commencing on Monday, March 7th 2016.

“Heritage is the theme of the two exhibitions,” Gem explains of the pieces. “The heritage passed to us by our predecessors, and the one we shall bequeath to our descendants in the endless fight of life against Time.”

Vestiges evokes the first of these aspects: the heritage passed down to us by others; a journey through the past, visiting the ancient places and secrets of long-past civilisations – but are they the civilisations which gave rise to us, or are we perhaps archaeologists travelling through space and time, witnessing the past of worlds and those who inhabited them, the examination of their past causing us to reflect upon what we might leave for those who follow us?

Heritage: Vestiges - Gem Preiz
Heritage: Vestiges – Gem Preiz

This is a huge installation, eighteen rooms in total, through which the visitor travels as if on a quest. Those who are familiar with Gem’s fractal art will know he can produce huge and beautifully complex pieces, rich in detail and grandeur, and the rooms the visitor travels through are intended to enhance the feeling of being immersed within the scenes they present.

The arrival point offers notes  on the installation, presenting a wealth of background material as well as providing guidelines on how to both best experience your time spent exploring them, and how best to set your viewer.

Heritage: Vestiges - Gem Preiz
Heritage: Vestiges – Gem Preiz

A teleport system (which will only be available to the public once the installation has opened to the public on January 7th) then carries visitors to the first room, and the start of their journey. Do make sure you enable the music stream here to enjoy the compilation of music Gem has created specifically for the installation.

From here you journey comprises alternating between witnessing the exteriors of vast citadels and then visiting “hidden” chambers within them, each with its own treasure to be found. The way forward is variously indicated by rocks on the ground marking a path, or pillars between which a footpath is set, or arches under which you must travel. Guidance is given in chat, and invisiprims help to ensure yo stay on the right track, gently nudging you in the right direction and lifting you to the phantom passages between rooms (use CTRL-ALT-T to see them if you find this easier).

Heritage: Vestiges - Gem Preiz
Heritage: Vestiges – Gem Preiz

Some of the citadels have a certain familiarity about them; there is s distinctly Egyptian feel to the second, for example, while another suggested to me an echo of the ancient orient. Whether these citadels represent our own distant past or that of another civilisation entirely is for you to decide. For while all we see is somewhat familiar, so to is it so very alien; And thus the installation – and the images within – toy gently with our sense of perspective, causing us to stop, examine, and ponder.

The intricacy of Gem’s fractal art is always a marvel to behold, and this installation is a veritable tour de force of his work, where the extent to which he has used fractals may not always be immediately apparent, and so considered study of both citadels and chamber images is required. The former are of such a huge scale that only careful camming can really bring out their beauty, allowing our impressions about what they are and represent to flow freely as we move across them. Similarly, it is only through considered study of the images within the chamber we can fully appreciate the extent to which Gem has used fractals in their construction.

Heritage: Vestiges - Gem Preiz
Heritage: Vestiges – Gem Preiz

If I’m totally honest, such is the scale and presentation of some elements, that it can, on repeated visits diminish their overall impact. But these instances are in the minority, and more than compensated for by the knowledge of what is to come. One thing I would recommend is that if you plan to make one more repeat visits (I found myself drawn back a number of times to specific rooms and scenes), they try to do so in the company of a friend who hasn’t previously visited Heritage; sharing in their reaction experience of seeing these cityscapes and images for the first time can be as involving as any first solo visit.

As noted earlier, Heritage opens to the public on Thursday, January 7th.

SLurl Details

 

A fractal Metropolis in Second Life

Met-1_001
Metropolis

At the end of 2015, the population of the world will reach 7.3 billion human beings, among which more than 50% are in urban areas. In 2050, UNO forecasts, as a central scenario, 9.6 billion people, with 2/3 living in cities, which therefore will have to host 2.5 billion additional inhabitants in the next 35 years. Tokyo gathers more than 35 million people, while New Delhi, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Shangaï and Osaka account already for more than 20 million.

Thus Gem Preiz describes the theme for his latest exhibition of fractal art, Metropolis, which opens on Saturday, June 6th at the Influence Art Community.

Those familiar with his work know that Gem’s fractal art often suggests huge architectural landscapes and forms: towering fingers of colour and light, sweeping cityscapes frozen in time, a glimpse of places of the future and perhaps of worlds away from our own – as much in time as perhaps in distance.

Metropolis
Metropolis

With Metropolis, as his opening description suggests, Gem presents nineteen of these magnificent vistas to comment on the increasingly teeming nature of our global civilisation as more and more of just enter the world, live longer and bring forth a need of ever bigger and more complex cities, which themselves become ever more indistinguishable one from another as our reliance on technology homogenizes them such that shopping malls, business centres, even our lifestyles, become as standardised as everything else we reply upon.

The pieces are arranged in such a way as to suggest the visitor is within the huge metropolis of the exhibition’s title. Spread across multiple levels, linked by catwalks and teleport elevators, the images are suggestive of huge, glass-fronted towers and views across a gigantic cityscape.

Metropolis
Metropolis

To give a senses of scale to this “city”, and to link back to the theme of our ever-expanding and increasingly technology and business-driven civilisation, the squares and levels through the exhibition space are filled with the black silhouettes of people all apparently moving hither and thither, carrying briefcases, pulling travel cases, hurrying to this or that appointment, talking on their cellular ‘phones, haling one another and … occasionally, trying to catch-up with news the old-fashioned way: leafing through a newspaper, or holding a hand to their chin as if pondering – or lost.

So it is that Metropolis works on two levels. Taken as a whole, it admirably stands as an installation that reflects the central themes of Gem’s introductory notes; it demands one cams back in order to take in all of the scenes presents as broadly as possible, to witness this as a a city awash in activity. At the same time the images demand our studied attention, because they are all individually quite simply breathtaking in scope and form; there is a wealth of detail and complexity within each that is truly magnificent. So real do they feel, that it is hard not to wish you could step into them and walk along the halls and corridors that seem to lie behind their tiered, windowed facades, or wander the avenues and paths that sit between their ornate structures.

Metropolis
Metropolis

This is another masterful display of fractal art by Gem which will remain available for at least the rest of the month. Not only has he provided the art and the theme for the exhibit, Gem has also provided a suitable musical track on his You Tube channel which can be listened to while exploring the installation. Recommended.

SLurl Details