Tag Archives: Gem Preiz

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

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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.

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A fractal Metropolis in Second Life

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.

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.

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.

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.

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A fractal rhapsody

Officially opening at 13:00 SLT on Saturday, April 11th, at the Influence Art Community is a new exhibition of fractal art by Gem Preiz.

“I spend my time amazed with the extraordinary detailed patterns of the fractals, as well as their incredible diversity,” Gem says of his work. “From my explorations in this fascinating universe, I bring back digital images that I have been displaying on SL for two and a half years, using them to illustrate themes which inspire me.”

The result is a series of pictures which come together under the title Rhapsody in Blue Fractals, which Gem uses to form a narrative tracing the story of the universe through to humanity’s arrival and our attempts to fill it with our own creations.

The pieces  – twenty in total – are displayed two and three at a time through a series of rooms hanging in space, a single blue walkway running between blue-framed doorways providing the means of progress from one room to another. The choice of blue is deliberate, as Gem notes, “blue as the water from which life arises, as the sky and the air we inhale.”

Each piece bears its own title, giving a clue to its place in the story: Genesis, emerGence, BioloGy, and so on – the capitalised G another link to the blue theme and the title of the piece; Rhapsody in Blue being George Gershwin’s famous 1924 musical composition for piano and jazz band. And it is also, as Gem notes, a play on the first initial of his name, and the person to whom the exhibition is dedicated.

The pieces themselves are also rendered in blue, and each one is intricately detailed and quite beautiful in depth; so much so that time is really required to study and appreciate each piece fully – and even then, it is possible to come back and pick out yet more details on a subsequent visit.. They also represent something of a retrospective of the various styles of fractal art he has produced over the last 30 or so months, something which adds a further layer to the exhibition as a whole.

I’m not sure if there will be a music stream running once the exhibit formally opens, however GEM suggests three YouTube tracks should be listened to when visiting the exhibition, and having wandered back and froth through it with them playing, I tend to agree with him:

Oh, and when you reach what appear to be the end of the blue path and are facing the last image – trust to fate and step off the edge; there’s a little surprise waiting, which is perhaps itself a commentary on the possible cyclical nature of the universe!