Lalawood: unconventional, interactive and anarchic

Lalawood, La Maison d’Aneli

Now open at La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a multi-level collaborative installation entitled Lalawood which is quite the most unconventional – and potentially controversial (for some) interactive installation I’ve seen in Second Life for quite a while.

Designed by Onyxxe, Iono Allen, JadeYu Fhang and Theda Tammas, Lalawand is difficult to quantify. Intended to be humorous, it is also in part pointed, perhaps controversial, irreverent (with what appears to be a healthy dose of self-satire), anarchic and – perhaps most of all – unconventional.

You never heard of LALAWOOD? What a pity! It is the best playground in Second Life. A kind of LEGOLAND, just without the first L. Yes you understand well. Finally a place where you are allowed to show off your talents, value and persona without any restraints … You will meet kings, queens, godfathers, godmothers and many other successful gods. You even can bump at Philip Linden while wandering around.

– Onyxxe, describing Lalawood

Lalawood, La Maison d’Aneli

The installation comprises six levels, including the landing point where something of an introduction to the installation is to be found, together with instructions on how to best view the installation. From here there is a teleport to the first actual level of the installation itself.

To describe the five primary levels of the installation would be to spoil the element of discovery and perhaps unduly influence personal interpretation of Lalawood. suffice it to say each includes interactive elements, starting with the “iLala” music player that provides a music track to accompany your exploration of the installation (it is essential you have local sounds active). These interactive elements combine in-world objects and those presented to your inventory you are asked to add to your avatar.

Perhaps the easiest way to define Lalawood is that it is an exploration of self and the role of ego in our Second Life persona. In this, it raises topics we may well find familiar through our experiences in Second Life (the roles of sex and drama), and a sideways look at many of the attractions / activities people find within the platform (artistic expression, creativity, the ability to generate income), and how these might affect, challenge and change us.

Lalawood, La Maison d’Aneli

In this, the presentation of the themes might best be termed anarchic; some may seem to border on being insulting to those who engage the the various pursuits noted above (art, etc.) – hence why a sense of humour is emphasised in the instructions for the installation. However, there is a strong dose of self-irreverence on display by the four artists themselves as they satirise themselves as much as anyone else.

How one responds to Lalawood really does come down to a mix of personal sense of humour and ability to interpret the various elements found throughout its different levels. I confess that while I found myself smiling in places, in others I found things perhaps a little forced, while the inconsistency of teleports (some are interactive click-to-TP, others open the map and require a manual TP) a little distracting as the latter drew me out of any sense of being involved in the installation. So I’ll leave it to you to plumb the depths of the installation and draw your own conclusions, lest anything I might add here unfairly biases your experience.

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A new ensemble at La Maison d’Aneli in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Senka Beck

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, opened its November 2019 ensemble exhibition on October 30th, once again offering a rich mix of art.

The featured artists for this exhibition comprise IndigoClaire, Gitu Aura, Beertje Beaumont, Senka Beck, Treacle Darlandes, Lala Lightfool and Norton Lykin. With the exception of Treacle Darlandes’ Undiscovered Planet / La Serre, the individual exhibits primarily focus on 2D art.

La Maison d’Aneli: Beertje Beaumont

Beertje Beaumont and Lala Lightfool present their physical world art, with some very different pieces on offer.  Lala presents a display entitled Flowers, a series of watercolour paintings of trees and flowers, some of which are conventionally presented – trees in fields, flowers in pots, while others are more abstract in nature.

For her part, Beertje presents a series of pieces that share a floral theme with Lala’s. However, Beertje prefers working in acrylics, often working them over a layer of sand and gesso. As shown in a number of pieces offered here, this gives them a marvellous textured look that is particularly effective given their subject matter.

Beertje Beaumont: IndigoClaire

With her installation, Senka Beck presents Detoxomania, Reboot, which she describes as her “individualistic version” of her collaboration Detoxomania, presented at La Maison d’Aneli in 2018 (see: Abstract and surreal in Second Life). This is a piece that must be viewed with Advanced Lighting Model enabled (Preferences → Graphics) and with local sounds enabled, presenting a mix of 2D and 3D elements that are best experienced rather than described.

IndigoClaire and Gitu Aura present exhibits predominantly focus on avatar studies, while Norton’s exhibit comprises a series of pieces intended to be reflections on nature, love, perception and cognition.

Beertje Beaumont: IndigoClaire

Eclectic, diverse and rich in presentation and colour, this is another intriguing selection of art.

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Visiting La Maison d’Aneli’s new home in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Eylinea and Desy Magic

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, relocated mid-year to a new home in the skies of VeGeTal PLaNeT. In making the move, the gallery space has also been redesigned, the former two-level build giving way to a more labyrinthine space that retains the open plan nature of the former venue whilst also making one’s passage through it more interesting by splitting individual display spaces across multiple levels, both “up” and “down” relative to one another, linked by stairways and walkways, together with a number of individual display spaces – all of which work together to encourage exploration and discovery.

At the time of my visit, a new set of exhibitions was due to open on Wednesday, September 18th, featuring work by: Eylinea, Akim Alonzo, Desy Magic, Jolielle Parfort, Megan Prumier, Olympes Rhode, and Moki Yuitza, all of whom present a rich mixing of 2D and 3D art. While all are opening at the same event at 12:30 pm SLT, I have to admit that I was drawn to dropping in ahead of time after receiving personal invitations to see the exhibits by Akim and Moki.

La Maison d’Aneli: Akim Alonzo

Located in one of the individual galley halls, Akim presents The Matrix, a series of images he’s created based around his love of The Matrix movies. While some of them have previously been displayed at Akim’s own gallery (see: Water and a Matrix: reflections on life by Akim Alonzo), I was drawn back to them because of both their captivating nature and because they are so nuanced and layered. Not only do they offer an interpretation of the manifold memes on the shaping of reality as found within the films and as we can create for ourselves within SL; they also present a commentary on identification – that perennial theme common to Second Life -, as I noted back in April when writing about these images:

Within these pictures is a subtle reminder that, no matter how hard we might try to distance self from character within SL, no matter what the roles we play in-world, the backstories we build; the fact remains that facets of our own natures, our own identities, will be impinged on those characters. They are inevitably a projection of self into the virtual. What’s more, their daily encounters and experiences within the virtual realm equally reflect and inform upon our physical selves. Thus, we have a genuinely visceral intertwining between the “real” and the “virtual”.

La Maison d’Aneli: Moki Yuitza

Moki also has one of the individual gallery spaces to present a 3D installation entitled Ascension. This is a mobile piece offering an interpretation of the subject matter title – the ability for us to ascend our current state mentally, spiritually or potentially physically. Beautiful to witness, this is also an interactive piece, with poseballs available for those wishing to participate in the installation.

Within the more open areas of the gallery space, I found myself drawn to Eylinea’s 2D and 3D animated art; this being the first time – at least that I can remember – I’ve seen her work on public display. There are intricate and fascinating, drawing a number of approaches – geometric, fractal, and abstract to produce some fascinating pieces.

La Maison d’Aneli: Jolielle Parfort

When visiting the gallery, I do recommend following a certain order to progress through the exhibits. From the landing point provided, take the stairs (on the left as you look out over the gallery) down to the main hall space to visit the individual exhibition space housing Moki’s Ascension. After this, explore the open spaces on their various levels and the hall containing Akim’s The Matrix, before moving to the final individual hall, home to Jolielle Parfort’s always engaging art drawn from Second Life.

This route doesn’t give any deeper context for the exhibits – each stands on its own merits -, but it will offer a logical path through the gallery and the exit point tucked into the hall featuring Jolielle’s work. From there is is then possible to visit the other exhibition areas around la Maison d’Aneli, including region holder vroum Short’s visually captivating Mirror (which I’ve also previously written about). All of these spaces are equally worthy of a visit, but which will be subject for other articles in this blog.

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Sketches, paintings, photos and sculptures at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is hosting another intriguing exhibition of 2D and 3D art. With its opening having taken place on May 15th, the exhibition features Giovanna Cerise, Delalune Ella, McGrafite, Vroum Short, Tshirtkikill Straaf and Mathilde Vhargon.

For her 3D installation, Giovanna Cerise uses a quote from Italian writer and poet, Alda Merini, One lies on the back of the world and feels. It is the final line from Merini’s poem I like the verb “to feel”, one of a series of reflections on words, and the theme of the poem – that of feelings – is the core reflection of the elements of Giovanna’s installation.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

These start with a sculpture of a woman lying on her back bearing, appropriately enough, Ci si sdraia sulla schiena del mondo (“one lies on the back of the world”). Around this are pieces with titles intended to evoke emotional states: Waiting, Transcendence, Solitude, Eros. All of these are placed within a series of monochrome geometric forms that echo some of Giovanna’s previous installations and is something of a motif of her work.

Also on the same level of the gallery as Giovanna’s installation is a selection of Mathilde Vhargon’s digital paintings that mix an abstract approach with geometric pieces, most of which are created more-or-less as a stream of consciousness approach, rather that any “premeditated” approach, as Mathilde herself notes:

My paintings suggest themselves to me a little at a time without conscious planning. I often use small sections of them as materials to develop into new paintings … I love strong colours and flowing abstract forms. You will often find ambiguous suggestions that lead the viewer to imagine various possibilities and interpretations.

La Maison d’Aneli: Mathilde Vhargon

Sharing the same level of the gallery is another stunning selection of drawings by McGrafite, also known as Marisa Camelo, MC.

A physical world artist focusing on pencil-based drawings, I was first introduced to her work at the end of 2018 (see The art of MC Grafite in Second Life), when I noted there is only one word that can be used to describe it: striking; the selection of art presented at La Maison d’Aneli fully reinforces this fact.

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

La Maison d’Aneli: McGraphite

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

On the upper level of the gallery is an exhibition of art and photography by Lune (Delalune Ella). Again split between the main floor and the galleried mezzanine, the lower part of the exhibition features seven pieces of Lune’s digital art. These have a spiritual element to them, which is perhaps most noticeable in the pieces that include mandala-like rosette forms. Rich in vibrant colours, these are modern pieces that quickly captivate and engage.

La Maison d’Aneli: Dellalune Ella

Above them, Lune presents 13 photographs that appear to reflect some of Lune’s travels around the world, and within which a love of water is evident. Again, these are evocative pieces, expressive in their tone and presentation.

Across the hall are twelve pieces by yogib33r (Tshirtkikill Straaf). These are perhaps the most unusual pieces of art I’ve recently come across in Second Life, reproductions of yogib33r’s physical world art. Pen and ink (I believe), these are whimsical pieces that completely defy description, but have a unique charm and attraction about them that allows them to stand as pieces of modern art.

La Maison d’Aneli: Tshirtkikill Straaf

Rounding-out this ensemble exhibition is Mirrors a 3D installation by Vroum Short of Vegetal Planet fame. When visiting, it is essential you have the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences > Graphics > make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked – you do not need to turn on shadows as well), and to set your viewer’s time of day to midnight.

As the name suggests, this is an installation – split between two levels – representing mirrors and reflective surfaces. The installation comprises a series of halls with mirror-like rooms containing static and animated pieces, some of which are designed to physically mirror one another. Created through the use of projectors, these are visually stunning effects – providing you have ALM enabled, as noted above. For those who are interested, the installation includes teleports to Vroum’s Vegetal Planet art region.

La Maison d’Aneli: Vroum Short

A further intriguing ensemble exhibition from one of my favourite SL galleries.

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Art and motion at La Maison d’Aneli in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Calypso Applewhyte

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, has opened the doors to its April 2019 ensemble exhibition, and once again brings together the work of several artists to offer a rich mix of art and artistic expression, featuring 2D and 3D art and a marvellous journey into machinima.

This exhibition starts at the gallery’s ground level, with a most unusual motor show by Willem Koba, which juxtapositions a shiny, pristine parking garage with SL cars and vehicles that have, to put it mildly, seen better days. I’m not sure of the purpose of this element of the exhibition, but it does make an interesting and unusual gateway to the teleport up to the gallery proper.

La Maison d’Aneli: Magda Schmidtzau

It is here that the rest of the artists within the exhibition display their work. Calypso Applewhyte and Magda Schmidtzau between them present two very different, yet at the same time somewhat reflective of one another.  Magda – or Maddy – has the more extensive portfolio of the two on display, and it demonstrates the breadth of her avatar work, from portraiture, through nudes and fantasy to richly artistic pieces.

Located on he upper floor of the gallery, Calypso – or Caly – offers a more focused selection of work, which leans into fantasy and science fiction elements. Like Maddy’s selection there is a mix of colour and monochrome to the set, but I admit that – as much as I admire Maddy’s work – I was drawn more to Caly’s exhibition, simply because of its captivating “minimalism”. This can be seen in both the images and in the use of the display space around them. This latter point in particular allows the eye to more readily focus on each piece individually, without the distraction of neighbouring works intruding into the eye and mind. This minimalism also presents a rich vein of narrative within each piece, which for me is fabulously exemplified in the wonderful Ma tristesse, seen at the top of this article.

La Maison d’Aneli: RazorZ

Also split between the gallery’s upper are lower floors are RazorZ and Bachi Cheng – both of whose art I don’t believe I’ve previously encountered in Second Life. RazorZ’s digital work is presented in both 2D and 3D, and is a glorious use of shape, colour and form; his sculptures wonderfully alive and vibrant, while his (apparently physical world) photographs are given a marvellous digital  / alien life through the use of colour filtering / layering.

Bachi also presents some of her physical world art on the upper level of the gallery. These are raw, intense and emotive drawings, with Bachi noting, “I love to paint Moments. Moments of life, Moments of Love, Moments so deep that you never want to forget them, Moments at the edge of orgasm or despair, just life; like we ought to live it, plainly.”

La Maison d’Aneli: Bachi Cheng

Rounding-out the exhibition is a display of Aneli’s own 2D and 3D art, and a joint presentation by Iono Allen and Theda Tammas.

The majority of Aneli’s pieces are beautifully animated and make use of geometric expression to captivate the eye. Colour and monochrome, these are pieces that tend to draw the eye into them, casting an almost hypnotic calming influence through their gentle motion.

La Maison d’Aneli: Aneli Abeyante

Iono and Theda present Samuari, a machinima short film, reached via a walk along an avenue of Torii gates set within a midnight landscape. Filmed by Iona, it utilises elements of Theda’s art (and Theda herself), within an  extraordinary piece, worthy of the best of classical Japanese film-making. The story unfolds entirely visually and sans dialogue, supported only by the use of sounds and music. It is a film that, frankly, should not be missed.

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A further ensemble at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Kiana Jarman

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, has opened its doors on its March ensemble exhibition, and once again presents the work of six very different artists, all of whom offer unique perspectives and styles.

As I didn’t manage to make a return visit to cover three of the artists in the February exhibition (the three I did write about can be found in Art and artists at La Maison d’Aneli), I’ll attempt to give a thumbnail look at all six appearing through to late March.

La Maison d’Aneli: Serena Parisi

Serena Parisi is a long-time Second Life photographer and explorer, who also appears to be well-travelled in the physical world, as the selection of her photography offered here more than demonstrates, and as she explains. “This exhibition is about my trip to Vietnam. Between smiles, laughs and emotions, my encounters with the population in an explosion of colour that characterises this country.”

Thus, across the upper level of the gallery space, and on the mezzanine above it, Serena offers 17 images of the people of Vietnam, the majority in colour  – although I did find the four presented in monochrome quite captivating. Focused on the women and children of the country, they offer fascinating portraits of work and play, happiness and, in some, that understandable wariness of having a camera pointed at you by a stranger. Tightly focused, they portray living individuals but, at the same time reveal a lot about the lifestyle of many Vietnamese people.

La Maison d’Aneli: jeaneos7

Across the lobby area on the same level, and also split between floor and mezzanine is an exhibition of avatar studies by Jean (jeaneos7), who also hails from France. The pieces here both collectively contrast and compliment Serena’s work. Contrast, simply because they are avatar studies, rather than physical world studies, and compliment in that they are also largely tightly focused on the subject such that we are drawn into the lives portrayed, even without the aid of the backdrop that some of the images additionally offer.

Avatars are also the focus of Kiana Jarman’s selection of work, located on the floor and mezzanine of the gallery’s lower level. She notes that, “Photography is like writing with light, making music with shades.” This is aptly demonstrated within many of her images; while they are focused on avatars, they provide a broader setting, offering a rich canvas on which a story or song might be written. I confess that I found some of her pieces vibrant with life and/or playfulness, and other so rich in tone and narrative, that my eye and camera were constantly drawn back to them.

La Maison d’Aneli: Kiana Jarman

Pointing out particular images in this respect is hard, and none of the pieces are titled. However, to the right of Kiana’s biography giver are two truly marvellous pieces, one above the other, that respectively offer a wonderful depth of narrative and capture the pure vitality of adventurous living. Further around the mezzanine, the sense of fun is reflected through a Queen Of Hearts like figure peering through curtains, while the elegance and beauty of the human body as reflected in the avatar is perfectly frame in the two images I’ve chosen to use as the banner image for this article.

Also on the lower level of the gallery is a mixed media presentation by Rofina Bronet, that presents her work both as an artist and as a machinima maker. This is the most eclectic of the selections presented within this exhibition, with the artwork split between expressive, almost abstract pieces, and those focused on specific avatar subjects: Bryn Oh and  Paris Obscur (JonathanDimitri Soderstrom). As well as the large images mounted on the gallery’s walls, Rofina has provided small view screens which, when clicked, will page through the images as well. To see the machinima offered as a part of the selection, make sure you have media streaming enabled in your viewer.

La Maison d’Aneli: Rofina Bronet

Rounding out this exhibition, and located in the end halls of both the upper and lower gallery spaces are displays be Reycharles and Oema.

The former presents a mix of his 2D and 3D art, the majority of which is wonderfully abstracted. While he often works with colour, manipulating it experimentally and seeing where it leads, the pieces Reycharles presents here are largely monochrome in tone. There is a wonderful feeling of some of the pieces – both 3D and 2D – having been extruded rather than being intentionly drawn / painted / formed; an organic feel that is itself utterly fascinating.

La Maison d’Aneli: Reycharles

Artist and blogger Oema, located on the lower level of the gallery, presents 14 pieces running from landscapes to avatar studies to original paintings.

I’ve always admired her work for its sense of fantasy / dream, and many of the pieces within this selection demonstrate this to the full. However, it is the studies to the right of the hall as you enter it that utterly captivated me. Each of them holds a unique beauty within what are very different styles when viewed one to the next. Each also – as with all of Oema’s work, is rich in both detail and expression of story.

La Maison d’Aneli: Oema

Taken together this is a richly diverse exhibition that is nevertheless drawn together by incidental, rather than deliberate themes, and which will be available through until late March.

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