Examining the wrong pictures and taking a little Whiskey with your coffee

Wrong Pictures,Melusina Parkin,  e-image gallery
Wrong Pictures,Melusina Parkin, e-mage gallery

Currently on display at her e-mage gallery space is Melusina Parkin’s latest exhibition.  Intriguingly entitled Wrong Pics, it offers a series of images which “are the outcome of a long work of selecting, re-thinking, and editing quite good photos, with the aim of enhancing a meaning the subject could inspire, by extreme manipulations of its features.”

The result is a collection of 16 pictures which demonstrate various unintended photographic errors such as over-exposure, colour saturation, incorrect lighting, inadequate focus, double exposure and so on, can enhance, rather than diminish, an image. It’s an outcome referred to as “fautographie”, a term popularised – although not coined – by photographic historian Clément Chéroux in his 2003 book Fautographie: petite histoire de l’erreur photographique (“Fautographie: story of the photographic error“) – which Melusina points to as influencing her exhibit. The idea that an image born of accident rather than design  – what what Chéroux refers to as “photography by default” – can be as striking as anything deliberately composed or edited.

Wrong Pictures,Melusina Parkin,  e-image gallery
Wrong Pictures,Melusina Parkin, e-mage gallery

This is something of a challenging exhibition, because by it’s very nature it is founded on something of a dichotomy. “Fautographie” emphasises the way in which the accidental or unplanned photograph can be as artistic as any other photo. Yet, in order to demonstrate this, the images on display have had to be deliberately manipulated to achieve the desired results.

Not that this is any criticism of Melusina. For one thing, this dichotomy is not lost on her: at the back of the gallery lies a small plaque bearing a quote from William Gibson: It is possible to photograph what isn’t there; but it’s damned hard to do. For another, given the tools we have at our disposal in SL, it is pretty much impossible to accidentally produce a double exposure or an unintended reflection, or a lens flare,  or to over-expose an image or jostle the camera during a long exposure. So just because things have been manipulated here doesn’t necessarily detract from the exhibit as a whole, or its intent.

Selected Letters, Whiskey Monday, The Pixel Bean Cafe
Selected Letters, Whiskey Monday, The Pixel Bean Coffee House

Located in the cosy upstairs gallery of the Pixel Bean Coffee House is a baker’s dozen exhibition of pieces by Whiskey Monday. Originally intended to run through until the end of December 2014, the display remains open for the present – but you may well be advised to visit it sooner rather than later, in case there are plans in hand to replace it with work by another artist.

Whiskey’s compositions are always remarkable; beautifully composed and edited, each one presents a striking image and / or theme, and this series of pictures carries the collected title of Selected Letters, a title which at first may seem a little confusing, as the subject matter within the pieces might seem well removed from communications or letters, the images appearing to focus more on aspects of self-expression and matters of place and identity,  But really, aren’t all of these  – our sense of self, our feelings of place and identity, and such, all little missives we send to ourselves – and to others?

Selected Letters, Whiskey Monday, The Pixel Bean Cafe
Selected Letters, Whiskey Monday, The Pixel Bean Coffee House

The prints on display at the Pixel Bean Coffee house are available for purchase, should you desire to have a piece of Whiskey’s work in your virtual home.

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Melusina Parkin: Closer Looks

Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin
Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin

I received an invitation to preview Closer Looks, a new exhibition of photography by Melusina Parkin, which officially opens on Monday July 28th at 15:00 SLT at La Sociedad de los Poetas Dementes gallery on Mexico MX.

I last reviewed one of Melusina’s exhibitions in May 2014, when she was exhibiting Themes, which featured 42 of her pieces on display at the The Nite’s Place Red Line Exposition Area. Closer Looks presents around 45 of her photographs, taken of various locations around Second Life and which, as the name of the exhibition suggests, presents them in close-up, focusing down on a specific element within each image, encouraging the observer to similarly focus their attention.

Closer looks, Melusina Parkin
Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin

“Watching things from close-up is an amazing practice,” Melusina says in the liner notes accompanying the exhibition. “Isolating an element or detail in a scene, focusing on it, is like when you repeat a word in your mind until it does lose its meaning; it starts then revealing unexpected associations suggesting unusual relationships, showing unforeseen details in it.”

As with Themes, many of these images in this exhibition appear to be drawn from certain thematic elements: cars, structures, ships, skylines, which at first appear to suggest associations between them. However, each picture in fact works on a far more subtle level than that, encouraging the observer to consider the associations which lie not so much between them, but in what is within each of them, and what they start to suggest to the observer’s own mind. It’s an effect Melusina intended to achieve within each of the pictures.

Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin
Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin

“When photographed, the most trivial object, thanks to framing, light, shadows and colours handling, can acquire a completely different than its own actual or usual one,” Melusina notes. “This is what I tried to do in each of these photos. Enhancing the evocative power of daily life objects and landscapes, showing them out of their context or catching their hidden fascination by camera framing and lighting.”

In this, this exhibition stands as something of a comment on Second Life, where the incredible diversity of creative expression can so easily become trivialized or marginalised by the incredible scope and beauty evident is seeing whole regions and estates, where houses, trees, vehicles, and everything else can so easily blur together that we can miss so much. It is only when we pause, when we take the time to focus down on things, that we can really see just how amazing things in this digital world really are and how incredibly different things really are, even when seemingly alike – and how they can so often challenge our own creative perceptions, encouraging us to think of ways and means of doing things, and so further adding to the creative diversity others can see and learn from.

Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin
Closer Looks, Melusina Parkin

All told, another thought-provoking and visually stylish exhibition from Melusina, with each of the images on display on sale for anyone who would like to take a piece home with them.

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Themes of solitude, industry, landscape and more

Melusina Parkin: Themes
Melusina Parkin: Themes (click any image for full size)

Melusina Parkin’s Themes is now open at the The Nite’s Place Red Line Exposition Area. Curated by Simonh Sandial, Themes features 42 photographs selected by Melusina in and exhibition space which allows them to be displayed in 6 groups of seven photographs apiece on the themes of “solitudes”, “landscapes”, “industry”, “details”, “urban” and “minimal”.

The selected images are striking in nature, each one displayed large enough to draw the eye into it, making the observer almost a part of the scene itself. What is particularly noticeable about many of the images is the fact that they appear so very life-like; so much so that on first look, it’s actually hard to tell whether they were taken in-world or in real-life. It is only on closer examination, or when the eye is drawn to certain clues, that the fact the photo was taken within SL becomes apparent.

Melusina Parkin: Themes
Melusina Parkin: Themes

Take the two images above (put side-by-side for comparison purposes): the one on the left (“Loneliness 1”) gives every impression of having been taken in RL, while in the second (“Loneliness 3”), it is only when one sees the while glow surrounding the nearer of the two sets of lamps that its SL origins are revealed.

This RL / SL “crossover” is intentional on Melusina’s art, as she informed Ziki Questi, who reviewed this exhibition earlier in May. “The aims of my photographer’s work are always the same: showing how fantasy and skills of SL residents made a world that reflects the main features of the natural or human environment’s common imagery,” Ziki quotes Melusina as saying of the pieces on display here.

Melusina Parkin: Themes
Melusina Parkin: Themes

Not only this, but the selected images beautifully – even hauntingly – reflect their intended themes. In this, several of the pictures in the “solitudes” section were particularly evocative for me, while “industry 1” (see on the left in the topmost image in this article) give rise to images of the romantic age of steam and the stirrings of time long past, together with the feeling of a story waiting to be told.

As noted at the top of this piece, this is a striking exhibition, and for those with a love of SL photography, definitely not one to be missed.

Melusina Parkin: Themes
Melusina Parkin: Themes

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Art Deco, SL style

ART DECO Exhibition
Art Deco

Melusina Parkin has a passion for Art Deco. Since entering Second Life in late 2008, she has kept herself extremely busy, becoming CEO of MEB Fashion at the start of 2009, and also launching Melu Decos supplying Art Deco furnishings to SL users, with stores featured in many historical and retro regions such as 1920 Berlin, Seraph City, Paris 1900, Roaring 20 Chicago, and so on.

ART DECO PosterShe is also a talented photographer and has had exhibitions at Galerie des Machines (Paris 1900), Schloss Museum (1920 Berlin), Café des Artistes (Paris 1900), R&D Diotima Gallery, Musee de la Duché de Coeur (Languedo Coeur), among others.

Opening at 14:00 SLT on Saturday 2nd February, Melusina now brings her passion for Art Deco design and art and her talents as an SL designer and an artist together in an elegant exhibition which will run through until (approximately) the end of March 2013.

Located at the Art India Gallery on Shekhawati, the exhibition is being kindly hosted by Veekay Navarathna and curated by Quan Lavender.

Quan graciously offered me the chance to preview the exhibit prior to the formal opening, which will be marked by a 20’s style Flapper Party, with invitations to all – and if you can attend appropriately costumed (while not required), so much the better!

Art Deco
Art Deco

The exhibition is located in a purpose-built space Melusina has designed herself and which forms an integral part of the show, incorporating a clearly Deco style which appears at first sight simple, but which is in fact exceptionally elegant and beautifully balanced.

AD-14Both the art and the furnishings and accessories are offered for sale, providing a unique combination of art exhibit and a demonstration of Melusina’s well-crafted, low-impact mesh designs for furnishings and lighting accessories which stunningly reproduce the Art Deco style in-world. I particularly liked the 1-prim, free-standing fan-lights which, for some reason, cast me back into the world of ITV’s Poirot, leaving me half expecting the (suitably padded and brilliant) David Suchet to waddle up…

The pictures themselves are typical of the Art Deco era both in style and presentation, and there are a couple which certainly caught my eye. The furnishings included in the exhibit are also typical of the era and demonstrate clean, strong lines which perfectly complement both the paintings and the design of the gallery itself. All of the items are mesh and had a land impact of 1 each, making them a cost-effective means of decorating a house in-world.

For anyone interested in Art Deco art, design and architecture, this is a must-see exhibition.

Art Deco opens at 14:00 SLT on February 2nd, 2013 and will run for approximately 2 months.

Art Deco
Art Deco

More About Melusina Parkin

As an art object creator, Melusina Parkin has been the best voted in the Virtual Museum of Architecture (VMA) Contest of Art Deco Clocks. She has presented two talks at the VMA; the first, in December 2010 was on Art Deco, and was reprinted in the SL Retropolitan Magazine. The second talk, in March 2012, was on the subject of London’s famous Battersea Power Station.

As a builder, Melusina has been responsible for a number of notable builds in SL, including the MEB main store at Klio, the Look Elite Model agency lobby and academy, and the Cotton Club set for the Look Elite agency graduation show of 2012. As a writer, she covers cinema, fashion and SL destinations and collaborates on a number of in-world publications. She speaks English, Spanish and Italian (her native language), understands French, a little bit of German and Portuguese. Her passion for Art Deco in SL is reflected in her Flickr photostream, where she has over 500 images of in-world places and buildings.

Art Deco
Art Deco

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With thanks to Quan Lavender.