Tag Archives: MetaLES

The Haul in Second Life

MetaLES: The Haul

MetaLES: The Haul

Hauling, on land and in the sea. Exploring limits and bypassing any respect for them, while stringing our catch into a growing story.

So reads the introduction to Haveit Neox’s latest installation The Haul, which opened on February 5th, 2017 at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar. It’s an interesting description, offering just enough to pique the curiosity and point the imagination in a certain direction, without laying bare the artist’s intent or hope.

MetaLES: The Haul

MetaLES: The Haul

Occupying the region’s sea level – loftier reaches being occupied by Chimkami’s Illogism (which you can read about here), The Haul offers an enigmatic setting which is both familiar and other-worldly. Teleporting from the MetaLES landing point, visitors arrive on the deck of a vessel, one of three in fact, although it appears to have collided with one of its sister ships. All are deserted, delicate sails unfettered by rigging, silent roll outwards from heavy masts, caught in a gentle breeze.

Above these ships are four giant objects, looking like some otherworldly jelly fish floating serenely in the currents of the air. Three of these drop chain-like lines or tentacles down into the sea, but the largest trails an intricate filigree of lines and webbing from its rim, in which are caught fish and other creatures. Look up inside this great jelly fish of the sky, and you will see this web of tentacles is in fact nets, the catch within them being hauled aloft by figures poised on spheres within the great dome.

MetaLES: The Haul

MetaLES: The Haul

Nor is this all. Follow the lines of the smaller “jelly fish” down below the waves and you will find them drifting over ruins encrusted in coral – some are even holding the upturned form of an encased car. The ruins are arranged around a central square, the remains of a great hall to one side. In the midst of this former square, delicate, broken spiral of coral rises, its spines and turns resembling a broken strand of DNA.

What are we to make of all of this? The clue seems to rest in Haveit’s description: we explore – or exploit – over land and sea. We take what we want, ignoring limits and showing no respect for the damage our actions may cause, stringing everything into a net of greed and want. Not even the loss of our homes and lifestyles (the flooded ruins a reference to global warming?) can stop us, even as we sow the seeds of our own destruction (which are perhaps embodied in the sleeker, smaller, group of “jellyfish” which seem to be approaching the larger group in an almost predatory manner).

MetaLES: The Haul

MetaLES: The Haul

Of course, this is only one interpretation, you my well find your own narrative within the great tableau, and it is Haveit’s ability to put before us some pages from a narrative hidden within our thoughts, as much as his ability to create such beautifully intricate pieces as these, which make him not just an artist, but a master storyteller and a social commentator.

Fascinating, beautiful and challenging, The Haul will remain open through until the end of March 2017.

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Illogism at MetaLES in Second Life

MetaLES: Illogism

MetaLES: Illogism

Now open at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, is Illogism (from the French Illogisme, or illogicality), an exhibition of 55 images by Chimkami. These are presented in large format within a bizarre environment visualised by Romy Nayar, designed to represent disproportionate, or diform, doll’s houses of enormous size, and which are themselves contained within a large doll’s house.

“At all heights, outside as inside the houses, “Chimkami notes in her introduction to the setting, “you can discover the photos in this universe freed from any constraint, exposed with [the] nonsensical. Each corner and nook will reveal photos and rest places. Will you have nerves to find them ? Walk, fly, use your camera, relax, laugh, observe, discuss, as you want. Only one thing matters: take pleasure in it!”

MetaLES: Illogism

MetaLES: Illogism

It is a curious, bewildering environment where gravity plays no part: a dance floor is located on a ceiling, objects occupy roof tops and floors, images hang from walls or occupy the clefts and cuts through objects. Houses stand and float or sit at the end of disembodied stairs and plank-like walks, their shapes twisted, squeezed or bent, the photos in them, on them and around them.

The best way to get around is to join the MetaLES group at the installation’s landing point. This will give you local rezzing rights, so you can grab a Walker from the neighbouring board, rez it, and then sit on it. This will allow you to freely explore the space – use the standard WASD keys of arrow keys for navigation – and will also allow your to walk up walls, cross ceilings and along the various twisted paths through the exhibition. Along the way, there are various points where you might also enjoy rides, take a seat, and so on.

MetaLES: Illogism

MetaLES: Illogism

The images themselves are an eclectic mix, focusing on avatar studies, but not exclusive human in nature. Some are stylised, others more direct, others lean towards monochrome, others in bright, bold colours. All are subject to individual interpretation and appreciation. Such is the size of things, that getting around to everything can take time.

Illogism is an interesting piece. Quirky, a little out of the ordinary, a space where we are presented as tiny explorers, and where everything is being close examined from “outside” – look out for the eyes staring through the windows of the enclosing doll’s house. It will remain open through until February 28th, 2017.

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OpeRaAnxiEty: metaphor in Second Life

MetaLES: Op[eRaAxiEty

MetaLES: OpeRaAxiEty

Now open at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, is OpeRaAxiEty,  by JadeYu Fang. Reached via teleport from the landing point, it presents a haunting mix of ideas and images  intended to play on our anxieties – albeit at times in the most subtle of ways (make sure you have local sounds enabled when visiting).

A misty landscape awaits visitors, across which web-like lines faintly ebb and flow and the air throbs with a steady beat, warping at times into the high-pitched beep of an electrocardiogram. These combine to offer the first play on feelings of discomfort.

In the distance, a huge structure glimmers its way into the sky, figures limned against its glow while darker shapes sit on the horizon. Closer to hand, a hill rises from the surroundings, crowned by twin human torsos atop stilt-like legs, each holding a sphere in which two more figures, back-to-back, stand surrounded by eggs as large, blood-red spiders sit on their abdomens as if about to suckle. Apparently genuflecting before this scene on the slope of the hill, is a crystal Arachne (as perhaps popularised more by fantasy than mythology).

MetaLES: Op[eRaAxiEty

MetaLES: OpeRaAxiEty

A web forms a bridge from these figures to the floating crystalline structure, its arches and general form suggesting a temple. Here, green female figures fade and form as one cams around them, bright trails of light curling and twisting around their bodies, kneel in a circle as a black arachnid female offers up eggs to a female human. Above all of this, watching, sits another crystal Arachne.

Elsewhere, human figures lie wrapped in webs, tended by more arachnids, while before the glimmering, cathedral-like structure stand three android torsos raised on great plinths. Within the arches (vaults?) of the “cathedral” white human forms float over their barbed wire doppelgängers. Flanking this, on either side, are two groups of plinth-mounted female forms, heads encased in televisions sets / computer CRTs.

MetaLES: Op[eRaAxiEty

MetaLES: OpeRaAxiEty

With the ebb and flow of the webs on the ground at this point giving way to flickering data displays (which also form the walls of the cathedral), and data wrapping itself through the misty air, OpeRaAnxiEty offers an ethereal, fascinating environment. But what might it all mean? The artist offers few clues; it is for us to create our own narrative.

To me, the arachnids are a metaphor – albeit perhaps a multi-faceted one. There is the obvious spider-as-phobia element. Many of us are put on edge on seeing spiders, and it would seem that is the intent here. But it is also true that we are by nature complex creatures;  we weave and create so much that often it can ensnare us or confuse us – hence the webs. This idea is also perhaps manifested in the armless figures with their heads encased by screens: they are helpless to prevent their total immersion in a media-driven overload of information which creates is own reality around them.

MetaLES: Op[eRaAxiEty

MetaLES: Op[eRaAxiEty

Thus, OpeRaAnxiety might offer a warning: that the unequal blending of humanity and technology may give rise to something potentially unpleasant. Hence (again) the use of arachnids and their link to images of gestation and hatching / birth (might even the heartbeat throb in the air and the ECG be indicative for new life?).

But perhaps there is also hope here as well. Might the figures floating over their barbed wire doppelgängers within the data-walled vaults of the great “cathedral” be a metaphor representing the potential for technology to yet free us from the mortal constraints  imposed by our own bodies?

OpeRaAnxiety will remain at MetaLES  into the New Year.

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Everything is Lit in Second Life

A scene from Tutsy Navarathna's Death of Death?

Tout Est Allumé: a scene from Tutsy Navarathna’s Death of Death?

Second Life is a powerful medium for machinima. It caters for everything from promo videos for events, stores, and activities through to music videos, or showcasing region builds and role-play locations, etc., through to offering the perfect medium for telling narrative series and short films.

One of the great masters of machinima in Second Life is the award-winning Tutsy Navarathna. At the MetaLES art region, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar (and reached via teleport from the landing point), he is presenting a special retrospective of his work.

Tout Est Allumé (“everything is lit”) is a festival of 16 of Tutsy’s films  – including the award-winning The Residents and Metaphore. The films are being shown together with 19 of his animated shorts, and a series of 3D art pieces by Yoon (Toyono) and Romy Nayar.

It’s a machinima tour de force, one which ideally requires more than one visit in order to capture everything, particularly given the display environment itself requires a little exploration. However, the effort is mote than worth it; Tutsy’s mastery of the medium and his gift for storytelling are both outstanding and guaranteed to capture your eye and mind.

There is just one slight technical point to note: it is recommended that the films are watched using QuickTime. However, QuickTime is no longer supported on Windows, leaving it with some potential security vulnerabilities. So, if you are a Windows user, and your viewer can’t play the videos at MetaLES, it might be preferable for you to swap to the current official viewer rather than installing QuickTime. This uses the VLC media plug-in, which will play the videos without issue (TPVs are in the process of swapping to VLC or GStreamer for Windows media support as well).

But this aside, Tout Est Allumé is an outstanding opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of one of SL’s more visionary and creative visual storytellers. Just catch The Residents, from 2013, below, to get a flavour of his work and then hop on over to MetaLES to see the rest.

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Tout Est Allumé (MetaLES, rated Moderate)