Art and a rock in Second Life

Onceagain Art Gallery: Penis Rock, May 2022

It might have a title the hints at something sexual / upsetting but Penis Rock, an ensemble exhibition that opened on May 7th, 2022 at the Onceagain Art Gallery curated by Onceagain (Manoji Yachvili), really isn’t – although it does have an “Adult” section and a slightly lewd rock formation outside of the exhibition space.

The exhibition has been inspired by a mesh rock formation that has a certain resemblance to a certain male appendage – and which, like said male appendage, can also change in size depending on how it is stretched. However, rather than being intentionally lewd or sexual, the images presented are, for the most part intended to be fun and raise a smile.

Onceagain Art Gallery: Penis Rock, May 2022

Growing out of an in-world rock climbing expedition to a location where the rock had been included, the exhibition presents images by Alex Amore,  Alsatian Kidd, Ambre Singh, Crash Landers, Eupalinos Ugajin, Loony Perl, Jack in the box, Kika Yongho, Madoka Kawabata, Manoji Yachvili, Mara Telling, Zakk Bifrandt and Zedillo. All feature said phallic rock in one way or another, and may either present the likes of a simple landscape in which a finger-like rock stands, or as trios of images intended to be considered side-by-side or as pieces intended to offer a story – or even present a degree of social commentary – such as Ambre Singh’s Schism of Faith.

Reading the titles of some of the images may be required in order to appreciate them fully; others might be appreciated simply because of their artistic presentation – such as with Manoji Yachvili’s Grauland trio (the rock in question recently appeared in one of the Grauland region designs and helped to formulate the idea for the exhibition).

Onceagain Art Gallery: Penis Rock, May 2022

In terms of “Adult” content, these images have been placed in a room of their own, clearly indicated by a neon sign as Adult Only. These are not overly sexual in nature – although there are some obviously suggestive pieces and also some avatar nudity. When it comes to humour, I confess to finding two more pieces by Ambre giving rise to smiles. These are, Overprotective, which speaks for itself, and her proboscis monkey-filled Houston We Have a Problem, which is offers a richness of humour from the monkey schnozzes and somewhat bewildered expressions of the simians that seem to ask, “Oi, why are you sniggering?” and they look out of the frame at us, to an entire 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe that seems to be going on thanks again to said noses and the rock rising in the background.

All told, a fun exhibition that should not be taken overly seriously, but within which the art is rich in content.

Onceagain Art Gallery: Penis Rock, May 2022

SLurl Details

The Intimacy of self in Second Life

Onceagain Art Gallery: Scylla Rhiadra – Intimacy

The question of identity / pseudonymity has been linked to Second Life pretty much since the platform from the start; we have complete agency of how we represent ourselves and how much of ourselves we chose to reveal to the world. It is often said that this pseudonymity allows us to more fully express who we’d like to be.

But who are we, really? The person we are at home and among family is not the same as the person we are at work;, and that person is not the same as the person we are when with friends, and so on. Even within our family group, who we are with loved ones – husband / wife, children, parents – can change from moment to moment.

And all of these personas are very different to who we are when alone; those intimate moments of oneness in which we perhaps most truly reveal who we are without fear of observation / ridicule / rejection. And so, too, are multiple areas of overlap – each and every one of us is an individual; but the question still remains, given all these multiple facets to our make-up, some self-imposed, others placed upon us by society / those around us, who are we – really? And can we use avatars to express not who we’d like to be, but who we are?

Onceagain Art Gallery: Scylla Rhiadra – Intimacy

It is this exploration of self through our avatar that is the focus of Intimacyan exhibition / installation by Scylla Rhiadra which opened at the end of February 2022 at the Onceagain Art Gallery curated by Onceagain (Manoji Yachvili).

Set within an environment that is as much a part of the exhibition, are twelve images designed to better inform us as to who the person who inhabits “Scylla Rhiadra” actually is. To quote Scylla’s introductory notes from the exhibit:

The pictures in this exhibit represent my attempt to communicate that extra “something” about myself. They do so, not by removing the barriers that separate who I most truly am from how I represent in a virtual environment, but by leveraging virtual images and appearances to convey it … Here you will see “Scylla” (who has never washed a dish in her entire virtual existence) dancing as she washes dishes, getting dressed in the morning, and eating ice cream at outrageous hours of the night. These are intended not merely to provide some insight into “what I do” in real life, but more vitally “who I am” there – which is, pretty closely, also “who I am” in Second Life.

– Scylla Rhiadra

Onceagain Art Gallery: Scylla Rhiadra – Intimacy

Of course, one might say there is a certain hubris in trying to use an avatar in this way; at the end of the day, whatever is done, the avatar is not the person operating it, neither in look nor in perception by others. Plus, said avatar is a puppet; any image of it must posed, the setting staged; thus any attempt to use it to bring forth a broader expression of “self” must itself be something of a manipulation of perception as much as any other use of our avatar to impart a persona.However, this is far from true. While the images may well be constructed to bring forth a specific aspect of our personality, the fact remains that the aforementioned pseudonymity baked-in to Second Life also frees us from the usual impediments (fear, embarrassment, etc), that might otherwise stand in the way of our revealing more of ourselves to strangers never seen or known. Thus, they are the perfect vehicle, staged settings notwithstanding, by which we can “be who we really are” and express what might otherwise remain hidden, as Scylla notes in her introduction to Intimacy:

One of the most important opportunities afforded by Second Life, and virtual embodiment generally is the chance to represent facets of ourselves that we cannot, or do not, express in our material lives. That I am doing something that is really quite the opposite of this – representing my more mundane self virtually – doesn’t change the reality that a virtual self can be not merely liberating but also revelatory. Just as the fictions of a good novel can reveal Truths with greater clarity than more factual forms of discourse, so too, I hope, does my artifice here strip away some of the barriers that separate me from . . . you. 

– Scylla Rhiadra

Onceagain Art Gallery: Scylla Rhiadra – Intimacy

Thus, these 12 images are deeply engaging and fascinating in their depictions; so much so, that any thoughts of the “falseness” of their staging / posing is quickly lost. Instead, we are invited to share on the most intimate expressions of how Scylla views herself, and the moments from the physical world that make up many of the facets of who she is in the world of pixels and zeros and ones.

As noted, this is an exhibition in which the setting plays as much as role as the images themselves. From the night sky (make sure you have Use Shared Environment checked via menu → World → Environment), through to the maze, the lamps that illuminate each image as we approach it, to the props to be found throughout the space, everything has a role to play. The maze, for example, might be seen as a metaphor for our exploration of who we are, either as others try to understand us, or as we look upon ourselves. Such explorations can involve wrong turn (misapprehensions) and back-tracking (re-evaluation). Similarly, the lamps alongside each image represent those moments of realisation / revelation that spur our understanding onwards, and so on.

Onceagain Art Gallery: Scylla Rhiadra – Intimacy

Provocative, revelatory, rich in content and presentation, the images offered in Intimacy, are highly personal both in their exploration of Scylla’s sense of self, and in the way they can chime with each of us and our own considerations of who we are in life – digitally and physically. They are also marvellously composed and framed as individual artistic pieces that can be appreciated in their own right. All of which makes this a thoroughly engaging visit.

SLurl Details

  • Intimacy, Onceagain Art Gallery (Peaceful mountains, rated Adult)

Drawing an equine Dream in Second Life

Drawing a Dream, February 2022

It’s taken me a while, but I finally managed to drop into Onceagain Art Gallery, owned and operated by Onceagain (Manoji Yachvili). The occasion for during so was to visit Drawing a Dream, an exhibition of of images and drawings by Onceagain herself.

It’s an exhibition can be reached in one of two ways – via direct SLurl, as given here, or by dropping into the gallery’s main landing point and taking the teleport from there to Onceagain’s personal exhibition space. One on the platform, one will find a winter setting, heavy in snow and with a slightly otherworldy look to it thanks to the huge mushrooom trees and and tall crystals, which also help give the suggestion of a place from dreams canopied by the a starlit sky.

Drawing a Dream, February 2022

This open space, marked by stepping-stone paths and a shallow pool of water, is home to horses (complete with poses alongside them for those who may wish to take photos with them) and a collection of pictures by Onceagain that are drawn from both the physical world and Second Life, all of them on the subject of horses – animals for whom Onceagain has an understandable love. As such, I’ll leave it to her to explain her exhibition:

I live in a small farm and among the different animals that populate it there is a mare. She’s been with me for 23 years, I consider her like a friend. She is a barefoot horse, most of the times I’ve ridden her without saddle or just allowed her to follow me like a friend; but she is old, she just grazes.
For twenty years I have made drawings of her, and ten years ago I start to take photos of her. Now I doe the same with horse in Second Life. What you will find here are a mix of all these three things. The pictures in dark frames are from real life, and those in the light frames from Second Life.

– Onceagain (Manoji Yachvili)

Drawing a Dream, February 2022

The result is the most fascinating selection of equine studies it’s been my pleasure to witness in Second Life. All of the images have been finished so as to give the impression they have been hand-drawn,whether they originated in the physical word or were created from photographs taken in Second Life.

Predominantly offered sans any backgrounds or other distractions, they are drawings that perfectly capture these beasts that have been a central put of so much of humanity’s history, and with whom it is so easy to form a special bond. Each piece speaks to the strength, grace and beauty of these magnificent animals – and also speak to the love and understanding in which Onceagain herself holds horses.

Drawing a Dream, February 2022

For those wishing to have one of these pieces, they are available for sale – but only in limited quantities – available numbers are displayed with piece piece in hovertext when viewing up close.

An exceptional selection of art that perfectly blends the physical and virtual worlds.

SLurl Details

Drawing a Dream, Onceagain Art Gallery (Peaceful Mountains, rated Adult)

 

 

 

Nekonuko’s Endless Journey through Second Life

Onceagain Gallery: Nekonuko Nakamori
I’ve forgotten how long I’ve been wandering. In-world is infinitely large, disappearing and reappearing, and the roads are endless. My work is simple. I face with contemporary art in real life, but my work in SL is much simpler. I’ve always wanted to do that kind of work; all I have to do is walk around and click the shutter on “something”, a “moment” that resonates with me. Yes, it’s that easy and everyone does it.
I edit these photos, not to create another story, but to extract “something” from that “moment”. If you can relate to the “something” of my “moment”, then my wandering will not be lonely, and I hope you will enjoy that wandering with me. 

With these words, Nekonuko Nakamori introduces her exhibition at Onceagain Gallery, curated by Onceagain (manoji Yachvili). As is suggested by Nekonuko’s words, this is another selection of her travels through the the endless world of Second Life in a collection that comes to just shy of two dozen images presented across the two floors of the gallery.

I was first introduced to Nekonuko’s art around four years ago through a couple of exhibitions in 2017. I’m not sure if it is because she exhibits sparsely, or just that I’ve managed to somehow miss any exhibitions of her work between then and now, but I confess I was surprised that is has been so long since I’ve had the opportunity to write about her art, as it really is quite captivating.

Onceagain Gallery: Nekonuko Nakamori

Eschewing the more usual rectangular format of images that tends to dominate the SL photographic community, Nekonuko utilises a 1:1 ratio for her art. This alone sets her work aside from that of other landscape artists; but what makes it completely special is the manner in which she selects the focus of each piece, seeking out, as she says, a view that sets each image as a moment in time, made completely personal through the presence of her avatar.

A specialist in conceptual art in the physical world, Nekonuko’s skills as an artist are very much in evidence through these pieces. Her selection of angle, composition – off-centre views of skylines, fire escapes, tunnels and bridges, the gently brushed touch of post-processing that offers skies of dappled colour, hazy horizons and soft lines – may not per se tell a complete story, like all great works of art, they combine to capture attention and offer a hint of a tale, making the moment that that caught into something deeper.

Also folded within her images are hints of more classical art forms, notably impressionism and realism – the latter particularly evident in her broader landscape pieces. This does much to further capture the eye and imagination, again drawing the observer into each piece.

Onceagain Gallery: Nekonuko Nakamori

An altogether engaging exhibition from an artist who reminds us of both the ever-changing vastness of Second Life (a vastness that far exceeds either the physical size of the grid or the constraints imposed by the world map) and the broad uniqueness of this digital realm we regard as home.

SLurl Details