Calling artists: an exhibition to say farewell to the UWA in Second Life

The University of Western Australia has been a long-term patron of the arts in Second Life

From 2009 through through 2018, the University of Western Australia (UWA) was a name synonymous with patronage of the arts in Second Life.

The university first became involved in Second Life largely through the encouragement of faculty member Jayjay Zifanwe, and under his guidance and the curation of FreeWee Ling, UWA oversaw a series of art challenges that offered impressive cash rewards for 2D, 3D and machinima artists.

These Art and Grand Challenges yielded some of the most exceptional displays of art and creativity seen within – and beyond – Second Life, and became a hallmark for artistic excellence.  Over the years, I attempted to cover down the years through this blog; however, from the end of 2015, UWA started a gradual winding-down of their operations in Second Life.

This started with the ending of their direct sponsorship of their art challenges with the Pursue Impossible challenge (see Pursue Impossible: celebrating art and machinima in Second Life), after which, events continued to be run, albeit without a cash prize incentive. Then in 2016, it was announced that four of the five regions operated by the university would be closing – although this was extended through to mid-2017 n (see UWA to scale back in Second Life and All UWA regions to remain in Second Life through mid-2017), allowing one more prize-based challenge  – sponsored through the generosity of LaPiscean Liberty – to take place (see UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

Pursue Impossible (2015) marked the end of the UWA supporting Second Life artistic expression with large-scale cash prizes. Image courtesy of UWA

Sadly, all good things must eventually come to an end, and the time is coming to say farewell to the last remaining UWA region – and in order to do so, a final art exhibition is to take place in the UWA’s exhibition space over the region.

Open to all 2D and 3D artists, the exhibition has been entitled Gratitude. It is being organised with the approval of the UWA by Chuck Chip, who describes the event thus:

This is a grand finale, a sad farewell to show our gratitude to UWA and all that they did for us as artists, curators, and residents of SL. Their work brought life and beauty to all of us and made the art world in Second Life a thing to behold. Why The Theme “Gratitude”? For over a decade, the University of Western Australia has been synonymous in the minds of many residents of Second Life with the arts and the support thereof. Their work was unparalleled on the grid, and made waves in the art world that, even as they prepare to close their sim, resonate through the art world today.
There are so many people whose lives they touched in one way or another. So many artists found inspiration in their 3D Art Challenge themes, and support in the encouragement of the community they created. Let us all come together this one last time to say thank you to the men and women of this great institution, to celebrate their achievements, their impact on our own achievements, and to mourn their departure.

– Chuck Chip, via note card

Those wishing to participate in this special event should note the following:

  • The event is open to all Second Life 2D and 3D artists, but is limited to one entry per artist.
  • Artists will be given a maximum of 150 LI with which to realise their work.
  • Entries should be able to be interpreted by the casual viewer as being representative of the theme of Gratitude. Where the link to the theme is difficult to ascertain, this should be referenced in a note card accompanying the work.
  • All entries must be submitted no later than 23:59 SLT on Sunday, November 1st, 2020 via the official UWA Art Show Submissions boxes (see below).
  • All entries must be accompanied by a note card containing: the artist’s name and a brief biography; the name of the submitted art (this should match the actual name of the piece as an object); a description of the piece; any landmark to more of the artist’s work, if applicable.
  • The exhibition will open at 12:00 noon SLT on Wednesday, November 11th, 2020, and will be marked by a special opening event with live entertainment, and will close on December 30th, 2020.
  • The region is currently set to close on December 31st, 2020, and art will be cleared prior to this occurring.

How to Enter

  • Place the artwork and covering note card in the UWA Art Show Submissions boxes located in the following regions:
    • University of Western Australia.
    • Sinful Retreat landing point.
    • To submit entries, left-click on the entry and HOLD the mouse button down, then press CTRL and drag the entry to the Art Show Submissions box. When the cursor is over the box (red outlines should appear around the receiver box), release your left mouse button and the item is received.
    • Repeat the above for the note card as well.
  • If you have problems with the box give artwork to Chuck Clip along with  a note card containing your name, together with the art.

General Rules

  1. Any style of 2D and 3D artwork can be submitted, provided it is in keeping with the exhibition theme and meets the General maturity rating for the UWA region and in accordance with Linden Lab’s Terms of Service and Community Standards. Items can be static or animated.
  2. In addition:
    • All entries cannot exceed a maximum of 20×20 metres.
    • If scripts are used, they should be kept too a run time of 0.2ms (0.5ms  maximum). Anything above this must include an on/off on touch with time out of up to 10 minutes.
  3. By submitting an entry, you are giving permission to the University of Western Australia and Chuck Clip to place the objects anywhere on the UWA region, and to have information and images of the entries placed on UWA websites and on websites promoting the UWA region or events held on the UWA region or to be filmed for machinima purposes.
  4. All work must be original. Renderings of works by others, in part or in whole, whether or not they are under copyright, should be acknowledged and permissions secured when appropriate.

UWA Art of the Artists machinima challenge winners

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

On March 26th, 2018, the winners of the UWA Art of Artists machinima challenge, launched in July 2017, were announced. Initially sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore, the challenge opened with a prize pool of L$350,00 which, thanks to additional sponsors such as Pooky Amsterdam of Pookymedia, topped-out at L$430,000 by the time the challenge closed to entries on December 31st, 2017.

Challenge entrants were asked to produce a machinima film focused on any of the art exhibits located on the UWA regions in Second Life. They were allowed to choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art had to be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing, and films to be considered for any of the prizes could not exceed 8 minutes in length (although longer films could be submitted if desired.

The award ceremony was held at the historic Winthrop Hall in the UWA virtual campus in Second Life. As well as a celebration of the competition and its winners, the event also marked an end of an era. “It’s a farewell from me,” Jayjay Zifanwe, who has been the powerhouse behind the UWA’s presence in Second Life and its patronage of digital arts, informed me ahead of the ceremony.

He continued, “Farewell in a sense that it’s the last of my major events, and the last speech in will do within SL.” During his opening address at the awards ceremony, Jayjay took time to thank all of those – especially Freewee Ling, curator of the UWA’s art exhibits, and to all those who have done so much to make the UWA’s presence in SL so rewarding for him. In doing so, he also paid tribute to artist Alizarin Goldflake, who passed away recently after a long illness.

The Awards

All of the entries can be viewed on the Slartist website.

Art of the Artists Awards

Sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty and Slartist.

Award Awarded To
Film title / link
1st – L$75,000 Glasz Decuir Adaptive Resonance Theory (ART) and Intrusion Detection System(IDS)
2nd – L$50,000 Tutsy Navarathna Serendipity
3rd – L$40,000 Natascha Randt & Karmia Hoisan The River of Forgetting
4th –  L$30,000 Isabelle Cheren Before the World was Made
5th – Award L$20,000 Bryn Oh Cerulean
Craft Awards (L$7,000 each)
Suzie Anderton; Amelie Marcoud; Diana Rose; Elle Thorkveld; Tantra Sangha & M1nn0taur; Veyot; Gerhard Helmut & Lila~R; Iono Allen; Joseph Nussbaum; Secret Rage; Lampithaler

 

The Pookymedia Awards

Sponsored by Pooky Amsterdam and Pookymedia.

Award Awarded To
Film title / link
1st – L$25,000 Bryn Oh Cerulean
2nd –  L$15,000 Tutsy Navarathna Serendipity
3rd –  L$10,000 Suzie Anderton Never Say Never
Honourable Mentions (L$1,000 each)
Amelie Marcoud; Iono Allen; Lampithaler; Isabelle Cheren; Chic Aeon

 

UWA Art of the Artists Special Awards

Totalling L$51,000, awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia.

Award Awarded To
Film title / link
L$17,000 Amelie Marcoud For Love and Art
L$17,000 Suzie Anderton Never Say Never
L$17,000 Chic Aeon The Amalgamation of Objects

The Merlion Special Prizes

Awarded by Singh Albatros and Kaylee West on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the films which best represent the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore, and featured at the Merlion Portal in Second Life.

Award Awarded To
Film title / link
L$16,666 Amelie Marcoud For Love and Art
L$16,666 Suzie Anderton Art and Transformation – a dialogue at intervals
L$17,000 Diana Rose A Journey From the Past: Singapore

 

 

Congratulations to all those who received an award, and thanks to Jayjay, FreeWee and all those involved in this challenge.

UWA Art of the Artists: machinima challenge – update

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

In July I was able to break the news that the University of Western Australia would be retaining a presence in Second Life, and that in recognition of this, was launching a special UWA machinima challenge, Art of the Artists, sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore. On offer is a combined prize pool of L$350,000, including two special prizes.

The closing date from entries is December 31st, 2017, and videos for the competition are being hosted at the SLArtist website. Given there is just over a month to go before submissions close, I thought I’d take a look at some of the entries to date – with no personal preference implied – and run through a reminder of the main elements of the contest. However, as the SLArtist website utilises raw tags (which are considered a no-no by Automattic on WordPress.com hosted blogs), I’m embedding the videos as uploaded by the artists to YouTube.


Isabelle Cheren’s Before The World Was Made, featuring the work of artists Noke Yuitza, Otcoc Resident & Phillysmaybe Resident, Peli Dieterle, Igor Ballyhoo, and Rosie Dimanovic

In short, entrants may choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art must be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing, and films to be considered for any of the prizes must not be any longer than 8 minutes in duration (longer films can be submitted but will not be eligible for any of the prizes).

Selected art for a film may be filmed in its current location. however, films do not need to be restricted to these locations, as long as the art is the focus of the story being told. Entrants may contact artists about filming their works in other locations and / or collaborating with them on a film.


Joseph Nussbaum’s Alcyon and Ceyx featuring the artwork “A Virtual Wander in Two Dimensions and a Half” by ErikoLeo

The prizes run from L$75,000 for the first prize, through to five prizes of L$7,000 each for the films judged in 6th through 10th positions. In Addition, there are two special prizes:

  • L$50,000 UWA Art of the Artists Special Prize: this will be awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia
  • L$50,000 The Merlion Special Prize: this will be awarded by Singh Albatros on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the film which – in the view of the judge –  best represents the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore.

The 10 main prize winners will be selected by a selected panel of judges. Details of the full panel will be available on the UWA website soon. Each of the special prize winners will be judged independently to the judging panel, and as such, may be eligible for a prize in the general classification as well.


Bryn Oh’s Cerulean featuring the artist’s own work “The Cerulean”

Art which can be used in films submitted to the Challenge can be found in the following locations:

  • The UWA Main Gallery – the primary exhibition space for art at UWA, including entrants to the most recent challenge, Transformations, which is expected to remain up at least through the end of this year.
  • The UWA Main region – this is the home of the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Somerville outdoor cinema, the Moreton Bay Figs, and Sunken Garden. Some of the art from the UWA regions which will be closing will be relocated to platforms above this region. The relocation work is expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
  • The Merlion – celebrating Singapore’s iconic Merlion sculpture, the full-sized version is hosted by the Monash University in Second Life. The smaller version at te UWA offers information on Merlion Portal Project concerning cultural, literary and artistic significance of the Merlion. It also provides a landmark to the full size installation.

Gerhard Helmut’s 3rd Eye Open. Artworks featured are “The Pineal Gland” by artist Ub Yifu, “He Holds Her Heart” by LunaEnigma – Luna Cobain, “Skeleton” by JointVenture Resident and “The Merlion” by Rebecca Bashly.

Additional Requirements:

  • Completed films should be uploaded, preferably YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the film sent to  Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty.
  • Entries should acknowledge all art featured and acknowledge / have the authorisation for any music used.
  • Rights to all films should be held by the creator, but by entering the challenge permission is given for films to be shown on the UWA Blog, the Slartist Website and to be played on UWA lands.
  • The ten winners of the general prizes will be adjudicated by a panel of 5 judges. The special prize winners will be selected by Jayjay Zifanwe (UWA Special Prize) and Singh Albatros (The Writer’s Centre prize).
  • If you have questions, want to discuss anything, or add to the prize pool,  please contact Jayjay Zifanwe.


Suzie Anderton (Inworld Films) Never Say Never, featuring the prize-winning installation by Sharni Azalee.

For full details on the contest, please refer to the original UWA blog post.

 

 

Art of the Artists: machinima challenge with L$350,000 prize pool

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

At the start of July I was able to break the news that the University of Western Australia would be retaining a presence in Second Life for at least two more years. As a part of that report, I made mention of an upcoming UWA machinima challenge. It has now been officially announced.

Art of the Artists – subtitled SLartist@UWA Machinima Challenge is not a resumption of the UWA Machinima Grand Challenges, the last of which took place in 2015 with Pursue Impossible. Rather, this is a special challenge, sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore. On offer is a combined prize pool of L$350,000, including two special prizes.

Competition

The aim of the challenge is to produce a machinima film focused on any of the art exhibits located on the UWA regions in Second Life.

Entrants may choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art must be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing.

Films entered for consideration of any of the prizes can be no longer than 8 minutes duration; films with longer running times than 8 minutes may be submitted for showing, but will not be eligible for any of the prizes.

The Prizes

  • 1st Prize: L$75,000
  • 2nd Prize: L$50,000
  • 3rd Prize: L$40,000
  • 4th Prize: L$30,000
  • 5th Prize: L$20,000
  • 6th – 10th Prizes – L$7,000 each

In Addition, there are two special prizes:

  • L$50,000 UWA Art of the Artists Special Prize: this will be awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia
  • L$50,000 The Merlion Special Prize: this will be awarded by Singh Albatros on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the film which – in the view of the judge –  best represents the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore (see below for more).

The 10 main prize winners will be selected by a selected panel of judges. Details of the full panel will be available on the UWA website soon.  Each of the special prize winners will be judged independently to the judging panel, and as such, may be eligible for a prize in the general classification as well.

The full Merlion installation at Monash University

Where to Find the Art

Art which can be used in films submitted to the Challenge can be found in the following locations:

  • The UWA Main Gallery – the primary exhibition space for art at UWA, including entrants to the most recent challenge, Transformations, which is expected to remain up at least through the end of this year.
  • The UWA Main region – this is the home of the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Somerville outdoor cinema, the Moreton Bay Figs, and Sunken Garden. Some of the art from the UWA regions which will be closing will be relocated to platforms above this region. The relocation work is expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
  • The Merlion – celebrating Singapore’s iconic Merlion sculpture, the full-sized version is hosted by the Monash University in Second Life. The smaller version at te UWA offers information on Merlion Portal Project concerning cultural, literary and artistic significance of the Merlion. It also provides a landmark to the full size installation.

Note that selected art for a film may be filmed in its current location. however, films do not need to be restricted to these locations, as long as the art is the focus of the story being told. Entrants may contact artists about filming their works in other locations and / or collaborating with them on a film. Should you require a blue screen for part of your filming of the art, please contact FreeWee Ling or Jayjay Zifanwe.

How To Enter and Guidelines

  • The challenge is open to all machinima makers, unless involved in the judging process.
  • Films entered in consideration of any of the prizes should not exceed 8 minutes in length.
  • Films with running times longer than 8 minutes may be entered, but will not be eligible for any prizes.
  • Completed films should be uploaded, preferably YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the film sent to  Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty.
  • The closing date for submissions is December 31st 2017
  • Please acknowledge all art featured in your film, and please acknowledge and get authorisation for any music you use.
  • You own all rights to the films you create, but by entering the challenge you give permission for it to be shown on the UWA Blog, the Slartist Website and to be played on UWA lands.
  • The ten winners of the general prizes will be adjudicated by a panel of 5 judges. The special prize winners will be selected by Jayjay Zifanwe (UWA Special Prize) and Singh Albatros (The Writer’s Centre prize).
  • If you have questions, want to discuss anything, or add to the prize pool,  please contact Jayjay Zifanwe.

UWA to remain in Second Life for two more years

UWA: Winthrop Clocktower and the Reflection Pond, with the SLeducate area on the right (which you can read about here) all now set to remain in Second Life for the next two years

On Friday, June 30th, Jayjay Zifanwe contacted me with some excellent news: the University of Western Australia (UWA) is to retain a presence in Second Life for a further two years – albeit on a reduced scale.

UWA has enjoyed a long presence here in Second Life, operating multiple regions and becoming a stalwart supporter of virtual arts through its grand challenges and other competitions and opportunities offered to artists to present their work, as well a through support of machinima in physical world film challenges, such as those run by Screen My Shorts.

However, in September 2016, it was announced that due to changes within the UWA, its digital presence was to be largely shut down, with all but one of the five regions being removed from the grid at the start of October 2016, and the last given a stay of execution for at least a year.

Then, in October 2016 came word that one of the regions would transfer to the management of Sonicity Fitzroy (aka Dr Phylis Johnson) of the San Jose State University (and is now called SJSU Virlantis), while the four remaining regions – University of WA, UWA, UWA Winthrop and WASP Land would remain in place in-world until July 2017 before finally vanishing into the night.

Noke Yuitza: Transcendence Despite Falling Rain – an entry in the last UWA Grand Challenge style of art competitions, Transformations. You can see all the Transformations entries at the UWA Gallery

Now, two of the regions will be continuing for at least two years, as a jubilant Jayjay informed me via IM:

“I’m pleased to be able to tell you that thanks to the ‘UWA Community Partnerships Programme’, the University of WA and UWA regions will now be remaining in Second Life for the next two years,” he said. “This is absolutely wonderful news, and I’d like to thank everyone who have believed in and participated in all we have done and achieved over the years.”

Nor is that all. As noted above, one of the things UWA is famous for in it patronage of the arts, is its series of grand challenges involving 2D and 3D art and machinima – and there is good news here as well.

“A benefactor has donated L$300,000 for a machinima challenge,” Jayjay went on. “So we will be running one with art as the theme. Participants will be asked to select one or a number of artworks on display at UWA and weave a story around it or them.”

The Transformations exhibition space, UWA Gallery

Full details on the news about the extension to the two regions, and detailed information on the machinima challenge will be made available via the UWA of SL blog in due course. In the meantime a hint of the coming news can be found on the blog.

For now, congratulations to Jayjay, FreeWee Ling and everyone involved in making this happen.

Additional links

UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

Image courtesy of UWA

In February, I relayed news on what is to be the final mixed-media art exhibition at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) presence in Second Life,  which is currently scheduled to be scaled back from the end of July 2017.

Held in the tradition of the UWA’s Grand Challenges albeit it on a non-juried basis and as an exhibition rather than a contest with prizes, Transformations ceased accepting entries at the end of April 2017, and all of the submissions received prior to the closing date are now on display at the UWA’s skyborne gallery space.

Transformations: Noke Yuitza – Transcendence Despite Falling Rain

“Our final show is about beginnings, endings, transitions, change,” UWA’s art curator FreeWee Ling said in the original announcement for the exhibition. “The theme is deliberately vague in order to allow for the broadest possible interpretation. It is intended to highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that reflects on the past in SL and/or imagines the future of virtual art.”

In all, just under 30 artists from across Second Life responded to the call, producing both 2D and 3D art pieces, and short machinima pieces encompassing the theme, with some offering artists submitting works in more than one medium. As always with a UWA event, the finished pieces are extraordinary in the richness of creativity shown, and the manner in which that acknowledged broad theme has been interpreted.

Transformations: Thoth Jantzen – Transfabulous

3D art makes up the larger part of the exhibition, occupying most of the floorspace. 2D art can be found within a horseshoe display area on one side of the exhibition hall relative to the landing point, and the machinima entries in the opposite direction, against the wall separating Transformations from a display of works from past UWA challenges and exhibitions.

All of the pieces are provided with an artist’s name plate which, which touched, may furnish you with information on the artists and on the piece itself. In a small departure from previous exhibitions, the machinima is provided for in-world playback – touch the associated screen to start a video. Those who prefer, or have a viewer that doesn’t support CEF can still touch the artist’s name tag and receive a link to video on YouTube or Vimeo, where they can watch it.

Transformations: ErikoLeo – A Virtual Wander In Two Dimensions And A Half

Given the breadth of work on display in Transformations, offering a review of individual pieces is not easy – but I did find myself draw to a number of pieces, such as Grow, a stunning time-lapse video by Glaz Decuir in which we witness Silas Merlin taking s raw idea and transforming it into a finished 3D piece – and it is a truly fascinating study. Then there is Noke Yuitza’s Transcendence Despite Falling Rain, depicting the transformation and transcendence which grow from a failed relationship, beautifully and evocatively presented.

Alongside of Noke’s work is  ErikoLeo’s marvellous A Virtual Wander In Two Dimensions And A Half, which uses 2D panoramic images within a 3D model to offer transformative views of Second Life past and present – complete with and interactive element that puts you in to the scenes (take the anywhere door, then touch the arrows and go to mouselook in each sphere). Thoth Jantzen provides a dimensional defying Transubfabulous – be sure to teleport up from the part of the installation in the main gallery.

SLurl Details

Given the number of entries, this is an exhibition which requires time to appreciate – and you can find a full list of the artists involved on the UWA in SL blog across three posts starting here. One thing I would recommend when visiting – set your viewer to midnight; it removes much of the distraction of surrounding spaces and skyboxes.