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More stuff you probably missed

I know it’s way late to be talking about the July round at UWA, but it’s taken me this long to pull it together. I hate doing post mortems on our shows, but because I’m on the judging panel, I can’t really promote these things until they’re already gone. But I feel it’s important to illustrate the need to be observant about art.

I’ve said many times before that it is a qualitatively different experience living with art than just visiting it. I spend a lot of time at UWA each month documenting and arranging things. As much time as I spend there, though, with a large show like we had in July (73 pieces by 53 artists), I know there are aspects to some of the entries I must have missed. As I photograph the work, I’m often surprised at some aspect of a piece that I had not noticed before. I hope this review will encourage you to spend more time really looking at and thinking about art. In many cases in SL, you only get one chance.

A side note about my photos.
The pictures in this blog and my Picasa site are compressed and reduced jpegs. I normally take hi-res photos inworld that are over 9MB each, which I save as lossless BMP files. (Please don’t EVER use jpegs inworld! There is an outstanding explanation by Chosen Few about how SL uses textures. This is MUST reading for anyone using textures or taking pictures in SL.)  I seem to get the best pictures using Imprudence. If anyone has recommendations for getting exceedingly good resolution photos on Firestorm, I’d appreciate advice on that. (I prefer not to use multiple viewers because, with over 80K items in inventory, rebuilding the cache is a pain.)

Milly Sharple: Lotus

This the striking example that motivated me to write this article. In the daylight on the light wood floor and so on, the piece looks nice, but unremarkable. A flower in a mostly transparent sphere. This is especially bland if the texture on the sphere has not fully loaded. But when I moved a dark background behind it for the photos the colors in the sphere suddenly popped. I was struck by the depth and beauty of the piece — an experience I would not have had unless I had done some rather dramatic alteration of the environment. If I had realized this earlier I would have placed the piece in the black area of the gallery.

This is an important point. Only a few artists at most each month approach JayJay or me to ask that we adjust the placement of their piece in the gallery or give us special instructions. We are usually very happy to work with artists to ensure that the pieces are shown in the best possible way. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of the job as curator is working with artists to show their work to best advantage.  On the other hand, we also do what we can to ensure that placement in the gallery is fair, so obviously not every piece can be front and center. We work hard to present an attractive show each month that provides a good view of every piece, and I think between JayJay and myself we do a pretty good job. But if we fail to see what the artist intended, there’s not much we can do unless they tell us. So make sure I get what your piece is about.

A related point is about the judging. If there is any doubt that your piece is being seen and fully understood, you really should make a point of educating us about it. We can then educate the main judging panels, who don’t have nearly the leisure to examine every piece thoroughly. They rely on JayJay and me to point out what makes a piece special.  (I’m speaking primarily of the main prize panels rather than the group prize judges, though we do sometimes get questions from them as well.)

Here are some other pieces you probably didn’t notice:

Anley Piers – Fantasy

I don’t have to tell anyone that Anley’s pieces are worth looking at closely. But this piece was especially rich in details. It was difficult to photograph both the large gestalt of the piece and its many details.

One issue with this piece and many others is the time it takes to load all the textures. It took me about 5 minutes of staring at this doll’s face before it loaded in my viewer sufficiently to get a picture.

The piece is insanely detailed. It came in right at the max prim limit.


Corcosman Voom – Hurdle

I love these expressive pieces by Corcosman. He has a real knack for capturing exuberant motion in static prims. Since it is all one solid color, it’s not easy to show it in a 2D photo.

Dekka Raymaker – Sole Survivor

Visually, this piece didn’t really do much for me. Nonetheless it’s really quite powerful. The stark composition belies the message. Sole Survivor shows a long list of airplane crashes in each of which all but one person died. There is a “black box” (which is not really black, of course), a disembodied wing hanging in space, and the sounds of voices in radio contact. I was personally moved to remember an event just 5 years ago that was on the list. The crash happened within a few miles of where I live. 49 dead and the only survivor was the aircraft’s first officer, who was piloting the plane. He had taken off from the wrong runway, which was too short for the plane. It went down in flames in a field just west of the airport. There was plenty of blame to go around for this crash. The runways were not properly marked. The control tower was understaffed, etc. The survivor lost a leg and because of brain damage from the trauma apparently has no memory of it. I can’t even imagine how the event must haunt him.

Faery Sola – Tiny Ivory Cell

Faery’s great talent is scripting and animation. All we see is a small box. But when you sit on it, it transforms and presents a short series of strong emotional statements – a brief poem. This was another piece that was difficult to photograph because of texture lag. There were text images floating within the vignettes. It’s almost a miracle that I even noticed those. I tried all the various menu options for quite some time and only saw what appeared to be a faint white haze. But these resolve into clear text if you wait long enough for them to load.

Gingered Alsop – Welcome to our parlor and Starforged

Ginger is so cool. A brilliant rl photographer, and an enormously creative SL artist and scripter. Welcome to our parlor is fairly straightforward: An environmental sphere with a forest scene and fun sunflowers that turn to face you as you move around. What impressed me most was the almost surreal crispness of the forest texture. Trust me, this is not a simple matter to wrap an image around the inside of a sphere and make it look natural and seamless.

Starforged is also deceptively simple. The immersive sphere in this case was the heart of an exploding galaxy.  Such things can often be kind of touchy-feely-new-agey, and while there is an element of that here, the intensity of the space pretty much overwhelms. Great job of combining the environmental textures with floating objects and particles.

As an aside, it seems as though pieces that because of their scale must be placed on a platform in the sky often don’t get high numbers in the People’s Choice voting. I suspect it’s because they are not focusing on it when they leave the platforms as they would be if the voting board was sitting there in front of them as is usual. I don’t know what the answer to that might be.

Gleman Jun – The matter of ideas

OK, you probably didn’t miss this piece, but I bet not many actually sat through the whole 15 minute cycle of scenes. Some were pretty much Gleman’s usual stuff, but there were also some remarkable new things (like the face emerging from the Phoenix viewer) that were a surprise and the whole production was pretty awesome.

Kolor Fall – Adjacent Lovers

Anyone who knows Kolor’s work would guess that this was an interactive piece. I imagine most people didn’t give it a thought. It’s pretty minimal, especially compared to some of his grander scale works. Just touch the cubes to make them go up and down. I’ve seen things like this before lots of places. I’ve even made one myself. While there’s nothing particularly special about it,  I have to say I stopped and played with it pretty often as I was zipping around the gallery. It’s kind of addictive.

Maya Paris – LightRoot

Maya is one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite people. She has an absolutely original and unique style that usually includes interactive elements and humor. This piece is not really humorous, but it’s certainly different. It’s basically a mirror image of stars and flowers gone to seed. The upper part suggests heavenly objects while the inverted part on the bottom suggests roots, the two mirror halves pointing to earth and sky, respectively. There is an animation to let you fly about in either half. It’s a good piece for playing with Windlight settings.

Miso Susanowa – Down On The Data Farm

Miso is always good for a poke in the ribs. Or in the eye. Her work may be satirical or ironic or subversive, but it is always deeply thoughtful. This piece is about the recent controversy regarding social networks requiring “real” identities. Many people in virtual worlds consider that a direct threat to their existence as virtual beings, but on a more global level, it’s about the growing willingness of individuals to sell their personal information to corporate interests. It’s an important issue.

Nino Vichan    Four Medieval Scenes

Nino never does anything simple. He’s one of those artists who struggle to create work within our prim limits. He just has too much to say. This entry shows vignettes from classic Arthurian legends. The four scenes depict: The the jealous Mark killing Tristan with a poison lance (Tristan & Isolde),  Sir Gawain beheading the Green Knight, the Lady of the Lake presenting Excalibur to King Arthur, and the killing of the dragon by St. George.

oona Eiren    Remote control

Another piece where there’s a lot going on. The eerie examination table in a post-apocalyptic laboratory is creepy. It would have been creepier were it not for the sunbathing animation…

Pinkpink Sorbet    Aleatoric

Flying boxes don’t often do much for me, but this piece is pretty interesting. An immersive environment with objects bouncing in all directions. The walls have video projections of more of the same, which opens up the space. A lot of people didn’t notice the tp device for entering. This piece had massive invisible prims surrounding it to keep the physical objects from escaping.

RazorZ    Tunnel with light at the end of it

This piece has the illusion of remarkable depth achieved by the shading of the angular prims. Joint recipient of the non-scripted award.

Secret Rage    Inundated (would you like fries with that?)

What I admire about Secret is how she boldly puts things out there just to see what reactions she’ll get. Inundated is the recreation of a disturbing dream she had.

spirit Radikal     Baubles

This is another piece you have to wait for. It’s not that complicated, but there are gems within gems that rotate to give an interesting shimmer. And the dripping blood is not obvious at first glance. I’ll leave it to you to determine what it might mean.

Thoth Jantzen    World Egg of the Ogdoad

Thoth’s fascination with Egyptian mythology is beautifully expressed in this piece. It was well worth reading the notecard on this one where he described the symbolism in detail. The egg is, naturally, related to creation myths. The piece is best described in the artist’s own words:

Touching the exterior and interior shells opens the egg and turns it into a lotus flower with 8 petals.  The lotus reveals the primordial ‘mound’ which becomes the world and from which Re emerges.  To view the lotus, center your camera on top of the sun and swing directly overhead (looking down).  The petals represent ‘the Eight’ [creation deities], with the two colors representing the male and female aspects of the primordial Ogdoad gods.

The rotating double helix and associated particles also have meanings that the viewer is left to work out on their own.

Toughlove Sabra     Inside a Troubled Mind

When an enormous lab jar containing a huge brain arrived in the gallery I was, to put it gently, a bit dismayed. I am always telling people to look at pieces closely to make sure they understand them before judging them. I wasn’t sure I wanted to look at this too closely. But it’s a fine example of why you should not leap to conclusions on first glance. Not only did the piece belie the secrets inside, but I was wowed enough to award it the July Curator’s Choice prize.  The piece was clearly deserving of a prize and came very close to winning several others. Toughlove always comes up with thought-provoking works, often in medium to large scale.

This month her entry was a total surprise and a delight. I mentioned to her when it was delivered that I was impressed that she packed so much space into this space.  The interior was a convoluted tunnel, (a feeling not unlike traveling through a bowel of sorts.. lol) covered with eye-popping animated images.

typote Beck    The Superheroes Breakfast and Autoreverse

Typote is a wonderful artist who has brought his rl drawings into virtual space to create amazing pieces. Inside the plain black box containing Superheroes Breakfast is a dreamlike fantasy room with detailed drawings everywhere. It was easy to get lost in the small space.

Autoreverse is a relatively simple yin-yang kind of piece.

Ub Yifu    Child play

Ub’s otherwise bucolic scene of an apparent father and son at play is made dark and disturbing by the extreme evil-clown-like caricatures standing in the rain.

4 comments to More stuff you probably missed

  • lol@ poke in the eye 😀

    It’s always nice to read your thoughts on these pieces; you get to spend more time with them than most of us and it is interesting to hear your perceptions of things we might have missed on viewing them in the venue of the Challenge.

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Secret Rage

    Freewee…I don’t wanna go all mushy on you, but thanks~you have been a great encouragement in these months and I just want to say thanks because you have done so much for the UWA exhibit process and I don’t think many stop to think about what it takes to organize all of we incorrigibles who make stuff…a bit like herding jello, isn’t it? At any rate, also thank you for your kind words…it has been a pleasure getting to know you 🙂

  • Ice

    Very nice “gallery” 🙂 Fabulous examples of SL art 🙂

    I agree : they worth to be seen.

    Would you mind adding the LM, please ?

    Ice, Art lover and former gallery owner

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A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.