June 30, 2007

Adding Another Dimension to Art

The juxtaposition of surreality and virtual reality is just one compelling reason to visit the Greek Isles Sculpture Garden on Troy this weekend. On display are three-dimensional reproductions of famous paintings brought to digital life by Second Life artist Ub Yifu. Yifu's recreation of Belgian surrealist painter Magritte's "Le Therapeute," for example, allows you and your imagination to get just a little bit closer to that mysterious cage at the center of the piece. Artful arrangements of both the two-dimensional original and Yifu's wholly creative 3-D representation of works by Picasso, Matisse, and others are showcased within the beautiful and tranquil sculpture garden. —Sunn Thunders

June 29, 2007

1st Life

Ok its not art at all, but its been too quiet here. While you wait for stunningly insightful photo essays to be posted here is another video for your enjoyment.

- Rezago

June 25, 2007

Deep Sea Video

This isn't Second Life related, but it's a delightful video which makes excellent use of computer animation powered by someone's creative genius. I don't even care that it's a commercial. :)

- Rezago Kokorin

June 23, 2007

SL4B - Second Life's 4th Birthday

by Rezago Kokorin

This year on June 23rd we celebrate Second Life's 4th Birthday- 4 years since Second Life was opened to the public.

There are 9 sims. Each pair of sims represents one “era” of SL. That is, two sims will represent Year 1, two sims will hold represent Year 2, etc. Each era (2 sims) will have a mature sim and a PG sim. And there is a path that meanders through the sims so people can walk through all sims.


Preparations underway for Second Life's fourth anniversary

"In the past, the anniversary of SL's release to the public has been celebrated with parades and fireworks. This year, organizer SignpostMarv Martin said the theme is the past, present, and future of SL. Heretic Linden, a Linden Lab employee who is also helping to organize the celebration, said she hoped the event would allow users to connect with the history of SL, regardless of how long they have been a resident, and meet people who began using SL during at various times."

- Diago Quaranta


Teleports will be restricted within the event area, much as they were for much of SL's history. The anywhere point-to-point teleportation which we have now didn't exist until Dec 12, 2005. There is an old style Telehub in each sim with a clickable map of the nine sims.

In addition to being historically accurate, the result will be that visitors will discover and see more. Teleporting is convenient and necessary given how large our world has grown, but there are many things we miss if we use it as our only source of transportation.

I have an exhibit in the Artist's Ghetto of the Year One area, part art and part historical display. I will be there on Thursday, June 28, 2007 at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM SL time for a "Meet the Artist" thing.

Calendar of Events: SL 4th Anniversary Art Celebration

Rezago Kokorin - Meet the Artist at SL's 4th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM PST
Nearest telehub
Rezago Kokorin's art plot, SL01 PG (27, 227, 255)

Other related links:
Happy Birthday, SL!
^ASL^ @ SL4B -- You Are Invited!

SL History Wiki

June 17, 2007

Cao Fei/ China Tracy at the 52nd Venice Biennale

So you walk straight from the virtual Piazza Navona (Rome) in to the Virgin Garden, Arsenale, in virtual Venice...
And then you find yourself at the 52nd Venice Biennale. The biennale opened June 10, in rl Venice, Italy. It lasts until November 21. Cao Fei is representing the People's Republic of China. The Concept of the China Pavilion in Venice is called EVERYDAY MIRACLES. Cao Fei is one of the four women artists representing China. The others being Shen Yuan, Yin Xiuzhen, Kan Xuan. The exhibition is commissioned by China Arts & Entertainment Group, and curated by Hou Hanru (U.S.).
Now, Cao Fei's contrubution to this exhibition has a focus on Second Life, that's my reason for writing about it here. Cao Fei's Second Life name is China Tracy. Her project is an online & off line project, SL & rl exhibition, SL video and research.

At the rl Venice biennale, she has made a pavillion; a kind of futuristic tent, an inflateable house, called "China Tracy Pavillion". In it she is showing her Second Life project.
For images of the rl pavillion with works and visitors, see her blogpost HERE. You'll find the video that she is showing in her pavillion in Venice at her YouTube site HERE. It's called i.Mirror; a 28 minute SL-machinima. The video is rather melancholy, a litle about the sex, the money, the gambling, the forever young and beautiful avatars, but mostly about loneliness, longing, and meeting someone from the other side of the planet with similar thoughts and feelings! Actually she meets Hug Yue/Ed Mead from San Fransico... It's cute, but for us "inhabitants" only a well done documentary. There's nothing new in it. No original twist to it. Or?
"as a mirror between the rl and the SL, reflecting the world and China under the fourth wave."
Coming to think of it, we, the inhabitants of Second Life, must of course have very different experiences entering this world, depending on our previous experiences, where we're from, how we live our rls. I remember how repelled I was about the hyper capitalist environment I found in SL, when I entered. That was before I found all the nice people... So, when it comes to Tracy's video, I think she is using SL to express something about the meeting between China and capitalism.
China Tracy has build up a replica of the rl pavillon in Second Life. It's floating up in the air though, and you sit in a tub while you watch the video.
The pavilion is here: China Tracy Pavilion, Parioli (181, 201, 64)
See a documentary from the opening of the SL pavillion, June 7, HERE.

You can get a nice t-shirt and a copy of the pavillon, a small version of it, that functions as a car... all for free. Hm, I'm beginning to like this!

Clipping from the SL notecard for the exhibition:
Naming her avatar China Tracy, Cao Fei is building up an on-line project for the Chinese Pavilion to carry out an adventure into this virtual world that is exerting crucial influence on our perception of the real and thus considerably modifying our social relationships. Creating a China Tracy Pavilion on the Second Life, Cao Fei will construct a platform for dialogue and exchange open to everyone. Venturing into this imminent future, this project will definitely bring the Chinese Pavilion itself to a much more global perspective.

It's funny how we are described... From the notecard:
Thousands of youngsters are deeply addicted to the virtual world created on the internet. The immensely popular online game “Second Life” provides them with a “3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents”. It offers a truly collaborative, immersive and open-ended entertainment experience, where together people create and inhabit a virtual world of their own design. In this new world, all people are the nation’s inhabitants”, there are no “countries” or “regions”, but only a digital world generated by imagination and creativity...

When you teleport down from the pavillion, you land in the exhibition space at the Parioli Museum, Parioli Roma Italy, Parioli (225, 217, 40) , where China Tracy shows her research part of the project: "EVERYDAY MIRACLES - A research on Second Life". Co-researchers: Zafka Ziemia, Rivers Singh. Sounds a bit dry? Well, half a meter of water covers the floor. You can test your skills as a venician gondolier. You can pose inside all the globes where the reseach material is shown in the form of SL-snapshot slideshows. It's wild, wet and motley! I'm beginning to discover Cao Fei's humor and force. Looking into her previous work, like her photo series, "Rabid Dogs", from 2002, and others, which can be found HERE. Touch the globes for notecards on issues like politics, religion, real estate.
Cao Fei, born in Guangdong, China in 1978. "She has been working with video, photography, performance, experimental theatre, documentary and fictional films, writing and other media. She vividly express the intense experiences of a young generation of Chinese urban youth navigating the wave of modernisation, urbanisation and globalisation. With an incredibly fresh but vigilant sense of humour, she examines and makes visible the very realities and dreams of this generation in various contexts from work to play, from suffering to happiness."

Cao Fei's blog: http://www.alternativearchive.com/caofei/default.asp?cat=1
China Tracy' Second Life blog: http://www.alternativearchive.com/chinatracy/

Plurabelle Posthorn

June 16, 2007

Second Life Artists - Video Series

- by Magellan Egoyan

Following the success and interest with regards to my first video productions on art in Second Life, I believe there is both an interest and a need to showcase the talent of Second Life artists to the "outside world". In order to address this issue, I have developed the concept of a Video Series concerning "Second Life Artists". The first of the series has just been completed and uploaded to YouTube - it concerns the sculptures of Rezago Kokorin. Rezago kindly agreed to help me work out a format and process for the series, to serve as "guinea pig" for my first effort, and is also helping me with the development of a list of potential subjects.

The idea of the video series is to allow artists to present their own works in their own terms. The interview format lends a dynamism to the video that should ensure the engagement of a broader public. I am also experimenting with other means to enhance the attractiveness of the video clips, using music and other elements. It is also clear that the use of voice during the interview enhances audience engagement, although I am sensitive to the fact that not all artists may be comfortable with the audio format. Other dynamics I seek to explore through the videos include the relationship between Second Life activities and real life activities, and the personality and interests of the artists. Also, the series aims to demystify, to some extent, the process of art production within Second Life, to artists who are not involved in SL.

I believe, and indeed, the variety of topics covered by the VAA blog site support me in this, that SL offers an enormous array of creative individuals doing extraordinary work. There are hundreds, even thousands of people whose work merits exposure to a broader public. I'm afraid my limited resources and time will not allow me to do justice to all this work. I have to follow my own nose and personal interest, to some extent, although I am interested in covering a broad range of artistic media and styles.

For that reason, if you are a SL artist and have an interest in seeing your work reach a broader audience, I encourage you to contact me, either in world or through my email (magellan_egoyan@yahoo.ca). I can't promise to follow up immediately on the contact, as I have my own schedule and a relatively high sollicitation on my time, but I will get around to you eventually! The interview process takes no more than about 30 minutes of your time, usually one session is enough (the video editing stage, on the other hand, is a whole different story!). I also have a list of questions I send out ahead of time so we have a structure to the interview process. I focus on three particular works as a way of providing some breadth to the coverage. There are usually additional details to be dealt with in the period following the main taping.

I am also investigating doing some video anthologies covering several artists, so even if you are relatively new at developing art in SL, there will be a place for you!

I'm not sure how many I will do - it depends on the level of interest among artists and my own time commitments.

I hope to hear from you soon, and perhaps find out more about your work... across the interview table!

Second Life Sculpture - Engine of Creation

- by Magellan Egoyan

As one of the main bloggers on this site, Rezago Kokorin doesn't get a lot of attention for his own work. He spends a good deal of his time organizing and presenting the work of other people. I intend to redress this situation in a small way. While working with Rez on a first of a series of video clips I am putting together on Second Life artists (this first one, presenting the artistry of Rezago himself, has just been posted on youTube under my "mageEgo" username), I developed a deeper appreciation for some of what goes into his work. In the preparation for the video, I asked Rezago to present three pieces to the audience of his choice and to talk about the work in his terms - in this way, I hoped the video would give us a kind of "Rezago's view of Rezago". Here, however, I intend to indulge myself, by talking about pieces of his that I am particularly partial too, and about my own perceptions of his work!

Interestingly, in the video interview, the emotional aspects of Rezago's work were not highlighted (a situation I will not let happen again!). We focused instead on its abstract qualities. However, it is the emotional power of his work that first speaks to us. This is no where more evident than in his sculpture called "Engines of Creation", featured at the recent exhibition of kinetic sculptures at the VAA site. Here we see an almost organic movement of rounded shapes that make one think of orbital dynamics and planets in movement, even though the shapes are not, for the most part, spherical. The sculpture expresses a kind of heaviness, a subterranean power, that reaches through the limitations of our Second Life experience and touches something deeply buried in our own body sense. I believe this ability to reach into our own innards is part of what makes Rezago's sculptures so compelling.

Another sculpture, also at the exhibition, was "Dancing Eels" (this one is shown briefly in the video clip). The sinuous movement of the eels speaks again to our bodily sense of movement, although this one expresses a much more flirtatious energy with a very dance-like feel to it, another aptly named sculpture. The fluidity of the movement of the eels is also striking and entrancing.

The sculpture from the exhibition that is most present in the video is "Science and Industry". Again, although the video gives a sense of the power of the sculpture, we did not discuss the aesthetic impact of the piece. Although perhaps more abstract than the other two I have discussed here, the mixture of rotating flexes and rotating textures within a solid frame creates a tension which is almost palpable, and there is a solidity to the piece that is highlighted by Rezago's comments regarding how robust the sculpture is towards movement and manipulation.

I was also very taken by Rezago's SL home - an elegant, airy structure filled with works of art, for the most part created by others that he has collected over time. Knowing that his RL home is in Colorado somehow helps explain the alpine sparseness and simplicity one finds in this space. In some ways, Rezago's activities constitute a kind of sculpture with matter in motion, just as Pandora Wake's work, on which I reported before, is concerned with light, and elros Tuominen's with grace. Even Rezago's immobile works have an inherent movement to them.

In addition to his engagement with a variety of communities in Second Life, an indication of how generous Rezago is with his time and expertise, he is clearly engaged in the production of a substantive body of work at the forefront of current artistic development in the hybrid world of Second Life. He is hence very much himself an "engine of creation". And a delightful person to get to know.

However, he is entirely too modest about his own achievements.

Not to be missed!

June 11, 2007

Hat as Sculpture

written by Cyanide Seelowe

After one month of grueling preparation on both the curator and the artists' part, the Awesome Hat Exhibit had an extremely successful opening reception on Sunday, June 9th at the Virtual Artist Alliance Gallery!

With a fashion show that featured the artists dressed as mannequins to model their hats, imaginations were explored, artistic doors were opened, and the crowd was wowed by the variety and obscurity of the sculptural headgear the artists had to present.

A garden party followed where the artists and patrons mingled to gaze in awe and engage in conversation about the hats, as well as share unique fashion accessories and advice with each other.

Among the patrons to attend the event was Siya Suen, master mask maker and milliner of Second Life. She owns Illusions, the Isle of Masks, which is a rather large corner of Second Life complete with gardens, meeting areas, and places to buy Miss Suens masterful masks and hats. Check them out, and be sure to visit the Awesome Hat Exhibit through the months of June and July!

June 6, 2007

One by one we go

Last sunday, June 3rd, Juria Yoshikawa opened a new exhibition series in collabaration with four composeres at the White Cube Gallery. There will be 4 different installations/soundscapes, one week each, from June 3rd to July 4th.
The installation art is by Juria Yoshikawa.
Original soundscapes are by composers Miulew Takahe, Bingo Onomatopoeia, Auxillary Snook and AldoManutio Abruzzo.
Here are some pictures from the opening of the first installation, with soundscape by Miulew Takahe. On the walls there are two quotations of Mashall McLuhan. When you move through Jurias installations you hear children's voices. Their utterances all contain the word 'one', texts are also shown on the transparent forms you walk throu. Very beautiful, I must say.
Read more about it on Juria website: http://memespelunk.org/blog/

Looking forward to the next installations!