25 August 2016

"The Pillars": two blog posts and a machinima

Two bloggers (to my knowledge) have posted on Oberon's The Pillars so far: Kara Trapdoor and Ziki Questi.

And Tizzy Canucci created a machinima that captures the installation very well:

The Pillars from Tizzy Canucci on Vimeo.

Many thanks to all three!

17 August 2016

Oberon Onmura's "The Pillars" at Split Screen

The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation by Oberon Onmura has opened at Split Screen.  A striking work, it is composed of over 70 needle-like mountains jabbing into the air, mist or smoke rising from their peaks.  Bird-like creatures fly overhead.  It may seem as though that's all there is, but suddenly there are flashes of light, and towers as tall as the mountains appear scattered across the space, mostly straight up but some leaning, as quickly fading away -- like visual echoes of the mountains themselves.  Out of four of the mountains, a platform juts forward, each bearing a bot -- standing about, kneeling, crawling, spinning.  Oberon writes:
This work is an installation which embodies terraforming, complex scripted objects, and bots. A "forest" of vertical mounds is inhabited by four avatars, each enclosed in a unique soundscape and constrained to a single animation. A plain white chair beside each avatar invites the viewer to sit and contemplate each small scene.

Oberon Onmura's The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation
(click to enlarge)

Oberon's work often has a minimalist quality with a mesmerizing effect, and Four Pillars is no exception. That sensibility contributes to the work's invitation to contemplate, or simply observe. He has used bots occasionally before; one doesn't ask who they are or what their purpose is -- they don't even seem to be symbols of anything in specific (although one can interpret them that way). They are more like icons of certain feelings, conditions or attitudes. Thus contemplation here is not necessarily about anything, although it can be; but absorbing the tonality of each location is essential.

The recommended windlights are "[TOR] SCIFI - Arrakissed 2" for the sky, and "[TOR] Arrakissed variation" for the water.  If you use Firestorm they should kick in automatically.  If you use another viewer, be sure to set them manually because they are crucial to the look and feel of this work, as you can see in the photos.  Shadows and water reflections are also highly recommended -- use Ultra settings if you can.

The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation will be open through October.

22 May 2016

Excellent review of Cherry Manga's "The Path"

Inara Pey has written an excellent review of Cherry Manga's The Path on her blog. It gives a rich interpretation which I hope visitors will find illuminating.  Thanks, Inara!

SLURL to The Path at Split Screen.

09 May 2016

Cherry Manga returns to Split Screen with "The Path"

In November 2014, when the sim Mysterious Wave closed, Cherry Manga stopped building in Second Life and focused her energies on FrancoGrid, one of the many alternative virtual worlds based on OpenSim (where the sims are cheaper and the prims are more). Happily, she accepted my invitation to return in order to build at Split Screen (where she had created Danse Macabre in late 2012). The Path, her first installation in Second Life in 1½ years, is now open.

The Path's goal is to give a small foretaste of Cherry's contribution to Fest'Avi 2016, a multi-artist event covering nine sims in FrancoGrid, opening on 7 September. Cherry writes of The Path that "The idea is to show visitors the spirit of the concept developed in FrancoGrid, with this moving line, representing the path of life, the inner travel that we all go through during our life."

When you when you arrive at the landing point at Split Screen, pick up the free "Line of Light" avatar and the sculpture (also called "The Path"), and then take the teleport to the installation. Take a seat to be slowly guided around the build. Look closely as there is a bit more than might first meet the eye.

Cherry Manga's The Path (click to enlarge)

I encourage people to join FrancoGrid so you can see Fest'Avi this September. I saw it last year (and wrote about it here), and I'm sure this year's will be equally fantastic (in both senses!). I think a quotation from Albert Einstein that appears in The Path also captures the intention of Fest'Avi: "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." If you don't speak French, the button you need to click to sign up is labeled "Inscription." You can use Firestorm to go to FrancoGrid, just select it from the list of grids.

The Path will show at Split Screen through the end of July.

Promotional video for Fest'Avi 2016:

28 April 2016

Magnificent Chaos: Eupalinos Ugajin's "Gravity Is a Mistake"

Anyone unacquainted with the work of Eupalinos Ugajin will have no idea of the ecstatic lunacy Second Life can host. His One Day My Cow Will Come, which I blogged about in 2011, is one of my favorites. He's produced many works in the interim, including an installation at Split Screen. He now has a build at LEA21 titled Gravity Is a Mistake, which in my book is a must-see.

Like many of Eupa's works, Gravity primarily consists of a potpourri of small pieces (a few of which have appeared before) with no particular connection to each other as far as I can tell, but of course all sourced from Eupa's particular sense of surrealism and humor. (Not to mention his abiding love of the Russian cult film Kin-dza-dza!, which is why you'll hear someone saying "Kou!" -- also transliterated as "koo" and "ku" -- and see the same word inside what might be an oxygen tank on a cow.) In Eupa's builds it's essential to touch, bump, or grab everything. Often the object will transport or animate you, and sometimes it will make a sound, move your camera, or send you a gift (in the last case, try wearing it right away). Other pieces are amusing in other ways, like a giant ear with a Klein bottle earring. Gravity is structured as a dome with a central corridor, but be sure to cam outside because some of pieces including another Klein bottle) are on the exterior. At the main entrance you should receive a HUD (or if not there, then pick one up at the beginning of the corridor) which has two buttons, one to return you to the beginning of the corridor, the other to rescue you from one of the small works.

At the end of the corridor is a "dragon" which you are supposed to pass in order to reach the library at the end. This is not easy to do. No, let me rephrase that: it's well nigh impossible. There are a few "clues," all of which are totally useless if not outright intentionally misleading. After half an hour of struggling I thought I had it -- I said "Kou" to it, which given Eupa made perfect sense -- but it turned out that this was completely coincidental: something else entirely had caused the dragon to turn around. This I found out when I appealed to Ziki Questi. Really, to get past the dragon you need two clues; what I'll tell you is that French government will undoubtedly strip Eupa of his citizenship for the crime of weaponizing Edith Piaf; and going up the stairs in back of the dragon is useless, but up the stairs is useful. Those clues may or may not be in the right order. If you're still stymied, for now don't worry about it -- currently the library is pretty empty, and Eupa has invited some artists to install something in it. So plan on making a return trip or two. With any other artist its hodgepodge might indicate lack of direction; but with Eupa, and in this work especially, the collection of quirky oddities is almost a vision of the universe. Gravity is magnificent chaos, well worth additional visits.


The Klein bottle earring

The bar ... lots to drink ...

(I haven't a clue)

The "kou" cow

The dragon

Eupalinos Ugajin's Gravity Is a Mistake (click to enlarge photos)

Speaking of other artists, the SL artist most akin to Eupa in playfulness and disregard for realism is Maya Paris (she's more satirical, he's more surrealist and messy). Eupa actually incorporates a tidbit of Maya in his work, but more, if you look along the top of the dome you'll find a teleport to Maya's Le Cactus, a piece inspired by Josephine Baker that Maya created a couple of years ago, which at Eupa's invitation is back for a return engagement.

29 March 2016

More coverage of Rebeca Bashly's "Chronophobia"

During the past few days there has been new coverage of Rebeca Bashly's "Chronophobia," showing at Split Screen until the end of April.

There is an excellent blog post by Inara Pey: http://modemworld.me/2016/03/29/chronophobia-and-mementos-mori-in-second-life/. Her interpretation is a "must-read."

Also there is a machinima by Caitlin Tobias:

Thank you, Inara and Caitlin!