01 May 2010

Through the Virtual Looking Glass: Kolor Fall

Through the Virtual Looking Glass was a large exhibition during April that combined art in SL and RL.  I was already familiar with maybe a third of the artists involvevd, which I suppose is a sign of how little I've scratched the surface of SL -- it's a shock that I hadn't known about the Caerleon sims -- but then again, during the past year I had very limited time in SL.  Not all of the "new" artists sparked my interest, but a number of works were enchanting (the best word I think), and a few were truly impressive.  And as it happened, I also met a few of the artists.

One of them was Kolor Fall (Patrick Faith in RL).  Since his work was new to me, I decided to make my first blog post about him and his sim.  The sim, Kolor Studio, holds one of the most monumentally large builds I've encountered.  Certainly, innumerable builds have lots of "stuff" (buildings and whatnot), and there were plenty of things at a normal scale there, but when the planet Saturn looms above you, it's hard not to stand in awe.  More than that, above the ground level there are more several levels of builds, with different styles (parts are by other people) and no less enormousness.

Lowest level, with Saturn

Lowest level

Part of the second level (I'm standing almost at the top)

Part of the second level (I'm in the middle, standing on one of the dice): a quantum field, governed by randomness?

Part of the third level (I'm standing right in the middle)

The fourth level

The best SL artists make size not just imposing, not just grand, but magnificent, even sacred (a word that normally doesn't leap to my tongue, as I don't consider myself a spiritual person in the least).  Kolor's builds pull you aloft, like the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages.  The smooth, cool surfaces look alien, but the shapes have a biological, living feel that seems very much of this earth.  It's not a surprise that Glyph Graves's jellyfish float about at the lowest level.  The highest level is a grimy urban neighborhood of the sort one sees all over SL; set here, however, it becomes disorienting.  Artistically, does it belong with the rest?  Or does it belong because our homely world hides an astonishing universe below its surface?  I haven't decided.

While I was at the fourth level (it looked like there might be workspaces even higher) I noticed Kolor on radar.  He TP'd away almost immediately, but later, when I returned to ground level, I noticed him working nearby.  I'm generally cautious about approaching artists, mostly because I don't like to interrupt their concentration when they're at work (plus I've had a couple of dismaying encounters), but Kolor noticed me and said hello.

Our conversation soon turned to music, for it turned out that Kolor/Patrick is a fan of Dmitri Shostakovich (one of my own favorite composers, which is why I chose it for my SL last name).  Patrick in fact is a composer, he streams some of his work into the sim, and he sent me to download a couple of his MP3s.  I liked his music as much as his builds ... but then, I have a taste for the difficulties of much 20th and 21st century music.  His builds don't incorporate his music, because SL's server issues basically drive him nuts.

I should add that there is more to the Kolor Studio sim than the huge builds.  At ground level there are sculptures of various sorts, including some which you can "paint" by dragging your mouse across it (a nice bit of scripting there) and some free earrings for ye who would like.  There's also an underwater level, much of which is populated by Glyph Graves's work.  I'll talk about him in my next post.

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