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.