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Friday, February 26, 2010

Just a Symbol Guy

C'est toujours trop long entre deux rencontres pourquoi il faut savoir profiter de ces moments de plaisirs quand ils sont là et ne jamais remettre à demain.  L'espace semble ouvert et aéré, un esprit de liberté tout en couleurs. J'ai envie de m'envoler quand j'entend cette musique. Il est tout simplement extraordinnaire il me donne la poule à la chair...
- Tim Deschanel
Reve des sables is a beautiful club owned by Tam Rae, a classy gallic oasis of inner city cool, and at the centre of all that coolness, pianoman, poetry lover and philosopher Tip Corbett, a presence at the piano like a shaggy iceberg, presiding over waves of magical music that sent shivers down spines. Tim Deschanel was there, SL's official Very Happy Man (search him in this blog and you'll see why) so the layers of harmony were amplified... I asked a bunch of nosy questions, this is what got said.
Tip Corbett: I've been passionate about this overarching idea of symbolism. The sensuous harmonies of Ravel and Debussy got me into music. I am deeply into harmony. The symbolists - by which I mean writers and composers like Verlaine, Mallarme, Baudelaire, BlokRoerich, Scriabin, and Igor Stravinsky used a very advanced kind of harmony. They were using dissonance very expressively, I'm thinking of Stravinsky's The Firebird, and Ravel's later work. At that time, dissonance was above all an aural experience, one might say that it was left to the ear to find dissonance up to that point, and it was used to express harmony, expressive not experimental. The whole symbolist era is the last great expressive era before the trend towards the experimental takes over, in which dissonance takes on a different role; composers started using more in theory. I like expressing in the moment, creating music as I go. I find I can fine tune my expression as I go.
I'm reaching back, and I use harmonies that are often associated with jazz, but jazz performers were in fact borrowing from composers like Debussy and Ravel. Sometimes people say I sound like Gershwin, which is a huge compliment, but I really want to reach back to a time when this harmony was still used as a ecstatic experience. I sight read, but I'm not a jazz pianist. I improvise in a classical style, which for me means I like to build from the ground up. I dont have preset harmonic progressions or forms. A lot of jazz - and pop music too - relies on certain kinds of chord progressions, but as a composer, I avoid that, so I call it classical and compositional improvisation.
Tip is a composer and a music teacher in RL as well as a performer. He had his first concert in May last year, and found it a nerve-wracking experience; since then he's made a point of playing in SL every week. It's been an unbelievable jumping off point, providing lots of experience without having to travel to venues; perhaps more importantly what he does would not work in your standard club. There are many soft moments in the music he plays which would be lost in the noise; really, it's better suited to a concert hall environment and venues like that in RL aren't plentiful. In a real life club someone always drops a beer in the middle of a performance - thankfully that doesn't happen here - indeed, people get a unique listening experience while being able to communicate with their fellow audience members in a way real life can barely dream of.
Tip plays inworld at least twice a week, at Cairo on Thursday at noon SLT on Thursdays, and on Fridays at Woodstock at 11.00am - in fact lynsay Fleurry was the one who gave him his first gig.
His piano playing is combined with explanations about the use of symbolism and scales in his improvisation, and audiences love to hear him illustrate the concept by running through the musical version of the four elements - the light airy scale that represents air, the drama of fire, the dense scales that are the earth. In another part of his show, he combines two pavanes by the composer Ravel to create a piece that deepens the meaning of both the original works.  But wait, there's more - he reads poetry by period authors who have influenced him, along with pieces by SL poets like Flicky Exonar, Stosh Quartz and Sumalee Capelo. For Tip, the German Renaissance - the epoch of Goethe, Beethoven, and so forth, is the second great influence on his music, he sees it as a a different kind of moment; while he's drawn to that wonderful surface glitter of the Symbolists, he feels it can sometimes lose its substance, while the German art is more anchored. Perhaps that's why he's such a fan of Dutch artist Jan Marque, in SL MagusLuxi Auxifur. Jan has imported many of his canvasses like the one you see here, which are a cycle of paintings on the 'Quest of Parcivalus' for the Holy Grail. Intrigued? Go and see Jan's pictures and read the explanation of the myth at the Palazzo dei fratelli Bonicolli and for all things Tip, including the latest info about upcoming concerts, his philosophy and more, join the "Mysteria" inworld.
Reve des sables è il bellissimo locale di Tam Rae, un club francese, di gran classe, addobbato con enormi tele: qui troverai tutti i grandi del jazz e in mezzo a tutto questo talento storico, un grande del metaverso Tip Corbett, pianista, filosofo, poeta. Ho trovato fra il pubblico 'l'Uomo Felice' di SL Tim Deschanel, citato sopra...  se vuoi sapere perché lo definisco felice basta fare una serch su questo blog... la presenza di questa figura armoniosa amplificava il senso generale di eufonia e beatitudine. Tip è compositore e maestro di musica in real, in SL ha cominciato ad esibirsi a maggio dell'anno scorso, un'esperienza all'inizio molto terrificante, ma d'allora ha preso l'abitudine di farlo almeno due volte la settimana al Cairo (il giovedì mezzogiorno SLT) e il venerdì alle undici a Woodstock,  il sim della mecenante psicadelica lynsay Fleurry. Suonare in SL inoltre dà la possibilità di offrire a un pubblico mondiale una forma di musica più addatta a una sala di concerto che a un pianobar, dove le sfumature e le spiegazioni musicali di Tip andrebbero perse tra i rumori di bicchieri e chiacchiere. Qui invece possiamo socializzare senza perdere nemmeno una nota delle sue improvisazioni su tema simbolista. 
Dopo il concerto, e gli applausi e i complimenti meritatissimi come quello di Tim citato sopra,mi sono intromessa, e al genio ho fatto un sacco di domande stupide e no; ecco alcune delle risposte...
Tim Corbett: Da sempre sono innamorato, immerso da quest'idea globale del simbolismo. I miei eroi sono VerlaineMallarmeBaudelaireBlokRoerich, Scriabin,Igor Stravinsky. Si servono in maniera incrediblimente espressiva di dissonanza e armonie avanzate: pensare a l'Oiseau de feu e le ultime opere di Ravel. A quell'epoca, si viveva la dissonanze soprattutto come un'esperienza auricolare. Possiamo dire che fu lasciato all'ascoltatore trovare la dissonanza, e tramite quella, l'espressione armonica; tra note ancora non del tutto disarmoniose, in questo momento musicale appena anteriore alla nascita del movimento sperimentale. L'epoca simbolista è l'ultimo momento espressivo prima dell'era sperimentale, in cui la dissonanza ricopre un ruolo più teoretico. La mia musica nasce in una parte profonda dei miei sentimenti, invento e e scopro modi di esprimermi da una nota all'altra, e metto a punto le mie espressioni solo nell'atto di suonare.


Il mio stile assomiglia un po' al jazz, e alcune persone mi hanno paragonato a Gershwin: naturalmente è un bellissimo complimento, ma sento che non sono un pianista jazz. Il jazz infatti si fa prestare le sue armonie dai compositori quale Debussy e Ravel, da un'epoca in cui si visse l'armonia come un'esperienza estatica. Improvviso in stile classico, suono a prima vista, ma non sono un pianista jazz. Costruisco le mie improvisazioni cominciando dal nulla, senza progressioni armoniche programmate. Voglio far nascere qualcosa di nuovo, profondo, con una certa logica che parla ai sentimenti che crea un ponte tra quello che provo io e quello che prova il pubblico che mi ascolta.
Come avrai capito, per Tip conta molto l'interazione con il suo pubblico, e durante i suoi concerti si ferma e spiega la sua filosofia, con esempi musicali, con letture di poesie d'epoca, ma anche poeti SL quali Stosh Quarz, Flicky Exonar e Sumalee Capelo.  Oltre ai simbolisti, Tip trova ispirazione nel 'rinascimento tedesco' - il tempo di Goethe e Beethoven, un periodo con più 'gravitas' di quello simbolista secondo lui forse il perfetto antidoto, legandolo a concetti complessi ricchi di leggende e miti. Un'esempio? Le opere di Jan Marque in SL MagusLuxi Auxifur. Sono tele importate dal real sulla tema di Parsifal. Se vuoi vederle sono attualmente in mostra al Palazzo dei fratelli Bonicolli, e per sapere di più sulla filosofia, la musica tendenziale, la personalità e concerti di Tip, basta iscriversi al suo gruppo the Mysteria.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

State of Gracie

Another self-centred post, but read on, this one needs your assistance...
Kris Schomaker is a painter and mixed media artist, with a BA in Art History, currently working on her MA in Studio Art at California State University Northridge. She is 'also' the sassy, bohemian chic, girl-about-town Gracie Kendal, and therein lies our tale... where does one reality leave off and make room for the other? Or are these parallel existences, so deeply intertwined as to be bleeding into one another, part of a single circulatory system of heart and mind? This evening in a live voice event, at Mandel's Brat's n Brews over on sim Artropolis, Kris/Gracie talked about The Gracie Kendal Project".
Gracie Kendal: My thesis, The Gracie Kendal Project -  A Conversation with my Avatar is a mixed-reality project/collaboration between Kris Schomaker and Gracie Kendal... who are both 'me'. I am going to spend some days swapping lives with Gracie - she will have my body shape and daily routine in SL, and I plan to turn myself into her in real life, with the same nose piercing, hair color, and clothes - and will also be going to jazz clubs and the other pastimes Gracie enjoys in SL. Through documentation, I construct a narrative of self that represents me and is me, one that helps to deconstruct ideas of normalcy and authenticity. My narrative questions identity.  Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do I really want? Am I happy?
This performance is an act of mirrored mimesis: Kris/Gracie is interested in showing the ways our avatars operate on us, and how we shape each other. In many ways, it's as if Gracie saved Kris from herself, relieving much of the shyness and anxiety she had experienced in her life, making her a braver person. Rather than providing a way to hide, she sees her alter-ego as a means to come out from behind the walls of the mind and show her 'true' colours, sampling, reacting, asserting herself in ways she would never have done before. It is an idea that is certainly not unique to this artist - there are many Residents who feel the same way, being afraid to share their RL identities. The art of Gracie/Kris is a double take that looks beyond this sensation and questions its roots - at what the avatar does for us, and the way it makes us reconsider the things that maybe hold us back in RL, like negative body image, or a sense of powerlessness, crushing forces of nature from which Second Life can release us. For her degree, she'll be documenting the performance both in worlds, - she's not called 'Sho[w]maker' for nothin'! -  so we will be able to see her transformation and share the adventure.
How can you help? If you'd like to help pay the bills for this transperformance, you can contribute by contacting Kris in the real world and either giving a cash donation or buying a piece of her physical artwork. Or you can share the Linden Love with Gracie, by buying her art inworld. This triptych, Awareness Understanding Acceptance, is one of my fave pieces by Gracie, note the quality of the texture, the canvas comes to life. Oh btw you do know that if you click on the pictures they get bigger, right? Just thought I'd say. You can find these and much more art at her studio or many other venues across the grid hosting exhibitions, like the lovely Vertex Gallery owned by Zeno Ochs.
Gracie Kendal: My first major show was in Dec 2006 at Enigmatic Art Gallery run by Whispers Nightfire just 2 months after I started SL. It was an amazing experience. They were very professional, handling everything from the opening reception which was attended by over 200 people and the publicity through the Art Groups, magazines, blogs, and 90 posters they hung all over the grid. Everything I learned from them that has stayed with me to this day. The opening reception was very thrilling, scary and overwhelming at the same time. I was so nervous, but it was a huge success, and jump-started my  involvement with the art community in Second Life. I was originally drawn to SL through my RL aunt and uncle. They read about it in Spin Magazine and told me it would be the perfect place to bring my art. So I joined. Within the first day I had my skin and shape, which I have barely changed, plus loads of clothes and hair.The first week, I had a condo and I was renting a little shop which I set up as an art gallery. There is so much that draws me into SL; friends, the art community, the music scene. It also provides ad escape from the suffocating effect of RL. I have grown so much from my experiences here. 
Money, social connections, creativity, have been cited as the three reasons for people staying around in SL. Apart from her killer condo, shown here full of fabulous art, I wondered what kept her coming back.
Gracie Kendal: Hahaha, well it’s definitely not money. I’m not here to make money on my art. I am just happy to be able to share it with the world. I love the collaboration that goes on in SL. You can work on art with people from all over the world, anytime of day. You can go to lectures, art talks, receptions all the time. It’s so exciting to be able to be immersed in such an imaginative and creative atmosphere. The social connects and creativity absolutely keep me here. I talk to my friends in SL more than my RL family! and the art in SL almost speaks for itself, especially the charity aspect of it. I love that part of SL. People are so generous with their time and support, its amazing to watch how that is used to help others who are in need around the world.
Gracie's had lots of success in SL, and she shared some advice for artists just beginning to work in SL.
Gracie Kendal: Network, network, network! Just like in RL, you have to show up to events and meet people. It’s all about the connections and who you know. Of course, the art has to speak for itself too. I have seen a lot of people who dream of being artists, and try to “roleplay” that in SL. It’s not the same. You can spot the talent a mile away. Be organized. (I know that is asking a lot of artists..LOL!) But honestly - be professional, and have high quality images of your work in SL, if its 2D. Originality counts for a lot too. There was a great article in Role Magazine a couple months ago that talked about kitsch in SL. You see it all the time. the same ole scripted colored prims on black, it’s so unoriginal: it’s been done. It’s so - dare I say - Thomas Kinkade!
Thomas Kinkade is a registered trademark. Hehehe.
We got to the usual question, I know you already know it, but here it is in full: Artsparks encourages the celebration of RL artists, musicians, writers, lyrical places, and so on, by making visitable spaces in SL that inform and explain their life and works. It's a means by which we can, through our own creativity and ingenuity and in ways not possible in real life, share our personal idols with other residents so we are all enriched. If Gracie were going to pick a writer, painter, sculptor or musician in RL and build a sim or even a small corner of a sim in tribute to him or her, who would she pick and why?
Gracie Kendal: I have so many people that inspire me in that way. I have always loved “Alice in Wonderland.” I know SL is much like taking a ride down the rabbit hole and that has been used many times before, but it’s so true. The imagination and dreamlike state, The decisions we have to make on a daily basis. Eat this or that, chose this path or that... etc. An artist whose artwork I really love, is Gajin Fujita. He appropriates images from different cultures: Japanese Ukiyo-E and Samurai from his childhood, Gold leafing from Japanese screens, Graffiti from his life in the barrio in East L.A., Virgin of Guadalupe and other elements from his life in L.A. I think it’s amazing how he fuses these different cultures. Much like SL. I think it would be magical to see these brought to life in SL.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ice Told Tales

They have the pale tint of flowers that blossomed in too retired a shade--the coolness of a meditative habit, which diffuses itself through the feeling and obsenation of every sketch. Instead of passion, there is sentiment; and, even in what purport to be pictures of actual life, we have allegory, not always so warmly dressed in its habiliments of flesh and blood, as to be taken into the reader's mind without a shiver.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Preface, Twice-Told Tales
Til min kjære Rolling
Imagine the bleak midwinter; even for those of us who have never seen the Northern lights, that part is easy. Add to it a well-told tale, a meaty stew of a story positively steaming with incident and adventure, seasoned with both loyalty and cruelty and you have The Companion, a folk-tale from Norway, inhabitable here in Second Life.
Frigg Ragu and builders Miskat Quinan and Soror Nishi have created a journey lit by refraction of midnight sun on eternal snow, where the North is a state of  mind, not a compass point. Before you take another step, even if you've seen the build, listen and watch this to get a feeling for the place. As you wander through the woods, you will see lacy red spheres - look carefully, they are hard to find at times. Become part of the tale as it unfolds by striking a pose and listening to the next section of the story. Like any worthwhile enterprise, the first steps seem strange and difficult, but persevere, much magic awaits. And like any classic, the tale is better, richer, when retold: you might like to gain your bearings by reading the whole story first.  
A boy starts out on his life's journey, and in doing so, becomes a stranger in a new world. Unnamed and unknown, he immediately identifies his true nature through an act of courage and decency and, in doing so, seals his destiny. Shortly afterwards, he acquires a companion, a faithful friend and facilitator who both leads and follows, lifting the boy's journey out of the ordinary into a sphere of trolls and flying princesses, of caverns and spells and success: only at the end does the boy discover the identity of his fellow traveller.... what better allegory for our world where identity, that of ourselves and the ones we love, remains tantalizingly open to revision.
Forgive the over-steep mountains, which have an unfortunate tendency to drop you in the fjords, and move inland. There is a fabulous stavkirke, an ancient architectural gem that is Norway's signature building form,  and a mountaintop castle, a spooky cavern full of treasures and horrors, and a troll's lair full of gold, and endless pinetrees. If you've windlight, there is a specific sky setting called The Companion, also known as The Blue Hour, most of these pictures were taken in it.
There is even a magic lantern show, I love that. The sim is richest of all with poses, as one might expect, since Frigg is a gifted posestress and her eye for detail is unfailing, probably because she is a storyteller in RL. Take time to try them all, they are irresistibly photogenic, and from the tale told, new stories of one's own invention emerge.
Frigg Ragu: The Companion is a folktale that speaks on many levels - it is about growing up, searching, trust etc. It has travel - which also makes the visitors move in the landscape and most of all, it is a story I really like. I had the sim for a long time, and tried to start build myself. But I am a poor builder - so finally I met someone who could do this job for me. Then it went quite quick, I think we used three months - but this was not on full time work. The builders and designers had also other jobs to do. I am performing storyteller in RL and the interaction with audience is an important element to make the story come alive. I wanted to bring some of this experience into SL - and interaction is an important element generally in experiences.
I asked Frigg, if she had to sum up what she is trying to do in SL with just one word, what would it be?
Frigg Ragu: He he he... difficult one - first word that comes to mind is Inspire - both be inspired myself and hopefully maybe inspire others.
She took me to her favourite part of the build, the great tree that presides over the whole sim.
Frigg Ragu: This is Yggdrasil. It is really not directly connected to folktale itself but I wanted it is an ending of the story. Yggdrasil is the tree from Norse mythology, it is growing in both ends and it connects all the worlds.The horse of Odin is the name of the tree, and by one of its roots, three norns is sitting: : three "women" who spin the destiny of all living. By another root you find the well of knowledge, and by a third root a snake that eats the root, and waits for the end of the world... a squirrel is running up and down between the snake and the eagle sitting at the top, gossiping between those two...
Snipp snapp snute, eventyret er ute!
Immagina, se puoi, un'inverno gelido e sconfinato, illuminato dall'aurora boreale, e riscaldato da un racconto ricco e gustoso, un minestrone di avventure e battaglie, condito con crudeltà e lealtà... ed ecco The Companion, Il compagno, una favola norvegese ora vivibile qui in Second Life.
Frigg Ragu ci regala un mondo in cui il Nord è uno stato d'animo non un rombo sulla bussola...forse questo è un buon punto di partenza per comprendere l'essenza del luogo. La storia si snoda tra i pini di una foresta sotto una coltre di neve, entrando ora in una stavkirke, ora in caverne allucinanti, ora in un palazzo splendido. Seguiamo le vicende di un ragazzo, deciso di cercar fortuna in terre ignote, divenendo in quel istante anche lui un ignoto. La prima interazione con estranee, un'atto di coraggio e pietà, definisce il suo carattere e segna il suo destino, ma lui non se ne rende conto sino alla fine. Trova un compagno, misterioso, abile, scaltro, assolutamente leale, un partnership che cambia il percorso del ragazzo; dalla fanghiglia della quotidianietà, viene trasportato in una dimensione incantata di streghe troll principesse e ori...
Il sim The Companion (e smettetela una buona volta di dire 'la sim', è sostantivo maschile, simulatore, per l'amore del cielo LOL) è la favola in 3D, un'avventura immersiva bellissima e difficile allo stesso tempo. Al punto d'arrivo troverai poseballs e la pallina rossa 'cantastorie' che contiene le prime righe della favola. Avventurando per l'isola troverai altri capitoli, ma forse per comprendere bene il senso del tutto è utile leggere una versione integrale. Ecco la versione online in inglese, ti abbandono alla mercé di Google Translate per il resto. Se hai Windlight, in Sky Settings troverai The Companion, ma il luogo e le pose ci invitano di tessere dalla ricca stoffa nordica una storia tutta nostra. Perseverare, i piaceri de The Companion non si gustano tutti in una sola visita.
Frigg Ragu: Questa narrativa offre diverse possibilità d'interpretazione. E' un'allegoria della crescita, della fiducia, della ricerca di noi stessi. E' un racconto di viaggio, e i visitatori sono invitati a fare un lungo percorso, interagendo con il paesaggio. L'ho scelto per questi motivi, ma principalmente perché è una favola che mi sta molto a cuore, anche perché in RL sono una cantastorie, e mi piace l'aspetto immersiva di SL.
Frigg non si considera bulder, ha lasciato quel compito ai bravissimi Miskat Quinan e Soror Nishi ma sono sue le molte pose, tutte modificabili. Se riesci a seguire la storia 'ufficiale' o meno, queste pose dolci, strane, buffe e vivaci fanno divertire un mondo!
Ho chiesto Frigg di definire con una sola parola il suo lavoro RL e SL: mi ha risposto - Ispirare -  su su in alto, accanto all'albero che domina l'intera land, mi ha regalato questa bellissima fiaba...
Frigg Ragu: Questo è Yggdrasil, l'albero della vita. Non fa parte della trama della favola, ma l'ho voluto aggiungere, per raccontare l'ultimo capitolo. L'albero è un elemento fondamentale nella nostra cultura. Cresce sotto e sopra, collegando cielo terra e gli inferi, tra la morte e la vita. Il nome significa, cavallo di Odino. In cima risiede un'aquila, e accanto ad una delle sue tre radici, sono sedute tre norn, le tessitrici che determinano il destino di tutti i vivi. Accanto ad un'altra delle radici troverai il pozzo della conoscenza, e alla terza radice c'è un serpente che la mangia e attende la fine del mondo... c'è anche uno scoiattolo che si arrampica e corre tra rami e radici, è il messagero dell'aquila e del serpente, che chiacchierano tra di loro...
Snipp snapp snute, eventyret er ute!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bubbled



This is the story of Susa Bubble
who went to bed single and woke up double.
Woke up as two in a single bed,
"who are you ...who are you?" she said.
"It's not my fault, I'm not to blame,
.. blame her and her and her...we all are the same..."
Rose Borchovski
A lot of things worry most of us when we go to bed. Did I remember to turn out the gas, or only the cat; is all this snow really a sign of global warming, what will tomorrow bring, it that a freckle or a mole...  but rarely if ever do we feel struck to the heart by the fear of ...waking up double. Or at least I didn't, until I went to see Rose Borchovski's fantastic show at Arte Libera on sim Nonsense, run by simba Schumann and  Storm Blauvelt.  At Arte Libera, I ran into simba and Rose's collaborator, Vive Voom, and I asked Vive how their connection works.
Vive Voom: Rose and I have imaginations that border each other. We continually find inspiration by just watching one another's work, and in that sense, it's a never-ending process. The work here is all Rose's, I feel I'm very lucky to be associated with it...
A sort of twinning of souls, then. I wondered if that meant Vive felt doubled.
Vive Voom: For me, this virtual existence means having the tools to get deep inside the hidden parts of ourselves and to become what we refuse to be in RL but what we wish we could be, and in the process, we free extraordinary energies, we can learn how to grasp new definitions that are more complete, more true, simply because we're able to look inside of ourselves without fear...
This is Fear of Sleeping. In a waking dream of fractured identity, the fantastic clockwork mechanism of blame and retort are given voice and form, through the china blue eyes of a little girl... or is she a doll? or is that voice merely an echo of the one within us all? Susa is doubled and doubled, odd and even, falling and multiplying in a world of whisper and lullaby as enchanting as it is disquieting.
The chilling story unfolds through sound, installation, image and the written word on a wintry platform, fringed with dark, bare trees, and includes artwork by Igor Ballyhoo. Step in through the archway, and you will find underfoot not snow but a handwritten page - a letter penned long ago, or the notes of an observer, perhaps even Susa's diary - adding to the mystery of the montages and pictures. Poses and dioramas allow you to become part of the deliciously ghoulish story, walking among the briers, and right through the teardrops, where you can study the mysterious fire under those watchful blue glass eyes.
This is just part of the story so far: you can see other chapters, including The Last Susas, Fear of Falling and Time Passing at the Gallery of Fine Arts. My personal favourite,the spectacular Frozen is at Angel of the Mysts Gallery where I took this picture of Rose. There will be all kinds of multimedia events springing from this wonderful concept, so join Rose and Vive's Fish group inworld to keep yourself apprised.  Rose plans to continue adding chapters to the Art Landscape, and one can only wait with a sense of sinister longing to see what her little brain child will do next...
I'm going to shut up now, because Iono Allen, the machinima god (his BL offering Love is the Answer and A Prim's Happiness with Adam Ramona are just two of his other amazing pieces) has made a really beautiful presentation of Rose's work... here it is.

Di notte prima di prendere sonno, vengono in mente tanti pensieri, tante paure.. avrò lasciato acceso il gas?  esiste davvero l'effetto serra? quel rumore sottile, è il gatto oppure un ladro? abbiamo un gatto? ma scommetto che, non ti è mai capitato una notte in bianco, pensando alla possibilità di svegliarti doppiato... finora. Rose Borchovski ci presenta, con la storia di Susa Bubble, uno straordinario concetto interpretato tramite immagini, testo, musica e istallazioni a Arte Libera di simba Schumann e Storm Blauvelt.
A Arte Libera ho avuto il grandissimo piacere di conoscere non solo la meravigliosa simba ma anche Vive Voom. Ho chiesto Vive di raccontarmi un po' la sua vita di creatore insieme a Rose. 
Vive Voom: Io e Rose abbiamo immaginari che confinano l'uno con l'altra. Troviamo ispirazione in tutto quello che vediamo fare dall'altro, e in questo senso la collaborazione non termina mai. Le istallazioni qui sono frutto dell'arte di Rose. Io sono un privilegiato...
Un gemellaggio di anime, dunque. Ho chiesto a Vive se si sente raddoppiato, come Susa...
Vive Voom: Be', essere virtuali vuole dire avere uno strumento per scendere nei posti più nascosti di noi, e diventare ciò che rifiutiamo di essere ma che vorremmo, e in questo modo liberiamo energie straordinariee, possiamo imparare a cogliere nuove definizioni, più complete, più vere, perché non abbiamo piu paura di vederci dentro...
La storia di Susa è in ogni senso costruita a strati, da scoprire in momenti e in modi diversi; il paesaggio artistico conta già quattro capitoli, questo, intitolato Paura di dormire si svolge in una specie di giardino invernale, per terra non la neve, ma un foglio di carta, sulla quale si intravedono le righe di una lettera... o è un diario? o gli appunti d'un osservatore di questo strano fenomeno, la piccola Susa, dagli occhi spalancati anche lei un mistero : è una bambina o una bambola? Quale forza oscura opera in lei o su di lei? La poesia dice che cade... dove e come? Attraverso le sue lacrime, il suo lettino, e le stupende foto, e altri tesori creati da Igor Ballyhoo, le risposte forse ci attendono qui a Arte Libera, e per approfondire, è consigliabile anche una visita agli altri capitoli The Last Susas, Fear of Falling Time Passing alla Gallery of Fine Arts e il mio preferito, Frozen Angel of the Mysts, ma attento : Susa ti tiene sott'occhio...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cantastorie: Marjorie Fargis

And who can sever love from charity?
        Love’s Labour’s Lost. 
Fake sickdays are the best ones, also leading to the possibility of attending events that rl work (shakes fist) would not normally permit, like this afternoon, when I went to Jack Davies' place Astral Dreams and finally heard a concert and presentation by Alessio Santacroce and his band La Quarta Vita. The show was elegantly presented by giovanna Delphin of Immersiva who organize and stream on their .ning lots of live events including the hugely successful 'Scienza on the road' a series of lectures by physicists, doctors, psychologists and others designed to make science more accessible and fun. And don't say to me 'oh but it will all be in Italian, I won't be able to follow,' go see for yourself, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Events are advertised in the usual way. Meanwhile back at Astral Dreams, Alessio's presentation revealed a surprising and delightful twist. He's in it for the money, but in the best possible way... money from the CD and from his book (called I Giudici, a short novel about four very different people who get stuck in a life together) go to a charity called Anthropos that helps people in Southern Sudan: thanks to contributions, including Linden love, they have already built one school in the area, and are working on a second one. A very worthy cause; for more details, IM giovanna Delphin or go to Alessio's Facebook page and take it from there.
The show was a really well put together mixture of songs, readings, interview and sandy beach. I sat with Marjorie Fargis, whose delicious decollete delights all the boys (she paid me to say that). Later in the evening she gave couple of readings from the book. She has a warm, lively voice, and it was lovely to hear it. I asked Marjorie how she got into the live reading and presenting side of SL.
Marjorie Fargis: I started in SL in 2008, and at the beginning spent time in voice mostly chatting with friends, but over a period of time that turned into invitations to be reader and presenter at all kind of things, from fashion shows to art openings. I remember very well my first proper event: it was an open mic evening on the theme "The Uselessness of Art" It was supposed to get people thinking and talking and in fact a number of really interesting comments were made, but things didn't go exactly smoothly. After a while the discussion got onto the topic of religion, and the situation got pretty tense. I had to really bend over backwards to get back control of the evening, but in a way, that made it an even more pleasant experience, I felt like I'd really been able to handle the situation, and I'd had a lot of fun doing it too. I really love working with Talete Flanagan and giovanna Delphin of Immersiva, and one of my fondest memories is the evening we did a film quiz night. There were loads of people present, and giovanna and I improvized sketches for the audience to guess, it was hilarious. But I am also very committed to being part of Immersiva's remit to make science and culture accessible to all. Since most people consider this a platform for entertainment, it's really something of an achievement when we talk about subjects that are a bit more meaty, and manage to make them appetizing. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when people keep coming back for more. True, sometimes things go wrong, voice fails or there are other technical glitches, but I love to rise to the challenge, that's part of the pleasure of hosting: my attitude is 'The show must go on'!
I wondered what advice Marjorie would have for anyone considering a similar path in SL.
Marjorie Fargis: When you host an event, you have to have a global understanding of what is going on around you. Choose your venue wisely. Think in terms of occupancy, lag, security and traffic rather than just the look of the place on the screen. You need good people around you, the kind of people who are willing to give the best of themselves in the moment. Getting your event noticed is also key, advertising it on social networks like FB and getting a plug on various blogs helps a lot. Researching and rehearsing the event is essential too... at the end of the day, it's a lot of work, but it pays off! The only way to make it work it by being patient and willing to work hard... and the payoff will come.
Marjorie's not a builder, she sees herself as an observer, a raconteur rather than a creator, but she believes very strongly in the educational value of the metaverse, and tries to bring inworld many of the artists that thrill her in RL. I asked her who she'd pick if she were going to make an Arts Park.
Marjorie Fargis: That's a hard question. I see myself as a storyteller - in Italian we say cantastorie a story singer: I don't build, but I'd like to make a Burning Life style sim where artists could interpret their favourite RL works - art within art! If I had to pick a single person, it would be  actor and director Kenneth Branagh. I've always loved the way he reinterprets Shakespeare in his films with originality and imagination. I would have a sim-stage, where avatar actors could perform in plays in Branagh's style, and the production could really go wild with imaginative scenery that would transcend place and time. I am thinking of it as a global work of art, where musicians could provide and play original music, creating a truly immersive experience for the audience, who would be a part of the action, where voices in many languages would join together, acting, singing and improvising. It would be a sort of infernal circle for virtual souls where the parts of actors, creators and spectators become fused and bring into being new art...that unique and exclusive expression that only the metaverse makes possible.


Libera per una volta di entrare in SL in un orario inconsueto... e di sentire per la prima volta la musica di Alessio Santacroce. Alessio, livornese, è scrittore e cantautore, ha presentato a Astral Dreams la land di Jack Davies. Il nuovo CD di Alessio si chiama La quarta via, come il suo band, e l'ha presentato  insieme a un nuovo libro. S'intitola I giudici : quattro estranee si trovano bloccati in un ascensore - la brava Marjorie Fargis ha letto per noi un paio di brani di questo breve ma avvincente romanzo, davvero bello, acquistarlo significa non solo poter conoscere la finale imprevedibile del libro, ma anche contribuire a una buona causa, la costruzione di scuole nel Sudan, un'iniziativa di Anthropos
Sentendola leggere cosi bene i brani dal libro, ho voluto sapere cosa significa fare la presentatrice in SL, e ho chiesto a Marjorie di raccontarmi un po al sua storia. Si trova in SL dal 2008; inizialmente frequentava una piccola land dove più che eventi si tenevano delle chiacchierate di confronto tra amici, poi con il passaparola iniziarono a chiederla di presentare serate di ogni genere in diverse land. Ero curiosa di sapere se si ricordava la prima esperienza da presentatrice metaversale.
Marjorie Fargis: Oh sì che la ricordo! Decisi di organizzare una serata sull'arte, usai come tema un intervento che avevo scritto per la RL e che si intitolava "L'inutilità dell'Arte", volevo provocare una discussione. Intervennero persone diverse fu molto bello. Ma non andò tutto liscio. Ad un certo punto qualcuno cambiò nettamente il tema della discussione portandolo sulla religione e la situazione cominciò a farsi tesa. Feci davvero i salti mortali per riprendere la conduzione della serata. Poi però si concluse tutto per il meglio. Mi sentivo bene. Sono esperienze che vivo anche nella RL e che mi portano una grande carica. Poi quando finiscono c'è lo scarico della tensione e quella nube di stelline che ti girano intorno alla testa attribuendoti un'espressione molto buffa di soddisfazione. L'evento che ricordo mi ha divertita di più è stata una serata ad Immersiva. Presentammo un quiz sul cinema a cui parteciparono in molti. Sul palco eravamo giovanna Delphin ed io e trascorremmo tutta la serata a divertire il pubblico con degli sketch improvvisati.  Gli eventi a cui sono più affezionata sono quelli in collaborazione con giovanna Delphin e Talete Flanagan. Ci occupiamo di divulgazione culturale e scientifica. La bellezza sta proprio nella difficoltà di affrontare degli argomenti seri in una piattaforma originariamente dedicata al gioco. La soddisfazione si raggiunge quando il pubblico conferma il proprio apprezzamento ritornando più volte ad ascoltarti. Infatti personalmente quasi non credevo di riuscire a tenere sveglie tutte quelle persone parlando di scienza nella letteratura.
 E quando SL non vuole collaborare...?
Marjorie Fargis: A volte ci sono problemi con il voice, che per presentare è fondamentale e la maggior parte delle serate sono dominate dal lag che impedisce di svolgere le presentazioni con una certa armonia. Ma sono una donna fortunatamente dotata di spirito d'iniziativa e al minimo problema..cerco sempre di andare avanti con l'evento inventandomi qualcosa..."Show must go on!". Questo tipo di lavoro richiede una conoscenza a 360 gradi di tutti gli aspetti che compongono l'evento. La ricerca del luogo dove si svolgerà è vincolata non solo alla bellezza o meno della land, ma soprattutto alla sua capacità di ospitare avatar e alla sua frequentazione (problemi di sicurezza o di di poco traffico). La gestione dei collaboratori che devono poter dare il meglio nei momenti che dedicano a SL. La divulgazione dell'evento in SL e fuori con una campagna mirata che vada a toccare i maggiori social network e i blog che parlano di metaverso. La verifica e supervisione dei contenuti...insomma è un lavoro...vero e proprio! Consiglio a chi vuole organizzare eventi in SL di armarsi di pazienza e buona volontà.
Marjorie si definisce osservatrice, cantastorie, non builder, ma crede fermamente nel potere educativo e divulgativo del Metaverso, e cerca di portare inworld gli artisti che conosce in RL: le ho chiesto che tipo di Arts Park creerebbe se avesse la possibilità.
Marjorie Fargis: Domanda impegnativa! Mi piacerebbe riunire degli artisti in una sim vuota tipo quella del Burning Life e dar loro la possibilità di creare opere all'interno di un ambiente da loro stessi ideato: arte che contiene arte! Se dovessi scegliere scelgo Kenneth Branagh, il regista/attore, che seguo da anni nelle sue assolutamente fantasiose rivisitazioni delle opere di Shakespeare. Pensando a lui immagino una land palcoscenico dove si possano rappresentare con gli avatar le opere di Shakespeare e dove la sua già fervida immaginazione si possa sbizzarrire a creare scenografie virtuali per commedie e tragedie traslate di tempo e luoghi. Penso ad opere d'arte virtuali realizzate per dar vita a queste rappresentazioni. A musicisti che realizzino accompagnamenti atti a rendere il tutto assolutamente immersivo per gli spettatori, che verrebbero a far parte loro stessi della rappresentazione.  A voci in tutte le lingue che si intreccino per recitare, cantare ed improvvisare. Insomma una specie di girone infernale per anime virtuali dove i ruoli di attori, creatori e spettatori si confondessero per dar vita ad arte nuova... quella espressione unica ed esclusiva che solo il metaverso concede.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weekend in New England

There once was a girl from Nantucket...
No, nothing rude, although I'm arguably under-dressed for such an occasion... my point is, this weekend there's a 19 hour musical event going on at Nantucket Village Square that's Second Life New England... a 65 sim zone I only heard of recently - how embarrassing! - run by the lovely Becca Horsforth and her talented team. The LSNE site will put you on to the many things there are to see, especially Mystic of course (stop by for a pizza, but Don't miss the photos of RLNE by acclaimed photographer Evad Slade. The money they're raising is to help Haiti, so visiting and contributing is good for your soul as well as your whole...
Take a pics few of your own... and if some pesky item won't rez, is ugly, or plain annoying (it works for avies also) just make it invisible! I (lame as ever) only recently discovered this lovely feature, thanks to my favourite photo people, Koinup. I expect you already know  how, but if not, here's the link.
Hope you soon get over to spend some time in New England, among the long rocky beaches, as Barry Manilow sang - but also to the village, the shops and the open air Theater and share in their culture, their chowder, and of course their great cause.