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Friday, May 27, 2011

Betty's Boxes

Sitting in front of a computer is a sin, on days like these. Everything non-virtual presses its case, urging one to think outside the box, to get out of the room. The Great Outside, where my experimental pineapple bed has nothing to do with furniture, or prim count. Further outside, where mockingbirds mob a burly crow, the timid hydrangea opens one flower at a time, and the evenings are made for long, honeysuckle-scented walks to the pub amid fireflies in the sweet heat that will soon melt into oppression.
But then there's Betty Tureaud. Her build, The Box at Danish Visions, is like a fruit salad for the eyes. I went to see it with Karllos Decosta, who has recently fixed and updated the links in the ArtsParks sidebar. If you have some suggestions of unsung and interesting places that should be in the list, let him or me know and we'll see what we can do. (But no shops, vampire related crap, or obvious places like Bryn Oh installations.) Meanwhile, back in the box...
Karllos Decosta: There are many aspects of Betty’s art that you can explore: the political side, like her Arab Spring work at Kelly Yap Artist Gallery, her little robots, the use of search engines to structure our experience of ourselves and the world, following the ideas of the theorist Lev Manovich about the database as a new symbolic form. Other artists explore topics like identity issues or interactivity. I think Betty wants to explore the immersive possibilities of virtual worlds. So the big size suits that. The cube work is the best I have seen this year. As you walk, light goes through the cubes. I always liked huge spots of color, and I like how the colors change as you walk. I keeping coming back here, it's a beautiful work, it reminds me of Paul Klee, with his controlled and subtle chamber music style that you can see in a painting like Flora on the Sand. Both Klee and Kandinsky were accomplished musicians. Maybe Betty will surprise us by taking an electric guitar out of her sleeve and entertaining us, setting everybody in a mood of luxury, calm and pleasure.
  I'm all for that. And of course, Betty's famous for her Facebook collection of Danish Girl vocalists, including The Asteroids, Louise, and many more.
  Just then, Betty tp'd over to the sim to chat. She looked chic in her asian maiden outfit. We asked how long it took her to construct this huge, bewildering place.

Betty Tureaud: One day - no, just kitten, I think a week. It's based on an old computer game.

From now on, we all should substitute 'just kitten' for 'just kidding', don't you think? It's way better. Betty introduced us to her art bot.  Bettybot sounds a lot like SecondLie; she's funny for oh, about 30 seconds, then sinks into an overkill of smart remarks. There was a taste of an earlier build themed around nebulae and space in the maze, but also something more, and I wondered if the scenery of Betty's native Denmark, in this season of the year, has inspired the range of hues in the maze.
Betty Tureaud: It's me, I am a color freak.
Thirza Ember: Is this an impression of what Denmark looks like?
Betty Tureaud: Yes this is a Danish sim.
Karllos Decosta: So, Danish people really love colors..:)
Betty Tureaud: I do. SL is my home planet, I come here to make my dreams...
Karllos Decosta: I love your playfulness, with hues and tones blossoming all over, transforming forms in mere vessels full of colors to sooth our eyes. Do you like painters like Matisse and Gauguin?
Betty Tureaud: Yes, very much. I love all the old masters. Gauguin stayed in Denmark, and had a child there.
We got a little lost in here in the glow, and then she took us off to get really lost in her Blue Diamond build high above PiRats. It's the gigantic space, designed to make you feel tiny in a flood of colours.

Karllos Decosta: It's like being in another planet in a sci fi story!
All too soon, Betty left us, and I asked Karllos what makes him such a fan of her work.
Karllos Decosta: It's beautiful. The works exhibited at Normasian Straits show her releasing the color energy the way Kandinsky did with his abstract paintings, resembling the dynamism of a symphonic orchestra. Second Life is for me a kind of proof of concept about what we will see and live in the future.
There will be news ways of working, to relate to people, to study. Art too will create new ways
of expression, maybe something like the big buildings of Betty. And certainly the experience
that the Box gives me is something I don’t feel in RL. In the end I have the same feeling in SL that I have watching a silent movie. You are observing the birth of a new language, you see the first close-up, the first time a movie director moved the camera. All possibilities are open and the most creative artists are grabbing it.

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