Tournicoton, the French art Gallery on sim Metaversel, is closing this week, closing its doors for good. It's just too expensive, says Mariaka Nishi, who cofounded the artistic venue back in 2007 alongside her RL partner, Naastik Rau. To mark the end of an era, and to let people know that she's still fervently involved in VW art, she has organized one last show, Welcoming Woman, set for this Tuesday evening, French time (that's 12.30 SLT on September 25th). It's going to be a double event, held in Voice, held on both SL and Francogrid - the sims have the same name, Metaversel. Here's Mariaka, FG version, busy preparing the Francogrid side of the double show.
Francogrid. She has also allowed her son Louka free range, on an adjoining sim,
Metaversel Junior. Imagine being able to afford to give your kid a whole sim to play with.
If you've never been to FG, you have to try it, the people there are classy, intelligent and unfailingly helpful. Oo la la. (Already got an opensim avie, but don't know how to get to Francogrid? Check out this page.)
Mariaka's SL experience has been one of collaboration, and she's clearly a very community-minded person. Their first show was a multi-handed show called Annelies in Wonderland/ Real Virtuality; the second, Quantum Man, crystallized the general concept of truth through fusion that has been at the heart of Tournicoton. It's been a haven for many, a launching pad for a few, and its loss will be felt.
The acronym LEA is always wheeled out when there's talk of artists leaving SL, like it's the cure for all uncomfortable sim-ptoms.
Mariaka Nishi: I expect there are artists who have benefited. but not me. I am aware it exists, but nothing more, I do not know if the LEA really helps artists. I feel that LL lets many content creators leave regions by their lack of power to continue funding. In any case, I've never felt helped by LL.
Capitalists have a word for that: laissez-faire, I believe. It's been a blast, a source of intense pleasure and intense work, to run the gallery, to put on shows, and generally being involved in the Second Life art scene.
Mariaka Nishi: Exhibiting in virtual worlds is, above all, a personal freedom. For the first time, I longer needed to pay attention to what contemporary art stated, I could freely choose how I was going to develop an exhibition and its content, etc. It was a huge release, and I quickly realized that it led to real communication and feedback with the public. I spent a lot of time looking at shows but especially talking, and exchanging views. A virtual gallery allows both physical and financial freedom of design and construction impossible in RL, and you get worldwide exposure It's a unique and unforgettable experience.
It's a very personal exhibition; some might say a little too near the knuckle in the whole "I don't want potentially freaky strangers ogling my child at any cost" front. If SL is synonymous for self-indulgence disguised as self expression, it partly comes under that heading too, perhaps; the skybox with its slightly irridescent walls has the wicked look of one of those flip-open photo wallets that coworkers, lurking by the watercooler, are liable to pull out, should the phrase 'how are the kids?' careless cross your lips.
Mariaka Nishi: I love his work and his being. We don't have a lot of visible stuff to show from our collaboration, but we had a lot of really good conversations.
Bibliotheque Francophone du Metavers, for their professionalism and friendship. Like all of us, she's experienced that quicksilver phenomenon of virtual lives touching - some have become firm friends from a distance, some have become real world contacts, while others have disappeared just as they came. Of these last, perhaps her biggest regret from an artistic point of view is Nessy Lupino, who had Fond du Lac in SL, and never quite recovered from its loss when the sim went dark. She was present for a short time in Francogrid, but has since disappeared even from there.
It's quite clear that whatever the future brings, Mariaka, her art and her expression, will not be disappearing any time soon. Make a point of visiting her in Francogrid, and you will certainly not be disappointed.