Thursday, January 1, 2009


But somewhere always, nowhere particularly unusual,
Almost anywhere in the landscape of water and houses,
His crying competing unsuccessfully with the cry
Of the traffic or the birds, is always standing
The one who needs you, that terrified
Imaginative child who only knows you
As what the uncles call a lie,
But knows he has to be the future and that only
The meek inherit the earth, and is neither
Charming, successful, nor a crowd;
Alone among the noise and policies of summer,
His weeping climbs towards your life like a vocation.
W H Auden, Like a vocation

Whew! So now we all have to get used to writing '09 and that tricky new Universal remote, while accepting the fact those resolutions are unlikely to last till the end of the month. A time to look back on the first year of ArtsParks for me. So many places, so much lag! No only kidding, so much art, some weird, some wonderful; some so tenaciously close to the schema of RL it pinches you pixels just to look at it, other places so unanchored they fail to touch, many (thank goodness) deliciously loose, original, stylish, erudite, and imaginative.
The best bits of my 08 tour of SL Art are hard to classify, but here are some of them, in no particular order:
Jabberwocky, Surrealia Anatine's take on Alice through the Looking glass. It's a dreamworld interpretation of the book, making full use of the freedom from logic and gravity only SL and our imagination can grant.
Starry Night, that used to be at Luctesa, now sadly gone, offered a materclass in arts parkery. There were three famous paintings rendered in avatar-side 3D so that you could walk in the village of starry night or sit in the garden at Arles. More than that, on sale were not only photo textures but also stunning reworking of his paintings made to seem like stained glass, and a full global gallery bringing together his work from collections all around the world.
October Country, Martian Wei's celebration of gothic horror, framed by the works of H P Lovecraft. No daft dead-end vampire club this, rather, a feast of fear with sinister houses, monsters, and radio plays streaming 24/7.
The Michelle Babii photographic show set to the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I didn't know Millay's work until I saw this exhibition of photos from sim Silent, whose wonderfully evocative black and white look is also now gone. But the poems remain.
Axtilio Villier's Terezin exhibition, the haunting drawings by children caught up in the Shoah.
The Beatles experience, by Deroiste Quixote herself a musician of talent. Nowhere in SL could you find out more about Liverpool and the Fab Four.
Clematilde Oyen's Sybirya, the park to Jules Verne is another high point. With Magica de Cuir, she has made the life and works of Verne come alive in the ingenious machinery of an re-imagined world. For my own part, I was given the task of rebuilding the villa of the poet Catullus at Porto Cervo, which introduced me to both his poetry and the charms of simultaneous translation along with the chance to build something ruinous.
Map Darwin's map collection. Art and science, history and literature, presented with elan. Plus they have cool freebies.
You can find links to the slurls of most of these places of pedigree, by browsing the archive on your left.
The worst things I have seen: Endless nameless art galleries that look like lagers or midWest malls, which is tautology.
A memorably crappy French sim with campers dancing around a giant nipple in the name of Pompidou.
Blobby sculptures that say 'everything'. ACK!
The Beethoven sim, and although be fair it may have improved; I should go back to see if the insanely dull buildings or ghastly garden have given way to something more worthy of the composer.
Empty, harshly decorated meeting places. Please can no-one build any more conference centres, meeting halls, or seminar rooms. Or if you must, couldn't you make yours comic, surreal, or informative?
The Burning Man festival.
Oh, and someone took me to see a Resident (name lost in the mists) whose art consisted of putting the beach in boxes. Something about bits of land poking up through water inside a hollow cube that said nothing to me. And by nothing I mean "whatthe... TP! TP!"
Places I plan to see in this new year.
Much more of Caledon, this green and pleasant land in the Steampunk tradition, we'll see more of their literary and historical exhibitions and ingenious artistic inventions. I shall stalk such excellent Caledonians as Master Librarian and all-round good egg JJ Drinkwater and the glamorous archivist Siri Woodget for the purpose, and will need more pseudoVictorian clothes but if I must shop, well, that's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make.
More original art on the menu from luminaries like Feathers Boa and our own Aloisio Congrejo whose jazz art phase is becoming more intricate and fascinating. The feature picture above is his sculpture to Miles Davis, which you can see at his jazz club on Tanalois.
The Italian citta' d'arte will also feature, particularly Mantova which is easily the best represented inworld so far. Perhaps Rome Florence and Venice will catch up with it in '09, what say we go and inspect them too.
Performance art, well, Votslav Hax's impressive stable of talent will no doubt be gracing these pages. But there will be more. The play's the thing: expect posts from the Globe and the theatre at Ivy Falls as well, and I hope from some of the Western roleplaying sims. In preparation, this morning I started an intensive course of anti-lag shots (I generally take the shots with ice and lemon) so by the end of the month I will be appropriately lubricated for the task.
Best of all, I got to chat with you, and meet some of you face to virtual face. I am always looking for new places to visit and post about, so if you see something bloggable, please comment here or send me a notecard inworld.
May 2009 bring you joy, and more: more health, wealth, harmony. And as many artful hours in SL as you desire.

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