Tuesday, April 17, 2012


It may be the nearest thing to a scientifically accurate boredom /idle curiosity index, how long it takes you to decide if you'll click on an unbidden TP to an art opening. The funny part is that you'll almost always find little there to relieve either sensation.
The person who tp's you in will definitely not speak to you, they are way too busy sending IMs and group messages, and let's face it, you're nothing more than a single steer in the giant cattle drive of worshipers.
The artist, woozy from all that ego massaging, will spare you a comment perhaps, but rarely anything cogent.
The other people present are mostly interesting from a sociological, rather than artistic, point of view, and usually break down into the bitchy schoolgirl cliques, fawning Empty Nesters, wonderfully dry sarcastic IM'ers, and characters rather like un-moored Zeppelins with 'Don't You Know Who I Am?' stencilled on the side. A colossal, lonely, largely insubstantial presence. And then of course, there's you. It's always nice to run into you at a show.

Of all the curators who've come and gone over the years, and omg there have been many, Asmita Duranjaya is one of the few who doesn't feel like she is a woman of little talent (beyond trumpeting) basking in reflected glory. She has real credentials, in art, and music, and community building. Her invitation to the MBK Gallery seemed worth a gamble. The show is Hearts on Holiday by Reezy Frequency. OK the guy with what look like breasts and panties over his brown jean, I have no idea what's going on there.

Asmita's a good bet, and the Meisterbastler (how is that not a double entendre??) chapel did look a treat from the outside, almost along Jennifer Steinkamp lines. Hearts on Holiday is what it sounds like, joyous, positive, alluring. The sculptures were of the notsomuch kind that almost any Resident can find in their own inventory from the days when they first discovered how to twist a torus. But the 2D work is interesting, jumping from sunshiny swirls to blue nudes.
I completely get it that some people need to bask in immediate praise to feel like they're making something worthwhile. It's not true, as DC Antonelli tried to insist the other day, that unseen art isn't art at all. A Leonardo in the cupboard is no less a piece of crafted beauty than an overexposed Color Field (aka paint drying pointlessly) - in fact, surely more. Unseen brilliance is like a tree falling in the forest -yes, it does make a noise, regardless. If you could deduct from his fans all the people with minimal talent in painting and drawing who have delusions of fame and fortune, Mark Rothko would have been popular with like 2 people, both within his immediate family. His charm is the same as that of the Lottery, and appeals to the same class of folk.

Gallery openings are better than watching paint dry, but not always. Much better to drop in later, and check out Reezy's art for yourself. And don't forget Asmita and co's Sim, Space 4 Art, where dozens of talents have their studios.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Water wheels

The sinking last week of the Ryou-Un Maru - better known as - off the coast of Alaska is just one more reminder of the literal fallout from last year's tsunami. The 'Japanese ghost ship'  met an ironic end at the hands - or rather cannons - of the US Coastguard, in the frigid waters of the Gulf of Alaska. The trawler had been slated for destruction in the shipyards of Hokkaido; instead its watery fate is to lie six thousand feet below the surface, where the experts say it will become home to sea creatures, although nobody asked them if they needed any spare habitat. Life sometimes just falls on your head, and you have to make the best of it.
The double bill at SplitScreen, Dividni Shostakovich's gallery, reminds us of that. Alizarin has a much bigger version of this build in Inworldz, where she spends most of her time nowadays; this build has some new elements but is essentially two of the four chapters you can find on her IWz sim.
Alizarin Goldflake: The time limit would have killed me if I had to start from scratch. Acquarella in IWz took me over eight months - for Split Screen, I pre-built everything in IWz, and then on my sky platform.

The build feels huge; it's roamable and as such a lot of fun, but Ali also makes it easy to follow the story via a walkway of burning coals. The fable, which illustrates man's careless treatment of the environment - in particular the sea - has been widely covered, including in a video by machinimist Chantal Harvey. Hey it's even available in Chinese if you're one of the six people on the planet who didn't go to Shanghai last year. OK seven if you include me.

There are some great spots in which to sit and reflect on how much we've pissed off Acquarella, and no end of Tetras and lovely, lacy seaweed (all Ali's original drawings, of course), not to mention her sea snake and scary not-quite-jelly-monsters.  But just when you think that these two parts of the story end on a high note...
Alizarin Goldflake: Follow the searchlight up! The nymphs have been cursed, and Homeland Security up there is taking down everything you say!
What goes around, comes around.
On the other side of the Split Screen is a build by Blue Tsuki. Ali showed me around.
Alizarin Goldflake: This is a memorial  although Blue doesnt make a point of letting you know that. The lavender flowers are called Sab flowers, and this is a memorial for Sabrinaa Nightfire. It really moves me.
The urns are very ornate : and they are spilling out glowing particles. It is about mortality and transcendence. The windmills are like witnesses or mourners, and everything here moves up and away. The viewer is just enveloped in this, like a mediation. The way Blue used the sim water here is also really good. There are textures just under it texture with glow, and it turns the SL water red.
It's a dreamy place, as repetitious as a prayer wheel. The border blends into the sky perfectly - there are no constraints between heaven and earth here in the shallows. And as such, it makes a great contrast to Ali's watery deep.
Alizarin Goldflake: I think the two builds are good foils to each other, although while we were setting up, we hardly exchanged a word.
Like many builders, Alizarin is torn about continuing to build and show in Second Life with rental prices for the kind of real estate she needs still in the "Ouch" range. Certainly there's wider exposure in the bigger audience-pool of SL, but more recently she's found sales are better in InWorldz. The possibility of getting free land from the LEA committee is also appealing. But she's also looking to another chapter in her virtual art career.
Alizarin Goldflake: With the Intergrid Metaverse Arts Biennial coming up I may show stuff in more than these two grids.
The IMAB, organized by a committee headed by Josina Burgess and Velasquez Bonetto, aims to unite art and artist from all grids, opensim and the closed worlds, by providing both a long-lasting festival, and a website where artists will be able to explain both what they do and where they are. More soon, I expect.