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.

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