Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Various things

     This is a post to keep a record of a few things going on.  Or went on like a recent talk I did for York University in their course called Art and Artists in digital environments.  This has been somewhat of a tradition doing a talk for York University over the past few years or so.  It is so fun because the students are very keen and interested.  I think I stayed an extra hour answering questions from the students.  It is interesting because the students are younger and more used to virtual spaces now and whats better, they either don't care or are unaware of all that bad media press Second Life took for so long as a result of.. well lazy reporters.  "Hey I have a deadline to do an article on that virtual space called Second Life.. and I need people to click on my article! hmmm I could write about the huge amount of money the virtual space raises for various causes such as Relay for Life or I could write about the groundbreaking art or the fascinating psychology of social groups in virtual worlds.. or maybe I will just write about people having virtual affairs.  Yeah I will get the editor to put up a giant virtual sex title for the article and loads will click it."  You know... it is shocking because the human race.. you know...  have never before tried to incorporate sex into anything.  Especially on the internet.  I mean who could have predicted it!
     Anyway, I digress, it is always fun to give a talk and rewarding because I recall being in art school at the Ontario College of Art and Design and learning about various artists.  At that time, in those art history classes, all starry eyed it seemed so far away to achieve anything even remotely like them.  And while I am not suggesting I am anything like those artists I studied, it is fun to think that my art is being studied by students in a course as part of the syllabus.  A South Korean university was on my sim several months ago too I remember.  It just cool the kind of road trips that can happen in a class now and some of their stops take them to our virtual world.
Students from York University
 Anyway what else has been happening?.  Linden Lab sent me a message a few weeks ago saying that Vogue magazine wishes to use some images of my artwork for their magazine.  That is the second time Vogue magazine have featured my work in Second Life.  No idea yet when the magazine will come out but will do another post when it does with pics.   Below is one of the images they wish to use.  From An evening at the Ballet.  The other dancers in the background looking at their cell phone rather than at the dancer.

      And finally I am working on a new build which will hopefully open in a few weeks.  It was going to open for Halloween but the scripting has been really complex and wont be able to get it done by then.  SL scripting is not really made to do the things in this build so will see if it works.  Progress has been slow but each obstacle has been overcome so I have faith.  Essentially it is a small story about living in a civilized society and the sudden intrusion of our instincts causing us to behave outside those norms.  In this case an overwhelming need to fight for survival, even against those we love.  Then the aftermath where we fight against shame and confusion when our instincts clashed with the civilized norm.  So with this as the premise I have gamefied the psychology of existing within our own minds and the various dark corridors that reside there.  The story is called Jane and Eloise and will make more sense when you see it.  It will be something to do with friends, it will be fun and scary.

Jane and Eloise

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Body Electric

The Body Electric was launched at ICRE 2014. An inspiring selection of visual art, in a range of media – photography, drawing, painting, sculpture and film – explored the conference theme of medical technology from new critical and artistic angles.

The Body Electric is a digital visual art show to be presented at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s (RCPSC) upcoming International Conference on Resident Education (ICRE), October 18-20, 2018 in Halifax NS.  

     Three of my machinima works are being exhibited there as part of the show.  The Singularity of Kumiko, Juniper and Virtual Environments which is a machinima showing the virtual work created for soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a commission for the United States Military.  Essentially we created a virtual space to  help soldiers with  PTSD,  I would like to say it was a great success, however, I have no idea if it was as those military types are a tight lipped bunch.  In fact after I completed the project they chloroformed me and I woke up in a motel on the other side of the country.  I looked at a Polaroid on the night table and it showed me with two friends and I could see that my body was slowly disappearing.  It became clear to me that I had to go back in time and get my parents to kiss in order to not fade away.  Ok that last part is a lie mixed with Back to the Future.

If you are in Halifax you are welcome to attend the show if there are still tickets.  The tickets are a bit pricey I think so I  have included the three machinima in this post below.


Friday, August 17, 2018

"Pretty" opening August 18th at Blue Orange

Tomorrow (Saturday the 17th) at 12pm slt will open a new work of mine which I created for Blue Orange.  It is called "Pretty" and is based off a poem I wrote.  I was playing with a few characters from the Sansar work called "Canis" and made a little space.  It will open at 12 so if you wish to see it with the windlight (Bryn Oh's condos in heaven #2) and advanced lighting then maybe come then, as at 1pm Skye Galaxy will be playing live and the sim will be too laggy for the settings I would imagine.   The artwork is based around the need to collect and to be collected.  It is about technology, change and the obsolete.  I don't want to say too much as I think it is more fun for people to interpret on their own rather than be told, I hope you will come and enjoy the exhibit.  My work is just one part to a large photo based show with a wide range of talented artists taking part.

Slurl to Blue Orange and "Pretty".

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Maskitt bronze sculptures

The Long-legged Maskitt bronze sculptures are now complete and in my studio.  It took quite some time as the legs and tail were devilishly thin and difficult to cast, but they are here now and placidly grazing in the back yard as you can see by the picture.  There is still one (possibly two) available if you are interested in owning one.  They are $500 usd + shipping.  Just send me a message, I am elusive, but can reach me in world perhaps.  There were a total of 24 created with 14 being used as awards for the Santorini Biennial to be given out to artists.  The remaining 10 were for me which I am first making available to SL residents and then will use the remainder in gallery exhibits.

Here is the list of those who purchased one.  No particular order, each was cast individually from its own mould using the lost wax process.

1 Bine Rodenberger
2 doob
3 Fitch Lekvoda
4 Pathfinder Linden
5 Inkspott
6 Saskia Boddeke
7 John01 Freng
8 BelAmi Runningbear
9 (Gallery)

And my new light hearted work called "What the Orphans saw" is now open on Immersiva. 

And "Catching Feathers" a commission is open on Sparta region

Here is the poem machinima for Catching Feathers 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"What the orphans saw" a new work

     I have a new artwork opening on Sunday called "What the orphans saw".  It is a playful work that
combines Cyber-Edwardian sensibilities with Kawaii.  Seems a natural hybrid haha.   As the matron languishes in her VR dreamworld the orphans sneak out of the house to see what one of them has discovered.  An appalling scene that turns their world upside down.
     I have some great news too,  Skye Galaxy will make a rare appearance and do a live show for the opening on Sunday July 8th at 10am SLT.  If you are unfamilliar with Skye then google him or watch the video below.  He is a rare talent, a sl legend.  Now much less legendary will be me playing some of my favorite songs at this
moment for an hour before Skye's show at 9am slt.  That is if I can figure out how to use my stream to be a dj.  How hard can it be?  And when I say "me playing some of my favorite songs" that naturally means me playing other peoples music.. not me singing.  I would never subject someone to that horror, not even Donald Trump.  Ok maybe I would for Donald the sandy pantload but nobody else. 
     This will be a half sim build and I have moved the other three 26 tines, Lady Carmagnolle and Tilt-a-whirl to the left side.  I have also used a feature in firestorm which will change  your windlight in each parcel.  It will unfortunately work only using Firestorm viewer and only if you change your preferences to allow windlights to change automatically.  To do this simply press Ctrl and P to open preferences.  Then click the Firestorm tab three up from the bottom of the list of tabs, then click Windlight tab.. then turn on everything on that page.  It also uses advanced lighting with shadows.

Skye Galaxy Grid Hitz Performance from Metaverse TV on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Telephone Jesus

" I am quite a fan of your art, I would like you to know, and I support you by purchasing your objects formerly used in your exhibits, but,  now I am at your land again and I see Jesus hanging in the crucified position from one of your telegraph lines.  Please tell me that you had a good reason for that.  I am so disappointed.  I have spoken to my husband who said that I should file a report with Linden Labs because it is an act obscene to religions"

     I received this message today and thought I might explain the telephone Jesus that was present in my work entitled "Hand".  I also would like to mention that I am not writing this post out of concern for this message I received, but instead because this person reminded me how much I liked that little part of Hand, and now I feel like revisiting it.  I am actually kind of curious to see if Linden Lab would agree with them and delete the object from the database.  I guess we will see.  I wont go into detail about the entire story as I have done so in blog posts earlier, rather I will just explain that one symbolic figure.
The cell phone and telephone jesus
     If you look at the picture above in the top right is a stone Jesus sculpture attached to a telephone pole.  The telephone pole's basic shape is that of a cross.  It symbolizes, to me, communication and technology.   The combination symbolizes our societies new Gods.  That of technology, twitters, Facebooks and celebrity.  We worship brands to the extent that reality show hosts can now become presidents due to the surface they project in 30 minute episodes or two line tweets.  We trust and worship the internet and our televisions and now they shape the world.  In many ways I feel like the world has become desensitized to some horrors and there is a lack of empathy in many people.  Unfortunately I don't have a great photo of Telephone Jesus without Flutter and her mannequin hand in the way,  but maybe you can see better if I describe what to look for.  In the top right you can see that Jesus's head tilts down and should you follow his gaze you will discover his eyes rest upon a glowing cell phone on the sidewalk.  If you look at the mannequin hand being held by Flutter it is the blue thing at the tip of the pinky finger and led to by the crack in the sidewalk.  Jesus himself looks down to the discarded cell phone and
Duck lipped selfie
upon the screen is a girl taking a "selfie" but it is unclear what the selfie is of.   In this virtual world narrative should you actually click the cell phone you would have been teleported to a new scene.  That scene is the moment where the selfie was taken.  It is of a girl who is taking a "duck lipped" selfie.. a style popularized by, I am fairly certain, kim kardashian.  And with a shocking lack of empathy she is doing it in front of the burning twin towers.  Why do so few artists tackle the twin towers?  This girl is not just taking a duck lipped selfie in front of the towers but has captured the "falling man" which you can see
The falling man
as a tiny dot to the top right of her head in the middle of the building.
   I became obsessed with the falling man while creating this portion of Hand.  He was captured in various footage and never identified.  He chose to jump rather than die from the flames.  In all the footage he falls without struggle, almost gracefully to his own death.  Did he work at the building or was it his first time there delivering a package or perhaps he was attending a meeting?  How did he begin his day and what were his thoughts while he fell?  I know this might sound strange but it was quite emotional for me when I was building him.  I studied what footage I could find for hours and imagined whether there was a mother, wife or daughter who had seen this image and recognized him, and the ensuing torment they would feel.  For loved ones I can imagine that a photo like this creates an endless sorrow in that it is not the empty shell of a body after death nor the moments before a tragedy where they are unaware of what is in their future.. but a moment when they are suspended in terror, a time when you would want to comfort them yet cannot, and they spend eternity frozen in this moment.  All you can do is imagine what they felt, while being helpless to do anything for the one you love. 
     Sadly this type of selfie is not so unlikely.  There are various trends of posted selfies at accident scenes, at funerals in front of open caskets in front of burning homes and so forth.  Essentially the quest to post shocking things that will garner "likes" where the phone and linked social media overpowers our ability to feel empathy for other human beings.  All this was found by few as you needed to click the phone to actually be teleported to this secret area.   Anyway, person who is disappointed in me, this is what Telephone Jesus symbolized.  My goal as an artist has never been to make cute things but to challenge and create dialogue.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Catching feathers

     A few months ago Anejka Cerise commissioned me to build something for the Sparta region. 
A build with a poem and machinima for their sim.  I looked through my catalogue of characters and timelines to decide which to write about and add more depth to.  The last few were Lady Carmagnolle from the abandoned amusement park in the Rabbicorn story,  26 tines which was a laboratory for machines and then Tilt-a-Whirl which showed Juniper and Flutter together.  The character I chose to create a work around is one who I wrote a history for, but had not really spent a lot of time on in the past.  In my mind I know his connections to everything over the last ten years or so, but I know that it is not obvious to those who follow the story.  The main character for Catching feathers is the Scientist who built the Rabbicorn and various other machines in my stories.  He is just known as "the scientist" in my mind and I never do give him a proper name.  In fact he is in the much larger story I am writing and even there i skirt around his name.   He works for the government creating functional robots for everything from industry to the military.
     In the Rabbicorn story he built, secretly on the side, a machine that could love... and that machine was the Rabbicorn.  His "love" upgrade was later purchased by Kumiko's parents for Mr Zippers in the Singularity of Kumiko.  After creating the Rabbicorn he determined that he would have to hide it or give it away as he knew that once it was discovered, and due to its AI advancement the Rabbicorn would be confiscated and taken apart to study, so he gave the Rabbicorn to a stranger who then gifted it to his son on his birthday.  He is also the lead scientist who has gone home for the night and left the two characters alone to meet in 26 tines.  All the machines in the displays in 26 tines are created by this same man whose life revolves around building for the government which leaves him feeling empty and unfulfilled.  In each of these connections his background was not really displayed so in this poem machinima I have talked about about his life.  Essentially he is an accomplished man with few social graces.  He is not exciting or witty nor adventurous and well traveled.  He is a simple man who goes through life watching others seem to fit in perfectly while he is hardly even seen on the sidelines.  He wants someone to share his life with and in the end his abilities allow him to build rather than meet someone to love.  He wants to create his own "angel" from the dance floor and goes so far as to build her wings.  To finish these wings he must lure and catch little birds who he must then pluck resulting in their death.
      It is the dichotomy of taking life to create one for himself.. or rather a half life.  He is not meant to be a perfect character who we sympathize with completely, but one who does some good things and some bad.. as do we all.  Is he just lonely or instead creepy?  many of my characters are built this way to encourage discussion.  It asks the questions such as can we build our perfect partner or does a perfect partner require the intangibles and annoying bits too.  It is wrong to create a girl such as he has decided to do.. to give up essentially or is it merely human progression.  A type of evolution of the mind where we leave the body behind in a similar way the hermit crab discards its shell.

Catching feathers will open on Sparta empire region Monday 4th June 2018, 12.30 pm slt /21hrs central Europe  With special thanks to Chris Komashko for the sound design and music in the machinima.