The December 2017 Issue of Kultivate Magazine is now available! This issue features oYo Breedables, the many artists of Kultivate, A photo essay featuring winter animals, The Mill Sim, The Haze Exhibition, The Hollywood Art Museum in Sansar, A Colors of Winter Fashion Photo Essay, and the Edge Stylists present their December stylings. Very special thank you for Veruca Tammas for the cover image! Click on the cover below to view the issue:
Caitlyn and I first visited Costa Blanco in January 2017, but I didn’t get to blog about it at the time, so a re-visit seemed in order.
Designed by Gabrian Lascelles (Gothicgaylord), the region is described as “situated in the southernmost province of Sweden, and is connected by weather and theme with Bretagne in France.” It’s an interesting description, and the general environment for the region has much of a feel of being suited to either southern Sweden or Bretagne (or even here in the UK!). However, the design of the region throws in multiple elements – a Mediterranean style villa by the landing point, for example – such that Costa Blanco has an eclectic feel to it which makes exploring interesting and offers many opportunities for photography.
The aforementioned landing point is in the north-west part of the region, directly outside of the villa. Grapes are growing on the vine here, as a cobbled drive leads down the slope of a low hill to where a scattering of farm outhouses and barns sit. Some of these have clearly seen better days, as their boarded windows and doorways can attest, while the tractors sitting in and around them also speak of age and hard-working lives. Given the way the hay is baled, it would seem this is still a working farm, but the overall impression is that the focus is now more on providing stables for horses, than working the land….
Now open at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is Black and White Women, and exhibition of photography by Christower Dae.“Chris likes to explore, experiment, is curious and loves making pictures. Photography for Chris is immortalizing avatars in ambiguous attitudes,” Dido states in the liner notes for the exhibition. “His dedication to the avatar portraits, to the capture of those expressions that a skin can offer by giving (according to many people) a soul to the avatar and its personality begins.”
The result is a series of stunning avatar portraits presented in black and white, focusing on the female face. Presented in the familiar large format for Nitroglobus. However, these are no ordinary portraits. Each offers a considered, unique moment in time captured in the life of each subject; that all are presented in black and white services to heighten the beauty within it.
Each of the images is perfectly framed to offer a story; what that story might be is left entirely up to us: there are no visual clues within the pictures themselves; those which do offer any background do so in soft focus, ensuring attention remains on the face before us. Shown in close up, every detail of each face is presented to us: the brush of freckles across a cheek, the reflection of light within an eye, the spread of eyelashes, the fullness of lip – all are beautifully captured and rendered.
I’ve seen many images of avatars in Second Life, both through exhibitions and via Flickr, but Black and White Women is one of the more remarkable sets of such studies I’ve seen. The natural cast to each is – to repeat myself – genuinely unique. This is an eye-catching exhibition, one I recommend visiting.
Raglan Shire, Second Life’s Tiny community once again throws open its doors to people from across the grid as participating artists and visitors to the Annual Raglan Shire Artwalk.
This year marks the 12th Artwalk, and forms part of Raglan Shire’s tenth anniversary celebrations. The event offers an opportunity not just to appreciate a huge range of art from both the physical and digital worlds, but to also tour the Shire regions and enjoy the hospitality of the Raglan Shire community.
Running through until Sunday, June 18th the Artwalk present 2D are along the hedgerows of the Shire’s pathways and on the tree platforms overhead, while the central park lands offer walks among pieces of 3D art.
A non-juried exhibition, the Artwalk is open to any artist wishing to enter, and has minimal restrictions on the type of art displayed (one of the most important being all art is in keeping with the Shire’s maturity rating), and spaces for artists are not assigned. All of this means that it offers one of the richest mixes of SL art displayed within a single location in Second Life. Wandering along the paths and between the hedgerows, a visit to the Artwalk becomes a matter of discovery – although it is very easy to lose track of time when exploring; as such, more than one visit may be required to appreciate / see all the art on offer…..
Now open at DixMix Gallery are two new exhibitions which, although not in any way intentionally paired, offer studies in the two most popular forms of Second Life photography: landscapes and avatar studies. Between them, they feature the work of Lam Erin and Tintin Tuxing.For Colours of the Summer, Lam Erin presents ten images of landscapes within Second Life, the majority of which have been tinted / enhanced with colours associated with summer – notably gold, yellow and green – but which should not be taken to be simple photographs of summer scenes. Rather, these are studied pieces, carefully processed to present a range of responses and perhaps suggest certain ideas for narratives behind them.
In particular, each of the pieces is marked by a broiling, active cloudscape; a dramatic, even foreboding, cast to the skies which even in the more restful images among the ten (such as Autumn Trace and Italian Countryside) adds an edge to the picture. They serve to make us reconsider each image after we’ve first cast our eyes over them, drawing us into the narrative behind the scene presented. Sometimes this can be direct – such as the brooding sense of a rising storm in Neverfar, through to a more subtle reminder that the ship lying calmly at anchor in Bal Harbour can have a capricious mistress with the seas on which she sails….
Just as in the physical world, there are certain places in Second Life we’re drawn back to again and again. This might be because the place has special significance, or because it is held by friends or offers a opportunities or photography or simple enjoyment, or because it is like the seasons – constantly changing and renewing.
For me, The Mill encompasses all of the things, and so is a natural choice for semi-regular revisits. Designed by friends Max (Maxie Daviau) and Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), it is an ever-evolving place, always marvellously landscaped and presented, beautifully photogenic and delightfully restful.
Celebrating spring and summer, this version of The Mill takes us to what might be the Apennine Mountains – perhaps, going on the style of buildings here, the Tuscan–Emilian Apennines. Surrounded by tall, rugged peaks, the rocky dome of a hill (or if you prefer, an island) rises from the waters of (again, depending on your point of view) either a lake within the mountains, or the confluences of rivers running through them.The majority of this island hill is given over to a farm where grapes and sunflowers are being cultivated. The farmhouse sits at the top of the hill, surrounded by woodland trees, wild grass and the nearest field of sunflowers. It is reached by a meandering track that slowly winds its way up the hill, passing further rows of regimented sunflowers and flat-topped outcrops of rock, content in taking its time to reach the farm, its wandering course encouraging visitors to do the same….
Rustic Retreat is a full region designed by Pred Fromund (Predator Ryba) and Bluey Porthos Fromund (Blue Whitefalcon). Described as ” an ideal place for photographers – or those that like to explore or just chill out”, it is a place of many facets: fantasy, whimsy, beauty, mystery – and a little darkness as well.
The fantasy element is made apparent at the landing point, alongside of which a Troll stands, whilst fairies play around a nearby fountain. The mystery is also evident to keen eyes, as strange plants can be seen further away along the fire-lit path, glowing and swaying in the breeze. Also not too far away, fantasy and mystery come together beyond a stone arch sitting alongside the trail.
The default lighting for the region is night (although I opted to take most of my images in daylight), and I recommend exploring it; at least in part, as there are several areas which deserve to be seen in daylight, such is the attention lavished upon them. Torches and fires light the trails winding through parts of the region, and the glowing beauty of Elicio ember’s fabulous plants lend themselves perfectly to the night-time lighting
Where you wander during a visit is entirely down to you; the trails will lead you to various places – one might lead to ancient ruins here, a little cuddle spot there, Another might take you to where a fork in the path gives you a choice of a climb up to a platform among waterfalls, or a path through the skull of a dragon and thence to a basalt-ringed garden and pool with a coastal board walk beside gigantic mushrooms close by…..
We received word that Sera Bellic had given her Homeland region of Oyster Bay a further make-over some 24 hours before it appeared in the Destination Guide Highlights for Friday, April 28th – and I was immediately intrigued by the theme title: Asian Fusion. Regular readers of this blog will know that anything having any kind of Eastern or oriental flavour is bound to get my attention. So, off we hopped to take a look.
Now, truth be told, “Asian” and “oriental” fusions in Second Life often tends to lean towards regions with a blending of predominantly Chinese and Japanese elements, so I was curious to see if Sera would cast her net wider than purely Sino-Japanese influences. And she has. Quite marvellously so.Asian Fusion: Oyster BayFrom the landing point in the north-west corner of the region, visitors are encouraged under a rocky arch and into a land that immediately puts one in mind of Indochina (or as we more boringly refer to it today: South-east Asia). Across a small river spanned by a simple yet ornate wooden bridge, a paired tier of rice paddies are stacked against a rocky bluff. Working oxen stand on the grassland between stream and paddies, ignoring the click-clank of a nearby shishi odoshi which forms part of the region’s nods towards Japan. Another such nod can be found on the north bank of the river, where a small Japanese style cabin sits amidst elephant’s ears and clover, refreshments on offer inside, a sampan sitting at the river bank close by.
Immediately to the right of the rocky arch guiding visitors into the region is a clear nod to China. A bamboo grove rises on a step of clover-covered rock, home to a bamboo of pandas (I much prefer that to the the idea of an “embarrassment” of pandas, or the Royal Society’s 1866 decree that a group of pandas should be called a “cupboard”). Like the oxen across the river, these bears are not the slightest bothered by the steady clank of an shishi odoshi….
Enchanted Art, operated by Oema Resdient and Magda Schmitzau, is based on Oema’s homestead region, Astralia, which I last blogged about in August 2016. The idea is to present artists with the opportunity to display a selection of their work on a monthly basis, with those who apply and are accepted being promoted through the Enchanted Art web pages on Oema’s blog and through the usual in-world channels for art.
The current exhibition features Bamboo Barnes, Jarla Capalini, Clary Congrejo, Paola Mills, Antarctica Slade, Toysoldier Thor, Lissa, Terrygold, with Oema and Madga rounding-out the numbers. Each artist is provided with space to display two 2D pieces of art, with Toy also supplying one of his 3D masterpieces.
Enchanted ArtThe region offers a marvellously enchanted aspect for exhibitions, being decorated using Elicio Ember’s wonderful plants and creations, which have been brought together under a suitably atmospheric windlight to present an ethereal, otherworldy setting visitors are encouraged to explore. Within this, there are two areas in which art is displayed: an open-air setting and a separate gallery building.The landing point delivers visitors at the foot of the outdoor exhibition area, caught in the light of a setting sun, which is periodically eclipsed by the presence of another body in the sky – one big enough to suggest is it a planet, and the gallery and its surrounds are perhaps on a moon of that world. This outdoor space makes for a pleasant walk, platforms for the artists to either side of the path, each clearly labelled and with a Flickr link to the artist’s photo stream. The offer of biographical notes would have been appreciated, but this is a minor point…
While the traditional Second Life Birthday celebrations are now pretty much coordinated and run by the community – hence the title Second Life Birthday Community Celebrations, the Lab has a track record of sharing in the celebratory mood around the time of SL’s anniversary through various promotions, gifts, and so on, often as an overall part of the community celebrations.In 2015, for example, the Lab held the first Anniversary Music Festival, which they then repeated in 2016 – and which is now set to take place as a part of the 14th Birthday celebrations as well, alongside of an in-world shopping event.
Xiola Linden once again brought forth the news in an official blog post, in which she once again invites musicians across Second Life to sign-up for auditions to be a part of the 2017 Music Festival showcase. All genres are welcome to apply, from bands to solo acts, electronic to acoustic – and the event itself, for those invited to participate, will be a 30-minute paid gig (subject to the Lab’s terms and conditions) at the SL14B Community Celebrations.
Those interested in applying should complete the submission form no later than May 22nd, 2017 – signs-ups will close at 00:01 SLT on May 23rd, 2017. All applications will be reviewed, and a selection of acts will be invited to attend in-world audition sessions. At the auditions, they will have a maximum of five minutes to perform before a panel of judges made up of Lab staff and Second Life residents, who will select acts to perform at the actual SL14B Music Fest. In addition, Second Life residents who wish to, can attend the audition sessions as members of the audience…..
Now open at DixMix Gallery is an ensemble presentation of art entitled Switch on the Lights, which appears to be wither sponsored by, or a co-presentation with, LUMIPro, the commercial photography lighting system, and the first to use projection prim capabilities.
So far as I can tell, the participating artists are Jr Feiri, Reneesme Portland, xxstanislasxx resident, Kimma, Cyrece Delicioso, Angi Manners, DixMix Source, Trixie Pinelli, Toxic Valentine, Sedona Silverpath, Peep Sideshow Darkward, Tazara Bailey, Kira Ragged, Scarlett Rhea, Ornella Batriani, Space Hurricane, Ilke Huygens, Freekency Banx, Wiwi Swot, Marleine Magic, Kevin De’Cypher, Bettina, Ember Wulluf, Calypso Keng, Fleur Imagines SL, U.Sabra, Sedona Silverpath and Abi Latzo.DixMix Gallery: Switch on the LightsAs one might expect with LUMIPro’s involvement, the majority of the pieces in the exhibition are avatar studies. However, if I sound a little uncertain about this display, it’s because the information relating to it is less than forthcoming.
The invitation I received contained only the Gallery’s landmark and a note card advertising LUMIPro. There is a similar dearth of information actually at the gallery as well. Thus I had to resort to editing each image to grab the artist’s name. Not ideal when reviewing.There are other minor annoyances as well. The exhibition is referred to as “selected photographies” – but how were they selected and what role did LUMIPro play in it? Given some artists appear to have only one piece submitted, others 2 or 3, what criteria were employed in the selection process? Did some artists only submit the one piece, and other several? Were submissions adjudicated? If so, how? And so on…..
Hear or read the words “Saint-Tropez”, and the chances are your thoughts will turn to the French Riviera, blue Mediterranean waters, yachts and sun-kissed bodies. While there is a beach at Saint Tropez in Second Life, it’s probably not the kind you’re going to want to spend time visiting for a spot of sunbathing; nor is the boat lying next to it the kind of vessel which adds sleek lines and glittering decks to the scene.
Here, however, is something entirely different. A region with a very coastal feel to it as well it is a life style away from its physical world namesake. While it may have a little beach of its own, this is no Mediterranean playground with gleaming yachts and golden sands promising sun-bronzed looks. Which is not to say it is any the less interesting to visit. Rather the reverse: Siant Tropez has a defined look and feel of its own which make it an interesting curio to visit.
On April 1, 2017 the next edition of Kultivate Magazine will be published (and no it is not an April Fool’s Joke)! This issue will feature artist Giovanna Cerise, the Rosehaven Sim, a preview of the Kultivate Spring 17 Art Show, The Grand Canyon in Second Life, live performer Melenda Mikael, a discussion of Flickr & art, a cyberpunk photo essay by Wicca Merlin, a photo essay on cityscapes and city streets, The Edge Stylists present their April stylings, and an article to help you produce a fashion show. Click the cover to read the issue:
Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is The Way I Feel a selection of images from the portfolio of MisaKaory. I’m actually getting to this review a little late, as the invitation got buried in my inventory, and so offer apologies to Misa and Fuyuko; but I do recommend a visit before it draws to a close.
“Photography gives me a lot of emotions,” Misa says of her work. “Sometimes it is too exhausting, when you can not sleep at night because you keep thinking of some idea for a photo. It seems the idea came and you get it all together and press the shutter, but you are still dissatisfied. So you keep looking through the viewfinder to find the right angle, lighting, waiting for the moment… And then suddenly, here it is! Often it is a completely random person that you have caught in the frame, a bird or a gust of wind. The feeling that you get after taking the photo you like is just wonderful! The world that we see is infinite, but we remember only some moments that have given us a strong impression.”
PeTOu is a place that is bound to draw me for a number of reasons. The first is the strong Oriental influence exhibited across this Full region. The second is the way the region uses Linden water throughout to naturally add ambience and harmony to the environment. And the third reason is that is another design by the immensely talented Uta (xoYUUTAox), who was responsible for bringing an ethereal beauty in one of the iterations of a favourite old haunt, Roche (which you can read about here).
Nautical Smile is a special event being held at Holly Kai Park in aid of Feed A Smile / Live and Learn Kenya.
The event marks the first major fund-raiser to be held for Feed A Smile at Holly Kai Park, which was adopted as the park’s new charity in February 2017.
Organised and hosted by Rossini Events, Nautical Smile will take place at The Pavilion, Holly Kai Park, and will feature 10 hours of music starting at 11:00 SLT, and finishing at 21:00 SLT, with one hour sets from some of Second Life’s top DJs, and live performers.The live performances at Nautical Smile will include a “double Dutch” back-to-back paring of singers from the Netherlands, Thera D and Hedy Patrucci-Collazo, who will be appearing at 12:00 noon and 1:00pm respectively. They’ll be followed by Akilikos Singer at 2:00pm, and Sal from 3:00pm. The entire event is sponsored by Meerkats Estates….
The 2017 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between Wednesday, March 29th and Saturday April 1st, 2017 inclusive. A grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments, VWBPE attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year.
A press day for the event was held on Sunday, March 19th, but due to physical world things, I ended up unable to attend. Therefore, this little sneak peek at things is coming a little late – although you can have a little explore around the conference regions yourself, as they are now open through until Sunday, March 26th.
In February 2017 I wrote about The Photo Game, an intimate exhibition of art hosted at Boudicca Amat’s An Uncertain Destiny (which you can read about here). It formed the in-world continuation of an idea Boudicca and fellow artist Ricco Saenz started on Flickr in the latter part of 2016, where they would each choose two on one another’s compositions and comment on them.
In-world, The Photo Game has expanded to three images apiece for each pair of invited artists, and for the inaugural February event, Bou and Ricco took to the stage. For March / April, the spotlight has shifted to two more artist / photographers, one of whom has the last name of “Pey” …The Photo Game: me, as selected by ProphTo be honest I was thrilled, surprised and apprehensive about things when the invitation arrived – and apprehension turned to a feeling akin to panic when Bou revealed I have been paired with Proph (burningprophets); a man with a talent for weaving a tale with his images, and an eye for composition and framing which far surpasses my own.
I was instantly drawn to the three pieces I’ve selected from Proph’s portfolio both because I was instantly attracted to them and because they all encapsulate his skills so beautifully. The three are: Never Hide Your Heart, Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful and If You Miss the Train I’m On. I’m not going to comment further on them here, as I have already written a fair essay on each, but all three are genuinely remarkable pieces, and well worth contemplating – so I do encourage you to go along as see them for yourself….
The Heart of the Sea is a marvellous homestead region design by Elyjia (Elyjia Baxton) and Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller) that Caitlyn and I were (once again!) pointed towards by Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla) as a result of one of our regular exchanges of landmarks with one another. For those wishing to spend it in idyllic, natural surroundings rich is a sense of peace and tranquillity, I thoroughly recommend a visit.
As you might expect from the name, water features strongly in the design, the region comprising the gentle sweep of a rocky island sitting within shallow waters, accompanied four rocky islets, together with a smaller island which forms the landing point. On this sandy hump, lying across the wild grass holding the sand in place, lies the broken finger of a candy-striped lighthouse; once it may have warned passing vessels about the rocks laying on the eastward side of the isle, but no more.
The Heart of the SeaThe two islands are connected – by way of one of the smaller rocky outcrops – by an old board walk – almost. But while at one time it may well have linked the three sandy beaches it passes between, now it lays broken and sagging into the shallow waters in two places. However, in the lee of the middle islet sits a rowing boat draped with a cuddle blanket, while the sand of its beach has a message written upon it; the first indications that romance is welcome here.
Rising from a ribbon of sand that almost entirely encompasses it, the main island comprises three low, flat-topped tables of rock. Two of these are home to a small farm. On one, horses and sleep graze on a rich thatch of grass, a nearby barn offering some shelter should the elements turn. On the other sits what might be the farmhouse, reached by crossing a natural stone bridge spanning a narrow channel of sand below….