Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mad Peas' UNIA

The crazy game people at Mad Pea have struck again. Their latest, UNIA, is now open. Several people, including Inara Pey and Ziki Questi, have already blogged about it. There’s a web site devoted to the game, including a “Prologue” and a good description of how the game works.

The game description begins:
What an amazing day! It was a trip you had been dreading, but your friend's wedding turned out to be a memorable one. You're driving home, tired, but smiling and laughing to yourself, replaying the favorite moments of the event in your mind. Your head in the clouds, you don't notice right away the subtle shaking of the car. Suddenly, the shaking turns into violent bucks, smoke curls out from under the hood, and the whole heap starts to lurch out of control. 
Snapping out of your reverie, you grab the steering wheel with both hands and white-knuckle it, wrestling the bucking, heaving car to the side of the road, where it crashes to a stop. 
Coughing, you stumble out of the mess and look around. 
"Where am I?" 
You hadn't really paid much attention to the road signs, but you spot a run-down building with the town's name painted over its doorway: "Molimo." 
The dusty town is strangely quiet. With no other choice at hand, you wander around, hoping to find help. What you find instead is entirely unexpected ....
An intriguing beginning!

The game requires a HUD, available for purchase in three different levels: Bronze (L$400), Silver (L$750), and Gold (L$1000); the different levels provide increasing amounts of equipment to start. Game play involves looking at objects, collecting certain objects, and solving the central mystery of what’s going on, all the while trying to avoid getting killed by lurking monsters.

I’m not a big fan of first-person shooter games, and this aspect of UNIA doesn’t particularly appeal to me, but I can help but feel I’ll give the game a try at some point.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SL History

I visited the “History of Second Life” exhibit - part of the Linden Endowment of the Arts program - a while back and forgot to post the picture. The build, by Sniper Siemens, is actually titled “The greatest story ever told… SL History 1999-2015,” and it’s as advertised (well, the history part; I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it replaces the Bible as the greatest story ever told).

SL History 001

The path takes visitors chronologically through important developments in Second Life’s history, starting with the Linden Lab building in San Francisco.

SL History 002

Major events, including advances in the platform, controversial decisions by Linden Lab, and spats among Second Life communities, have written explanations and often a depiction of the event.

SL History 003

SL History 004

SL History 005

Even the Greenies make a return visit.

SL History 006

The exhibit closes May 31.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bryn Oh's "Lobby Cam"

The latest exhibit from Bryn Oh on her Immersiva sim is called Lobby Cam, which draws the visitor into the story and then makes the visitor part of the story.

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 001

From the painting-filled lobby, where one can obtain the (free) HUD that will record progress, proceed through the painting shown below to emerge into a Saskatchewan wheat field.

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 002

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 004

As you watch the wheat blow gently in the wind and survey the vast expanse that reminds me of AM Radio’s The Far Away, keep an eye out for pieces of paper. Click on the paper and the HUD records them as diary entries. Piece by piece, a story builds: a man, sitting by himself watching television, changes the channel to find a young woman in an apartment lobby. As days go by, the man finds himself drawn to this mysterious channel, drawn to the woman he has never met in a city far away from him. You become a voyeur into the man’s voyeurism.

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 005

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 006

Some familiar Bryn Oh characters make cameo appearances:

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 007

I found myself eagerly scanning the ground, or in various nooks and crannies, to locate the next diary entry to read how the story would end. I’m not quite there yet, but, according to Ziki Questi, there’s yet another level of engagement between the visitor and the artist to be found. The next time I’m in-world, I’ll be back to see how Lobby Cam turns out.

Bryn Oh Lobby Cam 008

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Metamorphosis in Black and White

Far above New Babbage’s Quarry Hill is a sprawling work of art by Miss Beq Janus, modeled after M.C. Escher’s “Metamorphosis” wood cuttings. From the artist’s note:

My sim was inspired directly by a section of the 1939 woodcut Metamorphosis II - though the scene appears both in the earlier Metamorphosis I and the final Metamorphosis III, created towards the end of his career. 
Metamorphosis is itself a journey and the artwork "morphs" from one tessellated shape to another from a simple chequered grid through lizards and hexagons into bees and fish then birds, capturing many of the themes of his early paintings. It then morphs back into blocks before becoming the view of Atrani.  
I have left many other "journeys" around the sim, some that draw on the notion of infinity that informed one of Escher's key themes. I leave you to find them and to find your own journeys.

Quarry Hill  Metamorphasis 001

I didn’t have time to explore the entire installation, from nooks to crannies, but I was fascinated by how the buildings changed from black to white and back again as one rotates around the image.

Quarry Hill  Metamorphasis 002

Quarry Hill  Metamorphasis 004

Read more about the exhibit in Ziki Questi’s blog or Steadman Kondor’s Google+ entry.

As the artist’s note says,
From the still, black waters emerge flat square blocks, flipping noisily from black to white as they build into a chequered land. With a pop and a jiggle the squares deform and evolve; black and white take on a grey and form into solid blocks that rise dramatically from the ocean. These blocks of stone, stable and solid, now shape and reshape to evolve into architecture. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

In the “new” Caledon Pensans the new Vayandar Gallery is hosting a selection of art from Mrs. Tehanu Marenwolf-Brentano. The show is entitled, "Welcome to Nest of Dreams: The Art of Crowgirl Studio."

From the artist’s statement:
There’s something about being able to do something well that is akin to flying. Running, riding a bike, dancing, making music, writing: there’s this sense of freedom and motion inherent in making or doing something wonderful. That same sense of freedom and motion is what I feel when I dream of flying…or when I create a piece of art. 
Some people dream of worlds of ancient mysteries, of boundless exploration of the universe…worlds and stories on a grand scale. I dream of worlds where dreams find their way into the waking world, where people and animals are friends, where we sometimes have wings with which to fly. I create collages to share those dreams. 
Collage is a rich visual language - water from a deep and sweet well. I see myself as drinking from the same creative wellspring as artists such as Nick Bantock, Anahata Katkin, and Catrin Welz-Stein. I usually start with an image that catches my attention and then try to share the secret story it hints at to me. I create collages using material from a variety of sources, generally vintage images that are in the public domain, photographs and watercolor textures that I create myself, and other digital resources. I take great joy in bringing new life to old or forgotten images.

Caledon Pensans  Vayandar Gallery 001

Even though the opening party was long over, I helped myself to a glass of absinthe.

Caledon Pensans  Vayandar Gallery 002

My goodness, it’s Her Majesty!

Caledon Pensans  Vayandar Gallery 003