Monday, May 23, 2011

Shellina Winkler at the Nordan Art Gallery in Second Life

“Ciao Shelli.” I said as I’d arrived at the site of her latest work which is adjacent to the Nordan Art Gallery where she is one of four featured artists at an exhibition that opened on May 7th.  Shellina Winkler had sent me the TP request and soon appeared right next to me.
“Hey Nazz ciao. How are you?” She asked.
“I'm doing well thank you. I hope all is good for you.” I responded, as she and the build rezzed into view I scanned around to see that we were standing near the middle of a very large chess board. I noticed that the board was not totally parallel as many of the squares, black and white were skewed at different angles to each other creating a chaotic feel to what one normally would experience in seeing a chess board and its pieces arrayed in their appropriate places. On either side of the board, both the black and white pieces were in their standard configuration, with pawns protecting rooks, knights, bishops and their royal majesties, the king and queen. Also to add to the chaotic feel, on my right there is a pile of black chess pieces and slightly to my left a pile of white ones. Lastly, and directly in front of me is a vertical chess board. As I watched, several of the pieces moved in a familiar and rhythmic pattern.
“What's the name of the build?” I asked
“That’s an interesting title, what inspired it?” I asked.
“There was not a true inspiration, it came little by little. I made the vertical chessboard and the chessmen … but too simple, not in my style. The vertical chess board was surely uncommon and the path to climb to the top came soon … like an impossible path by Escher.” She replied.
“Escher?” I asked, not being familiar with the name.
“Yes you know, Escher’s drawings and the impossible figures he created, but also de-constructivist architecture gave me some input in the creation of the structure … as they build, changing some typical rules of building.” She said and then added, “Chess is characterized by rules but I made the chessmen rebel. There are only four moving on the vertical board, which move respecting the original rules of the game. Chess is very rich of metaphor.”
“It is a rich metaphor.” I commented in agreement.
“So I haven't written a notecard to explain what I saw in it … I’m expecting interesting points of view from observers.” She said.
“So, what kind of thoughts have you gotten from observers so far?” I asked her
“Many see it as metaphor of contemporary events. Some others saw it as second life with its rules and the chessmen as avatars.” She replied.
“I would have thought of contemporary events in a broader context, as in the middle east with the recent turmoil in both Egypt and Libya, rather than events in the metaverse.” I commented and then added, “Chess is a feudal game, with its structure, defined roles and the limitations of each. The board has shifted and the players are in a different environment … and to an extent those seeking change find themselves on a vertical board … as it is more challenging to make the change happen then they thought.”
“Yes challenge is one of the keywords of this work … when you try to rebel against the rules of course challenging is the engine which lead the rebellion.” She said and after a slight pause added, “the rebellion might be interior too of course and the representation only its image.”
“Interior as in within ourselves?” I asked
“Yes, but I noticed that anyone reads it according his or her feelings of the moment … as it happens when you are in front something you are looking at.” She said.
“We do tend to put our own views into what we see … our perceptions I mean.”
“Yes exactly, a sort of projection.” She said and then added. “I mean it's interesting, people ready to tell the story they see … it's important for me, because they have been involved in first person and it's important for them because they feel like they are living in the work. For us who build … I think it's a satisfaction, as what we have thought has been only ours, suddenly belongs to others.”
“Your work but its managed to become theirs as they see this in themselves … a recognition of what it is they've encountered or have succumbed to in their own lives.” I commented.
“The images I create are mine till the last second I keep it in inventory, with all the meaning and feelings and sensations I put in it and lived in it ... since the moment I exhibit them ... it's as I detach the object from me ...” She said.
“It becomes a release for you.” I said and finished off the sentence for her. “This is a marvelous build Shelli … congrats!”
The exhibit opened on the 7th of May and features the work of Simotron Aquila, claudia222 Jewell, Paola Tauber and of course Shellina Winkler. The exhibit runs until July 2nd.

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