Monday, February 28, 2011

"The South of the World" Opening at L'Atelier de Luciella

I stopped in to visit with luciella Lutrova as she hosted the opening of "The South of the World", her newest exhibit. The exhibition features the works of South American artists from three countries; Argentina, Brasil and Uruguay. Always a gracious host, Luciella has continued her focus on presenting the art of her contemporaries from the south of the world.

"How long will the exhibit be open luciella?" I asked her.

"Untill 15th of March, after it I'll do one only with Argentine artists ... it will be called Le CUl du Mond."

Stop by when you have some time to see this exhibit, it will be worth your time to witness some wonderfully done art.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clarification Announcement on Machinima Contest - Gulliver's Travels Build in InWorldz

Since the announcement went out a few weeks ago, there has been some clarification to the contest rules as set by Jeri Rajha. 

The following is an update to the rules:

Machinima Contest Gulliver's Travels Build in InWorldz

1) The contest begins on 2/18 and all submissions must be in by 3/25/11 - the Machinima must be posted on YouTube to be seen and the information on the Machinima location must be sent to the Sitting Judges - so that they may view it. Also provide a copy of the Machinima to be sent to Jeri Rahja.

2) All Photos must be forwarded to Jeri Rahja  - so they may be properly displayed at the Gulliver Sim - the Photos must be sent with full permissions, but will never be sold or distributed except for the winning picture. (See the note below

3) The Winning Machinima will continue to be the property of the creator, and the rights to use it for Gulliver's Travels in an agreeable manner will be determined in a cooperative manner. It is possible that we may use it for our future advertising, or utilize it as a tool for other means within Gulliver. The prize money will be paid with the release of a full perm version of the Machinima to Jeri Rahja and an agreed upon scope and usage as determined by the respective parties involved.

4) There is no limit as to how many photos or Machinima's one person may enter.

5) There are only 2 winners in this contest
First Prize Machinima  30,000 L'zs      First Prize  Photo   10,000 L'zs
Judges are as follows:   Ub Yifu, Saffia Widdershins,  Nazz Lane,  Mera Kranfel,  Tricia Aferdita,  Tranquillity Dexler,   Copan Falta  & Soror Nishi

Attention: With regards to the Intellectual Property (IP) rights of the Machinima. I know there have been some questions as to the ownership, with respect to the winning Machinima and Picture. I am not seeking full ownership of the Machinima and Picture, just permission from the creator and the rights to use the Machinima and Picture within an agreeable scope and guidelines that we (the creator, Gulliver Travel's and I) can all feel comfortable. Ownership of the Machinima and Picture will continue to be that of the creator, it is the rights to utilize the Machinima and Picture I am requesting in a manner that is agreeable to each party.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Reverie" an Art Exhibition Opening at Originalia on February 27th

She materialized next to where I stood. I was in my normal mode of operation, standing at the point of entry and engaged in multiple instant messages. I hadn't moved since I'd arrived at Orginalia, but had cam'ed around to see what appeared to be a nicely done build. A lush tropical landscape surrounding the immediate area and a classically styled gallery appeared immediately in front of me. I'd come here at the invitation of Amase Levasseur, who'd left me an off line message and a notecard announcing the opening of "Reverie". The invite had told me that she and the exhibiting artists would be available to meet with the press before the formal opening, this Sunday, the 27th of February at 3 pm PST/SLT.

I waited for what I thought to be a sufficient time for her to rezz before I said, "Hello Em".

"Hey Nazz." Em Larsson replied.

Em is one of four artists exhibiting here, the others are Scottius Polke, RAG Randt and Eliza Wierwight. I was about to type out a chat line but  before I could finish, one appeared on the screen. I noted it was from Amase Levasseur and I hadn't noticed her arrival. I waited until the two ladies had greeted each other and  was about to introduce myself, when Em did so with, "In case you haven't met. Nazz this is Amase who is the owner of Originalia and is hosting this show … Amase, this is Nazz. He is a writer and has an Arts Blog too. "

"I'm a dabbler with pen … or rather a keyboard now I suppose." I said in response to Em's introduction and then turned the virtual me toward Amase and added; "It's a pleasure to meet you Amase."

"Hello and thank you for coming Nazz. We have been present at the same art shows many times, but haven't had the occasion to talk." Ms Levasseur said in reply.

"I do wish we would have and thank you for the invite." I said and then asked her, "Did you do the build here?"

"It's quite a big show Amase has organized here." Em interjected and then added; "I've forgotten the builder of this one, Amase."

"hmmmm, not sure how to answer that as I have had a number of people who have had a hand in the build. Totem Flow was the original builder." She replied.

"I made some modifications, and I guess others have too." Said Em.

"I have made many over the past year. But I believe that Totem is the main influence … she does a heck of a build." Amase commented.

"It's a wonderful build and was curious if you had. The exhibit is called 'Reverie' ... what was the inspiration behind the name?" I asked her.

"Since early in my second life I have had the dream of an art sim. I wanted artists to have the time to create, the prims, the freedom without worrying about lindens … or who to share lindens with." She replied.

Legitimately this time, I didn't notice the arrival of Scottius Polke, and by the way it is excusable, after all he does wear a tiny av. "Halllooooo" he called out and we each acknowledged him in return.

"I'm just sharing my dream for Originalia." Amase said.

"It's a great one." Scotti commented.

"Amase has been very generous." Em added.

"Scottius and Em were the smart ones to give it the French name Reverie as all the builds were themed on dreams." Amase said.

"Em in particular." Scotti commented.

"You've picked some wonderful artists to exhibit and inaugurate the sim, congrats." I said.

"I am a collector, and these artists are some of my favorites from the beginning." She responded

"It's nice to have a central theme, but then we all go off in our own directions." Em said.

"Absolutely Em … and off in your own directions you did go." Amase said.

"I did a complete walk through this afternoon. It was an experience!" Em exclamied.

"Scottius was the first artist engaged for the debut, months and months ago." Amase commented.

"One sec Eliza wants me to test her music stream … be right back." Said Scotti as the little white balls swirled around him and the tiny avatar disappeared.

"I suppose I should go back to my post." Em said and then begin to move her virtual self away from the where we had stood at the arrival point.

"Em, I will be by in a few minutes." Amase called out to her.

I called out a good bye as well before I said to Amase. "You've  a busy night planned, to get all of the 'i's' dotted and 't's' crossed before Sunday's opening."

"Yes I'm afraid so … I have been in the same outfit all week … what's a girl to do? I assure you it hasn't been the first thing on my list." She said and then added; "I am so honored to have these four artists. The sim has been a long time in the planning."

"Its nice then you can realize your dreams. I look forward to the opening on Sunday " I said.

"Precisely … thank you so much for coming today Nazz." She said and then followed the path Em had taken while I found  and clicked on a land mark to my next stop for the evening.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Opening at Pirats SAS Art Gallery

This exhibit opened yesterday and with prior commitments, I didn't have a chance to stop in until this morning. The Pirats openings are always a delight with an eclectic mix of art and Second Life residents, plus the gracious hosts Merlina and Newbab who make their patrons feel welcome. The exhibit features the work of, Aneli Abeyante, Monica Linville, Littleone Aries in SL, Anthony Jacob, Ragamuffin Kips in SL and Ruben Haan, Deruub Pastorelli in SL. It's open until 19th of March.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where Can I Go to See Some Art This Week-end?

I had logged in-world on Saturday morning  only for a few minutes, mostly to clean up messages and check on whether or not I'd gotten behind on my rent. With notices, notecards and IM's answered, I checked the rental boxes and sighed in relief when I noted that both of my booths on Book Island were all paid up for the next few weeks. With that complete  I decided to stay in for a while, find a quiet location to go into busy and work on my inventory. It had grown by leaps and bounds the last six weeks and threatened to become quickly out of control. "Where to go?", I asked aloud while the real me sipped from a fresh cup of coffee on the other side of the screen. While I thought about it  a chat line appeared at the bottom of my screen.

Tommy3333 Resident: Hey Nazz, how's it going?

I camm'ed around to find the source of the chat and spotted Tommy to my left and slightly behind me. With the last name of "Resident" I knew he was fairly new to Second Life.

Me: Mornin' Tommy, doing good here thanks. How are you enjoying SL?

Tommy3333 Resident: Doing good here as well, can I ask you a question?

Me: Sure.

I watched his avatar as he begin to type, stopped and started, then stopped for several seconds before he continued. While he did I remembered my early days in SL and tried to anticipate what sort of question he might ask. His avatar was dressed nice enough I noted, with a decent jeans and shirt combination.

Tommy3333 Resident: I met a lady and wanted to take her to a few nice places. She's into art and talks about it all the time. Where can I go to see some art?

Me: Any idea what she might be interested in seeing?

Tommy3333 Resident: Not a clue.

Me: There are exhibits underway that would make for a pleasant afternoon or evening.

Tommy3333 Resident: Cool.

Me: "Through the Eye of a Woman". This exhibit opened a week ago at PRAKA Fine Arts Gallery and features the work of artists; Callipygian Christensen, Cat Boccaccio, Dantelicia Ethaniel, Del May and Maloe Vansant. The show runs until the 14th of March.

Tommy3333 Resident grins.

Me: Here's another exhibit that's underway. It's at "New Works at Kelly Yap Newcomer's and Friends Gallery".  The artists featured include;  Louly Loon, Corcosman Voom, RAG Randt, Trill Zapatero, Miso Susanowa, Tallulah Winterwolf and soror Nishi. You can, "also take a walk down the Art Walk when you get time … lots of new artists!  The Kelly Yap Art Walk is now hosting Eliza Quinzet, rant Ugajin,  Ally Aeon, Bobbi Laval, Harter Fall, Em Larsson, lala Lightfoot, Callipygian Christensen, Penelope Parx, Peoney Feld, Gallery SYNergy, Sonia Stardust, Nik Gandt and ginou Forcella".

I gave him a some time to read the previous chat which worked out well as I worked on the next one.

Me: A favorite stop of mine, although I didn't get a chance to attend the opening earlier this week is at the "Pirats Omega Art Gallery". The show opened on the 15th of February and features an extensive  list of artists utilizing multiple media. You can see some work by many fine artists there. The exhibit at Omega includes work from; Melina M, ling Serenity in SL, Chapl Paisley , Betty Tureaud, LarZ Rajal, oona Eiren, Chu Ann, daruma Boa in SL, JudiLynn Staples, judiLynn India in SL, Solkide Auer, Fafner Hofmann, Tehos, Tehos Quar in Sl, Typotel, typote Beck  in SL, Lollito Larkham, Nino Vichan and Maryva Mayo.

Tommy3333 Resident: Those are all underway, what about opening events?

Me: Here's one you both might enjoy. Black and White and Red All Over. The exhibit is  at Erato of Caerleon and opens tomorrow at 1 pm PST/SLT.  It's an exhibit curated by Sabrinaa Nighfire, who had sent out an open call to all artists  willing to submit  pieces which could , "only be Black, White or Red". I chatted with her yesterday and she told me the opening event will include live music and dancing.

Me: "The Mysterious Forest," a new immersive art build by Alizarin Goldflake . She is holding an Open Studio for this her newest immersive art build on Sunday, February 20, 2 pm PST at Atelier Alizarin.

Tommy3333 Resident: Anything else?

Me: Here's another one, "Above and Beyond", a photography exhibit by Cala Rossini at Galeria LX. The opening begins at 2 pm PST/SLT.

Tommy3333 Resident: That's really awesome Nazz, thanks a lot man.

Me: Hey no problem Tommy ... Hope you both have a great time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"The Mysterious Forest," A New Immersive Art Build

From:  Alizarin Goldflake
Event date: Sunday, February 20, 2 pm PST

Alizarin Goldflake will hold an Open Studio for her newest immersive art build, "The Mysterious Forest," on Sunday, February 20, 2 pm PST at Atelier Alizarin.  All are cordially invited.

On approach, your avatar magically disappears into the trees. The world grows ominously dark. The body-snatching moonbeam whispers TOUCH ME. Ghostly voices wail; an invisible man paces, leaving fading foot prints; an owl hoots amid a chorus of other forest calls. Eyes glow from the bushes. Spiders dangle, and swarms of bats swirl out of the trees. Totemic forest animals loom from the shadows and vanish like dreams. **Please touch!** In addition your eyes and ears, THE MYSTERIOUS FOREST interacts with your avatar physically. There are lots of animations: Sits, Marshmellow-toast; Sleep; Trapped (dare you to click on the spiders!); not to mention the mischievous moon. Look out for those creepy feelers under a rock! A beheaded snake - still poisonous? - twitches and rattles when you walk by. Evocative of the artist's childhood experiences camping, part of this build appeared in the Interactivity Collaboration at Caerleon Art Collective, but much has been added that's new.

"The Mysterious Forest" is 20 meters high and 40 meters in diameter, and, at 174 prims, one of Ali's larger immersive art sculptures.

Other Atelier Alizarin Attractions include:  Musical Kinetics and more immersive art in Sky Studio one level down (TP or jump through the skylight :-), the Sky Sculpture Garden, Orfeo's Oratorio, The Particularium on the third floor, RL digital drawings on the second floor,  2-D digital collages on the first floor, and a beautiful sculpture park on the ground.  And don't forget Chez Ali, my store where you can pick up fun bits from earlier builds.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Machinima Contest Announced to Feature Gulliver's Travels Build in InWorldz

At this afternoons opening event of Ub Yifu's Gulliver's Travels, Jeri Rajha announced that she was sponsoring a machinima contest. She had mentioned the contest to me earlier this week when she had solicited my participation as one of the judges for the event. While I visited the build this evening, she passed along a note card with the contest rules.

Gulliver Contest

1) The contest begins on 2/18 and all submissions must be in by 3/25/11  - the Machinima must be posted on u-tube to be seen and the information of the Machinima must be sent to the Sitting Judges - so they maybe properly viewed. Along with a copy of the Machinima send to Jeri Rahja

2) All Photos must be forward to Jeri Rahja  - so they may be properly displayed at the Gulliver Sim - the Photos must be sent Full Perm and will become the property of the Gulliver Property but will never be sold or distributed - except for the winning picture - reason for the 10,000L'z prize - as we may use the picture for our use.

3) The Winning Machinima will also become the sole property of Gulliver's Travel's and we may use it for our future advertising - or utilize it as a tool for other means within Gulliver. The prize money will not be paid until a full perm version of the Machinima is release to Jeri Rahja with a notecard from the creator that any and  all rights of the Machinima belong to Jeri Rahja and or Gulliver's Travels.

4) There is no limit as to how many photos or Machinima's one person may enter

5) There are only 2 winners in this contest
First Prize Machinima  30,000 L'zs      First Prize  Photo   10,000 L'zs
Judges are as follows:   Ub Yifu, Saffia Widdershins,  Nazz Lane,  Mera Kranfel,  Tricia Aferdita,  Tranquillity Dexler,   Copan Falta  & Soror Nishi

Gulliver's Travels Opening in InWorldz Today at Noon

Opening today, the 17th of February,  in the virtual world of InWorldz, is Ub Yifu's creation of "Gulliver's Travels". The festivities began at noon PST with musical performances. Both the event and Gulliver's Travels are being hosted at the Alexandria's SIM, owned by Jeri Rahja. The build is a theme that Mr. Yifu has explored previously in an extensive build selected as one of the 12 Big Art Plots in 2009 at the Burning Man Festival held in Second Life. 

Here's the line up of performers and times:

Noon - 1
marky Helstein
1 - 3  
The Born Again Pagans
2 - 3
TY lawksley
7 - 8
Skye Galaxy
8 - 9  
David Csiszer
9 - 10
 Louis Volare

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cape Serenity Library Grand Opening - 12th of February

An announcement from Gentle Heron:

Cape Serenity Library will hold its grand opening February 12, 2011 from 10:00AM-4:00PM, both SLT. The Cape Serenity Library is a specialty collection that features works by authors who have disabilities. Between these events, please feel free to browse the collection.

The schedule is as follows:

10:00AM SLT- Story Telling by Ronin1 Shippe

11:00AM SLT- Live music by the group ~DRUM~

1:00PM SLT - Poetry led by Mable Hyun and Tank Thibedeau

2:00PM SLT- Dance to the music of  DJ RockandRoll Michigan

Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A "New Art Show" - Open to All Artists in Second Life

I'd received the following announcement from Sabrinaa Nightfire:

New Art Show -- Open to all artists in SL

Title of Show: Black and White and Red All Over

Prim Limit:  200
*  When enough entries have been received to reach the total prim allowance, we will stop accepting entries.

1. One entry per artist
2. All pieces may only be Black, White or Red.  Pieces with other colors will be disqualified. 
        Textures for black and white surfaces: (Contact Sabrinaa in world for the textures - Nazz)
    * You may use any red you desire and the red texture(s) may have some black or white.....but, NO OTHER COLORS MAY BE USED.
3. No Megaprims
4. Maximum size is 10x10x10m
5. No high lag scripts as determined by our script police.
6. The management reserves the right to not show any piece they deem inappropriate.  There will be no trial.  It's good to be head goddess:)

All art MUST be submitted to Sabrinaa Nightfire by Midnight SLT on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at Midnight, SLT.   Any art placed by others will be sent back to its owner.

The Show will open at 1pm SLT on Sunday, February 20, 2011with live musical entertainment and dancing.

Questions, comments, concerns?  Contact Sabrinaa Nightfire.  If I am off line, please send me a notecard.  My IMs are often capped....thanks!  Sabrinaa

International Intra Verse Awards 2011 Winner Tayzia Abattoir

I'd retrieved a note card early on Thursday morning, an offering from Tayzia Abattoir. I was pleased while reading it to learn that she had won the International Intra Verse Awards 2011 for her "participation in the arts and charity work in a virtual environment". Ms Abattoir as many of us know, works tirelessly to promote the arts in Second Life, through her work at NMC and at her own space "The Crescent Moon Museum" which  is likely "the longest continuously running museum in Second Life and often called the first". Ms  Abattoir began the museum three months after she arrived in Second life, in August 2004. She is equally tireless in her work for the annual Relay For Life in Second Life. The award ceremony was held that same day in Monaco (RL location) and at the NMC Conference Center in Second Life.

Congratulations Tayzia … I couldn't think of anyone more deserving to be acknowledged with this award and thank you for all that you do in Second Life. 

Split Screen Installation Space February Exhibition

Split Screen Installation North: Misprint Thursday

In an opening tomorrow, Misprint Thursday's latest exhibit will debut at Split Screen. The installation is titled, "White Shirt" and explores possibilities with the personification of a white shirt. The opening event begins with an event scheduled to begin at 2 pm PST/SLT.  In the notecard she sent me, she suggests that visitors use, "SL viewer 1.23 seems to be the most stable viewer for media at this time and I suggest this as the viewer to use in exploring this piece". The note card and instructions on how best to view the installation are available via a giver nearby to where one arrives at the site. "White Shirt" will be at Split Screen through the end of February.

Split Screen Installation South: oona Eiren

Also as part of the opening, oona Eiren exhibit, "Live!" will debut. The notecard I received when I visited the site said, "oona Eiren has created a retro-futuristic-grunge city/record player called "Live!", which incorporates a music stream and other sounds in the midst of old electronics". As noted above, instructions on how best to view the installation are available via a giver nearby to where one arrives at the site. "Live!" will be at Split Screen through the end of February.

UWA Launches the 3rd Machinima Challenge - MachinUWA III: Journeys

On Sunday, the 6th of February at 6 am PST/SLT, Jayjay Zifanwe will formally announce the launch of the "MachinUWA III: Journeys" at an event at the UWA site in Second Life. This will be the third challenge  in the series by UWA, one of the more prominent arts establishments in the virtual world of Second Life. Jayjay had given me a heads up about the challenge and Sundays event, when he'd dropped a preliminary version of the notecard announcement. He also said in IM, "That's our almost finalized NC for the new challenge, the only things changing will be peoples names on the judging panel or something like that". 

Much to my surprise and delight, it was two days later, when he'd  messaged me in world once again and asked, "Would you consider being one of the judges?"

I readily accepted and in reply said, "I'd be honored to do so."

Follow the links and you can read more about the MachinUWA III: Journeys (3rd UWA Machinima Challenge - 2011) prizes, timing  and rules. Also here's a link to an interview I did with Cisko Vandeverre, winner of the first UWA Challenge, for the SL Newspaper.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Theorem-Album and Second Life Art

Collaborative Creativity Abounds on the Net

Musicians collaborate remotely on the world’s first soundtrack to the sciences.

New York, New York (February 2011)

         A group of musicians from various countries have connected over the Internet to create quite possibly the world’s first soundtrack for "The Sciences". Working asynchronously by exchanging music files through a website called Indaba Music, they creatively explore such ideas as spacetime, abiogenesis, special relativity, celestial mechanics and more. The recording artists have never met in person, and for some it was the first time they worked together.

         The album, "Theorem, music inspired by the sciences" was produced by composer Ulf Skogsbergh and published on iTunes late January 2011. This unique project, co-composed with Wayne Kinos, was spurred by concepts of linking music to science and math theorems with a dash computer programming ideas and a bit of philosophy tossed in for good measure. When asked what motivated Ulf to turn this creative happening into a published album he responded: "The collaboration spawned so much great music it deserved to be put in front of listeners."

         The thought provoking and vibrant work defies strict classification, but its strongest fit is the illustrative qualities and the emotive sensibilities of a soundtrack. Alternatively, one could file the work under world music, when one hears the earthy and exotic tones of instruments like bouzouki, tzouras, oud, santoor and guzheng. No stranger to world music, or soundtracks, Ulf created original music for the film "Investigating Sex" by Alan Rudolph. In that soundtrack a rich combination of world music vibes lend to the sensual, mysterious and comical scenes at hand. But the music in "Theorem" is not limited to the genres of soundtrack or world music, as there are elements of ambient, electronic, progressive, jazz, rock, avant garde, new age and even classical mixed into this collection of work.

         The digital creativity of a global community does not stop there, however. One of the recording artists invited to participate in “Theorem,” Misprint Thursday, has started to organize a group show of art based on the album “Theorem.” Misprint shares: “It is exciting to me when creativity becomes a generative process.”  The exhibit, “Visualizing Theorem” will be installed on a digital simulator sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio and will open in late March, 2011.  Look to the theorem site for updates and links.

         The music collaborators are: Ulf Skogsbergh, Wayne Kinos, Kevan Paul, Yeray N.S., Misprint Thursday, Kostas Trikalis, David Minnick, Dub Johnson, Jillian Star Bedrosian & Halo E. and the album can be listened to and purchased on their site or through ITunes at inspired-by/id417501967

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Visit to the Museum of Afghanistan with Trill Zapatero

The world has been exposed through a host of media on the events that have played out in Afghanistan over this past decade. Videos and scores of stories about the war and the accompanying tragedy it has brought along with the scenes of families deriving what comfort they could from simply being together, have danced across our television, computer and movie screens or appeared in magazine, books and newspapers.  The carnage of so many years of war has wreaked havoc on the country and it will take many generations to erase. Even with the number of images and the countless stories that have come out, there are aspects of the country and its people we don’t hear about or absorb; things such as its history, its culture, the arts and its people. One Second Life resident, Trill Zapatero has decided to bring some of those aspects to the residents of the virtual world and has built the Museum of Afghanistan to create awareness and help educate on the country and the plight of its people. In particular the struggle of a group of women called the “Revolutionary Association of the Woman of Afghanistan” (RAWA). The group was established in 1977 and is an independent political and social organization of “Afghan women fighting for human rights and for social justice in Afghanistan.”

The museum is located on one of the SIM’s that is owned and operated by Four Bridges and it opened to the residents of Second Life in September of 2010. Ms Zapatero is an artist in both her first and second lives and I’d interviewed her for an article that appeared in Second Arts a year ago. With commitments in my first life I had been unable to attend the opening of the museum and with both of our schedules full it was several weeks before we were able to catch up. She graciously agreed to meet with me there for a tour. I had seen many images of the country, its mountains and cities, in various media publications. When I arrived at the museum site it was as I had seen it in still shots and movies, but now I was able through my avatar to move about as if I were physically there.

“Hello Nazz … it takes a few minutes for the sculpty mountains to rezz.” She said.

As I waited for them to rezz, we chatted, an exchange of pleasantries. I then asked if she was ready, to which she replied. “So this over here is the information center. This eBook slide thingy is the basic background of RAWA … how they began during the soviet occupation and how the founder was assassinated by the Afghan version of the KGB. “

“I had been out to their web site.” I commented.

“Yeah, this is right off the website, but I want to redo the slideshow. It’s a bit too academic and long and I'd like to shorten it.” She said and then paused before she added; “The website upload there is to RAWA's website. In here is a thing on their current projects … orphanages, clinics, schools literacy programs.”

I found a donation kiosk and dropped a few hundred lindens into it. The money transfer showed it went to another name and I asked, “Is that your bank alt?”

“Yeah, she is just a bank. All my clothes sales go to Trill, then to the alt and then to my PayPal then to my bank account, just for RAWA then to RAWA … actually, because RAWA isn't a recognized charity, they get no NGO or government funding of any kind, the money goes to Afghan women’s mission and from there to RAWA.  So it's a bit of a chain but all the money goes to RAWA. I pay rent out of pocket.” She replied.

“What happened with the Central Asia Institute?” I asked, having remembered her support for that organization when she’d first established her clothing line (BoHo HoBo).

“Well, I did some research and I decided I'd rather support a local indigenous group of Afghan women … also because they are against the occupation by NATO and they are also politically active and 'politics' is a major part of the problem in Afghanistan. On this shelf here are some recommended books.  I have a few more to add … really awesome books.” She said in reply.

“Recommended by RAWA?”

“Well also by New York Times and The Guardian.” She said and then continued; “Malali Joya, A woman among warlords is a NYT best seller. She isn't part of RAWA … and Meena is the founder of RAWA … they are the women who started the clandestine schools for children especially girls, during the Taliban years … they are the journalists who took the footage of human rights abuses during the Taliban regime as well, at great risk to their lives … some have been assassinated.  It's an amazing organization such bravery and dedication … they are all totally volunteer and they are supported by brothers and fathers. Actually, it's a common story that girls are recruited to work for RAWA by uncles and fathers … uncles, fathers, and brothers’ often act as chaperones and drivers. It's a really incredible phenomenon in such a patriarchal society.”

“Without any intent of being critical toward either Afghan culture or Islam … the role of women is very limited is it not?” I asked.

“It is and I'm having a hard time understanding that.  Is it 'Islam', is it merely a twisted 'fundamentalist’ interpretation or is it culture or a combination … liberal Muslims insist it is fundamentalism.” She said.

She asked if I’d like to go in the museum, but before we did I said. “Let’s talk about the build for a bit ... its modeled on the topography of Afghanistan?”

“Very much so, Afghanistan is 2/3 mountains and desert. When I move to the SIM next door I'm going to really try to make it look Afghan … I love terraforming. These mountains here are all sculpts.” She replied and then began explaining about the entrance to the museum. “It starts here with the poem by Rumi, on the rocks.” She turned her avatar toward a picture and added; “This is Rumi. He was born in what is present day Afghanistan; I think it sets the mood for the museum. The museum is a celebration of Afghan culture.”
We entered and she continued, “This first room is physical geography exhibit. This 3D map is clickable … nearly everything in the museum in clickable, like the vase in the corner. The scroll in the jar, rezzes a scroll with fast facts about Afghanistan and then disappears after five minutes.”

I clicked on the vase as she had suggested and the following text chat line appeared on my screen.

Afghan vase: There is an ancient story about when God made the world he had bits of rubbish and broken parts left over. The jagged pieces would not fit anywhere else and so he just threw those down and that formed Afghanistan.

“Parts of the country were part of the famous silk road …” I commented, recalling some of my world history lessons many years ago.

“Yes, exactly … crossroads of Asia, the road from the south met up with the east west road. So many civilizations have been through here … Alexander the Great, the Persians,  Buddhism, it was part of Ashoka's empire, the first Buddhist Empire of India way back in the day.”

“Have you visited the country?” I asked.

“No, the closest I've been is the border of India with Pakistan … similar geography and culture.” She replied and we then moved our virtual selves into the next area of the museum where she continued with, “This is the cultural geography exhibit. Afghanistan is very ethnically diverse, there are over 70 different languages the official language is Dari, which is a variant of Persian.”

“Did you receive any help or support from anyone when you did the build?” I asked.

“Oh, some scripting help … I mooch scripts off people or get them online.  I have a book scripting recipes for second life and I made all the textures and most of the objects, not the animals. I'm going to put a bibliography from each exhibit into a box and put it in each room so people can research more if they like.” She replied and then added; “You can click on things if you like … these are model houses over here by the window. The slide show controls come from Jacobo Sands.”

“I heard in the interview video that you’d had some visitors, Islamic visitors who've liked what you've done. Have any Afghani’s stopped by in world yet?” I asked.

“No, but my friend in Germany teaches German to Afghans and she brought a colleague here, an Afghan gentleman who teaches German to Afghans and he saw the museum from her laptop, she said he was really thrilled. I've bought some picture books of Afghanistan at Amazon and looked at everything I could online. The objects on the shelf here are clickable too; each has a sentence about it.” She replied.

I took her suggestion and clicked on a few objects and the chat line responses appeared at the bottom of my screen.

Plate of Sprouts: A week before the New Year, lentils are placed in a dish to sprout. They symbolize new growth.

Haft Mewa: In Afghanistan, they prepare Haft Mewa (Seven Fruits), a fruit salad made from 7 different dried fruits served in their own syrup
Coloured Eggs: Decorated eggs symbolizing fertility, sometimes one for each member of the family.

Tulips: The Guli Surkh festival which literally means Tulip Festival is celebrated only in Mazari Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow. People travel from different parts of the country to attend the festival.

“I'd love to try some Haft Mewa.” She commented and then turned her avatar toward another display. 

“These houses are so many prims, so it's great that they can appear and disappear.  The cities are mostly walled lanes. “

“I was looking, very intricate in detail. How long did it take for you to build?

“I started the museum at the end of May but I've been working on it every day since then … nearly every day.” She replied.

 “This begins the arts section, music and Dance. It was fun to make the instruments. I think the most fun is making the objects. These here are different kinds of fabric. Actually the material culture of Afghanistan is in danger of being lost.” She said as we moved to the next.

“How did you become connected with 4 Bridges?” I asked.

“Well, when I first did a fundraiser for Afghanistan, Any1 (Gynoid) was also raising awareness for 4B and she introduced me to millay (Freschi), who started 4B … actually it was Millay that suggested I make a museum. I was thinking it would take me a few weeks and would just be a little extension of the information centre.”

“So from an extension of the information center ... it sort of blossomed to its current state?” I asked.

“Yeah, I got all carried away … plus it's a good way to learn sculpting and scripting, to have an actual project. So much of the things that women make here, are the same as the Banjara women of India. These are carpets and poetry … but I’m not done this room yet.

“Women are the keepers of culture are they not.” I commented.

“In some ways, I suppose … it's the women who actually weave the carpets and some of the most famous poets are women … Rabia Balkhi, she was the sister of the sultan of Herat in the 16th century, she fell in love with a slave and for that her brother had to kill her … honor killing … she wrote her last poem in blood on the walls and so she is famous … love causes pain. It seems very Afghan could be the jumping off point for a film that highlights the case of women there today but she is famous among both men and women which is interesting. “

We chatted for a little while longer and then she excused herself as she was expecting guests in real life. I thanked her for the tour and information, delighted that we had finally found some mutually free time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Something Lost... but Something Found

By Shellie Sands

Recently, I was thinking about a place I had visited some time ago, maybe in 2008.  It was Virtual Starry Night, a sim dedicated to the famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh. It was an amazing place and I remember wandering around in complete awe admiring the ingenuity of the creator. "Outside" Virtual Starry Night was a Van Gogh Museum. I visited the sim several times after my discovery and was just as delighted as I was on my first visit.

Finding my original landmark, I returned to the location.  Upon arriving, I found, much to my dismay, that all was gone.  Searching my inventory for anything Van Gogh, I found the original note I had received during my first visit.  I searched the names of the creators to ask why it was gone but found that they, too, were gone.  Just as in RL (and frankly more quickly), nothing lasts forever in SL.

In an effort to turn a negative into a positive, I searched Van Gogh in Places and got a decent list. One place caught my eye, Classic Paintings Art Gallery and Museum. It boasted paintings by all the great artists I knew of and some I never heard of.  I clicked on the teleport button.

Arriving at the gallery,  a long red carpet lay in front of me and I could see glimpses of paintings. Teleport buttons to the various areas of the museum were lined up at the entrance, listing artwork from the 15th through 20th centuries. Venturing forward, I encountered two rooms on the ground floor, each containing various artists, including Monet, daVinci, Klimt, Degas and Renoir in the room to the left; Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Michealangelo's Adam (a portion of the Sistine Chapel), among others, in the room to the right.  Just down the hallway is a room devoted to Botticelli and across from that a room filled with El Greco. At the end of the hallway is a large room dedicated to the great Michelangelo. Paintings by various artists line the hallway walls.The other floors yield artists such as Goya, Friedrich, Gauguin, Monet, van Gogh and Botticelli. 

This is just a small sampling of the many artists ranging from the Renaissance period up through later centuries. I found many of my personal favorites and purchased van Gogh's 'The Cornfield,' Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus' and Fra Angelico's 'The Annunciation.' All paintings are reasonably priced at $L95.  If it's classic painting you fancy, this is a must see.