WOW WOW WOW!!! SO much happened this week. SO many feels. It was an emotional roller coaster and it was CRAZY. So let’s have a look at what actually happened shall we???
Monday was install day and it was a HUGE one. 9 hours of installing, fiddling, changing things up, moving things around, hanging photos and switching photos and STRESSING. There were of course technical difficulties. All week. My whole week was plagues with technical difficulties but now I look back, each day small progress was made to fix these. One thing at a time. Monday was also the day I realised how much support I had and how many people were in my corner. My supervisor came multiple times during the day and was there at the very end of my day (which was actually 9 o’clock at night!!).
Tuesday I made a connection with a possible lead to a group exhibit with UQ next year. Wednesday and Thursday saw the lighting guys come in and light the place up perfectly and also with me taking a chance and replacing some of my photos with one large self portrait.
Friday FINALLY saw the end of my technical issues in the form of a colleague, Andy who spent quite a bit of time helping me out and teaching me things. At so, at the end of the week, it has been quite the journey, but things are looking up. I’m looking forward to next week being a lot easier and a lot less of an emotional roller coaster. As always though, if you would like to hear the full story of this weeks adventures, check out the VLOG I have embedded above or check it out on my Youtube channel!
Oh and one last thing before I go…CONSIGNMENT FURNITURE, sponsors of my installation sim and patron of the arts. They have things. Things you need. Also things you don’t need. But you are gonna want them any way, so CHECK ‘EM OUT! #bestadsever #yourewelcomewavie
Here we are…Week 3 and this week was all about the installation practice. Some issues came up for me during this practice that really made me rethink what I was doing and how I was doing it. I stressed a lot about whether to take my computer in to the gallery next week for a number of reasons:
So that is it in a nutshell, as usual, if you want the whole story, check out the VLOG embedded above or on my Youtube channel!
And one last thing…Consignment Furniture…Looks like a Junkyard…but the furniture and stuff is awesome. #totallysponsoredmyinstallation #myadsarethebest #yourewelcomewavie
Yup…I’m still catching up on my weekly VlogBlogs and the VLogs themselves. Week 3 is about to come out on the Youtubes, so I figured I better get on and get this one out before I get completely out of sync with them all.
OK First…I changed the name of this blog series…because honestly, they are the blogs…of the vlogs and therefore VLOGBLOGS. Yes I am that type of person who hates it when people write “Your” when they really mean “You’re”. Totally triggers me and the name of the blog series was triggering me and now I’ve changed it. So…there.
Also…Consignment Furniture. Sponsors of my SL Installation. Patron of the Arts. Generally awesome stuff. You should check ’em out. These ads are basically the best. Consignment Furniture. You’re welcome Wavie.
And now all that is over, what actually happened this week? Well…I visited the Psychologist, skipped class to pick up my youngest daughter from school (#momlife right?), thought a whole lot about next week’s installation practice, then examined the idea of visual exemplars, who a few of mine are (both in RL and SL) and why. I took a photo in SL, did some landscaping on the installation sim, my computer had a psychedelic meltdown, spent quite a bit of time on Skillshare watching photography videos and then took THIS awesome photo in my backyard playing with depth of field….
So that was my week in a nutshell. If you want to hear about it in more detail, check out the VLOG version that I have embedded above for your viewing convenience or even better go check it out and like it up on my Youtube channel!
Handy Dandy References:
Consignment Furniture SLurl: https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Consignment/61/133/32
Consignment Furniture Marketplace Store https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/150383
AES+F Website https://aesf.art/
Hito Steyerl|NGV https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/hito-steyerl/
Personal photos of Self Portrait (Andy Warhol) and Drowning Girl (Roy Lichtenstein) taken at the NGV by Alison James
It’s R U OK Day here in Australia. I have mixed feelings about this day. I think it is a really good way of getting messaging out there about mental health and having a quiet concern for others.
But at the same time, I remember being asked that question and answering with a smile on my face, “I am ok”. Even though I wasn’t. Even though I was FAR from ok. I remember being asked that question and thinking, “No-one is going to believe I am actually NOT ok. Look at my perfect life, with my perfect family and my perfect husband and perfect loving mothers. Look at my perfect career and my perfectly lovely house and the perfect brilliance of my perfectly broken brain.”
I was mouthing the Words, “I am ok”, and yet screaming inside, “I’M NOT OK I’M NOT OK I’M NOT OK. LOOK PAST MY PERFECT SMILE AND SEE THAT I…AM…NOT…OK”. I thought I was going to break into a thousand tiny little perfect pieces and people would coo and smile and nod their heads in perfect unison and say, “What an incredibly perfect art piece you have made there. Look at the way the light falls on those pieces. Look at the abstraction. Look at that raw emotion.”
Then they would leave, while my pieces lying imperfectly on the ground murmured…
“But…I’m not ok….”
It was a perfect scenario to keep me perfectly locked inside my own head. To keep the perfect smile and the perfect answers. To nod my head with the other perfect people and ask the perfect question, listening with just the perfect amount of sympathy as they all explained that they too…just like me…were all ok.
I remember the moment I broke through the perfect barrier and yelled in desperation, “PLEASE HELP ME. I’M NOT OK. I’M AFRAID OF THIS PERFECTION AND I’M LOST IN THE MADNESS AND I CAN’T GET OUT.” And that was the moment the perfection took a step back, as if shocked that I would dare mention its name and expose it. I started saying it more.
I said it to the doctor, “I’m not ok.”
I said it to my children, “I’m not ok.”
I said it to the clinical psychologist I was sent to, “I’m not ok.”
And then I said it to my friends, “I’m not ok.”
I would walk into the psych office and cry. I felt like I would never stop crying. That I would always be broken and raw and imperfect now. At first, I felt like I was the only imperfect person in a perfect world and I would never be able to step back in to that world and be whole and perfect again.
But…The more I said it…
“I’m not ok.”
the more those perfect people whispered it back to me…
“I’m not ok too.”
“Hey! Guess what? I was never ok.”
“I don’t really understand what ok is.”
“I’m a very long way from ok.”
And I saw them strip away their perfect skins and we stood…imperfectly together and apart. We were not perfect. And we were not ok. We may never get perfect back. But I know this…
I am WAY closer to ok now than I was when I was perfect.
So when you are ready…and when you most need it…remember this…
When someone asks, “R U Ok?”, it’s GOING to be ok if you tell them, “I’m NOT OK.”
It will take you some time. It’s going to take a lot of work and probably a lot of crying and being angry and understanding why you are crying and angry.
But one day, you will look back and see all those perfect skins left behind us and realise the day you learned to say, “I’m not ok.” was the day you found a way to be OK.
The following resources are important. If you or anyone you know are having mental health issues please consider taking a moment and checking them out. Can’t hurt more right?
OK. I know you’ve noticed the date on this. I’ve backdated it. Now…listen…I actually wrote all these BlogVlogs in the weeks they are actually dated at, buuuttttt….Life got busy. My Dog ate my homework. An anvil fell on my head. LOOK OVER THERE!!!
Anyway…here is the Blog to accompany the VLog I put out a little while ago now. These BlogVlogs are my way of keeping a journal of my experiences in both SL and RL over the last few months of my postgrad degree. I want to be honest and transparent about what it is like for me, both emotionally and academically and I hope you will follow my journey as I write up my exegesis, finish and exhibit my final art pieces and stress my way into an academic meltdown…errmm…wait…
So firstly, CONSIGNMENT FURNITURE!! HUGE shout out to Consignment for sponsoring me through my last few months of building my installation in Second Life. Need Furniture? Decor? ALL THE THINGS?!?!?! Check out Consignment Furniture. Right NOW! actually…no…not now. Read my BlogVLog first and then go check em out!
What actually happened this week? Well let me break that down for ya! I did a whole lot of reading and notetaking for my exegesis, I met up with my supervisor Chari, I practiced some physical world drawing exercises and photography, I caught up on SL happenings through all the usual social media, and had a bit of a rant about the LEA sims closing.
That basically sums it all up, but if you want to see what I actually see, check out the vlog part of this BlogVlog that I have embedded above or on my Youtube Channel!
1. Metaverse Artist AM Radio On The Ephemeral, Communal Nature Of Digital Art https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2019/07/am-radio-jeff-berg-metaverse-vr-art.html
2. What Makes A Virtual Reality Installation A Work Of Art, Rather Than Just A Fun Immersive Experience? A Veteran Art Critic Makes Her Case https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2019/07/vr-art-aesthetics-cristina-garcia-lasuen.html
3. LEA is Closing http://lindenarts.blogspot.com/2019/07/lea-is-closing.html
4. Linden Endowment of the Arts Set to Close August 31 http://slnewser.blogspot.com/2019/07/linden-endowment-of-arts-set-to-close.html
5. Linden Endowment of the Arts to Officially Close https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/7920844/posts/87218
6. The Closing of LEA: My Thoughts https://kultivatemagazine.com/2019/07/22/the-closing-of-lea-my-thoughts/
7. Second Life Destinations – Moya Land https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkNbgPY3PqU
8. Moya Land SLurl
9. Second Life Destination Guide – Art https://secondlife.com/destinations/arts
Another blog post you say?? I KNOW RIGHT??!?!?! Just enjoy the extra posting and don’t question it in case you scare me off and you don’t see me again for months! Sooooo…I was trawling through my facebook feed one day and came across this link to an unauthorised exhibit of the Art of Banksy.
It made me feel uneasy for a few reasons. Let me explain…
Firstly, Street art, and especially the art of Banksy is a reaction to this very thing. Street art is art of the people for the people and is meant to be experienced on the street, free of charge by ANYONE, not just the elite that can afford it, and these prices are ridiculous for an UNAUTHORISED exhibit put together by private collectors and curated by Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s FORMER manager and photographer. So the artist themselves is not profiting off this exhibit, the collectors, the curators and the gallery are.
The prices themselves are quite prohibitive for the average person, let alone if you plan on taking a family. The profit margin on these tickets must be quite large despite the fact that they are putting on such a large exhibit.
Ticket Prices for Exhibit
From $32 general access Monday to Thursday
From $36 Priority access Monday to Thursday
From $32 general access Friday to Sunday
From $42 Priority access Friday to Sunday
I know that people will say that at least it is a promotion of the artist and it allows people who wouldn’t normally get to see them, experience them and it legitimises the artist and the art form…but you know what? It is being promoted not for the artist, but for profit. It does allow people who wouldn’t normally see art like this to experience it…but only the people who can AFFORD it, not the people it was MEANT for. And lastly, it was already a legitimate art form and Banksy was already a legitimate artist. It all kind of smacks of elitism and underhandedness.
Next, Street Art is not meant to be viewed like this. It is meant to be viewed in situ. Street art has a context and it finds layers of meaning in its context. The mural on the West Bank Barrier separating Palestine from Israel has important meaning in the place it is situated. It is a direct reaction to the current social and political climate and unrest that is happening around it. If you took that mural and hung it in a gallery, it loses some of its meaning and importance. You take it away from the people and the context, you reduce it to something sterile and…less.
The more I think about it, the more offended I am. While I would dearly LOVE to see an authentic Banksy, I would like to see them how they are meant to be seen, free and out on the streets because that is part of the experience of them.
Lastly, this kind of artistic rip off really upsets me. We see it happening in Second Life all the time. I can’t even count the amount of times I read a plurk saying, “Hey! Check out this link…this person has used my photo in their ad/in their blog post/as a stock photo and not even credited me.” I go by the principle, ALWAYS ASK. Most people are seriously generous and will say yes, for something as simple as a link to their blog or to the original photo.
Just like street art, most Second Life Photography has meaning in context. Each photo taken is taken for a reason. Whether it is a documentary type photograph holding memories of a person’s time in world…
If you profit from someone else’s art work, even if that profit is just by free use of their creative/intellectual property without their permission, you are a thief. You have STOLEN their intellectual property and STOLEN their time and thoughts and effort. Just because the original online world photographer or artist is not known to you or because they are an avatar, is not enough of a reason to justify your thievery.
So that is my thoughts for today. What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever had your Second Life photos used out of context by someone who didn’t ask your permission? What did you do about that? Comment down below and let me know…I would really like to hear what you all think about it and about your experiences!
(PLEASE NOTE: This is not a Second Life blog post today!)
Today I was heading into the gallery to babysit the art at the exhibit and while I was riding the train in to Southbank, I saw to my surprise, this amazing guy, dressed in a pirate costume, softly playing a guitar. Now…I am fascinated by people who are a little out of the ordinary. I want to hear their stories. I want to find out who they are and what they are doing and know the details of their lives.
Normally, I wouldn’t take photos of people on public transport or on the street. I kind of have a bit of a moral conflict about taking photos of people without their permission, but I really love street art photos, which quite often have people within them. So, I took a chance, and asked the guy if he would let me take photos of him while we rode the train together and he was happy to be my life model for our journey. I have never wished for my camera SO much since I got it. I only had my phone (its a Samsung Galaxy S7…yes I know it is a bit outdated now…I have a problem letting go of my tech, ok?) on me so I had to take these on my phone camera.
Paul Hilder was a fascinating guy, he gifted me with his story as he let me take photos of him. He was heading into the city for a meeting for musicians. He had gotten into trouble recently at a Climate Rebellion protest and had a beautiful brood of children. He had this beautifully easy going manner and was a delight to listen to. He had this way about him that was endearing and I liked the way he drew people in to conversation. We talked about the act of rebellion and you know what? Sometimes, to me, just talking to people in unexpected places like the train feels like an act of rebellion these days.
But you know, its those moments of serendipity and chance that make life endlessly interesting…where for that moment you get to see inside someone and you connect. I’d like to explore more of those moments and maybe hold an exhibit next year revealing them in a way that is joyful, beautiful and serendipitous. I don’t know…I’ll see. But I will definitely continue on with exploring the idea for awhile and see where it leads me.
With thanks to Paul Hilder for his stories, his time and for allowing me to randomly take his photos on a train ride into the city.
Yes, I am continuing the posting about my RL art journeys. I know I haven’t done an SL post for a whole hot minute, but don’t you worry about that. They are coming. I’ve just been taking a small holiday from SL while I can because very soon, I will be in there pretty much 24/7 as I prepare for exhibition and final assessment.
I DO want to do a shout out to the very generous and patient Wavie Haller of Consignment who has sponsored my final installation piece by donating the use of a full Homestead Sim for me to work on and show my final installation piece on for a few months. I’m truly thankful for this generous donation and so here is an advertisement I did a little while ago featuring Consignment that Wavie never used….If you are reading this, which you will because I will link it to you and make you read it…Thank you and you’re welcome Sir Haller!
And now I have done that, here is the…DISCLAIMER: This is not a SL post, but rather a post about my RL stuff. I hope you enjoy it anyway!
This past weekend was a weekend filled with…ummm…I’m not even sure any more. It just kind of…went by before my mind could even process it was happening. Saturday was a blur of chores and domesticity. Sunday, we attended a community celebration. I am sure that I have mentioned before how my community likes to celebrate itself. Well, this was one of those weekends. Community groups were out in force with their stalls. Local acts were playing on a couple of stages. Schools were selling crafts and home baked goods. Even my GP was on stage playing his guitar and singing. I basically live in a small country town in the city ok?
I visited a friend (shout out to Cath) Sunday afternoon, where, while we were chatting, I said the awful sentence, “Triangles are not my genre.” After we managed to stop laughing at my intensely sincere stupidity long enough to catch our breath, we decided that we needed to put together an exhibition next year based around that and then we spent the whole afternoon dreaming and making notes on what that exhibition will be and what pieces need to be put into it. Everyone needs a friend who makes you less serious about yourself and who will dream a whole exhibit with you that both amuses and inspires you.
In between moments were spent working on one piece. Which is how I actually managed to say the sentence about the triangles. I work a lot with circles and swirls when I am just drawing intuitively. So I thought I would try something a little bit different and work with some jagged triangles. I KNOW RIGHT?!?! Such a leap of thinking there.
Anyway..what I found out by doing this was basically that I hate drawing triangles. It’s annoying. It doesn’t flow well. It takes so much longer to do than the circles. It’s finicky. Its persnickety. Yeah, ok…I am just making stuff up now. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it. I’m not unhappy with the results, but I prefer last weekend’s drawing.
Artist: Alison James
Size: 42.0 x 29.7cm
Medium: Micron 0.4 & 0.8 pens, Faber Castell warm and cold grey artist pen, green ball point pen.
Next week, I think I will do something I don’t usually do and go for some realism. I haven’t practiced realistic still life drawing in a really long time and I am feeling drawn (pun totally intended. I heard you chuckle.) to giving that another bit of a crack. It’s one of those drawing forms that makes you LOOK at a subject, tonality, shadow and light, composition…It’s so easy to take the basic principles for granted when you are working on pieces or exhibiting. You just kind of shove those basics to the side and work on getting the concept out there. Its good to be purposefully mindful of these things and I am feeling a quiet tingle of excitement to be going back to basics in my art practice for a while. Whether it is a small while, or a big while…we shall see.
Disclaimer: This is not a SL post, but rather a post about my RL stuff. I hope you enjoy it anyway!
Sooooo….as just about everyone here knows, I am an artist in my physical reality. I came to Second Life as part of my postgraduate studies and have dedicated a lot of time to learning a ridiculous amount of things in order to use the platform to create art. Sometimes though, I just feel the need to return to other mediums and I often do pieces that are not just online world photography or videos. I think I don’t talk about my other art work enough on this blog or anywhere actually, mostly because I have been focused on writing about Second Life things as what I am doing there has been my biggest project to date. Right now though, I feel like chatting about it and showing you some of the other things I do…so here we go…
I have just gotten a beautiful new camera (it’s an EOS M50) and as I have never actually done any serious photography in real life with anything other than my smartphone, I have been spending a lot of time playing with it. It is fast becoming one of my favourite things to do. I still have NO idea what I am doing or what half the settings mean but it has been SO much fun trying to find out. The photos you see here were all taken at a beachfront near me in the hour and a half before sunset as that was the time I had to get out and play.
I love that photography makes you LOOK at things. My second degree was in Environmental Science and I have a particular passion for tidal zone ecosystems, so a lot of the photos I have taken so far seem to highlight that. After spending so long cocooned in my studio at home looking at the outside world through my window, it has been so very lovely to be outside, especially since we have had some absolutely gorgeous days.
On top of the photography, I have been doing some drawing. I have always enjoyed the physicality of scratching on paper with a pencil and I have a terrible habit of collecting pencils from just about everywhere. Don’t ever leave a pencil or a pen near me, ok? You have been warned…This piece was done over the weekend. It takes a bit of time to obsessively draw enough of those little circles to fill a page but I find it quite hypnotic and soothing.
Title: Stars in the Sky
Artist: Alison James
Size: 42.0 x 29.7cm
Medium: 2B pencil
I actually wasn’t going to title it, but a friend of mine said it looked like Stars in the Sky and it felt appropriate given that we have just had a giant full moon here, as well as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing! I draw these types of drawings intuitively. There is more of an emotional connection to them than there is an intellectual one. I simply sit and draw and that is really refreshing after being submerged in an art project that is highly conceptual and has taken 3 years to come to fruition.
So that was the creating I did this weekend. It has been a fun expedition into real life. Tomorrow I will be back at uni asking the hard questions again about life, the universe and everything, but for today, I am just happy to be sharing some of the other works I have enjoyed making this weekend with you.
In the 2002 article, “Community Celebrations as Ritual Signifiers.” by Deborah Smith-Shank wrote,
“Not only do community celebrations give us a sense of belonging, they can also serve as sites of inquiry. They can help us by answering significant questions about our histories, our communities and ourselves.” (1) P 57
I believe the same can be said of the celebration of our virtual communities. Events like SL16B are just as important for that sense of belonging, for place making and for connection. These celebrations tell us a lot about each other and they also tell us a lot about the teams of people behind the platform of Second Life.
Deborah Smith-Shank also states that,
“Community celebrations identify the character of the community that hosts the event..They are sites for affirming cultural identity, for renewing acquaintance with people and customs, and, of course, for commerce.” (1) P 58
We can see all of this happening in the current celebrations. Cultural identity is being celebrated in multiple ways, not just through the choice of theme but also through the exhibits and art installations where we see reflections of who we are and what our people want to tell us about themselves.
We also see what is coming in the aesthetics of the newer parts of our world with the unveiling of the new style of Linden homes and the settings in which they sit so comfortably.
The Tapestry of Time is an exhibit not to be missed. I look forward to this exhibit every year because it shows us really important aspects of our culture within the world…it reveals to us our history. For myself, I love this exhibit as much as I love the exhibits of the people of the world as I am so relatively new (I landed in world in 2016) that it pieces together parts of the world I missed out on experiencing and explains how we got to where we currently are. It makes me remember that we are all part of something…more. Something built on not only the shoulders of giants, but the dreams of ordinary people and over time, that has made something truly EXTRAORDINARY.
We renew our acquaintance with the Lindens in a time honoured tradition of being able to Meet with the Lindens. Conversations with Ebbe, the CEO will be watched with great interest for any hint of where SL is heading in the future, what we will be working towards as a community and what new innovations will enter our world. (2)
Conversations with our very our Strawberry Linden and the effervescent Xiola Linden (3), Oz and April Linden (4) and Patch Linden (5) have taken place and been recorded as well and these can be found circulating around our Second Life Blogosphere. If you missed them then you can catch up with them on the Second Life Official Youtube channel or Daniel Voyager’s blog (6).
The shopping event, is of course, HUGE! Over 100 creators have participated this year over 5 incredible sims. They have left free gifts for you and if you want to see them, you should check out Naria Panthar’s video (7) where she shows ALL of them. They also have a whole lot of discounts on their items and some of the creators even have exclusive items out!
When you head to the welcome area, don’t forget to pick up you free SL16B gifts, your special edition avatars and also your swaginator HUD to claim all your birthday gifts. This year, they have released the gifts as a hunt over the SL16B regions, with clues that are announced in your local chat as you click the HUD. So you can run around and collect them all at once.
And lastly, I want to mention a few of the vloggers and bloggers I have seen doing amazing things to bring you footage of what the celebration is like. These content creators are significant to the community and to engendering a sense of community as they record the events of the world as it happens, are sources of information and entertainment and spend a large amount of time marketing Second Life itself in positive and uplifting ways. If I have missed you out, please feel free to add your vlog or blog to the comments sections as I would also love to check it out!! I explain a bit more about these bloggers and vloggers in the video above, so I am just going to list them with their links here for you to check out for yourself:
Add to that long list, I have some important links for you to check out:
SL16B Landing & Info Page: http://secondlife.com/view/sl16b
SL16B Destination Guide Category : https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b
SL16B Music Faire Lineup & Schedule: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2563-sl16b-music-faire-lineup-schedule Meet the Lindens Schedule: https://secondlife.com/destination/meet-the-lindens
SL16B Official Shopping Event – 5 regions and 100 creators to shop and receive gifts from- https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b/sl16b_shopping
SL16B Community Experiences to Explore: https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b/sl16b_community
SL16B Swaginator Gift Hunt: https://secondlife.com/destination/sl16b-hunt
And last but not least…Some Important Dates:
(1) Smith-Shank, Deborah L. “Community Celebrations as Ritual Signifiers.” Visual Arts Research 28, no. 2 (2002): 57-63. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20716064.
(2) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Ebbe Linden https://youtu.be/-rTRYAprz5M
(3) Meet the Lindens 2019 – Strawberry and Xiola https://youtu.be/mkAs2KXx4G8
(4) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Oz and April Linden https://youtu.be/1ePiNC0d8wE
(5) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Patch Linden https://youtu.be/tpyPocpzmK0
(6) Daniel Voyagers Blog – https://danielvoyager.wordpress.com
(7) Naria Panthar SL16B – ALL FREE GIFTS ON 5 SIMS – Second Life https://youtu.be/4ow7mloX8us