GBTH x Rachel Breaker – Duality of Love: THEY

GBTH is putting on some seriously good installations. This particular one was excellent. I found it while wandering the streets of the GBTH sim after checking out Swallow by Vincent Priesley, and was met by emotion after emotion.

GBTH x Rachel Breaker
GBTH x Rachel Breaker “Duality of Love: They” Sketch Wall

Set out on the footpath, “Duality of Love : They”, depicts love in its many forms through digital sculptures. This exhibition that is also an installation is a beautiful example of complex simplicity. Each of the sculptures look like they are made of simple prims which is a naive creative choice that enhances the cohesiveness and impact of the installation.

GBTH x Rachel Breaker
(l to r) Serra Qendra: Perpetual Head Stroke Mmm,  Grady Echegaray: Love in the Time of War, Spectacled Chic: You Could Make My Heart Bloom, Lena Kiopaik: Anyone and No-one, Vally Lavender: Conflict, TW, Deity

The diversity of the couples in the crowd are beautiful and joyful, thoughtful and thought provoking. It really makes you consider the different ways of loving or being loved but also the ways in which love can be used as a manipulation of power.

GBTH x Rachel Breaker
(l to r) Aequitas: Untitled, Absinthe Holloway: Love is Love, Fiona Fei: Untitled, Lash: An Angel Sent.

Some of the sculptures also hold powerful social and political messages. I am one of those people who believe that in this time when being an artist is so undervalued,  making art in and of itself is a political act. I also believe that art can be an important tool for inspiring social and political change, so I am genuinely thrilled that artists here were not afraid to make statements on their pieces in order to inform and provoke thoughts and discussion.

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There is so much more to be said about this installation and on one of my visits I was incredibly fortunate to run into both Rachel Breaker and Marina Munter, the creative collaborators behind it all. I am so very grateful for the time they spent chatting with me about the ideas and process behind it all…but for all that information, you are going to have to check out the video that will be released next week!

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(l to r) Marina Munter, Rachel Breaker and Mangrovejane Resident.

SLurl: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/the%20GBTH%20project/118/150/42

Swallow by Vincent Priesley at the GBTH Project

Swallow Exhibit Vincent Priesley 1a cropshadow resize4mp 08042020I had a moment to pop into Second Life today and visit and installation by Vincent Priesley at the GBTH Project. It has been awhile since I have visited an online installation and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. “Swallow” is a marvellously surreal piece that invites you to literally be swallowed by a monster dredged up from the psych of Priesley.

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It is an installation of words and imagery that pulls you through and invites you to look…and look again while all the time standing in a slightly disturbing landscape of an imaginary digestive system.

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Modernist artworks line the insides of the monsters…abstractions of loved ones represented through reliefs and cutout figures that have a naive, childlike and a little uncanny air about them.

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The mesh textures with advanced lighting on are truly a sensory experience while not at all slowing down the frame rate. I was truly impressed by the realism of the landscape I recommend that if you have a spare 10 minutes, pop on down to Swallow and check it out.

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SLURL:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/the%20GBTH%20project/164/93/48

Change

 

It’s coming…I can hear it whispering in my ears and pushing me with impatient hands.

“It’s time,” it says…”You have wallowed enough and it is time to get up.”

I listen…and I agree.

What is coming next dear friends?

Let’s find out…

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It has been a whole hot minute…

Mmhmmm…It sure has. The short story is this…I needed some time after I finished my degree to process things and just sit in the quiet for awhile and feel everything that I had stomped down into a deep dark corner of myself so I could get through the crazy work schedule I was trying to get through. The climb back from that deep dark corner is arduous. It’s a process, ok? But I’m getting there. And today, I felt like writing a blog post. There’s going to be some rambling and some generally terrible sentence structure, but we are gonna get through this together!

I have been taking a holiday from my Second Life. That last 6 months of my degree was INTENSE. I was in a constant state of panic and work overload. It was rough. I look back over the vlog scripts I have written from that time and I can FEEL the anxiety and the stress all over again. Even when I finished, that stayed with me for quite some time and I blamed myself for friendships in world that went wrong and I let my impostor syndrome get the better of me. Despite my successes, I felt like I had let everyone down and I couldn’t face anyone else when I thought so badly about myself. Pretty crappy thought process right?? Yup…so that is ENOUGH of that…

Throughout those moments though, I have had some people who constantly touched base and checked in. I have talked about a couple of them so many times they are regular features on my blogs and vlogs. My incredible physical world friend Cath, who has journeyed with me for years through all the times, good, bad and indifferent. We have laughed and cried and talked through our lives through many hours and many coffees and many wines. We have adventured and fallen and gotten up time and again.

My wonderful friend and fellow artist Elyse, who I had the great fortune to meet during the first semester of this course. We learned and complained and stressed and graduated together. Now we remember and commiserate but mostly, we minecraft and laugh and dream big dreams about what comes next in our artistic lives together.

My friends, Pete and Extrepid, who I met online in vanilla World of Warcraft. They stuck with me all this time and through all these years, making me smile with their damn awful Dad jokes and astounding me with their wisdom and thoughts.

And you all know the lovely Mondrian, my favourite fox friend and fellow Second Life Artist. We were doing our postgrad studies at the same time and now we have finished at the same time, he is one of the few people who really GETS what I am going through. He’s the sweetest, kindest, most talented, lovely guy and I just adore him.

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And of course you also all know the reticent Wavie Haller who I am going to say NOTHING good about because he gets all embarrassed and gruff and it’s really not as cute as you’d think.

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But I am not sure you know Freya of the store Hilted. I have chatted to Freya on and off for a little while. I have a lot of respect for the work she does, but for me, that is not enough to keep a conversation going with anyone. I am pretty quiet in SL for many reasons and even though I tell people its because I work a lot…which I do…but between us, its mostly because I just am afraid of being vulnerable. I tell people that I’m GREAT at making acquaintances, terrible at making friends.

But today I found myself talking with Freya for WAY longer than I had expected to. Half an hour turned into 2 and a half hours and it was only with regret that I left that conversation. I felt like smiling and thinking about those tentative firsts of friendships and how they might lead somewhere incredible and comfortable. For the first time in a long time, I left SL feeling inspired and looking forward to returning. Its a really nice feeling. I love that about creative people, that they are inspiring and their passions and enthusiasm for their creativity rubs off on you. So tonight, when I had the chance, I worked on this photo…

Who are you Mangrovejane?

What the heck is happening in this photo? (Pose) Ana poses – Jiufen; (Head) Akeruka Lulu; (Body) Maitreya Lara; (Hair) Tableau Vivant Faux Dreads; (Shirt) Vinyl Lambert Tunic; (Jeans) Vinyl Blake Skinny Cuff Jeans; (Shoes) Bueno Seattle Boots

And it felt good. It felt like coming home. It reminded me that sometimes we feel like we are standing alone, and sometimes we may be lost and searching for a way. Sometimes we may be afraid of the next steps and unsure of where to place our feet. But if we take a breath and open our eyes, we will see there are hands holding ours and not letting go and if we listen, there are gentle voices whispering kindness and encouragement.

It is here, in the journey back from the deep dark corners, I find today while remembering these splendid people, that the way back is a little less arduous and my step is a little lighter and I am hopeful again for a better tomorrow.

Vlogblog Week 4 (Week Ending 23/08/2019) It’s EXHIBITION time!

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???

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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.

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Alison James, 2019, Smoke and Mirrors. Digital Print

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

Sponsored by Consignment 1title_001

VlogBlog Week 3 (Week Ending 16/08/2019) Time for Installation Practice

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:

  1. Security and Privacy. Could someone find a way to get into my private spaces or even steal the computer while I wasn’t there?
  2. User error. It’s WAY to easy to break someone’s stuff without really realising you have done it.
  3. Is it going to feel too much like work? We often associate computers with work, and lets face it…SL IS a lot of work some days and a steep learning curve.
  4. Logistics. If I am unwilling to leave it in the gallery for security reasons, how do I get my large desktop computer into the gallery and back everyday without it costing me a fortune in parking?
  5. People downloading stuff I don’t want on my computer. By accident or design, I don’t want things being downloaded onto my computer that I don’t want there.

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

Sponsored by Consignment 1title_001

VlogBlog Week 2 (Week ending 09082019)

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.

COnsignment1

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….

orchid and steps
Alison James, 2019, Orchid and Steps.

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
Skillshare http://www.skillshare.com

Learning to Say, “I am NOT OK.”

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.”

Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors by Mangrovejane

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….”

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“You are not a writer”, by Mangrovejane

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.

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Social anxiety by Mangrovejane

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.

 

groves
Groves by Cassandra Middles

 

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?

R U OK Day website https://www.ruok.org.au/
Beyond Blue website https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Kids Helpline https://kidshelpline.com.au/

BlogVlog Week 1 (Week Ending 02/08/2019)

 

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…

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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!

References:

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

 

The Unauthorised Banksy Exhibit and the Theft of Second Life Photography.

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

Source: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=BANKSDAI19&v=EQH&pd=2019/10/06

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.

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An original Lister Wall I found in the Valley in Brisbane. The photo is only the memory. Seeing it in its original context is everything. Knowing also, that one day it may go due to development or renovations is also part of what makes this important and special. 

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…
Mondrian, Al and I at Rainbow Painters Art Gallery

or a bloggers photograph meant to market items by creators in world… The New Subscription Box  in Town
that photograph has MEANING. Words will change that meaning. Context will change that meaning.

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!