The Virtual Dance

 

Untitled.png

Most of us in Second Life love to dance and there is all kinds of dancing going on here. We rezz and hop on Bits and Bobs slow-dance poses in our homes, use dances attached to our AO HUDs at clubs, or head out to various dance places on the grid. We recently visited four classic dance venues and I am sharing with you some impressions here. First, an incredible dance place for those of us who like to tango, the Ocho Tango Place. After a brief walk from the landing, surrounded by delicate wrought-iron cafe tables and chairs, one stands at the entrance of an old red brick build, a beautiful house built by the multi-talented Megan Prumier. The inside of the tango place consists of a black and white tile floor, tall windows, a small bar, groups of armchairs, plants, framed pictures, and a stack of suitcases (at the back of the building is a locomotive, part of a small train station). Exquisite latin and tango music and tango poses compliment the surrounding environment. This gorgeous dance space has it all, but more than anything else the owners have managed to create a delightful ambience much like one we would find in any tango bar in real life.

A favorite for sure is the The Sable Club, part of The Chambers. This place is elegant and sophisticated, playing mostly Frank Sinatra and has fantastic dance poses. This is one of these wonderful dance clubs where you can dance for hours and lose track of time.

[16:17] Kate: this is our favorite dance place, no doubt
[16:17] Axiom: it wins hands down
[16:17] Axiom: and it’s pretty neglected
[16:17] Axiom: they deserve some credit here
[16:18] Kate: yes, unfortunately, but good for us lol
[16:18] Kate: the music is amazing as is the ambiance, a classic place
[16:18] Kate: the lag is not bad
[16:18] Axiom: don’t say it too loud
[16:19] Kate: lol

To me The Sable Club is very much a hidden treasure, mainly because for some mysterious reason people don’t seem to find their way here. And in all honesty, I was in fact unsure about adding it to my list of dance places, simply because I selfishly want it to remain as is.

Next, Frank’s Place Jazz Club, has remained pretty much the same since it opened in 2008 and is described as [a] classy and fancy Italian-themed jazz and dance club. This is a huge dance space and feels like “old” SL. Visitors are encouraged to wear formal wear and are greeted by a hostess upon arrival. There is very much a SL-ballroom-ambience-kinda-thing going on here, playing smooth jazz mixed in with oldish pop music. It is usually packed and when we visited there were 73 people on the sim. It was unfortunately impossible to move due to the lag. Finally, believe it or not, the old Cloud Nine is still alive and kicking. I remember way back in 2009, very much a noob still, I was quite taken with this place. While I was well aware of that it was kitschy beyond belief, I don’t hesitate the slightest to admit here that I still found all the fluff, the tear-jerker pop-music, the romantic dance poses and the dressing up in a formal gown incredibly magical. When we visited recently, the music and the poses were the same, but the place itself seemed smaller and several of the old partitions were gone. Nonetheless, its well worth a visit, even if simply for a walk down memory lane.

Photograph 1 (Ocho Tango Place) by Kate Bergdorf
Photograph 2 (The Sable Club) by Axiomatic Clarity

A Male Eye. John Berger; a video by Marina Trigueros

Special art film correspondent for this blog, moon Edenbaum, made me aware of the video A Male Eye. John Berger, created by Mariana Trigueros. This film speaks to the male gaze and female objectification, a topic obviously just as relevant in our virtual world as in the real world. Ms. Trigueros, a Spanish researcher, audiovisual producer and archivist, notes about her work that [m]ost pictures are meant to be seen by a male. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. John Berger wrote his book ‘Ways of Seeing’ (1972) on this premise, which has been used as the script for this video essay aimed to be a tribute to his work. Take a look at this video, its beautifully put together, visuals, editing and music are a perfect fit. A feast both for the mind and for the senses.

A Talk About Mutual Respect: Perspectives on Empathy

There is a talk coming up, A Talk About Mutual Respect: Perspectives on Empathy, addressing the themes of the two Mutual Respect exhibits, both part of The G.B.T.H. Project, both curated by Marina Münter. The event will take place tomorrow, Saturday, December 23, at 3 PM SLT with discussants Huck Hax, Marina Münter, moon Edenbaum and myself as moderator, and will be held in voice. We will start with an introduction about the collective exhibits Mutual Respect, and also address the meaning of the talk itself, followed by discussions by the guest speakers and then open up for Q&A. The purpose of this talk is to make people in Second Life think, challenge themselves and for a moment ignore stereotypical societal rules when it comes to the opposite sex, with a focus on embracing flaws and empathy. Come join us, we look forward to your questions and comments!

Poster by Marina Münter

reflections

Christmas really snuck up this year. I am till juggling writing last-minute Christmas cards and finishing up other things. Finding a little bit of time in between now to sit down and reflect on the year that past and ponder on what lays ahead. It has been a rich year in Second Life. We showed some incredible art at Berg by Nordan Art again. In some ways it seems only fitting to end now when the gallery is at its peak. Nonetheless, it is of course with mixed feelings that I close it the last day of December. My focus on gallery curating has shifted to focusing on North now, which opened earlier this year. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would take off like it has. Next year, I will continue maintaining North. I anticipate the Spring/Summer make-over will take place some time March, at which time the sim will be closed again for a few weeks. We will also publish the Berg by Nordan Art 2017 retrospective book early some time in the beginning of the year (waves at Huck Hax). The Paper Crown Pass events will continue as they have been. I will increase my grid exploring and blogging some. I will continue spending time on my virtual image making.

You may have noticed there are hardly any Christmas decorations on North. A large fir-tree, created by AM Radio, was added by Mich Michabo at the center courtyard when we first completed winterizing the sim a few months ago. From the tree extends little strings of light, that have been fastened to the houses surrounding it. It’s a quiet, special space, surrounded by an iron fence. A good spot to stand and ponder. There is another tree, by DECO, on the hill, facing the water. Also a unique tree, this one is smaller, but not less beautiful than the large one. A little winter mailbox, overflowing with letters and christmas gifts, as well as twinkling light strings, are attached to the wall outside the house that contains the study. But that is all the Christmas decoration there is on North. I like to keep it simple. Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa everyone and I hope 2018 will be just as great as 2017. 

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Two Winter Sims

Having been cooped up on North for most of the time for the past months, I rarely get out to explore anymore. But I miss it, and I miss blogging about places too. So today we headed out to check out two winter sims, La vivrevolte and D o X. La vivrevolte is created by the talented Iska Poppies, who also created L’intangible Reve. Her sim designs are well-crafted, playful and dreamy, with a serious attention to terraforming, ground texture and color schemes. She uses a wide variety of trees and different kinds of grass, both contributing to a sense of place. What struck me as most significant about the winter place La vivrevolte was the fact that there were patches of grass and brown ground noticeable in between on the snowy ground. This provides a realism and cohesion, not that easily achieved.

Our second stop D o X was created by Paradox Ivory. This is another beautiful winter sim, a bit denser seeming than La vivrevolte, but equally appealing. Wandering around, one is surrounded by a great variety of trees and bushes, a few partial fences strategically placed out. There is an island and, of course, there is snowfall. It’s a quite hilly area, providing ample opportunity for scenic corners. There is also a gallery, The D 0 X Urben Gallery (teleport to gallery from sim landing point). What really resonated most, however, is the outside dining area.

The outside dining space, complete with a fully set table and eight chairs, on this sim is fantastic. There is a feeling of the inside having brought outside and being completely integrated. This is an incredible spot that should not be missed.

[2017/12/17 11:13] Kate: this outside eating space is magical
[2017/12/17 11:13] Axiom: its great
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: and the surroundings are really well-built
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: the variety of colors on the ground
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: those areas closer to water with fires and places to sit
[2017/12/17 11:14] Kate: and the tall trees
[2017/12/17 11:15] Kate: so so special, very festive
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: do you see the tree to my right waving with the wind?
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: yes 🙂
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: this place feels alive
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: the green one
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: surreal isn’t it
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: yeah

Head over and check out these two sims, you will not be disappointed.

Photograph 1 (La vivrevolte), 3 (D o X) and 4 (D o X) by Axiomatic Clarity
Photograph 2 ((D o X) by Kate Bergdorf

Private Sphere III

There is a new exhibit, Private Sphere III A Retroactive Installation, by artist Prairie Kawashima, curated by Toodles Telling, that opened on December 1. This is one of the most remarkable interactive installations that I have seen in Second Life in recent years and a must see. One teleports in to the landing point on a platform in the sky and stands in front of an apartment building created by Soy (many other items in the exhibit are also by the talented Soy). The two-story house contains several rooms, each consisting of various objects that fit into each particular room, as well as images by Prairie, taped on the wall or scattered on the floor. There are objects placed on the outside of the house as well. The attention to detail here is remarkable and one is left with the sense of having visited someone’s lived in home. Aran M. June, one of our most esteemed image creators, notes about the exhibit that having it seen it I know one thing for sure: Prairie is not an imaginary person. She actually lives there but has just gone outside to get some groceries. The installation is an open, interactive and very intimate space for visitors to take part in. From the exhibit note card we learn that [t]hrough this microscopic look on contemporary urban life, dissecting loneliness, isolation and desire, her [Prairie’s] work almost painfully unveils issues of female identity, sexuality, and psychology, placing her in the newly awakened feminist discourse of recent years. Head over and take a look before this work closes on December 17.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

DownFaLL

There is a new place, DownFaLL, created by Junn. Located at the south corner of the sim Azura Oasis, this is an inviting setting that makes wonderful use of space. There is a great attention to detail here, both when it comes to the partially rainy outside and the interior. The outside part consists of different kinds of trees and grasses, a small beach and plenty of seating areas, intermingled in between three builds. The inside of Apple Fall’s Country Hall has been decorated beautifully and paintings, candles as well as a set dinner table contribute to an intimate ambiance. DownFaLL opens to the public tomorrow night, head over and take a look!

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

north opens today

North, covered in a soft blanket of snow, opens later today. Heavy snow falls on the mountains, but the valley remains clear. While much is still the same as it was, there are also some new additions that I think contribute to an overall sense of cohesion on the sim. Two buildings were added to the cluster of houses in the center and all of them are now snugly contained by walls and fences. There is a pavement with streetlights and a road. The new North abandoned motel is facing the ocean. Christmas decor is minimal on the sim, most notable is a large christmas tree by AM Radio in the courtyard from which stretch strings of light. As the astute observer may also notice, the waves have been turned properly (they were facing the wrong way before lol). The new North music stream is up and a new North windlight in the making. None of this would have been at all possible without the generous help of Toxx Genest, Mich Michabo, Bay Addens, Sasaya Kayo, Livio Korobase and others. It dawned on me once done with the makeover, the greatest part of it was the work we shared. Thank you ♥

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

the plant

There is a new installation, The Plant, spearheaded by Eupalinos Ugajin, that opens on November 1. The exact opening time is still to be determined. This is a remarkable project for several reasons. One, Eupa only rarely puts together projects like this and every time it happens, we know we are in for a treat. Further, the group of artists participating are a fantastic mix of talented creators, some of whos’ work we have not seen in a very, very long time. The artists, in no particular order, are Penumbra Carter, Dekka Raymaker, Suzanne Graves, Haveit Neox, Kikas Babenco and Marmaduke Arado, Art Oluja, Igor Ballyhoo, Meilo Minotaur, CapCat Ragu, Moewe Winkler and Artistide Despres. This multi-level work addresses technology and its impact on humanity and earth. Upon arrival one finds oneself on a platform, surrounded by posters with information as well as quotes (see below). Please read the instructions as they will be helpful to optimize viewer experience. Also make sure to turn up sound as its an integral part of this. There are gifts distributed throughout, see if you can find them! Teleports are available to each of the levels that display works by aforementioned artists.

Untitled

I will not go into detail here about each installation, but I assure you taking it all in is a delightful experience. What awaits the visitor is at first glance a whimsical and even messy, yet also organized, chaos. Delving further into this installation, however, one is struck by the masterful executions and intricacies of each individual’s work (above contribution by Haveit Neox). Eupa notes about this work that [t]hey were brought up believing technology could solve any problem facing Humanity. The right glasses would restore the sight of the Blind Locomotive. Being a . . . (fill) specialist you were invited at today’s meeting at “The Plant.” Please make sure to attend the opening if you can and if not visit later, this important work should not be missed. Sim will be accessible to the public at the day of the opening.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

The Dreamers

The opening of the final Berg by Nordan Art installation, The Dreamers, by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu will take place on Saturday, October 21, at 1PM SLT. The exhibit will be up until the last day of December, which is also the last opening day of the gallery. Like the preceding work by these talented artists, this promises to be extraordinary. To me, the description of this work alone reads like poetry.

Because violence will not take away our ability to dream!

When we were just beginning to create this project, the events of Charlottesville happened. Our hearts stopped. We cannot do this – we thought – we must alert to the political situation we live in! The danger of tyranny. The danger of environmental disaster. The danger of xenophobia, sexism, homophobia. The danger of hate! But then we stopped.

From within us came this beach, this horizon. This sea, this lake, these white clouds grew. No! We will not give up on The Dreamers. We will not give up on beauty. They will not steal the beauty of the world. They will not steal tenderness. They will not steal the life we have left. And so, our beach is our resistance!

Meilo and CapCat are again generously offering free gift avatars available at the landing. The gallery is temporarily closed now for installation until the opening and we will then provide the exhibit landmark via group announcements and Flickr.

Poster by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu