Saturday, February 1, 2014

Artz and Mindz : Visions of InWorldz

O Canada

        If you like visions of flight, then you should get over to  InWorldz  soon to see the latest edition of the Dreamz & Visionz Art Festival. This time the theme is 'Wings' and there are some diverse, beautiful and thoughtful installations. This delicious mind game is called 'Cloud's Gate' by Ub Yifu
The 'Wings' in this case bring to mind a Du maurian anxiety; should the avatar take the plunge, and where, beyond the swirling dark security of the little house, will that cloudy leap take him? Is there anywhere to go? Like so much of Ub's art, which continues to bring enduring pleasure in Second Life too, of course, you're going to want to experience it for yourself to get the full inner effect. Videos and photos are great, but nothing beats being there. 
         And 'there' in this case are the four exhibition sims where Jeri Rahja, with help from curator quadrapop tree has been holding Dreamz & Visionz shows since late 2011. At first it seems the idea was to hold a once-a-year event, but it was so popular now they do them three or four times a year, this being the third Fantasy Festival. 
quadrapop tree: The D&V Art Exhibitions started out as judged shows with 3 residents being asked to review all the work and so we had winning entries as well as participation awards. There were also people's choice awards for one year. We are now doing only participation awards which are a share of the total tips received. All moneys for the awards comes from tips made by visitors and some sponsors (most of whom wish to remain anonymous but who want to truly support the arts in IW)
        So everyone's a winner, which is nice. Quadrapop, seen here in Male mode, is of course an artist too, and has a big gallery complex called Dolphin Bay, which is full of treasures, both home-made and belonging to other artists, including an Arcadia Asylum collection and a space for Tuna. Quad also does lectures from time to time on textures and windlight and that kind of thing. A vibrant mass of color greets the visitor, and with 14 tps to choose from at the landing spot alone, there is no reason to get bored on Dolphin Bay
        Coming back to the Festival, though, it was interesting to hear how quadrapop came to choose InWorldz after leaving Second Life.
quadrapop tree: In 2010 Linden labs sacked the 1/3 of their workforce who actually cared about the residents, many Lindens who I knew or who had championed things I cared about were gone and so was their voice within the company. This along with continued lack of effective communication between Linden Lab and SL residents prompted me to look for alternatives. I decided that LL would not get any more of my IP. IW came up as the best option for me of the OS Grids available at the time.
        Next to Ub Yifu's install, there's another engaging sculpture, this time by Maximillian Svarovski. Tiles narrate an ascent, a sort of hard-scrabble progression through stages of flight, undercut by the enveloping cage. One wonders if the figure knows it's closed in, or if it minds. 
        With four sims and a whole sky full of stuff, you will enjoy a visit to the exhibition, but I'm going to say it: a couple of the builds were too scary for me to take pictures of. Go over there and see if you can see which ones...
        Any builder or artist moving out of one world and into another has to face the challenges of rebuilding Inventory, sourcing extras like mesh, animation and sound components, and the dreaded Script Gap, in which scripts that worked just fine in Second Life give all kinds of horrible errors in other worlds. How had that been for quadrapop? (this is q in lady mode.) Not too bad, on the whole.
quadrapop tree: The odd script might not work (mostly because the SL script engine forces scripters to use workarounds that are not necessary here) and occasionally you might meet a scripting function that is not fully implemented - however unlike SL if that happens here you can file a support ticket or speak up about your problem in the IW Scripting Forum and have the grid devs either implement the function or explain how or why they can't, usually a case of yet rather than never). However all the scripts I am likely to use work fine - in fact since Phlox (the IW script engine Tranq rewrote from scratch) was introduced scripts run so much faster that this removed yet another lag issue which has plagued SL for as long as it existed. When I moved to IW I decided to start from scratch - the only thing i brought with me was textures. I've not attempted to import anything from SL and my work does not rely heavily on scripting. So for me the move to IW has been painless. I know there have been hiccoughs for some over the years but in all cases the issues were resolved as quickly as the small team can manage - often within days. Some things like vehicle physics got held up by higher priority issues and it is the concentration on the basics and string foundations by Tranq and the team of devs that inspired me to choose this grid over any other.
         Across the water from Ub and Maximillian's builds is Mira Karu's off-the-page feathery fantasy. Pegasus presides over the leaves of books, as light and illuminating as the ideas they spawn in the mind of the great wire man. Also there is a very nice umbrella, but you're going to have to figure that part out for yourself. 
        Coming back into InWorldz after many months elsewhere did feel a bit odd. This Thirza is fourth or fifth eldest out of 14 different Thirzas created over the past six years to visit various worlds that all required, back then, a grid-specific avatar, so you can imagine how small and old her inventory is, yet the feeling of difference wasn't just the crazy looking hair. (As a side note, worrying about your avatar appearance has its place, but it's a limited one, and when people start going on about 'honing' or 'inhabiting' their avatar, it's very hard not to be creeped out, often to Lovecraftian proportions, regarding what that suggests about their real life appearance.)  Coming out of open sim, it is also kind of depressing to be on a closed grid again, where you can't just tp from home to home to home on half a dozen wild and woolly grids; it's sad to be in a place where the norm is paying for stuff (gosh, paying tier! remember that?) and where it's considered a semi-big deal to let others use your land rent-free. 
        I know many InWorldz residents consider themselves in 'open sim', which technically maybe it is, though it's a closed world. But it's a bit like when someone says they've 'been abroad a lot' and then you find out they mean they've been to Canada, not Fiji or Istanbul. Not that there is anything wrong with Canada. Nor is there anything wrong with InWorldz being the cheaper, broader, saner northern neighbor of Second Life. Better, quite likely, but not really 'abroad', and hey, that might be exactly what you're looking for.
        A nice thing happened. By sheer lucky chance, Kapi Kinder was in world. This is his build. He said he'd seen me at Pirats years ago, which seemed apposite as this is a very Pirats-reminiscent build. 
        He said the installation was about planet earth, about what we humans are doing to it. The figures flying around prompted to me to ask if they were 'earth angels' . It was a  silly superficial remark, but look at his reply - a poetic explanation not only of his own build, but a picture of what is at the heart of all artistic communities, wherever they may be. 
   kapi kinder: i can tell you what happend to me you will list the angel parts
   kapi kinder: almost a year ago i broke 1 rip 1 leg 1 hand and was half way to heavan
   kapi kinder: some how  i got ability to make a call so they found me and i survive
   kapi kinder: very simple
   kapi kinder: i am still recovering... but  it give new prospective how fragile we are.
Wings, a Dreamz & Visionz Art Festival, starts February 7 in InWorldz.

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