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AVENUE ultimate style magazine issue 52 / January 2013

zenshi


Photographer Absinthe Montenegro


Publisher’s note

A

s the world turns and 2012 morphs into 2013, we start off the year firing from the blocks. It is a steady stride forward as AVENUE continues to push ahead with our latest creative project, zenshi - a Neo Zen commercial/ residential/ leisure development which is our cover story for this issue. For those who may have caught wind of our zenshi exclusive at the end of 2012, this is the inside story about how and why zenshi was created. For 2013, AVENUE Magazine would like to involve the readers even more. Besides our monthly readers gifts, we have started a feature especially for you. Our new styling column, LOTM or Looks of the Month, invites anyone who loves styling. If you enjoy putting looks together on a regular basis, we would like to invite you to submit your styled looks and earn a chance to be published in our upcoming issues. You could very well be the next trendsetter - and you don’t have to be a model to have style *winks*. For those who are in the modeling industry that are looking to continually up their game in fashion, AVENUE Models Academy will resume our series of ADVANCED Workshops that feature top fashion professionals who will share their experiences and expertise on how to hone your skills even further.

Finally, in these two months, AVENUE will be hosting our agency casting, and everyone is invited to come and support their favourite models as they battle it out for a place in one of the most prestigious and longest running agencies on the virtual grid. And if all of this is any indication of what we have in store for you in 2013, then get ready for the exciting Spring ahead, when we bring you the definitive Spring fashion event. That’s all we will disclose for now, as we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, now would we? *grins* Here’s to an even better and fuller year together!

Rusch Raymaker Rusch Raymaker Publisher

For more information on Looks of the Month and ADVANCED workshops, do check out our ads in the magazine.

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Cover Story

Fashion Agenda

162

Recreation & Leisure

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January 2013

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Fashion 22 40 52 66 78 88 106 120 136 150 162

Cover Story zenshi Couture Clash Tough Love Featured Designer Swallow Trendspotting black heart Fashion Forward snowflake The Details Sub_ Edge of Style Haruspex Homme Child of the Fog Blogspot Bootney Blessed AVENUE Models Deviate Chic Fashion Agenda Miamai Blacklabel Show

Lifestyle 184 200 222 242

Interesting Sims Goatswood Recreation & Leisure Felgo Motors Interiors Apple Fall Perspectives Like it.

Arts 254 264

Featured Artist Rose Borchovski Arts Feature The Bryn Oh Project

Magazine cover Featuring Zzoiezee Resident CEO of ZanzE Estates and Rusch Raymaker CEO of AVENUE Photographer Absinthe Montenegro

AVENUE Magazine is published and managed by AVENUE Inc which owns and operates AVENUE Models + Academy and AVENUE Marketing + PR. Online issues: issuu.com/avenue AVENUE website: www.avenuesl.com Visit us inworld at: Zenshi East 62.118.26 For exclusive updates, gifts, events and latest releases, join our inworld group: AVENUE Magazine Readers Press releases to: editorial@avenuesl.com Ad queries: ads@avenuesl.com Advertising and vendor requests: Absinthe Montenegro, Amazon Silverweb, Elyna Carver, Faith Aljon, Kerasia Hexicola, LisaJ Coveria, Xandrah Sciavo


Publisher | Editor in Chief Rusch Raymaker General Manager Xandrah Sciavo Creative Director | Photo Editor | Designer Paola Tauber Lifestyle Editor Umberto Giano Copy Editor Vivienne Graves Vice President of Marketing Amazon Silverweb Marketing Manager Absinthe Montenegro Marketing Executives Elyna Carver, Faith Aljon, Kerasia Hexicola, LisaJ Coveria


Writers Augusta Carver, Breezie Noel, Cajsa Lilliehook, Carter Giacobini, Flora Nordenskiold, Huckleberry Hax, Imani Enzo, Isadora Fiddlesticks, Lexie Jansma, Louise Roundel, Quan Lavender, ShaiLi Alex, Prisilla Avro, Spruce Canning, Ziki Questi Stylists Anna Sapphire, Boe Cortes, Brie Wonder, Dantelicia Ethaniel, Diconay Boa, Gabe Bookmite, Hikaru Enimo, Lulu Jameson, Miaa Rebane, Strawberry Singh, Thalia Heckroth, Zachary Zufreur, Winter Jefferson Photographers Annough Lykin, Eve Kazan, Leah McCullough, Natasja Schumann, Neva Crystall, Piedra Lubitsch, Priscila Orlich, Tillie Ariantho Contributors Bootney Blessed, Bryn Oh, William Weaver


Cover Story

zenshi

a new state of mind for a new lifestyle Writer Ziki Questi Photographer Absinthe Montenegro

“I

n today’s increasingly fast-paced world, so many things vie for our attention,” says Rusch Raymaker, the CEO of AVENUE. “It isn’t uncommon that many people find it an uphill climb to return home at the end of a day to be in a place where they can re-centre themselves and be calm. That’s what inspired me to look to Zen in developing zenshi—to provide Second Life residents a haven where they can retreat to...to allow for a meditative state of mind, a place where they can be imbued by a sense of peace and calm.”

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The “zenshi” to which Raymaker refers is the new Neo-Zen four region lifestyle development that combines high end residential living with exclusive retail stores, an entertainment venue, the headquarters of AVENUE, and a future art space. Partnering with AVENUE in the launch of zenshi is ZanzE Estates, which developed the luxurious residential community. “Living at zenshi Heights is a lot like living in a real life city or suburb of the city,” says Zanze Estate’s CEO, Zzoie Zee, suggesting that the residential areas are perfect “for a model or blogger, or someone who is looking to meet and enjoy the company of other people with similar interests.” Living options range from apartments to townhouses to classic homes to the top of the line zenshi Heights private estates. “If you truly want all the luxury SL can afford to offer,” says Zee, “this is the unit for you. Our private estates are breathtaking.” zenshi’s fashion district was specially planned, and designers were invited based on a careful mix of the avant-garde, couture, prêt-à-porter, club and alternative fashion, all targeted at fashionistas, the style-conscious and those who enjoy the finer things in life. “At the moment, we have full occupancy…but we may expand in the near future, so we welcome designers, even those who are new or upcoming,” comments Raymaker. “With AVENUE’s headquarters on zenshi, residents will also receive priority invitations

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to all of AVENUE’s fashion events. Furthermore, from time to time, zenshi will also organize resident activities and events, as it is our philosophy to create a unique social and community environment for our residents.” Unifying the look of the four sims is a strikingly modern and clean architectural design, beautifully accentuated by landscaping, all created by Colpo Wexler (profiled in AVENUE’s November 2012 issue). “From our very first few conversations, Colpo and I had an immediate connection as we discussed about ideas of real world modern architecture that are influenced by Japanese Zen. We talked easily and exchanged ideas about music, the arts and the metaverse and there was no turning back once we started our collaboration and friendship. I shared with Colpo a repository of images and inspirations from which I saw elements of what constituted zenshi,” Raymaker says. “I’ve never enjoyed a collaboration more than with Colpo, as he is not only a true professional, but someone who has an open mind and is able to accept critique and feedback to improve the outcome of the project.” In addition to fashion and shopping, zenshi residents will be able to enjoy a new club, zenzibar. Still in its infancy, zenzibar aims to be a destination point for the best in entertainment, featuring a wide variety of musical genres, including electronica, alternative jazz and world music. Visitors and residents alike can look forward to

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dancing with world class DJs and live entertainment acts. “We are planning a masked ball February 15th with a live performance by the amazing Ceci Dover,” offers Zee. And no community would be complete without art. “The art space will be called {embr@ce} and is currently under construction,” says Raymaker. “It is more than just a gallery space; I see it as a platform for the development and showing of art. As the curator and founder, I would like to invite other curators and artists to utilise the space to incubate ideas, develop works and foster collaborations that will culminate in a public showing, exhibition or performance.” The first exhibition, scheduled for spring 2013, will feature the work of artist Dantelicia Ethaniel. Raymaker offers some final thoughts on the beauty of Zen and zenshi: “The pursuit of Zen is very much akin to my own personal mantra, as it’s something I strive for every day. It’s too easy to get caught up in doing too many things that we begin to lose our sense of balance, of being able to exist in the moment... doing one thing at a time...devoting our whole selves to it (as opposed to the much-acclaimed idea of multitasking, which I have been guilty of myself). zenshi is a commitment to this pursuit for Zen for myself and everyone who traverses, works or resides here.” Visit in-world at Zenshi East [104.9.27].

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Couture Clash

Tough

love


Writer Louise Roundel Photographer Absinthe Montenegro Guest model Tyler Barineaux

P

ower. Strength. Style. These are merely three of the words we associate with fashion. The way others see us, at least initially, has a lot to do with what we wear, how we present and carry ourselves. People can tell if you are wearing an outfit or if the outfit is wearing you, so think carefully before you break out the leather.

Hair: Billy hair by Baiastice, brows: Mind Eye Decor by Finesmith, top: Cabaresque by Vita’s Boudoir, feathers: Pheasant by ChicZafari, belt: Corset belt by Diram, shorts: Charlie shorts by Quirks, tights: Garter tights by Paperbag, boots: Carazon boot by Ison, make-up: by Pididdle.

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Hair & top: Liquid Latex by Vita’s Boudoir, earring: Ren by Zibska, fur: Irinushka by Lelutka, belt: Rib cage belt by Epoque (modified), gloves: Jessamine gloves by Belgravia, skirt: Leather Mermaid Skirt by Paperbag, make-up: by Mons & Pididdle.


As always, I am not here to tell you what you should/shouldn't wear, but I am here to try and shine a little light on what is going on in the world of fashion, hoping this can guide you through the dark paths that lead the way out of your wardrobe. Let there be light! This season is all about bold, structured statements, and this is not for the faint of heart. We are bringing you to the world of leather, PVC, fur, what many consider to be fetish or even bondage inspired fashion. Let's get started. Leather here, there, leather everywhere. In dresses. This is a huge trend this winter and should be worn in either mini or knee length; straight lines are essential‌ let's keep those figures perfectly wrapped, reveal your curves. Skirts. These are mostly worn in black or maroon. Whether pencil, asymmetrical or different lengths, all the skirts must have some kind of detailing that makes them special. Try pleated for a change. Don’t worry, if you do it in leather it won't look like you're a schoolgirl, you just might end up looking like a sex kitten. Meow. Trousers. I admit, these are my favourites for this season; they should be baggy and oversized or high-waisted. Jackets are basically everywhere, so if you already own some, time to pop them on. These can be paired up with just about anything, especially biker/rocker

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Hair: DBH090 by boon, sweater: Bronte Sisters crop top by Faster Pussycat, bra: Triumph by Chrysalis, gloves: Jessamine gloves by Belgravia, skirt (upper): Peplum belt by Milk Motion, skirt (lower): Aspen high-waisted skirt by Teefy, make-up: by h.m.a.e.m.


styles paired up with softer looks. Coats should be worn also (not much of a change there), however, this time you need to have them enhance your silhouette, fitted and knee/mid-thigh length are recommended. Corsets or oversized belts are something to be immediately purchased if you do not own them already. What are you waiting for? Gloves - 100% must. Lastly, if you can pull off a full on total leather look you will be rocking it in style. Kudos on your boldness. Fur. Here you can go three ways: Firstly, oversized coats with thick waist-belts over them. Second, gilet vests. They go with just about anything; experiment! Now is the time to have fun. Lastly, fur detailing - this means boots, purses, clutches, hats. Fun is in the details! Ready to have some fun styling? Just remember to keep that fire under control or it might burn you down; it’s good to bare a great outfit, just know when to stop before your style overpowers you. Own it, and then proceed to showing it off. Let your confidence shine through and don’t be afraid to experiment, this is what this season is about.

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Hair: Swish by LeLutka, headgear: Route by AngelsDemons, dress: Catwalk Leather Dress by GizzA, gloves: Jessamine gloves by Belgravia, make-up: by La Malvada Mujer.


Featured Designer

Swallow Writer Cajsa Lilliehook Photographer Anna Sapphire I love my hour of wind and light, I love men’s faces and their eyes, I love my spirit’s veering flight Like swallows under evening skies. Sara Teasdale

Skin: Iman by Swallow, hair: Gina by Fabulous, choker: Lion Collar by Swallow, ring: Lion Ring by Swallow, mask: Mesh Mask by Swallow.


When birds perform a symphony outside your window, you can always identify the swallow’s bold, bright staccato soaring above the rest of the feathered orchestra like a piccolo. Luciayes Magic’s skins, jewelry and accessories have that same bold, bright, unmistakable beauty—which makes her decision to name her store Swallow a perfect choice. Magic joined Second Life® as part of a school assignment in 2008. Her professor encouraged his students to find what she calls “the contemporary ideal of beauty in virtual worlds.” While the rest of her classmates did not continue their adventures in SL, Magic stayed. After a two-year hiatus, she returned to SL in January 2012, determined to start and build the Swallow brand. Magic has a cheerful, openhearted character that focuses on the positive, and she is deeply grateful to all who believed in her from the start. She is motivated and inspired by the creativity and visionary talent of those who take her pieces and design their own distinctive looks. Magic’s true love is Art Nouveau and the “Line of Beauty”, as described by William Hogarth inn his “Analysis of Beauty”, where Hogarth suggests that the esscurve is the essential form of beauty because it is alive and full of energy and movement, while squares and intersecting lines are static and inert. Coincidentally, you can see the power of the ess-curve in Salvador Dali’s painting The Swallow’s Tail.

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Skin: Janise1 by Swallow, hair: More more more by Clawtooth, bra: Catherine by Angel Dessous, earrings: B.Frills by Swallow, ring: Arabesque by Swallow.


Magic’s idea of perfect design can be seen in the Hotel Tassel by Victor Horta which demonstrates that stones can dance. For her own designs, she finds her inspiration everywhere. Carrying a pencil, paper and camera with her wherever she goes, Magic can be captivated by a balcony, a building facade, a few lines of text in a book or a photo in the newspaper. Drawing from such richly varied influences and inspirations, her work defies simple descriptions. Swallow’s jewelry and accessories are daring combinations of sleek modernism with the stylized ornamentation of the Art Nouveau. Magic has been most influenced by Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Elsa Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen, designers celebrated for their ability to make sleek and modern anything but plain and simple. This is epitomized by the Swallow Lion Clutch, a modern minimalist metallic clutch with clean lines and saturated colors that is punctuated with a bold Nouveau lion’s head that was transported from 1890 to 2013 with grace and élan. Some of Magic’s designs are transgressive. Asked if she is a rebel in other aspects of her life, she replied, “Everything I create is also the result of my personality. I do not create anything I would not wear in real life or in Second Life. The path of creation is inseparable from artistic personality, instinctively it has to emerge from who you are and what you feel.”

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Skin: Clarissa by Swallow; hair: Icon by Shi, dress: Leather Minidress by Swallow, sunglasses: Shades Metropolis by Swallow, earrings: Riflesso by Swallow, bags: Bag Studs by Swallow.


Magic’s favorite creation is always her most recent. As she explains, “Each time I improve my technique. The last product becomes better and closer to my evolution.” Currently Magic cannot be found without her sunglasses and her darkest Iman skin. Swallow is one of the few brands to prioritize ethnic skins, offering several shades of darker skins in her many lines. This emphasis is the happy result of a friend challenging her to bring the defiant beauty of Fatima Siad into a skin line and Magic falling in love the with challenge. Swallow’s skins are emotional evocative. The Iman and Candice lines have a wistful vulnerability. Betty and Fatima seem full of mischievous energy while Claudia is sultry and Alena is reserved. They are skins with personalities for women with character. So who is the Swallow woman? Magic’s answer is precise. The “Swallow woman is a young female soul, sophisticated, not a stereotype.” She is a chameleon, changing her look with her moods. She is not bound by cultural demands to look angelic and demure, but free to provoke with bold flashes of sex, mischief and outright wickedness. She is above all else true to herself. Visit Swallow in-world at Golden Sand Island [166.192.3501]. And on Flickr: www.flickr.com/ photos/70651101@N05/

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Skin: Janise2 by Swallow, hair: Maya by I love Olive, corset: Corset by Whatever, earrings: Drop earrings by Swallow, bracelet: Gems bracelet by Swallow, bag 1: Clutch Queen by Swallow, bag 2: Lion Clutch by Swallow.


Trendspotting

black heart by Diconay Boa

Necklace: Voyante Necklace by Je Suis.


Hair: Charlize by LeLutka, coat: Military Coat by GizzA, fishnet: Fishnet by DIRAM, panties: Intima Marta panties by Glam Affair, shades: Golden Shades by Glow Studio, shoes: Citta by Cliche.


Hair: Swish by LeLutka, corset: Hyde Mine by Miamai, fur coat: Republica Fur Jacket by Indyra Originals, leggings: Native Fox Metallic Leggings by Indyra Originals, shoes: Iceli Full Spike by Nardcotix.


Hair: Warrior by epoque, jacket: Black Swan by sYs, boots: Tall Leather Tight Boots by SLink.


Hair: Cherie by Shag, jacket and shirt: Mens Casual Blazer w/Extra Shirt by inMonster, fur: by InMonster, shoes: Eclipse Open-Toe Pump Shoeba by LIVGlam Stella.


Fashion Forward

by Neva Crystall

Skin: Amberly America by Glam Affair, hair: Amacci Seth, ears: Steking by MANDALA, rarring: Ethiopian Cross by MG, necklace: Anukaa Beads and Ethiopian by MG, scarf: Harry by FATEwear, jacket: Vanity .leather jacke tby Erratic, dress: Monique by Baiastice, tights: Sheer by Izzie’s, pose: by Manifeste.


Skin: Amberly America by Glam Affair, hair: POCAHONTAS by LeLutka, glasses: Aviators by Waterworks, scarf: Harry by FATEwear, pants: Boyfriend Pants by DRIFT, coat: MEGAN by DIRAM, top: Half Tucked Tee by tb, bag: Black faux fur satchel by glow studio, clutch: Envelope by Mon Tissu, pose: by Manifeste.


Skin: Amberly America by Glam Affair, hair: JASMINE by LeLutka, earrings: Baroque Teardrop by MG, dress: Mana by Baiastice, pose: by Del May.


Skin: Amberly America by Glam Affair, hair: Sophie by Taketomi, earrings - Baroque Teardrop by MG, pants: Apartment Pants by DRIFT, blouse: Amy by Erratic, pose: by Del May.


The Details

sub_ by Absinthe Montenegro Guest Model Tadeu Gartner


Hair: Fiona by Exile, feathers & necklace: Boho girl by Les Petite Details, bodysuit: Sheva Bodysuit by Paperbag, purse: Shopper’s Tote by House of Fox, leg harness: Leg Harness by Shi, shoes: Kashi pumps by Mstyle, make-up: by ricielli.

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Hair: Dura-Girl 33 by Dura, necklace: Grazia necklace by Glam Affair, gloves: Leather Glove by Shi, belt: Peplum belt by Milk Motion, purse: Loulou clutch by Lagyo, pants: Black Jeans LQM by Redgrave.


Hair: Morgan by Wasabi Pills, earrings: Magnitude by Lagyo, coat: Isis by Kunglers, corset: My gothly by AD Creations, body suit: Strappy by Paperbag, gloves: Jessamine gloves by Belgravia, bracelet: Swallow bracelet by Swallow, pants: Milano trousers by Baiastice, purses: The GodMother by DDL, make-up: by Mons.


Hair: MMG701 by Boon, shawl 1: Foxtail poncho by Molichino, shawl 2: Dorota cap by LaGyo, skirt: Flocky high waist skirt by Baiastice, gloves: Jessamine gloves by Belgravia, boots: Electra boots by Belgravia, purse: Alimony Clutch by Epoque, bracelets: Triple threat cuff by Epoque, ring: Roho by Maxi Gossamer, make-up: by Mons.


Hair: Chynna by Truth, bracelet 1: Abrasive cuff by Epoque, bracelet 2: Narsha vanity Cuff by Fleshtone, bracelet 3: Utamaro by Mandala, ring 1: Roho ring by Maxi Gossamer, ring 2: Celestual ring by Noodles.

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Edge of Style


HARUSPEX by Winter Jefferson


Shirt: Hoodie by Shi, skin: Marilyn by Tableau Vivant, necklace: Onyx Kink Beads by Monster, ring: Death Valley by Remarkable Oblivion, pants: Adrian by Tableau Vivant, legs: Harness by Shi, feet: Rigged Barefeet by Slink.


Hair: Guardian Ii by Epoque, skin: Marilyn by Tableau Vivant, jacket: Hypnotise By Kokane, gloves: Pilot by Deco, pants: Boot Pants by Tableau Vivant, boots: My Combat by Monso.

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Hair: Runway Monarchy by Epoque, jewellery: Neef By 7891, skin: Marilyn by Tableau Vivant, armour: Lita’s Shoulders by House Of Fox, cloak: Gilet by Tableau Vivant, pants: Orghe By Miamai.

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Homme


Child of the Fog by Gabe Bookmite


Hair: Pony Up by Lelutka, skin: Aaron by Muism, jacket: Freshmen by Razorblade Jacket, kilt: Long Kilt by ASS, scarf: Harry by Fatewear, hands: Relaxed by CheerNo, poses: by Del May.


Skin: Daniel by PXL, blazer: Blazer by Krew, pants: Lahood by Deadwool, scarf: Scarf by Tableau Vivant, gloves: Dexter by Fatewear, beanie: Lyric by Chemistry, boots: Casablancas by Adjunct, make up: by Nunaa, poses: by Del May.


Hair: Kyle by Burley, skin: Edward by Redgrave, sweater: Turtleneck by Sheepdoor, jacket: Finn by Stripd, pants: Cargo by Amerie, shoes: Oxford by Miamai, poses: by Del May.


Blogspot


Puritan

by Bootney Blessed - bootneyblessed.wordpress.com

Skin: Cooper by Belleza, hair: 36 by Dura Boy, suit: 2 piece Suit by Kauna, scarf: by Fatewear, pants: Skinny Trousers by Iruco, shoes: Western Ankle Boots by Handwerk.

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Skin: Cooper by Belleza, hair: Seth by Amacci, coat: Tweed Coat by Pumpkin, pants: Skinny Trousers by Iruco, shoes: Christian Loafers by Entente.

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Skin: Cooper tan 2 by Belleza, hair: 40 by Dura Boy, beard: Beard Deux by Entente, jacket: Casual Blazer M5 by Kal Rau, pants: Military Sarrouel by Chronokit, neck and armwarmers: by Drift, shoes: Jumpboots Gravel by Deco.

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Skin: Shawn Tan 0 by Belleza, hair: Aged Well by Clawtooth, hat: Desperado by Illusions, glasses: Gregoire by Entente, shirt and tie: Dress by Iruco, arm warmers: by Drift, pants: Skinny Trousers by Iruco, necklace: by Mandala, ring: by Oh Studio, pose: by Exposeur Poses & Animations.

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Skin: Cooper Tan 2 by Belleza, hair: Hair and Fedora combo by Entente, coat: Duster coat by Deadwool, scarf: by Fatewear, shirt: by Emery, pants: Skinny Trousers by Iruco ,shoes: Christian Loafers by Entente, pose: by Del May.

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AVENUE Models

Deviate Chic Photographer Leah McCullough

Amita Yorcliffe Bodysuit: La Regina dei Ghiacchi by H.M.A.E.M, coat: Antje by ALB, corset: Clara by Celoe, leg accessories: Leg harness by Shi, shoes: Envy by Diktator, neck corset: Maleficent neck corset by Belgravia, hair: Sammy by Burley.


Annough Lykin Hairbase: Adorable Hair base by Tuty’s, hair: Limbo Wet look hair by Tuty’s, skin: Jennifer by Deesses, eyes: Sunrise Eyes Light Warm Silver by Fashism, eyeliner: Black eyeliner series 1 by Mons and tattoo layer makeups v7 2 by Nuuna’s, lashes: XGen Lashes Simplicity by Miamai, lip makeup: Lip line by blackLiqud makeup, nails: #P006 Long Prim White by Candy Nail, long armed shirt: X.TINA 3- Not herself tonight by Diram, dress: Bast Dress by Sugar, fur: Ophelia Mink Shrug by Bliss Couture, tights: Panty Hose Black Seducer Zebra by Shop Toshy, pumps: Suede Wrap Wedge Black by Slink.


Seashell Dench Dress: Alaina Blue by Gasqhe , collar: Long Sleeve Sweater Neck by Coco, hair: Paul by CheerNo, boots: Obey Spine Heels by Diktator, eye makeup: V6 by Nuuna’s.


Tadeu Gartner Hair: Sammy by Burley, make-up: v6 2 by Nuuna’s, jacket: Panic jacket/ black by LeLutka, gloves: Zarema Gloves by LaGyo, pants: High Waist Woolen Pants by GizzA, boots: Escarpa by LWL.


Fashion Agenda

UNFOLD Writer Winter Jefferson Photographer Eve Kazan

O

ne of the best parts of the Second Life® fashion industry is the almostweekly fashion shows — there’s always something to look forward to; always a reason to dress up, to see and be seen. And occasionally something special happens; an event occurs that transcends the regular runway show, and becomes talked about in hushed tones for months afterwards. It breaks the rules and forces people to look at what fashion means in a whole new way. For the third year in a row, that event is Miamai’s Black Label series.


The event was sponsored by AVENUE, donating use of the zenshi sims and providing publicity to get the word out to as many people as possible. The excited public flooded in to see what the brilliantly creative Monica Outlander and Pill Kanto had to say in 2012. Spleen and Ideasm in 2010 had AVENUE models battling in a postmodern masterpiece of dark kings, ghosts and machines. Last year’s Inmutatio was a tour de force, the first time a collection had been presented as a tableau vivant, and it spoke of evolution of the human form. On the 8th of December 2012, Unfold took us deeper, darker and further within.

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Black Label is always very personal to Outlander; she sets aside all thoughts of broad commercial appeal and lays her soul bare. This year has held some great personal development and growth for her, and this is what the story of Unfold was about. At the heart of the collection were themes of necessary rebirth and reawakening, when the pain of isolation is greater than the need for safety. The motif that Outlander used to express this was the moth, with particular focus on the unfurling of its wings to seek the light.

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The most beautiful and accomplished models in SL were carefully selected, with most of them coming from the AVENUE roster. The art space was filled with jewelled cocoons, iridescent strips of glowing light, and a forest floor of trampled violets. The audience was only permitted to attend after transforming themselves into luminous moths - adding to the beauty of the spectacle. The standard show script had been replaced with poetry by Kathryn O’Driscoll (known in SL as Keira Seerose) and prose added by Winter Jefferson, along with a secret friend of Miamai.

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Most of the 2012 Black Label collection was painstakingly created in mesh, with layers added for effect. Outlander crafted flowing winged gowns, concocted fiercely spiked bodysuits and added mystique with enveloping hoods. Kanto’s contribution to Unfold was high stacked boots with moths fluttering inside glass heels. The release was a combination of highly wearable with strikingly editorial. There were the slimline black mesh Laka leggings (an essential for any wardrobe), Outlander’s take on the little black dress in the cloaked Orla, and the powerfully masculine Korei shirt.

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The Miamai Production Team again shattered all preconceptions regarding presentation and staging. Rather than a runway, the models were revealed one by one as the cocoons tantalisingly unfurled. Each creation was portrayed as emerging from a larval state into a new and beautiful life. The neophytes awoke, stepped forth and unflinchingly turned towards the light, waiting for their chance to worship the Moon. Some of them had paths fraught with danger, some sheltered in the shadows, others immediately launched into the skies. These dark Lepidoptera all weaved their way through the floating moths that the audience had become, and joined in a dance around the Mother cocoon.

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The majesty and glamor of the show never detracted from the designs presented. The symbiosis of the setting with the outfits left no doubt as to the careful artistry of the Miamai design team. These unbridled creative minds together with the power of fashion that is AVENUE have left only one question on the lips of the fashion conscious public: “how can they possibly top this next year?�

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Interesting Sims


G o at s wo o d Victorian Gothic Residential Roleplay

Writer Prisilla Avro Photographer Piedra Lubitsch

“A

fter nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.� Philip Pullman


Second Life® is a blank canvas. We can create anything here; we are limited only by our own imaginations. What has been created in our virtual world over the years has been and continues to be truly amazing. There is a certain joy to be had in still being able to feel that way after so much time spent in SL®. Creativity in our virtual domain is not limited to art or clothing or buildings or music…there is a role play side to SL that stuns and enchants with is beauty, that taps into our fundamental human need to tell stories, to share our experiences with others through the written word. Kora Zenovka and Baal Zobel bring us another stage to tell our stories on…a stage that is not merely a stage, but part of all the stories that take place on it; Goatswood, a Victorian village in rural England in the late 1800s. Exploring fully is a must before deciding on what you wish Goatswood to be for you. Zenkova & Zobel welcome all visitors… from those wishing to admire the build, to those who are looking for a home to rent on a stunning sim, to those who seek engaging and lasting role play. When asked what the inspiration was behind Goatswood, Zobel indicated that there were many factors that influenced its creation, “It’s a village that I have had in my mind for many years. It is mix of all my favorite parts of all the villages in England that I have seen, including my own

town. It is mainly based on the look of Castle Combe, a village in Wiltshire, England. It’s a bit like a 3 dimensional novel that I would have liked to have written if I were not so grammatically challenged. It’s a way of cleaning out 30 years of Magickal, Mystical and Mythological thoughts and fantasies that have been lurking in the attic of my mind. It’s something different. It was a challenge to make something look and feel organic and “real” in a pixel world.” Zobel goes on to explain that Goatswood “is a world full of haunted places, Gothic folk tales and shadowy occult mysteries. It is set in a time when attitudes were just beginning to change due to advances in science and technology. And yet this advance caused a counter reaction in many, who tried to revive older folk traditions and beliefs in magic. In the countryside most people still carried on as they had done for hundreds of years. They still retained a strong belief in natural magic, folk tales and herbal remedies, and yet they had their feet planted firmly in the reality of a hard working life on the land.” Zobel has intentionally infused Goatswood with an incredibly rich backstory so that it provides fertile soil for the stories players wish to grow here. He views Goatswood thus far as the introduction to “a Victorian Gothic novel waiting to be written,” whose next chapters will be full of melodrama and romance, provided by the minds

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and keyboards of story tellers drawn to such a setting. In Goatswood, creativity knows no bounds. The sim itself is stunning. Zobel created it as “a representation of an English country village. It is based very loosely upon the shape and look and feel of Castle Combe, a village in Wiltshire, said to be the most beautiful village in England. It has always been a bit of a preoccupation of mine that beauty hides a darker side. This sim sets out to explore that theme by creating a visually attractive environment that has a sinister past hiding around every corner, and menacing eyes watching from behind the net curtains of every quaint cottage window.” Now onto the fundamentals; a meter is required for role play in Goatswood. It is not used for combat however, as Goatswood is the first in the role play sims of Zenovka & Zobel to be completely non-combative. The cost of the meter goes to support the sim, and it Linden™ dollars well spent. The SGS meter was created by Zenovka, who handles all of the scripting needs for their family of sims. The meter has many functions that serve to keep track of players and their profiles. It also handles the money and employment system used across all SGS sims. Once equipped with either the Out of Character (OOC) Explorer Tag or the SGS Meter, your exploration may begin. Rather than dropping a stack of notecards

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on new visitors, Zenovka and Zobel have taken the backstory that puts flesh on Goatswood’s bones and made it a treasure hunt of information, wheres visitors explore the sim, collecting the story and history bit by bit. Information abounds, visitors need only explore to acquire it, making it more significant in the end. When asked what his hopes were for Goatswood, Zobel replied “We hope people will find a real home here and build a strong community; this is the only way a sim can survive. We truly believe it’s something special and unique. If you like a quieter, more relaxed style of role play, where you have time to develop a character that has a meaningful life in a very intricate and realistic environment—then this could be the place for you. If you’d like to become part of a living Gothic novel, where you write the next chapters, then please come and tell us your stories. Don’t be fooled by the tranquil setting though; Goatswood has sharp teeth hidden beneath its friendly smile. If you look deeper you will find hidden depths just as dark as any other Gothic world.” Visit Goatswood inworld at NeverlandX [36.47.2003]. SGS website: www.socionex. com/game


Recreation & Leisure

Perfection on Wheels

FELGO

M o t o r s Writer Carter Giacobini Photographer Neva Crystall

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ELGO Motors is the quintessential luxury automaker in Second City Vacations withattention Style Life™. With meticulous to detail, rich textures, and realism, Felgo stands out in one of the more crowded segments of the marketplace. Each vehicle is instantly recognizable simply because of the near perfect execution in design, style and quality. Looking closely, one sees a level of attention to detail that few if any others can match. From smoothly curving leather-padded consoles to the lettering and dials on the dashboards to the shift pattern printed on the knob of the gear lever, one gets a sense that Doyle Korkus is working to bring real life into SL™.

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Korkus’ intial foray into SL content creation began not with cars, but with prefab structures; a real life student of architecture, he wanted to experiment with another way to create 3D models of the homes he dreamt of or designed. He then began building motorcycles, and then finally cars as sculpties came onto the grid. But, it’s the advent of mesh that catapulted FELGO to the upper stratosphere of content creators. His quick mastery of this new medium has set the bar so high for other automotive artists, it will be hard for anyone else to surpass. With such skill in 3D modelling, it’s not surprising that he’s aware of just how good his work is. You will not find false humility, should you ever get the chance to speak with him. What you will find, however, is a man that is confident, grounded, energetic, enthusiastic and philosophical. Not to mention, an unyielding perfectionist. “I always want quality, so I don’t understand why other people wouldn’t deserve it (either).” Though he does all of his own textures and builds, FELGO is quick to point out that he does not do the scripting himself for any of the cars or other projects he offers. Knowing his limitations in that area led him to to bring a team aboard to breathe life into his work. “I don’t script. I have a scripter team. I’m actually looking for more scripters if you know of any,” he said as we started to discuss what makes his cars so advanced from a technical point

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of view. He says his revolutionary drive system is so perfect because he’s driven many of these cars in real life and he knows what they’re not only supposed to sound like, but also how they’re supposed to drive. He works closely with his team, acting as the guiding force behind each of the creations that wear his logo and name. FELGO Motors has amassed a line-up of cars that would make anyone, whether they like to drive in SL™ or not, want to own one. He currently has 44 cars on the market, including a special edition soft top Rolls Royce Phantom inspired coupe available only to the group’s VIP members. His “President” (inspired by Maybach) is his bestselling car, so far, retailing at L$9,750. But, it’s not just his new cars that are in demand. During the interview, he stated that some of his V.5 cars have sold at auction for upwards of L$100,000 after having their paint jobs modified (an option on these cars). He took me on a high-speed cruise in his Windy Spyder (inspired by the Ferrari California). With a drop top that operates exactly the way a real life Ferrari does and styling to match, this car would be a beautiful addition to any garage. After our jaunt around his building platform, he took me to see his latest creation – an urban street scene, made almost completely in mesh, that’s more realistic than any I’ve seen in SL™ to date. Two absolutely stunning sport-utility vehicles (modelled after the Audi Q7 and BMW X5)


were parked neatly at the curb. So beautiful, in fact, they betrayed the dark role play scene that they were in. Each of these newly released SUVs is available in an array of different colours and options (selected from a dropdown menu that allows customizing almost every feature). I looked at these cars very closely and have decided that they will be at the top of my list to join my already extensive garage. At the end of the block of the urban scene was a small scale model of what his next “super yacht” will look like. It was all I could do not to shrink my avatar and climb aboard. In all of the years of my SL™, I have never been so excited about the potential build of a yacht. There are many gorgeous yachts out there. But, if this one is built with the quality of his automobiles and the looks of the model, I will be the first one on Marketplace to purchase it when it becomes available.

I asked him how it felt to have such a successful line of automobiles. He paused and said, “I don’t think we are really famous, yet. I don’t consider this as a success.” Again, there is no false humility with FELGO. It’s how he thinks. It’s this kind of motivation that will forever keep him in the midst of many projects. He is sincere in his drive for perfection and has unbelievably high goals for himself. It is probably safe to say that he will never be satisfied with what he has already accomplished. And, that’s perfectly fine with me, because that means we will be seeing many things to come in the near future from this gifted content creator. “Why do you want to look small, when you can look big?” – FELGO

Houses. Furnishings. Yachts. Race cars. Street legal cars. Weapons. A video game being brought into SL™. Role playing scenes. Is there anything that he cannot do? From the looks of things, it appears that the only thing he can’t do is create more hours in the day to finish all of the projects that he has in the pipeline. But, it’s his incredibly high standards and enthusiasm that will keep him trying for the next big thing, the next great idea. And, we will all be watching closely to see what comes next.

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Interiors

An Apple (Fall) for your SL Home Writers Isadora Fiddlesticks Photographer Neva Crystall

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here’s something special about Apple Fall’s creations, whether an elaborately textured skybox or a colorful accent pillow. Fall’s work is not only special in itself, but it manages to impart some of its beauty to the rest of the space it occupies. Looking at the array of products on offer, one can see the care and attention lavished on them. Fall has truly raised the bar for home and interior design in Second Life®.


Apple Fall has been making waves with his fabulous and original creations. His love of the artistic process and quest for aesthetically pleasing results are what drive him to excel in what he does, and he does so consistently throughout his time inworld. Before joining SL®, he was a well-known creator of content for both The Sims® 2 and 3, and was a Featured Artist for The Sims Resource, a third party content site. Fall’s work earned him a reputation throughout the game’s community, up until he felt it was time to move on in 2011. A fellow content creator and good friend from the Sims community had discovered Second Life, and introduced him to it: “She got me to sign up, showed me a few things in SL and that’s how my second life was born. We learned a lot together and still today keep regular contact with each other.” He credits his skill to his previous experience with the Sims—where many other SL residents and content creators also got their start. As mesh content development was already integral to the Sims, Fall feels fortunate that his five years’ experience in content creation prepared him for the move to SL. “A lot of the skills I have now were gathered while creating for The Sims. While although I have now fully transitioned onto Second Life, I still have a lot of thanks for The Sims and the community I was a part of there for the skills I learned and adapted with them.”

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When asked to compare the degree of difficulty of making items for SL, he says “One hundred times The Sims 3!” with a laugh, adding that in the Sims, he did not have to worry about poses or scripts, as the game engine does that. Fall brings a fresh eye to the interior and architecture scene in SL, with a design style that constantly evolves and matures as he incorporates new ideas and concepts. The young Briton is also very resourceful, and describes himself as an autodidact: “I’m still studying at university in real life. I’m studying surface pattern which is practically designing 2D patterns, wallpapers and textiles for use within the home. I’m also on short courses for interior design and fashion. I’m in my second year of university at the moment, but the arts and creative subjects are things that I’ve grown up with and have been doing my entire life. It’s something that’s quite a large part of me and who I am and something that I love to express as often as I can through various types of media - Second Life being one of them.” Clearly, Fall is passionate about his craft and embraces study as a means of improvement—and everything he learns he adds to his already rich palette. Fall remembers his first SL creation vividly: “The first thing I created was a small side table lost in my inventory forever now. But this is when mesh was first released onto the main grid and (it) probably has a million things

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wrong with it, as the bugs come and go over time.” True artists find inspiration in everything, and Fall is no exception; as he says: “I’m surrounded every day by inspiration. Second Life is an inspiration, due to the things… people do with my creations. Other store owners are a huge inspiration-- there’s a lot of talent out there and being surrounded by that every time I log in inspires me. Of course there’s university, being in that creative environment. There’s social media and websites which are extremely addictive. The amount of eye candy on Pinterest usually means that I end up spending most of my time drooling rather than creating, and the same goes for Flickr, as well. Fall finds the social aspects of our virtual world a great bonus, as someone who thrives on community: “I joined Second Life to expand my virtual empire in terms of my creations.” he shares, “I was soon sucked into the social aspects of the game, and have gained many things in real life from the game itself. One example of that is I met my now real life partner in Second Life.” He’s had a rich and fulfilling time in Second Life so far, and seeks “a nice quiet time” with his partner and friends. “It’s been good so far,” he happily says, “I love the fact that Second Life is just an extension of my real life. I don’t see it as a game, really. It’s actually a partial income for me, so I rely on it in a realistic sense.

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But when I log onto Second Life I don’t think of myself as loading a game - I feel that I’m loading an extension of my real life world here. More friends, more spaces, more opportunities for fun. And I love how pretty SL can be, and the fact that you’re living within other peoples creations, thought, imaginations and dreams. People have built Second Life - and you can feel the people in every aspect of the world.” Asked what he doesn’t like about SL, he says: “I guess I don’t hate anything about Second Life itself - just the usual peeves. The lag, the bugs, the crashes. I guess they can’t be avoided anywhere on the internet. SL perhaps is more rife with issues but it’s something you sort of get used to after a while - although I can’t tell if that’s a good or a bad thing.” Apple Fall is just as refreshing as his creations—and we can look forward to a lot more of those; in the coming year he has a a lot on his plate…including a new collaboration with an established SL content creator: “I’m teaming up with of Scarlet Creative, and creating a joint brand called Scarlet Apple. I’m in Collabor88 in January, The Arcade in March, and many smaller events in between. You’ll see me about a lot--I have no plans of slowing down just yet.” Visit Apple Fall inworld at: Diamonds and Pearls [32, 217, 2023].

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Perspectives

Like it. Your New Year’s Resolution Writer Huckleberry Hax Photographer Annough Lykin

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new thing happened to me in November: someone posted a bad review of one of my books on Amazon. Not a badly written review, I should add, but a review that judged one of my books to be bad. ‘Junk’, I believe, was the word used. The reviewer described my plot as ridiculous, which isn’t at all an unfair comment because in certain respects it is. But then, James Bond films are ridiculous and we still enjoy them. In ‘AFK’ – the book in question – I created an unlikely Second Life® scenario in order to create ‘adventure tension’; in my latest novel, ‘AFK, Again’ I’ve attempted to do the same.

I’m not particularly bothered by having received a bad review for two reasons. First, as a self-published author on the Internet – as, in fact, any sort of author – I can’t expect to put my work out there and have everyone love it. If I can’t take a bit of criticism, then I should probably keep my work to myself. In this respect, receiving a bad review feels a little bit like a badge of honour. ‘AFK’ is free as a Kindle download on Amazon, but the reviewer made no acknowledgement that what they were criticising was something they had paid no money for; they treated my novel no differently from any other book – paid for or not – and it feels good to be judged at that level.

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Second – perhaps more importantly – this is the first and only (so far) piece of negative feedback I’ve ever had on ‘AFK’ in the five years of its publication. Every single other comment I’ve received has ranged from mildly positive to glowing. Fifteen people have left positive comments on my web site, three have done so on Amazon.com, four on Smashwords and I’ve received five positive reviews/ratings on Goodreads. In addition to this, the novel’s been positively reviewed by four other bloggers in their own blogs, including New World Notes. So that’s one bad review out of 32 published. Less than 5% – or, to express that another way – over a 95% approval rating. In addition to this, I must have received easily at least 20-30 IMs in SL from other readers about the book over the years, all positive. Enough people appear to like my book, then, that I can continue for now to believe it a worthwhile employment of the written word. There’s just one problem. Although I know that over 95% of the people who’ve read ‘AFK’ and left a review of some description have liked it, that fact isn’t going to be apparent to a visitor to Amazon.com, where now only three out of four – 75% – of the reviews are positive. That single bad review has dropped my approval by a whole 25% because, although ‘AFK’ has been downloaded over 1,600 times from Amazon.com over the last year, only four people so far have left a review. That’s just a quarter of 1% of all downloaders. The situation’s

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not much better on Smashwords, where four reviews have been left after 800 downloads: a half of 1%. When you’re an independent artist of any description – in other words, someone without a large advertising budget or a big name to guarantee you shop window space or above-the-fold positioning on popular websites – reviews, ratings and likes are probably the most important thing there is so far as the long-term credibility of your work is concerned. We all hope for the video or picture or excerpt of our work that will go viral and become next week’s Big Thing across the planet – this being the most publicised way that completely unknown people receive worldwide exposure – but the reality is that most such incidents occur with complete randomness; in any case, if your viral attempt doesn’t include a cat in some manner, then you can pretty much forget it (which reminds me, I really must dig out some of those old photos of the tortoiseshell I had when I was growing up and think up a witty, anthropomorphising caption to add as she looks into the camera). For the vast majority of us, then, the route to establishing ourselves in the new world market of digital products is in getting our work reviewed and appreciated. The political point of anything ‘indie’ is that it represents choice that isn’t available via the mainstream. There’s nothing inherently wrong with mainstream products, but it’s important to remember that these items –


purchased in their millions – are selected for you by a very small and – arguably – non-representative group of people. This small group of people effectively get to decide on what you will see and hear and read. Indie offers you an alternative. Just as there’s nothing inherently bad about mainstream products, however, there’s nothing inherently good about independently produced ones. A self-published book could be brilliant, mediocre or – as my own unsatisfied reviewer declared – junk. The indie scene could be likened to a lucky dip in terms of quality – a vast, enormous, endless lucky dip as more and more people plunge into unregulated selfpublishing of one sort or another – if it wasn’t for the fact that the same medium which enables individuals to make their work available also enables other people to give an indication as to whether it’s any good or not. The Internet is the medium which has liberated independent artists in terms of making their work accessible to an international audience; user feedback is the mediating mechanism which actually makes such a thing practical. But we have to use it for that to work. These days, the line between mainstream and independent products is becoming increasingly blurred. When it comes to writing, self-publishing is still regarded by many with disdain, even though the written word was the very first unit of creation to be liberated by the

Internet. Few people experience similar reservations when it comes to downloading smartphone apps— many of which are the products of small companies, or individuals developing from their bedrooms. We don’t really care how app was produced, so long as we enjoy the end result—and the ratings system is there to guide us in our purchase. But what we mustn’t forget is that the very variety that’s pushed as a selling point of smartphones — as immortalised by the slogan, “There’s an App for that” — exists precisely because this market makes no distinction between products developed by large companies and those by hobbyist programmers. Right from the start, the two have been treated exactly the same, as a matter of necessity; just think how slowly the smartphone market would have developed if only large companies were able to bring software to it. Second Life, of course, is utterly dependent on independently produced products; there is no ‘non-indie’ industry to speak of in the metaverse – everything we wear and use and live in has been designed by a resident. Even the large clothing labels are usually just a single designer and a small collection of staff. One of the reasons that I refuse to fall out of love with SL is its implementation of a modern-day digital cottage industry, one which I see as a model for a much wider industry across the entire Internet. When the web first achieved mass uptake in the late nineties, people used to talk about the liberation it offered

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artists of all descriptions from the big industries of recording and publishing. Unsigned musicians could get their work out to a larger audience. Artists could get create virtual galleries. And writers could find a following for their work. There was an unspoken understanding that the huge riches awarded to the fortunate few that made it through the funnel under the old system were unlikely to be found by an enlarged group of active creators, but an honest living was never considered out of the question. If only it were the case that consumers since then had started exploring the work of its lesserknown artists on a scale that changed the relationship society has with its culture; sadly, the main effect so far has just been to threaten the existence of big media through the illegal downloading of the very music and films they were pushing on us in the first place. Our imagination, so far, has failed us. But this isn’t an opportunity that’s about to expire on us and, in fairness, it takes a long time for old habits to be broken. Just as it was said that the Internet would kill TV (it hasn’t), we still seek – despite all the technological advances – to encounter our culture through ‘trusted sources’. If we – the consumers – would really like to see this change, there are steps we can take right now to make it happen. One of those steps is to buy indie products from time to time. Often, they’re cheaper than

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their mainstream equivalents. Sometimes – like ‘AFK’ – they’re free. So it’s hardly a great financial risk. But – and I cannot stress this highly enough – after you’ve read or listened to or viewed it and if you liked the thing that you obtained, leave a rating. On Amazon.com, you only have to leave a 20 word comment in addition to your stars and, if that’s really asking too much, you can just click on the ‘like’ button for that book instead. If you want independent producers to grow, do this to support them. If you’re a person who’s bought or downloaded things and not left feedback and are feeling now that my whining is nothing more than a guilt trip, I’ll come clean on something: I am just like you. I don’t think I’ve ever left feedback on anything I’ve ever bought from the SL Marketplace. The truth is, it took a negative comment on my book to make me realise my own lack of support for others. I will be doing something about this in 2013: my new year’s resolution is to leave feedback on things I enjoy as often as I can, even if it’s just a twenty word statement; even if it’s just to click a ‘like’ button. I encourage you to join me. Huckleberry Hax writes novels set in Second Life®. You can download these for free from www.huckleberryhax.blogspot. com


Featured Artist

The Arrival Writer Quan Lavender Photographer Eve Kazan

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n arrival at the sim LEA 23, the visitor is met with a breathtaking view of an enormous fish, tied down with ropes, laying on a beach. A closer look reveals many smaller scenes taking place on its back... almost like a market or fun fair. AVENUE spoke with the artist, Rose Borchowski (Saskia Boddeke in real life).

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AVENUE: You just opened a new installation; can you tell us the story behind it? Rose Borchovski: I grew up in a small village on the edge of the sea. (About) once every three years a big brown fish (small whale) would strand itself on our beach. And that was an enormous happening: THE ARRIVAL, this big giant fish lying on the beach, its weight making it impossible to breathe, longing for the water, overheated by its own fat, trapped in the sand, slippery and smelly. We would climb all over it, standing on top of its belly, poking it with sticks, jumping up and down for pictures, while the whale was slowly dying under our feet. That part of the beach turned into a small funfair for a few days, good business for local kibbling (warm fish) and hot chocolate seller. When the fish was finally dead, then came the grand finale. Men with big boots, shinny yellow raincoats and giant knives would come and chop the bubbling and the now very smelly fish up into pieces. Only looking at it made our hair smell for weeks. As a child this left a huge impression on me. Why were we not able to carry the fish back into the sea? For me this event symbolised that we take more then we need. I have tried to create this memory in Second Life®. I have involved the Susas in the story. (They have been wandering long enough around SL® after being chucked out of Two Fish). The Susas are symbolising for me the combination of being very good and very bad. Why do we behave badly when we know we can do better? And we do better. While

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I’m building my big fish memory in SL, in RL again a big brown fish has arrived. But this time they are trying hard to save it and bring it back to the open sea. AV: We see a baby watching the scene hiding in a hole. Looks as if it represents you as you have been looking at this what happened. The baby is Susa Bubble, the heroine of many of your previous installations in SL over the years. What is your feeling about Susa? RB: I don’t see Susa as a baby. For me she is more a spirit/ creature representing our inner struggle between good and evil. Besides Susa being an observer, she is also responsible for the death of the fish by doing nothing. The big challenge we are given is: how we balance good and bad without losing freedom and individuality? How we can stand up for ourselves without harming others, so that our society/civilisation does not end up as merely the survival of the fittest? A few weeks ago I saw an interview with Bishop Desmond Tutu broadcast on Dutch television. He argued that life is about the survival of the weakest. The moment we can make the weakest survive we are successful as a civilisation. I would like to believe in that. But I regret we need religions to determine right from wrong and to have ‘morals’. The Susa Bubble story still has not come to an end. Her adventures and misfortunes give me an enormous amount of inspiration and an urge to keep going.


AV: The question of morality seems to me the main theme of the work; this installation makes visitors question their own empathy. Do you think that art can help change the world for the better? RB: I’m not sure that art will make the world a better place. But it makes us find our emotion and poetry, it also can shout, provoke and irritate. Therefore I think that art is a necessity, an urgent need. Art is the universal expression of the whole range of human feelings and consciousness. It makes us reflect and grow. It brings innovation and change. Art is not only about butterflies; it is also about the bugs in the mud. It is the mirror that reflects how we stand in the world. AV: You‘re an artist in your first life as well; how are your RL and SL work related? RB: In some of our RL project my team and I used SL as an important medium. The first production was the ‘Blue Planet’, which was the closing performance of the expo in Spain – Zaragoza. And two years ago we opened the Science Museum in Warsaw with a big open air projecting mapping ‘The Big Bang’. A performance of an hour with footage created in SL. Both productions have been very successful. With ‘The Blue Planet’ we travelled around Europe and last year we performed it in ChinaHong Kong and Macao. ‘The Big Bang’ was televised on national television and was attended in RL by 25.000 spectators. I also

use SL as a place to develop new concepts for RL projects and develop new ideas. It functions like a virtual studio. We are now developing a RL installation in Moscow about the Dutch Golden Age. I have built the model of the installation in SL. It is easy to build, quickly adjustable and it gives beautiful results to present the concept to others. People can log on in Moscow and wander around the installation to have an impression, in chat we explain and have discussions about it. Or with skype I Share with them my SL screen and show them the details and some other ideas. It is and remains an amazing tool. AV: So a virtual world gives you options as an artist that you wouldn’t have otherwise? RB: For me the biggest advantage is that I can create on my own, following my own dream and path. Our RL projects involve teamwork, which is wonderful, but it means compromises and staying within budget. For me in SL the only limitation is my own time and the lack of sleep it causes. In Caer Balogh I have found a wonderful collaborator, she is a very gifted scripter and she gives my work the extra spirit and interaction it needs. AV: What does Second Life mean to you? RB: SL, for me is primarily a place to create and also to meet and chat with my friends. I enjoy squeezing prims and torturing my imagination to find new stories

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to tell with the characters I have created in SL. Over the years there’ve been an enormous amount of knowledge and skills gathered in SL and that makes it a very solid and friendly platform. There are always skilled people around and willing to help to find a solution for any technical problem I meet.

months. I enormously enjoyed working on it and also in this stage I’m proud to show it to visitors. I will keep working on it while it is open to make it more interactive with the visitor.

AV: And in closing, I‘d like to ask how you see the future of virtual art in RL and SL ? RB: Virtual art has certainly a future. The world is connected through the Internet. But I’m not convinced that SL will become the important platform for virtual Art in the future. Linden Lab‘s vision is that SL is a game. I would argue it can be or is much more then a game and can only hope they change their vision and strategy. Virtual art will certainly be part of my RL work. I still have this dream of making a virtual book about my work in SL and give ‘The Susa Bubble Story’ and ‘The Inevitability of Fate’ also a life outside the grid. But time is my biggest enemy. It needs a lot of time and dedication. It took me between seven and eight months to build ‘The Inevitability of Fate’ which is now shown on my sim Two Fish. Iono Allen has made a new machinima about the Inevitability of Fate. It shows in great details the story of Lot and Beth. The youtube link of Iono’s machinima is: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=f2tDWH7r-KU I’m now working for 4 months on the ‘The Arrival’, but to make it really as I imagined it, I need another 3 months. I have the lLEA for 6

And ‘The Arrival’ at LEA23 [63.75.21].

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Visit The Inevitability of Fate at Cariacou [197.81.171].


Arts Feature


The

Bryn Oh Art Project

Writer Flora Nordenskiold Photographers Bryn Oh and William Weaver

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ood art doesn’t just happen; Bryn Oh has spent years honing her talents. Enveloped in her Second Life® creations, one discovers narratives infused with symbolic meaning; there is a lingering sense of the poetic. Oh works as an artist in both virtual and non-virtual environments, consistently adding to her oeuvre. With her distinctive approach, she made a significant and influential contribution to the world of SL® art.

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Bryn Oh’s visual art installations create an immersive experience. Her virtual environments provide settings where the viewers become explorers and part of a narrative; there is the sense of being part of a painting or perhaps a film. I have found myself roaming around Immersiva many times, alone or with others, stunned by the beauty and the mystery captured in moments. The sense of inhabiting the realities Oh creates with her works is dreamlike. Her most recent narrative, Imogen and the Pigeons, will open to the public from mid-January 2013 and she notes that “as with all my previous artworks it is a means for me to express some of the things in my life that I have trouble speaking about to loved ones. So for me, my process is to convert these thoughts and emotions into a poetic narrative so that I can see them. Imogen is an outcast seeking something to connect to while dealing with hurt. There are other characters in the story, such as Chalk fingers, Elliot Amber, Ginger Float and others who all are facets and inhabitants of the same world that houses Anna and Her Murders, The Rabbicorn and so on. But having said this, don’t expect it to be a casual stroll as it will be quite challenging.” The challenge is something aficionados of Oh’s work will have come to expect; appreciation of her creations requires and rewards one’s full attention. Complex and difficult narratives, constructed from beautifully crafted objects and murky colors, are part and

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parcel of the immersive experience she creates. With her in-world cinematic productions, Oh not only documents her work but also preserves immersive experience. She states that “machinima has the ability to keep memories alive long after the artwork or the artist have faded.” She considers the value of in-world cinematic production second only to immersive works with three-dimensional builds. A glance at her blog shows 43 different machinima videos listed, including both documentary videos as well as more playful and improvisational work. These machinima are of course closely connected to Oh’s immersive installations themselves, but they also stand on their own. She presents a very personal interpretation of her art through her machinima, creating a snapshot of the immersive virtual world as only she can see it. Oh has developed a distinctive style; her works are carefully constructed, using original textures and shapes. The composition of objects that are placed in beautifully dark and mysterious environments may initially appear oversimplified, but, and as the visitor to her installations will soon discover, nothing could be further from the truth. Her elaboration on juxtaposition, disposition and morphing of objects suggests an approach influenced by surrealism; her dreamlike narratives tie together objects, color, composition and


music to form a poetic whole. The Belgian painter Paul Delvaux said, “Surrealism! What is Surrealism? In my opinion, it is above all a reawakening of the poetic idea in art, the reintroduction of the subject but in a very sense, that of the strange and illogical.” Oh’s phantasmagorical creations hew to this maxim with their incorporation of fantastical and odd elements. Oh’s work in Second Life influences her art outside of the virtual world. In her first life, she is presently working on a series of oil paintings into which she has incorporated impressions from the virtual world. One of these works, entitled ‘Mask’, is instantly recognizable to one familiar with her work in SL. The composition of an empty space with a line separating dark from light; the muted colors; the posture of a figure in a corner with long ears and a mask. What we see here is a merging of virtual and real, a persuasive imposition of one experience onto another. Oh says “When I first came to Second Life I would bring in art ideas from outside into our world whereas now the reverse is happening where my virtual art is influencing my first life creations.” This is very important. See, there is something incredibly beautiful about the Mask to me. It clearly has to do with the beauty of the work itself, but, and more significantly, it also has to do with the fact that it stirs up in me a feeling that I had felt once before in the virtual world.

She says, “my interest in virtual worlds began with an attempt to create an artist unaligned with a RL identity. Bryn Oh is an art project to determine if an anonymous digital character can succeed in the real world of flesh and blood artists.” Behind the Bryn Oh Art Project is a person who studied psychology and art on a graduate level. She also has degrees in 3d graphic design. Her virtual work has been shown widely, both in Europe and the United States. She has worked with IBM and with the Spanish government for the Worlds Expo Shanghai. Her work has been written about extensively and she has received numerous awards. Presently, she makes her living as a professional oil painter. She recently worked with Peter Greenaway on Big Bang and showed at the Santa Fee New Media Festival. The Bryn Oh Art Project is on the syllabus for several universities as well as the topic of thesis projects. Bryn Oh, or the Bryn Oh Art Project, is about the exploration of a new art medium. The imaginary, poetry, dreams, the unconscious are integrated into an immersive virtual experience, lending it a twist of the surreal. Importantly, aspects of this new form of art are also finding a platform in the nonvirtual environment. No doubt, this is pioneering work at its finest.

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AVENUE Magazine January 2013  

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