When Less is More
A special exhibition of non-scripted entries from the UWA 3D Open Art Challenge March 2011 FreeWee Ling, Curator
When Less is More
A special exhibition of non-scripted entries at the UWA 3D Open Art Challenge March 2011 Showing in Second Life 6-16 April 2011
Introduction As new work arrives each month for the University of Western Australia 3D Open Art Challenge in Second Life, JayJay Zifanwe (director of UWA’s virtual campus) and I often have conversations about the entries and about virtual art in general. In recent months we have been seeing increasing numbers of high-quality submissions that are not scripted, i.e., they are neither active nor interactive. In the beginning, the UWA Challenge included a Best Non-Scripted prize in order to acknowledge pieces that had artistic depth, but that were not animated or interactive. It was feared or assumed that scripted objects would tend to dominate the competitions, with the belief that active pieces would tend to distract attention from more subtle artistry by their sheer intensity. I’m not so sure that has ever
been entirely true as there have always been strong non-scripted entries, but in any case the non-scripted category is an opportunity to highlight pure visual design sans tricks. I think this is an important distinction: The best virtual art must first and foremost be artful. The best entries, whether scripted or not, have deliberate elements of form, color, texture, drama, and scale in addition to the scripts that bring them to life. At the end of the March round I took a quick tour of the 76 total entries and made a list of nine objects, any of which I thought were competitive, not only in the non-scripted category, but even for the top overall prizes. As it turned out, two of them ended up sharing the First Place award—an unprecedented achievement for non-scripted entries.
I wanted to share these with the public, but as a competition judge I am not able to promote my favorites until after the judging and awards are announced. Unfortunately, that means most of the pieces I’m writing about would normally be removed already to make room for the April entries. I was talking to JayJay about this and he suggested we make a platform for these choices and leave them up for a while so you can see what we’re talking about. This mini post-challenge exhibition will be up from April 6-16. I hope you will return for a closer look at these and all the great pieces at the UWA Challenges. Here and on the following pages are the favorites I came up with in no particular order. Tell me if you don’t agree that each is worthy of being appreciated. FreeWee Ling, Curator UWA 3D Open Art Challenge
THE WORK Gingered Alsop: Shattered Gleman Jun: The fragility of the soul is not a defect … Dekka Raymaker: Garden of Eden Daco Monday: Musico Haveit Neox: Marionette Corcosman Voom: The Rut Miso Susanowa: Olah Silene Christen: Tribute to Goya Yooma Mayo: Mantis Praying
Gingered Alsop: Shattered This evocative Hockneyed image is not Gingered’s usual fare for UWA entries. I think its contrast with her scripted abstract March entry is fairly stunning, but more than that it demonstrates her real talents as a thoughtful artist aside from being a massively creative scripter. This is exactly the counterpoint that the nonscripted prize is intended to highlight. “Shattered” received the joint overall First Place award for March.
Gleman Jun: The fragility of the soul is not a defect … Gleman is another artist known for his highly scripted pieces, often with particle pyrotechnics. This piece is a statement whose power lies in its simplicity and directness. “Fragility” was the other joint First Place winner in March.
Dekka Raymaker: Garden of Eden I’ve been intrigued by the work of the wonderfully imaginative Dekka for a long time. His work combines humor, satire, a certain steampunk flair, and a more than a little surrealism. “Garden of Eden” is a fairly literal interpretation of the Genesis story, with the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life tethered by a cable with the tempting apple and paper sack of God in precarious balance. Eating of the apple would alter the balance and sever the line. The apple and scissors are relatively small in relation to the entire piece. A number of people actually missed that critical part.
Daco Monday: Musico As I have mentioned elsewhere, the best virtual art is often created by the best rl artists. Daco Monday is a good example. He uses the virtual medium to good effect, with a keen eye to create art as he would in real life, but in ways not otherwise possible.
Haveit Neox: Marionette Another example of aggressively creative surrealism, this piece has tremendous visual impact. It could have been created in rl, but the cost and energy required would be substantial. It could serve as an example of rapid prototyping for rl projects. The mythical subject is part of a larger narrative Haveit is working on. This was a joint winner of the Non-Scripted award in the March Challenge.
Corcosman Voom: The Rut Corcosman is an interesting artist. He seems to have varying degrees of inspiration. His work is generally minimalistic, but he comes up with an occasional piece that is transcendentally expressive. As with his â€œJumpâ€? piece from last yearâ€™s challenge, this piece shows power and motion in the simple lines, much like a sumi-e painting.
Miso Susanowa: Olah Miso has a beautiful sense of political satire. Her pieces are often highly scripted, but this entry is an elegant self-referential statement of what it is: an artwork being offered up for judgment.
Silene Christen: Tribute to Goya Silene’s tribute is an interpretation of Goya’s iconic The Third of May 1808, depicting a scene from the Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies. All the important elements of the original are there. It may not have as much impact if you don’t know the original, but if you do, it retains much of the emotional power. This was a joint winner of the NonScripted award in the March Challenge.
Yooma Mayo: Mantis Praying Yooma impressed us last month with his infinitesimal gecko and more recently with his generous gift in appreciation for the worldâ€™s support of his native Japan in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes. This monthâ€™s entry is a similarly detailed example from the natural world, but this time on a relatively gargantuan scale.
Thanks to JayJay Zifanwe (Jay Jay Jegathesan) of the University of Western Australia, and to all of the amazing artists who continue to contribute their creative energy to the UWA 3D Open Art Challenge.