Berg by Nordan Art 2016

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Berg by Nordan Art 2016 Text by Kate Bergdorf Edited by Huckleberry Hax Foreword by Mich Michabo Afterword by Huckleberry Hax Cover photos by Tutsy Navarathna Insert photos by Kate Bergdorf


Foreword by Mich Michabo Acknowledgements by Kate Bergdorf Gallery M by Kate Bergdorf First Exhibit Period: January through March 2016 Haveit Neox Mich Michabo Second Exhibit Period: April through June 2016 Igor Ballyhoo Imani Nayar Third Exhibit Period: July through September 2016 Maloe Vansant Fourth Exhibit Period: October through December 2016 Livio Korobase Mi Afterword by Huckleberry Hax Contributing Photographers


I don’t remember exactly when Kate first approached me through Flickr or inworld but she offered me a chance to share my images through her art gallery Berg by Nordan Art. Being totally modest and not really understanding who would ever come to see, she managed to convince me otherwise and it was then I was lucky to have an exhibit – one that seemed well received. What prompted me was her absolute enthusiasm and love for another. Her encouragement to me to believe in myself was invaluable. Kate deeply believes and takes great pleasure from supporting others’ endeavours, without self-promotion. She really cares. Berg by Nordan Art Gallery is a very structured, very calming and uncomplicated space. In SL we often feel our emotions through our chats, loves made and loves lost. Making an environment that can bring warmth, intimacy and fill you with awe is a tricky combination. Kate does this by inviting her eye and celebrating the works of those that she see fit for her pleasing space. Through knowing Kate we have developed a strong friendship - so much so she has even made space for my own gallery - one we call Gallery M. Whatever your preference for art in SL - this is truly a space to connect with fellow image makers, make friends, dance and share a smile. If you are lucky enough to exhibit your art workings at Berg by Nordan Art Gallery - feel privileged, feel happy - for this space isn't for just anybody. It's an important document of Second Life through the years. I feel it's therapeutic - not unlike Kate herself; and I truly admire her ambition. Mich Michabo


I would like to thank the talented Huckleberry Hax, editor of this book. Huck also edited Nordan Art: A Retrospective 2010 to 2011 and Berg by Nordan Art 2015; without his input and expertise this third retrospective virtual world art volume would not have come together. Only a very kind friend would set aside time and put in the effort to work on a non-profit creative project like this. Thank you Huck, it means a lot. I want to thank the seven outstanding artists who showed their work at Berg by Nordan Art in 2016. It has been great working with you putting together these exhibits as most of what we did seemed to so easily fall into place. But of course something will always go wrong, no matter how well planned or prepared. To me, sorting out these incomprehensible seeming little virtual world kinks and issues, and getting to know each other in the process of doing so, is much of what our Second Life is about. I am happy to have had the opportunity to get to know you better and so proud to have had the honor to exhibit your excellent work. Your commitment to virtual art, be it photography or large installations, serves as an inspiration to us all. I would like to note here too that two additions were added to Berg by Nordan Art in 2016. Early in the year, I put up a space, L’annexe, to show my photographs. I have received positive feedback from visitors and would like to thank you kindly for it. Later in the year, we then put up Gallery M, a permanent exhibit space for the artist Mich Michabo. It was a pleasure for me to set up this gallery for Mich, who is one of our most outstanding Second Life artists. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to do it and was surprised that nobody had thought of it before. Finally, thank you always to our Nordan Art House DJ Eif, aka d-oo-b, for providing music at our openings. Thank you also to those of you who joined us for some of the Paper Crown Pass ceremonies that were held in the gallery, many of them were a blast. Last, but certainly not least, thanks to all our gallery visitors, both to the new ones and to those who keep coming back. Kate Bergdorf

Gallery M

We added a new addition, Gallery M, to Berg by Nordan Art in 2016. A permanent exhibit space for the artist Mich Michabo, it is housed in an old stone building created by Apple Fall. Mich and I had met at a gallery opening in 2015 and a few weeks later I invited her to exhibit her photographs at Berg by Nordan Art. She was kind enough to accept and her show Simple Samples of Her Repertoire opened in January 2016. We soon became friends and it became apparent to me that what I saw in Mich’s photographs was really just the tip of an iceberg. Below the surface was a person with just the same qualities of vulnerability, sweetness, rawness and edginess that were represented in her art. Mich is not someone who simply produces pretty pictures, but rather someone who has no choice but to tap into her vulnerability, to push boundaries and to take risks, all of which are notable in her photographs. Her first outstanding opening in September 2016 at Gallery M was entitled The Other and based upon the poem with the same name by Sylvia Plath. Mich’s second Gallery M exhibit is in the works for May 2017. Kate Bergdorf

First Exhibit Period: January through March 2016 Haveit Neox Mich Michabo

Haveit Neox showed the installation Fading Mask for the first exhibit period in 2016. A powerful and poetic work, the installation consists of a large statue of figures standing in water, surrounded by walkers wandering in circles. Embedded in the lower part of the build, a skeleton formation with burning objects and figures within. About his exhibit Haveit provides a poem: I don’t believe you lies you don’t believe me either the human brain is made of story cells we concoct the truth, don’t we, rather than see it then we march with the like-minded to affirm our stories no, dear reader, you are not an exception without victims but our mask can fall at any moment beware, we enlightened ones, for the store of hatred we have, or worse, for the amount of love we’d stolen away for all the years. Haveit has been showing his art in Second Life for years. Some of his previous work, in no particular order, are The Haul, City Inside Out, The Lost Alphabet, Stirring the Dreams, and The Centaurs Hall.

Fading Mask by Haveit Neox (photo by Tutsy Navarathna, titled Berg by Nordan Art opening)

Fading Mask by Haveit Neox (photo by Bay Addens, titled Conformity)

Fading Mask by Haveit Neox (photo by Midwinter's Art, titled scribe and the fading mask)

Mich Michabo had a show titled Simple Samples of Her Repertoire for the first exhibit period in 2016. A unique representation of Mich’s work, this collection of photographs consisted of portraits, still life, landscapes and abstracts. About this exhibition she notes: Just making pretty pictures in Second Life. I like to show emotion through faces, a chair leg and yes, even your shoe! It’s not just pictures, it’s love… I throw dedication to those in the know. I love looking at your misty pictures, your love of art. I like the nature of rain, trees and snow. Windows, curtains and what they show. Moody pictures and bright happy ones too. I like a little bit of nude, black and white – and I really love enthusiasm, love for and trying. Yes that’s me – I love most things about you. As far as I know, but I am not sure, this was Mich’s first exhibit in Second Life. She has a large following on Flickr, where she has posted pictures since 2007. As of this year, she has her own permanent exhibit space, Gallery M, where is currently on display the exhibit The Other, inspired by the poem with the same name by Sylvia Plath.

Untitled by Mich Michabo

Untitled by Mich Michabo

Untitled by Mich Michabo

Second Exhibit Period: April through June 2016 Igor Ballyhoo Imani Nayar

Igor Ballyhoo showed the installation MECHANISMUS for the second exhibit period in 2016. A surrealist inspired work, magnificent in detail and execution, this large exhibit consisted of objects that represented the merging of humanity with technology. About his work, Igor notes that MECHANISMUS is a metaphorical story about the symbiosis of human and technology from the beginning of both entities until the present day. Since the moment when primates grabbed rocks and sticks to fight for their survival until today, both entities grew, one pushing another and being pulled to advance by other one. Present day is culmination of that symbiosis and it brings merging of these two into a completely new entity, some would say unnatural but… is it? We all lean on technology so much these days and we would not be able even to survive without it which without doubt proves merging with it to some degree. Often in talks with other people I sense repulsion and even disgust at idea of us and technology becoming one being and it reminds me how much humans need this “stick to your kind” behavior. I find that way of thinking racist. Face it, superhuman is coming, like it or not. Igor is someone who already exhibited extensively in Second Life, including once before at Nordan Art. Some of the other places where he has shown his work are UTSA ArtSpace and LEA. He has been recognized with awards on multiple occasions for his excellent contribution to the virtual world of art, most notably on several occasions by UWA.

MECHANISMUS by Igor Ballyhoo (photo by Kate Bergdorf, titled Ships)

MECHANISMUS by Igor Ballyhoo (photo by Tutsy Navarathna, titled MECHANISMUS)

MECHANISMUS by Igor Ballyhoo (photo by NawtyBiker, titled installation)

Imani Nayar showed her exhibit Black & White Photography for the second exhibit period in 2016. As the name of the exhibit suggests, her show consisted of a collection of black and white photographs, all in the so clearly recognizable Imani-style that we have come to love. There is always a strong emotional component in this artist’s images, often raw and somber, but at times also quite humorous. Imani notes that I‘m not a photographer. I have no artistic vision. I don’t even have a camera in RL. I started taking pics in SL out of sheer boredom. But step by step I realized that taking pics changed the way that I saw things. I suddenly saw things I never noticed before. Everything was different when I started to see the world as a photographer … light, colors, textures, shapes, perspectives ... and even emotions. And that is what interested me the most. To capture the amazing range of emotions I noticed in people and make other people feel these emotions too. I am still learning and I am still struggling with colors in my pics. So the best way for me to capture emotion is in black and white. I believe this was one of Imani’s first exhibits in Second Life. She has since then shown her work other galleries, including as part of a group show at The Crestwick Gallery.

Books by Imani Nayar

Reflection by Imani Nayar

Tattoed by Imani Nayar

Third Exhibit Period: July through September 2016 Maloe Vansant

Maloe Vansant was the sole exhibitor with two shows, Yesterday: Retrospective and Close Ups of a Doll, for the third exhibit period in 2016. On display in the small gallery in the sky, her retrospective show was a walk down memory lane, displaying a collection of older images never before seen by the public. Maloe uses the poem Yesterday is History, by Emily Dickinson, to describe her work: Yesterday is History ’Tis so far away Yesterday is Poetry ’Tis Philosophy Yesterday is mystery Where it is Today While we shrewdly speculate Flutter both away

guilty as hell by maloe vansant

my funny valentine by maloe vansant

Maloe’s second exhibit, Close Ups of a Doll, was on the ground. Centered in the middle of the sim, positioned in ankle-high water, were rusty metal poles on which were displayed large, colorful portraits, all inspired by her perception of the avatar as a doll. Dispersed throughout were also several dollhouses, one containing a live-in, speaking doll. These little houses, combined with the vastness of the space, the sky, as well as the water, provided a fittingly and quite dramatic environment for Maloe’s spectacular work. Maloe Vansant had exhibited widely in Second Life before these two collections of photographs. Places where she has shown include previously include in no particular order, Dathuil Gallery, Nitroglobus Hall, The Pretentious Art Gallery, DixMix Gallery and Itakos Gallery.

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed by maloe vansant

waiting for haloween by maloe vansant

Fourth Exhibit Period: October through December 2016 Livio Korobase Mi

Livio Korobase showed the installation The Joy Formidable for the fourth exhibit period in 2016. Inspired by the music by the group The Joy Formidable, specifically by the song This Ladder is Ours, Livio managed here to create an extraordinary surrealist-inspired interactive environment consisting of a cow, airplanes, flying fantasy bicycles, and, of course ladders. The subtitle to his installation goes as follows: The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines serendipity as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a satisfactory or beneficial way, understanding the chance as any event that takes place in the absence of any obvious project (randomly or accidentally), which is not relevant to any present need, or in which the cause is unknown. Innovations presented as examples of serendipity have an important characteristic: they were made by individuals able to "see bridges where others saw holes" and connect events creatively, based on the perception of a significant link. The chance is an event, serendipity a capacity. Livio has been showing his work in Second Life for a while, most recently The Egg at LEA19. Another passion, and big part of Livio’s life, is music. His Second Life radio station can be found here:

The Joy Formidable by Livio Korobase (photo by Miles Cantelou, titled Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb?)

The Joy Formidable by Livio Korobase (photo by MI, titled Connected)

The Joy Formidable by Livio Korobase (photo by nekonuko Nakamori, titled wandering_world344)

◦⊱Mi⊰◦had a show titled L’avion en Papier for the fourth exhibit period in 2016. At the center of this exhibit was the idea of the paper airplane. To me, these outstanding images by ◦⊱Mi⊰◦ were both paintings and photography in one, where layer upon layer of color came together to create a very delicate whole. She notes about her exhibit that [t]o me, the paper airplane symbolizes poetry and freedom. Most importantly, it is ephemeral; it takes off and flies. It is a gesture, a moment, a magical plane that eventually smoothly falls, but does not break and can fly again. A moment of dream and grace. The paper airplane can be created by anyone, anywhere; both children and adults alike recognize the transient poetry of this simple object. In my photographs, the paper plane is used as a paper airplane, but also as a sail, a wing, a hat, a boat hull, a safe keeper and it does not leave the woman as it is part of her. This was one of ◦⊱Mi⊰◦’s first exhibits in Second Life. Last I heard, she is working on another one so please be on the lookout.

The sail by Mi

The shadow by Mi

La nage du papillon by Mi

Afterword Looking through this retrospective on another year at Berg by Nordan Art, I was very taken by the words of Imani Nayar in the introduction she wrote for her photography exhibition in April. “Step by step,” she wrote, “I realized that taking pics changed the way that I saw things. I suddenly saw things I never noticed before. Everything was different when I started to see the world as a photographer … light, colors, textures, shapes, perspectives ... and even emotions.” This really resonates for me. First and foremost, photography is an art form in looking at things. When we view a photograph of an object, we see not just the object itself but also how the photographer looked at it. Our attention is drawn to the details s/he thought important. It becomes an insight into their thoughts, their feelings, their values. For the photographer, the iterative process of taking and evaluating pictures refines and further refines the sense of what to look at and how to show it to people. Over time, detail starts to stand out that before our gaze passed over, and we see it whether we’re thinking of taking a picture or not. The world changes. We change with it. But why take photographs in Second Life, where things are not real? There are of course the many practical reasons. The in-built zoom lens for starters would cost you hundreds of dollars if you had to buy it for a real life camera. Changing the direction and height of the sun with a few clicks is also a pretty handy feature. And let’s not forget the sheer range of locations you can photograph, all without ever having to step foot outside your house. You can photograph them from up in the sky if you want to, or from halfway across a lake. And then there’s all the clothes. And then there’s all the people. Sometimes, though, it’s something more than that. Or rather, it’s something less. There’s a stripped back, minimalist aspect of SL that can force us to focus on the very simplest of things. We can’t convey emotion through an examination of an avatar’s face because the graphics just aren’t good enough for that yet; instead, we have to think about things like body position or the space between two people or the light that falls upon them. What can sometimes emerge is in some ways suggestive of impressionist artwork: simple images which nonetheless convey great emotion and intimacy. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at and thinking about the images in this book. Keep coming back in 2017 to Berg by Nordan Art for more great exhibitions of Second Life photography and thought-provoking installations. Huckleberry Hax

Contributing Photographers

Bay Addens Kate Bergdorf Midwinter’s Art NawtyBiker Mi Miles Cantelou nekonumko Makamori Tutsy Navarathna

Detail of L'annexe by Kate Bergdorf

Detail of Gallery M by Kate Bergdorf