Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Rusted Development

Dates: May and June of 2012
Picture Credits: Deoridhe Quandry ( More pictures here. )

A Rusted Development - Haveit Neox 15

Rowan Derryth went artist hunting with a sim, and filled it with an astonishing variety. A Rusted Development aims high, and it creates a trajectory which crosses a lot of ground, with little in common besides the rusted city of a gallery. That is both it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness; the shared, novel environment encourages people to view it as a single art piece, instead of a gallery with disparate pieces, but a gallery with it's own, fantastical story is something which could only easily occur within Second Life - thus taking advantage of the aspects of building virtually which are unique to that medium. The other difficulty is causes is telling when each artist's creation begins and ends, though after perusing the sim for a while I began to get a feel for it. Twelve different artists contributed to the display, offering a broad reach of style and message; I found I responded more to some artists than others, which is usual, but I've tried to do at least a few high notes on each.

A Rusted Development - Haveit Neox 11

Haveit Neox is one of the harder artists to find because his art forms the hidden underpinnings of the entire gallery. In that way, he is both evident within the art of all the other artists, and hidden beneath their weight. Derryth's idea of a rusted, ruined city was expanded by Neox into the following story:
The fabled merchant city that rode atop the back of a gigantic whale met with a calamity that ended its existence abruptly. In the middle of the ocean, a horrific storm caused two huge ships carrying toxic chemicals to collide into the swimming whale city. The whale and all the populace died in the flood of chemicals that saturated the waves.

The whale turned to bones, and the city to rust, it was nearly half a century before this city adrift was discovered. An expedition of artists, searching for land to build an art colony, came upon the decomposing city. With the intent to regenerate the place, they set to work by first towing to safe harbor the floating mass. Each artist then undertook their vision. The empty shell of the city suddenly filled in and expanded as each artist found their niche in the Rusted Development.

No longer at the mercy of invisibility, the city humbles its rusted façade to the highlights of the art within.

A Rusted Development - Rose Borchovski 1

Rose Borchovski's "You are not allowed to fish" floats high in the sky above the rest of the displays, like an oddly shaped and colored moon, reachable through the eye floating by a table down below. It's main features are a long bridge into the "moon" with a series of words on it from which, I believe, the piece derives it's fish-themed name. The secondary feature is a figure within the bird-flying moon, a woman carrying another over pinned ribbons which have cut through her feet, leading them to bleed. This is not the only blood in the display - Eliza Wierwight has similar blood-and-impaling themes in her art - but the use of the blood drops to trickle down into the fish which lay dead in the depths below her, unseen by her but not by her burden, who is dangling a fish down over as if unaware of the pain his carrier is suffering. She herself is obsessed with the Summons in her hand, unaware of the actions of the child or the fate of the fish. The general sense for me is one of pain so usual it has become unfelt - the nails into forehead, chest, feet - they all seem to be secondary to the drama of child-with-fish and woman-with-paper. I honestly found the whole thing disturbing (I find the impaling of things deeply troubling) in a way which made it difficult for me to focus; I just wanted to look away - and maybe, in a way, this encapsulates the entire display in a nutshell.

A Rusted Development - Artistide Despres 1

Artistide Despres has another small display - also moving in rapidfire in the brilliant colors of pink and black. It's oddly out of place in the middle of the rest, though the pink ends up being reflected in paler form in Jewell's section. I know not at all what to make of the three naked, male forms or the pig lurking by the foot of the black-and-pink reader; it seems to be some sort of play on the chaos of life reflected in the theater pulling from classical literature and racist fantasy.
O most violent Paradise of the enraged grimace! No comparison with your Fakirs and other theatrical buffoonery. Wearing improvised costumes in nightmarish taste they act out ballads, tragedies of thieves and demi-gods of a spirituality hitherto unknown to the history of religions. Chinese, Hottentots, Gypsies, nincompoops, hyenas, Molochs, old dementias, sinister demons, they mingle populist, maternal tricks with bestial poses and tenderness. They would perform new plays and "nice girl" songs. Expert jugglers, they transform people and places, and resort to magnetic comedy. The eyes flame, the blood sings, the bones swell, tears and trickles of red descend. Their raillery or their terror lasts a minute, or entire months.

I alone know the plan of this savage sideshow.
A Rusted Development - claudia222 Jewell 19

claudia222 Jewell is a thoroughly creepy display woven into a display area of the sim. In reality, it's more like a display in a museum than art or something organically drawn out of the sim itself. Jewell's style is incredibly distinctive, all inhumanly perfect, angelic faces wailing around each other in a nest of fractal reflections of themselves. The hues of this one - shades of purple - pull a little of the nearby pink of Despres' display and hints at the purple in the middle creation of Polke, but seems to have been fully brought in and of a material which wouldn't have survived on the rusted building and sourly colored bones. It glows softly, like pearl, a material and tendency not found elsewhere, but at the same time it's woven into the form of the rusted building itself, as if is sprung out of them. It's a complicated balance not made any easier by the cold, singing or screaming faces repeated over and over at every angle. The fractal quality is really enhanced in the mermaids' bodies, smaller forms of their tails angling out of the sides of their tails, then repeating again even smaller. I think it's the combination of fractal and organic curves which intrigues me the most about Jewell's work; it's truly unique from nose to toe from anything else I've seen in Second Life, and instantly visible.

A Rusted Development - Bryn Oh 4

Bryn Oh created a tiny, perfect note hidden high on a ships mast, a nest made out of improbable things within which new life has bloomed. On reflection, it is the entire gallery and contents in a birdshell - things re-purposed and then lived within by new life; the old looking at itself through the eyes of the new.
I woke last night from the sweetest dream
Of titanium fears and eyes aquamarine
You pressed me against a willow tree
The glint of sun on a metal cheek

As I slowly woke and rezzed the grey
I knew you had already gone away
To the call of life from the real world
And left behind a robot girl
A Rusted Development - Scottius Polke 1

Scottius Polke takes up the center of the gallery, and seemed to me to be the most playful of the artistic creations, with "living" things moving endlessly across a rusted grass island. I love the brightly colored huges on the elephants and giraffes, particularly the elephants with the brightly shaded ears. They look as if they were made out of metal then spray-painted over, like Polke took pieces of the rusted island and refitted them into playful robots surrounded by waves of white and blue. The final piece, a teal "whale" which spurts water not and then as it circles the island, is the final charming touch. I really found this a much more pleasant display, and lingered for quite a while enjoying how the animals moved around each other, and the play of the colors off of each other. It seemed much more organically part of the surroundings, too - less like an art display placed in a gallery, and more like an art display made out of the gallery. I rather like the mix of inspirations, some clearly in existence before A Rusted Development was ever dreamed of, while others seemed to have been inspired by the project.

A Rusted Development - Ziki Questi_006

Ziki Questi's display is an amazingly fun and interactive display of art from art projects, including A Rusted Development. I recognized some of the other pictures, gorgeously taken, right before they shattered into tiny squares or fell on my head. It was, however, incredibly difficult to photograph. As soon as I walked toward it, things fell apart. I waited a moment, and things faded out and moved back to where they were. The second I got something framed, it vanished like it had never been - hugely frustrating! It was a lot of fun, though, and I found the wooden sound of the canvases hitting the ground very soothing.

A Rusted Development - PJ Trenton 4

PJ Trenton floats images of the past in the bottom of A Rusted Development, secreted away down a marble path and places within pale marble walls. Like many of the other artists, he included some words; unlike many of the other artists, they were his own.
Sunken Treasure
The works in this gallery pay homage to places of the past... the virtual past. Where some things rust and decay, others simply fade away, such as the locations depicted here.

As a photographer in SL, I really serve two important roles... one, capturing the creative pursuits of the artists, creators, musicians and community builders of our virtual world; and two, visually documenting places, places and creations of an all too tenuous and sometimes far too short-lived nature. This second role is one I hold in very high regard, These are the creative pursuits of not only artists and creators, but also members of communities... people who populate and visit these places.

In the spirit of A Rusted Development, I present something a little different... not rusted... but faded away. Each of these images represent locations or installations that are sadly no longer on the grid.

The locations include: The Quiet, Cetus, The Greenies, Nemo, Dresden Gallery, The Path, Second Libations, Utopia, Emvee Cuba, Alien Isles, Shadow of Intent, Drottninghom, and Templum ex Obscurum.

A Rusted Development - Blue Tsuki 2

Blue Tsuki placed a giant clock, which I have to admit I missed the first time through. It's tall, but enough off the beaten path that I walked right by it! The clock is mobile, and gorgeously set and transparent so the entire scene can be seen through it. The build below it is more oddly textured, the colors bright and rough compared to the textures throughout the rest of the build, which set it off a little from the rest. Definitely a good idea, and decent prim building, but I found the textures distracted me from the build more than drew me into thinking about it.

A Rusted Development - Eupalinos Ugajin 1

Eupalinos Ugajin isn't mentioned in any of the literature I read, but I found a box left behind underwater and snapped a picture. It's an interesting bit of street art dropped in an unlikely place.

A Rusted Development - Stephen Venkman 12

Stephen Venkman's is the most directly reflective of the early build, containing artistically altered and remade images from Neox's build. Given the differences between the build as I saw it and these images, I presume that they were taken as the build was forming up - and thus reflect the slow moving hand of Neox's creation - at once a comment on the result and commentary on how impermanent it will ultimately be. In a delightful bit of recursion, a picture of the ships that Venkman's art is displayed in is inside the ships themselves.

A Rusted Development - Eliza Wierwight 9

Eliza Wierwight placed out several, seemingly related figures in a series of multi-level tableau, making her one of the few artists who treated this more like a gallery than like the place for a single work. Hers are a trietise on hanging and blood - people connected by thing wires of bright red, people hanging by skin and (presumably) bone, men enchained with their female saviors holding the key, everything paused in the moment of action for all eternity. Like Borchovski's display, I found the images deeply disturbing and so did not linger. In this case, though, I'd say the overall combination of images is of a journey through different states, the blood and hanging more symbolic of the vitality of the journey rather than something meant to make it difficult to look at.

A Rusted Development - Trill Zapatero_004

Trill Zapatero was elusive, tucking in among a tower built by Neox and along the outside wall. It took me a little while to figure out that the cups and curved pictures weren't part of the basic build, and I was deeply frustrated by the fact I couldn't walk up and down the stairs - I have no idea what was going on with that! What I liked most was the giant cup at the top, pouring clear water out of one side. It seemed almost like an elusive grail hidden high among the displays, easy to miss unless you take the long view.
You from whom my sentiment rarely strays,
Ancient sarcophagi, I greet you,
Conduit where jubilant water of Roman days,
Like a wanderer's melody, yet flows through,

Or these tombs, open as the eyes
Of a happy shepherd glad to rise
- wherein pale dead nettle and silence lies -
Out of which flutter forth charmed butterflies.

All that is wrested from doubt's dark den
I greet: the voices which once more flower
After knowing silence's ways.

Do we know, or do we not, Friend?
Both sides are framed by the reluctant hour
And chiseled on the faces of men.
Ranier Maria Rilke
A Rusted Development - Haveit Neox 4

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