Saturday, January 16, 2016

Art and the Single Avatar

Stranger Things: Rich Harvest

Art exists as isolated forms and in relationship with people, but only in Second Life do the two intersect so powerfully. Due to confusions of size - even offline things at a distance seem very small - sometimes the full effect of art can only be expressed in relationship to our avatar's bodies. Something which in an isolated image appears small becomes enormous within the context of a virtual body. Size is relative, and nowhere is that more true than in Second Life, where people, things, and places can be made as large or as small as we want. In some cases, our offline assumptions guide us well, though. A tree that grows umbrellas as flowers is surreal, but in this case the umbrellas are roughly the size of golf umbrellas, a fact that setting one of them next to an avatar handily shows. The combination of the setting and my avatar illustrate those places where art and avatars meet up and interact to create something new - a moment where an umbrella becomes a boat.

Stranger Things: Rainy Days

In other cases, something which might be very small - even with the addition of figures to the chess pieces - is revealed to be enormous by the introduction of an avatar. Such it is with all three chessboards at Stranger Things are Happening; at a distance they could be small enough to fit on an offline coffeetable, but once and avatar is placed next to one of the human-sized figures, it's clear they are enormous. It's harder to capture these sorts of things, however, both because avatars are so dwarfed by the art and you want the focus to be on the art, and because including avatars is not part of the raison d'etre of most art - even in Second Life. Walked around, marveled at, and enjoyed yes - but even where interaction is integral to a platform, if often takes a back seat to observation. Despite things, however, most art can be interacted with even if the creators didn't plan for it; their art isn't laid out for the ease of adding another figure, but it cannot be guarded against and it often adds an additional detail that would be lacking if the images were of the art alone.

Stranger Things: Checkmate

And so figuring out how to frame photography of art becomes central to conveying the experience of art in Second Life. Distance, angle, and placement of a figure within it all become variables in addition to the angle and quality of the light. I often try to create triangles with my body or reinforce the lines of art - leg and shoe shots become opportunities of layering double triangles, first in the limbs themselves and then in the shadows cast. A spot of color can emphasize the simplicity of a piece, or complement it. I'm often playing with color in those cases; a red outfit inspires playing with green hues; blue calls red and yellow out to play - the goal is to have the inclusion of an avatar add to the presentation of the art as I experienced it; to capture the moments of surprise and pleasure found in worlds created by another's mind.

Stranger Things: Dwarfed by Chess

What's your experience with exploring locations and including - or not - your own avatar? What do you think of, what do you take into consideration when setting up your shots in an environment?

( More pictures here. )


Skin: Izzie's, Irene
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Charlotte
Eyes: .:Soul:., Roomee
Eyelashes 1: SLink, Mesh Lashes
Eyelashes 2: Flugeln Brise, 05-A
Ears: .:Soul:., High Elf
Wings: Deviance, Sidhe
Hands & Feet: SLink, Hands & High Feet
Nails: ZOZ, Sunny Romance
Outfit: Cila, Yana (Gacha)
Shoes: Glamistry, Aster Heels

Poses: !bang

Location: Stranger Things are Happening
Windlight Settings: Sim Default
Water Settings: Sim Default

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping

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