Thursday, 28 March 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

It was about time that I visited the LRRH exhibition curated by Mimesis Monday, as it opened back in February and will close within a few weeks. Mimesis is a RL storyteller - Heidi Dahlsveen from Norway - and in the past years created several storytelling related installations in Second Life, often with cross over activities in the atomic world.

This time she invited SL artists to share their view on the well known fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. In the course of centuries Red Riding Hood has evolved to the cute little girl as we know her, but originally it was a story with much more (sexual) symbolism and violence. The installations in LRRH - The other Side of the Story refer to that raw version of Red Riding Hood.

Alpha Auer's interpretation goes back to her childhood memories: she always felt pity for the wolf, who was dearly punished for his natural behaviour, i.e. hunting for fresh meat. Her installation expresses the brutal murder of the wolf. It is quite gruesome and dark, but has beautiful details, like the moving trees and an android Riding Hood trying to flee away in the depths of the sky.


LRRH - tree

Personally, I enjoyed the second installation more. It's a collaboration by Cherry Manga and Sorror Nishi and they created a surreal landscape in red and grey.

LRRH - Welcome

My own outfit fitted in fairly well:

Zippora @LRRH

I loved the wolf trees near the landing point:

LRRH - Wolf Tree

A path leads you to subsequent scenes of the story, that are definitely not suitable for small children in this version. But I got totally sidetracked by the awesome plants of Sorror Nishi, of which the vibrant colours are in huge contrast with the sober shades in the rest of the place.

LRRH - The Forest

LRRH - Mushrooms

LRRH - The Forest
But believe me, the (NSFW) scenes from the story are certainly worth a visit too. The sim will be open until April 15th, so you still have a couple of weeks to go.

Teleport to the main landing point.
Teleport to Alpha Auer's installation.
Teleport to Cherry Manga and Sorror Nishi's installation.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

A lot to tell about Torell

This week I saw this artwork as background in a fashion blog picture and was amazed:

The Tower (Rebecca Bashly)

I was very happy that the blogger (who's name I forgot to jot down, unfortunately) had added a landmark and was quite surprised to see that the name of my country (the Netherlands) was in its name: Torell Nederland . That was an exra reason to visit soon!

Once in Torell Nederland I discovered that the artwork is part of Rebecca Bashly's 'The Tower', which happened to be on my places-to-visit-list anyway, so I could tick off that one now. The Tower is a dark but beautiful installation and quite impressive. Only this is already worth a visit to Torell Nederland.

The Tower (Rebecca Bashly)

But there's more. Much more.

Only one day after I had made a note of the landmark to The Tower, I received a snapshot from my friend Peter Stindberg, with a beautiful landscape that seemed to be copied from a Van Gogh painting. Sim name on the snapshot was, you guess it, Torell Nederland.

Thus, after my visit to The Tower, I teleported to sea level to find a complete village inspired by Van Gogh indeed. The buidings are old fashioned prim builds with simple textures, yet it's a funny experience to walk 'inside' Van Gogh's paintings.

In case you're not very familiar with the works of Vincent van Gogh, you get a little help from the owners of the sim, JanFolkert Alter and Ellenilli Lavendel: they set up easels with copies of the paintings on the spots where you can see the depicted scene.

Le Café de Nuit, but unlike the painting, without visitors:
Van Gogh Village - Café Terrace at Night

Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles:
Van Gogh Village - Bedroom

Outside of the village is a Mediterannean scene with golden wheatfields, cattle and mills, and also a small patch of forest with a more fairytale-like atmosphere.

Torell NL - Magic Forest

More of Van Gogh can be found high up in the sky, where several galleries are located in ultra modern buildings. In a number of galleries are exhibitions of real life paintings by Van Gogh, Klee and Klimt, which makes me wonder. The strength of Second Life is that it's a 3D world, where you can interact with objects, so why would I use it to watch 2D art work from the atomic world?

Only one gallery could grab my attention, with an installation by SL-architect DB Bailey. Like in the Van Gogh Village and in Rebecca Bashly's Tower you can walk through and you are immersed in a strange world of pillars and colours:

Installation by DB Bailey

The outside of the galleries could not really attract me and I felt pityful for this poor little dog:

Lonely Dog But in general Torell Nederland is a great sim with a lot to see. Here are your taxis to see it for yourself:
To Rebecca Bashly's Tower
To Van Gogh Village
To DB Bailey's installation

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Last week we had two days of marvellous spring weather, but yesterday winter returned. An icy wind with an occasional snow flake was blowing around the house, when I saw this picture and thought: "That's where I want to be! Spring!" And I teleported to Cherry Blossom.

It's just a quarter sim, home of Qbee skins and shapes and... packed with flowers. Seriously. The frame rate dropped drastically, but the first impression was worth it:

@Cherry Blossom - Spring!

Flowers and colours everywhere! I know, maybe it's a bit over the top, but today this is exactly what I needed.
Everything in this little corner of SecondLife is so fresh and bright, it's like sunshine coming through your  screen.

@Cherry Blossom - sunshine

The whole place is decorated with love for detail and without fear of bright colours. A corner like this one makes me long for my own garden:

@Cherry Blossom - Flowers Everywhere

But right now it's still cold and grey outside, so for the time being I can only dream away with the pictures that I took of this lovely place.

More pics of Cherry Blossom on my Flickr stream
Or visit Cherry Blossom in SecondLife

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hazardous Hype

I was reluctant to visit Hazardous. After the first 'Oh cool!' when I saw a pic of the tilted lighthouse a few weeks ago, I've seen so many pictures of the sim on my Flickr stream, that I started to get bored with them. I've seen the lighthouse a dozen times by now. And the cliffs. And the fields with the crooked trees.  Hazardous is a hype and I don't like hypes. Yet there was an itch to see it with my own eyes.

Yesterday I invited my good friend Peter for exploring and despite my feelings decided for Hazardous.
It is a beautiful sim indeed, with a remarkable landing point and funny teleports. The surface reminded me of The Quiet, the sim by AM Radio, that started the trend of rural landscapes in SL a few years ago. But Hazardous offers more, with its cliffs and the spectacular cleft in the middle. It was fun to explore and the lag was reasonable, despite the crowd gathered on the sim.

Today I returned to take some pics. Yes, that means more pics of Hazardous on Flickr :P But I don't have the skills to give them that vintage look, that seems to be so popular (and that, admitted, fits with the look and feel of the sim). Instead I played with WindLight settings, tried different frame sizes, and tried to avoid the beaten track.  I could not resist taking the umptieth picture of the lighthouse though, but I'm pretty content with the result.  I hope you like it too.

Visit Hazardous

Hazardous - Lighthouse

Hazardous - Waterlillies

Hazardous - Buddha

Hazardous - Birds

Hazardous - Stairs

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A day at the Zoo

Have you ever been to the zoo? In Second Life, I mean. On the amazing Where's Dim Sum? blog I saw some photos taken at Zoo World and got curious.

Zoo World is a true zoo: all animals that you'd expect - elephants, lions, giraffes, monkeys - are there. There are signs with name and country of origin, there's a cotton candy vendor and even a call to support WWF.

Zoo World

Like in many real life zoos, the animals are arranged per continent. The difference is that there are no fences or ditches though, so you can come as close to the animals as you like.

Zoo World - Where's the honey?

Zoo World

There's even a section for extinct animals, who come back to life in this virtual zoo.

Zoo World - Pondering the future

Animals are not only in the walled areas, but also jumping around freely, flying over or hiding in unexpected corners, like this cute chameleon.

Zoo World

When you're done in the zoo, there's more to explore on Le Dome, as the sim is called. The zoo is surrounded by a lovely park and a sea boulevard. All around are replicas of real life statues and monuments - from the Liberty Statue to Mount Rushmore - and in one corner you can find a spooky garden, called Dark Romance.

It was rainy here all day, so I took  my seven year old son to this virtual zoo. He enjoyed it very much!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Black Kite

After my visit to 2304 Rain last week I was in the mood for a sunnier destination next. I saw a picture taken at Black Kite and decided to hop over to have a look for myself. I could keep on my wellies, because Black Kite is another flooded sim.
However, maybe walking on bare feet is a better option, because the place breathes the atmosphere of a tropical beach. Which is quite an achievement if you realise that there's not one palm tree or sand beach on the whole sim.

Black Kite

Black Kite - overview

As you can learn from the note that you receive on arrival, Black Kite is a residential sim, owned by theblackcloud Oh. Long bleached wooden piers take you to all corners. And who wouldn't want to live in a house like this:

Black Kite - House front

Black Kite - House back

I love the clear design of Black Kite and the well chosen objects that decorate the landscape. It is a nice mixture of realistic buildings and not-possible-in-real-life objects, like fluorescent plants, giant bottles or seat bubbles. The whole makes the sim a haven of tranquility.

Black Kite - Bottles

Photographers are explicitly invited by the owner to use the sim for their work. It's possible to rez own objects (auto return in 30 minutes) and the place is scattered with objects to sit on. The water and sky with the well chosen buildings make a great background indeed.

Black Kite - Reflection

And yes, the kite from the sim's name is there too. It only doesn't look black when you see it through a bubble.

Black Kite - the kite

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Here comes the rain again

If you're a regular on SL Flickr, you can barely miss it: 2304 Rain. This build on the Sankt Moritz sim is  - as the name tells - covered by rain. Quite unique in SL, so every flickrite runs there. And I'm sorry, I couldn't resist either.

You'd better wear wellingtons and bring an umbrella when you visit the place, because it's raining indeed. Not just a little drizzle, no. It's raining cats and dogs and it looks like it has been like this for weeks at least.

2304 Rain

2304 Rain - Huginn and Muninn

The grey sky with fast moving clouds takes away every colour. Together with the constant noise of heavy rain it feels like watching an old black and white tv screen.
There's only one spot where it's not raining: near the stairs into the sky. The sudden silence around them is eerie though.

2304 Rain - Stairway to Heaven

Unfortunately the stairs won't save you from this monochrome world. The only thing that provides some colour in this place is an occasional umbrella.

2304 Rain - Red

2304 Rain - Blue