H&G Expo 21

Over the last 3 days I’ve been exploring the wonderful Home & Garden Expo 2021. There’s something here for pretty much everyone, apart from the hardcore yucky element in SL, and, who knows, perhaps there’s yucky stuff here, too, but I didn’t see any, which was really nice, because I do get sick of seeing that infantile shit. There’s beautiful, reverent stuff…

… and crazy, silly stuff…

… there’s a plethora of fabulous elements for your garden…

… there’s musical instruments you can try and buy, there are horses you can ride before you decide if you need a horsey…

… there’s art…

… I’ve never explored one of these expo’s so systematically/thoroughly, before, but I don’t remember ever seeing much art in them, before. I could be wrong, probably am, but there seemed to be much more art for sale in this expo…

… there’s all manner of adorable cuteness to see, here, too.

I always find these shows far too big and confusing to ever explore them as thoroughly as I did this one, I always get lost, and eventually just give up. The reason I was able to so systematically explore this one was thanks to Annie Brightstar’s wonderful blog. She has a post, there, where she has provided SLURL’s for every part of the expo. Whenever I got lost, which was often, I’d just look at that post and pick the next TP, it was super-helpful…

… the highlight of the show, for me, was to be there for the traditional launching of the paper lanterns. I think this is only the second time I’ve witnessed one of these events. I joined a handful of avi’s on a rooftop, and we all watched in delight…

… as these pretty things guttered there way up into the the darkness…

… slowly spiralling higher…

… and higher…

… carrying whatever meaning they had been imbued with…

… till, one by one, they flickered out, and vanished.

Placebo Gallery 101

Today I took possession of shop 101 in the little village of Wythburn…

… while I liked the walls, I felt the overall feel was a bit old-world…

… Sethos Lionheart, the charming sim manager, was more than happy to change the decor so it was more to my liking. I have to say, I have rented a few gallery spaces, in the past, and have never encountered such personal, friendly service, before. Sethos made me feel like I was already a valued member of the little artist community, here…

… my first step is always to set out the most important aspect of the space: the canvases…

… followed by some furniture and carpet…

… and, of course, plants…

… finally, the work. These five images are the latest in my current progression of ‘imaginary landscapes’…

… it’s always wonderful to see them this big…

… I’m really enjoying creating these works…

… which you can see for yourself in Placebo Gallery 101, in Wythburn Village, Thirlmere (:

Thirlmere

When I visited the Raven Crag Art Center, recently, I determined to come back and check out the whole sim, Thirlmere, which looked interesting at a quick glance. Yesterday, I came back to do just that. Not far from the gallery is Wythburn Village, a little village built around a small lake. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that almost every building in this little village is an art gallery…

… with some wonderful work on display…

… this one was my favourite!…

… next to the village, and around the lake, is a sweet wilderness area…

… with little woodland cuties peeking out from the trees…

… a winding dirt road to follow…

… with a little stone bridge over a stream…

… the road leads you to a gazebo in a clearing with all kinds of cuteness inside. For you horsey folk, there is equestrian transport, should you choose not to walk. There’s also an underground area to explore. I liked it here so much, I am in the process of renting one of the little gallery spaces. That will probably be the subject of my next post (:

Raven Crag Art Center

Yesterday I visited the Raven Crag Art Center

… I’ve not been here, before, so was pleasantly surprised by both the presentation…

… and the quality of the work on display, here…

… there’s some really gorgeous images…

… and a wide variety of subjects and style…

… all the things I love in a good art gallery…

… I will most definitely be coming back…

… not only to see what exhibitions are here, next, but also to explore the sim the gallery is in, because it looks quite interesting in itself.

Natural History Museum of Vienna

I visited the ‘Natural History Museum of Vienna‘, this morning. It’s many years since I was here last, but it’s not changed much. I don’t think the Bryn Oh exhibition was here, then, she wasn’t very famous when I was here last, though, I could be wrong, and it may have been here; that’s how long ago I visited here, though, so long ago it’s all a bit vague*. This is a very old-SL-style build, three dimensional aspects represented by two dimensional images applied to the faces of prims. This looks delightfully dated, now, but has, for me, the same appeal as remembering what sound sounded like from a valve radio (yes, my human remembers that)…

… it’s worth a visit here, just for the hallucinogenic optics of the place. Several of the rooms aren’t actually ‘rooms’ with 3D objects and real (SL-real) dimensions, they are actually photographs that you step into. This is a wonderfully, though odd, trippy experience…

… you step from a prim faceted reality, into a very weird, slightly disorienting visual illusion. I have no idea how these rooms are actually constructed, just that it’s pointless trying to adjust your ‘hover height’ to cope with the sudden experience of hovering above everything. As you move into a room, your mind kind of compensates for the disparity of the visuals, and it all begins to feel right…

… the rooms themselves are a delight. Being photos of real museum rooms, they feel incredibly like every such room my human has ever been in, right down to their gorgeously fusty datedness. The human has found that every museum environment it has ever experienced was stunningly modernised… 25 years earlier!…

… the dinosaurs are out in the actually constructed rooms. These beasties are obvious labours of painstaking craftsmanship. This Diplodocus is 157 prims! All the skeletons have similar prim counts, which is probably why most of the building itself is just textures on flat prims…

… there are some lovely wall displays…

… to inspire wonder and thought…

… but I have to confess to becoming fixated on the more hallucinogenic aspects of the place. At times I felt like I was Alice, and this was Wonderland, which, I guess, is a fine way to feel in a museum…

… climbing to the roof was like emerging into the set for ‘Inception‘…

Inception meets Alice in Wonderland. When photography is your passion in SL, you soon notice that SL has very strange visual dynamics, very similar to video game visual dynamics… perspective is very plastic in SL. On the roof of the Natural History Museum of Vienna, the rules of perspective crash into the rules of reality, including backward inscriptions on the building face…

… I loved it!…

… careful cropping can get interesting results…

… less careful cropping gets even more interesting results (:

*Annie Brightstar kindly informed me that Bryn Oh’s installation was there, 11 years ago. Just as well I know not to trust my defective memory (:

Where Our Journey Begins

I visited Where Our Journey Begins, this morning. This is a very conventional, scenic sim, no fantasy trees, here. When they are well done, I love these kinds of sims as much as I love the whimsical ones…

… which isn’t to say there isn’t the odd touch of whimsy, here, too…

… this is a lovely place to explore, plenty of delightful little scenes to discover…

… hidden vistas to find…

… being an island, it has many delightful coastal spots…

… where you can relax and breath in the sea air, listening to the wheeling seabirds, and talking to the more friendly ones.

Sweet Lightning Bolt

I visited Lightning Bolt, today. I was straight away struck by the attention to small detail, here…

… then, by how much very charming cuteness there is here. Not cloying, kittens on cupcakes, cuteness (who doesn’t like kittens on cupcakes!?), but wonderful, whimsical cuteness…

… like these guys. There’s so much sweet stuff here, the colours, the little compositions of critters and scenery…

… there’s cats and dogs and dragons and reindeer and orcas. However, the thing I found most captivating was a little house full of food and puppies (and some ferrets)… it actually has so much food in it, it made me think about an interview I once read with Evelyn Waugh, where he was asked why he spent so much time describing food in ‘Brideshead Revisited’, and he said it was because he was poor, and always hungry, when he wrote it. I hope the creator of this sim isn’t going hungry…

… I didn’t check (which isn’t like me), but I’m guessing this little house is a rare gacha, it has that feel. It made me really smile, it’s so homey and welcoming. I spent as long in this house as I did in the rest of the sim…

… it was so comfortable, and relaxing…

… so obviously made and decorated with love…

… I especially enjoyed spending time with these lovely ladies. I have my own set of these cuties, and they are some of my most-loved gacha… they always make me smile…

… Lightning Bolt is a really sweet place, with lots of wonderful, small details. I haven’t been so smitten with a sim for a long time (:

Haus Museum of Art

Last night I visited the Haus Museum of Art. Downstairs is mostly traditional masters, which are nice, but I don’t really go to SL galleries to see traditional masters…

… what I love in SL is contemporary, SL art. There was a bit of this on the ground floor, as well as some SL fashion…

… upstairs was all contemporary art and culture, covering a wide range of genre…

… if I have to see RL art in SL, then this is the type of art I love to see…

… though, as an avi whose human has a graphic design degree, and had copyright law drummed relentlessly into them, I still react to the dubious legalities of seeing images, especially unsigned ones, by heavy hitters like James Jean and Nagabe, displayed in these galleries…

… though that doesn’t stop me enjoying seeing such stunning work. I love what this gallery seems to be attempting, to present a very wide snapshot of art, across many genre…

… and the presentation is beautiful and engaging. There’s even a wonderful homage to the ‘Portal’ games…

… complete with interactive gun turret, plaintively asking ‘Is anyone there?’ as it tries to kill you.

Skrunda-2 (Yes, Me Too)

So, for a destination blogger, it is currently impossible not to know about Skrunda-2, as everyone seems to be blogging about it, so I thought I’d better go and check it out, too…

… it’s an abandoned, over-grown town, where nature is reclaiming what man has cast aside…

… something I really liked about this build is that it feels like contemporary abandonment, it feels like a real abandoned town, not a post-apocalyptic build, you don’t expect to see any zombies here, just wild animals…

… there is a lot of wonderful wall art, here…

… which adds to the contemporary feel of the place…

… plus equally wonderful sculptural art, in hidden places…

… I spent a good couple of hours here, it’s a very engaging build, with far too many photogenic opportunities for one post.

Nostalgia Falls

I visited Nostalgia Falls, today. One of the first things you see at the landing point is a huge, steaming locomotive, seemingly trapped in place by massive spider webs… just past that, at the dock, is a fairly hefty fishing boat, also stuck in place by large webs… I told myself I really didn’t want to run into those spiders…

… heading away from the dock, things become far less gloomy…

… in fact, they become stunningly autumnal…

… really pretty…

… with the prettiest planet in our system suspiciously close to Earth, in the sky…

… there are gorgeous little scenes, wherever you look…

… there’s a lot crammed into this little sim, I just got hooked on the autumnal gorgeousness, but there’s a little village, tombs, a carousel, a bombed out building…

… and a big old house full of ghoulish critters. In front of that house is a graveyard, and the ubiquitous post-apocalyptic playground, complete with bleeding zombie girl. Plenty to keep your camera snapping, and all very nicely blended together.