Sunday, 3 February 2008

Poppies everywhere


Since visiting Goodwind Seiling's installation, I have been dreaming of poppies and thinking about the experience of art installation in the virtual world. It struck me that Second Life provides such an obvious path for visual artists to invite a different kind of engagement with their work. Seeing Humming, as the avatar, inside the core of the installation, encased in the soft womb-like bubble, triggering the sounds, being mesmerized by the slowly shifting patterns of the screen ... something quite different seemed to be taking place at the intersection of Humming and me, the flesh and blood being sitting at this computer. Seeing such inviting and compelling images let me imagine what it actually might be like to BE Humming, sitting in a soft amorphous floating bubble, tiny being inside a world of shifting velvety poppy petals.

The image of Humming, in her mostly blue water textured clothing, inside the poppy-filled dome seemed out of place somehow. I decided to go back to the installation and think about letting Humming become more visually in tune with installation in the short period of time that I had to be there. The theme of dissolving, losing identity, is what compels investigatation. So why not dissolve in a world of poppies? Why not let the art transform the avatar and make visible the impact of the art?

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Poppies - Goodwind Seiling's Installation

I have just made another visit to the artist Sachiko Hayashi's new installation in Second Life, which runs until the end of February at HUMlab HUMlab (209, 185, 25). Sachiko's Second Life avatar is Goodwind Seiling.

The photos above were taken inside the main part of the installation, which is a large geodesic dome, the planes of which are formed from the most exquisite photos of red poppy petals. The planes shift and change in geometric patterns inside the dome, and as they are touched, delicate sound samples are triggered. Entry into the dome is through red semi-transparent bubbles, placed on the 'ground' outside of the dome. Inside the bubbles, avatars are transported to the inside of the dome, where they are suspended, with the illusion of being gently propelled or floating inside a safe, soft, comfortable and very organic womb-like space. Some of this must be because of the quality of the images. Although it is not perceptible here on the blog platform, inside Second Life the images are very soft and velvety. Like a kind of hush.

At the opening of the installation on January 18, Goodwind took me on a tour of the installation, and explained how it worked. I was most intrigued by the construction of the planes, and wanted to know what they were made of visually. I am not sure I would have guessed they were photos of poppies. Goodwind/Sachiko, let me know that the poppies are from her garden in Sweden.

If you are a Second Life avatar, you might want to visit Goodwind's installation before it closes. It is well worth the experience.