Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chey and Sweetie Explore: Spirit and D-Construct

Written 26 August, 2012

Chey and Sweetie Explore: Spirit and D-Construct

Yesterday Sweetie and I went exploring for the first time in months.

Our first jump was to claudia222 Jewell's sim-wide Spirit installation, which was just lauded by Hamlet Au in his New World Notes blog.

Sweetie took one look and declared Spirit irrelevant. "I can't stand one more art show that features decapitated dolls," she exclaimed.

I have to say I agreed with her. At first glance, and then at second (I hung around long enough to explore a bit and take a few photos, including the one above), we jumped to a landmark I found while cleaning out my inventory-- D-Construct.

This time I wasn't impressed at first glance-- mainly because we didn't materialize at the entrance, which is here. We were inside a plain black sphere with an array of twenty-one famous works of art and a sign that read "Click on a small painting."

I did (after turning on media so I could hear the installation's sounds), and great fun ensued.

I clicked on The Great Wave of Kangawa, a woodblock print by the 19th-century Japanese artist Katushika Hukusai.

It immediately appeared in large form on the adjacent wall.

Click it again, the sign read. When I did...

... the painting was overlaid with a series of disks that took their color from the original, giving a pixellated appearance. I took the photo above as the disks were rezzing.

Then I clicked it again.

Yes! The disks fell! Way cool!

Another click and the effect was replicated, this time with larger disks...

... which fell at the next touch of the sign.

At the next touch the display became a mosaic...

... which broke loose from the underlying painting with an audible crack and assembled themselves into a demented triangle...

... which slowly rose...

... growing progressively brighter...

... until it hit the ceiling, whereupon it shattered into a million falling pieces...

... that spread everywhere.

It didn't take us long to realize we could run through the piles of disks and send them flying.

When it comes to art, it's each to his or her own-- but I'll take an interactive installation like D-Construct every time over a derivative work like Spirit. It's not that Spirit wasn't done with a great deal of thought and skill, it's just that it said nothing to me. It just seemed bizarre for the sake of being bizarre. Frankly, Hieronymous Bosch totally nailed that concept back at the turn of the sixteenth century. I'm happy the Spirit installation has been well-received and heavily attended, and  I'm happy for the artist, but I sure wish there was more funding available for works like D-Construct that better reflect the interactive nature of Second Life.

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