Writing for Second Life Arts & Entertainment (or SLANE), Oberon Onmura reviews an intriguing new installation by well-known metaverse artist Artistide Depres: ALEA FUKUSHIMA, which as the name suggests, is an interactive, 3D art installation inspired by the horror of Japan's nuclear disaster earlier this year.
SLurl, photos, and Oberon's review after the break. Click to see! - Hamlet
A new installation in Second Life at the Careleon Erata sim:
"ALEA FUKUSHIMA" by Artistide Despres
Artistide Despres had a dream, and created an installation about the post-tsunami disaster in Northern Japan this spring. In her dream, she "met a strange guy, a kind of scientist, who was able to neutralize the radioactivity by transforming the energy into music. This is what this build is about."
When you use the TP to go to the site, you land in front of a large poster, and indicators on the ground tell you where to walk. Sound, obviously, is a critical part of this installation, from beginning to end. As you walk from the landing site toward the build, you leave the gentle koto strums and become aware of some very active Geiger counter clicks. The landscape is a combination of pastoral and desolate, probably much as the landscape around Fukushima might be today.
More Geiger counters, some crows squawking in the distance. Then you come upon the build and enter beneath a bright green radiation symbol.
People familiar with Despres' work will recognize the musical sculptures she has been showing recently. It took me a while to connect the sculptures and the sounds they were making with the Fukushima event. Despres is accessing real-time radioactivity data from Japan and using it to control some elements of the sounds. Plus, there are while balls orbiting the perimeter of the building. The speed of their orbits also reflects the current radiation levels in the area.
Viewers are able to interact with the sound making pieces, and there is a chair that, when sat upon, takes your view to several locations around the site.
I admit that I'm generally skeptical of art that is "about" some current event. I find most artists' "feelings" and "interpretations" of RL events to be uninteresting and jejune (and I'm trying to be kind here). For that reason, I put off seeing Despres' installation for about a week. However, she is such an interesting artist, and, in my view, one of SL's most inventive thinkers and creators, so I had to go see it.
OK. I find the dream metaphor a bit forced, and the connection between the events of the installation and the events in Japan a bit tenuous. But Despres isn't trying to teach us anything or making a political statement. She's interpreting her dream that music - more exactly, the technology of music - can heal the world, a dream that I, for one, can share easily. It's interesting and smart, and I spent a lot of time there enjoying Despres' powerful imagination. In fact, here's some advice: whenever you see an announcement of a new piece by Aristide Depres, don't miss it. You'll thank me later.