After the excellent premiere of Paradise Lost last night at The Basilique (review coming soon and suffice it for me to say for now that you really cannot afford to miss it), I had the pleasure today to catch up with Inara Pey at the Assis Art Gallery, which is hosted by Joaopedro Oh. There, four exhibitions are hosted for April. Three of them are 2D exhibitions; the other one, which caught my attention more, is an interactive 3D exhibit.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Nothing wrong with in-world photographic exhibitions. I love them, and have covered a few in the past. The truth is, however, that I’m a sucker for interactive 3D installations that aim to tell a story or make the spectator think. So, the installation I’m talking about is Blue Tsuki’s You Wear That Face. It is a simple and very effective exploration of identity. Blue describes the installation as follows:
We all wear masks. In SL we present ourselves with a mask every day. In this landscape find a hole in the ocean, armillary spheres of orbiting electrons, shafts of memory and our masks. “You Wear That Face” is a nexus, a vortex, an analogue of neurons and a self-reflexive look at our mask in a sideways dream.
Blue combines physical elements (primwork) with a particle show that, at least to me, brings back memories of Nino Vichan’s exquisite “When the Mind’s Eye Listens” that I had covered last year. Blue creates a dream-like mini-universe, with you standing above a lavender-coloured ocean that flows into a central vortex, above which you stand when you teleport to the installation. The black sky above is lined with golden armillary spheres of electrons, each one orbited by numerous particles.
Underneath you, there is a spiral of golden prims, flickering with pieces of a mask. Perhaps, as Inara said, they represent the masks we wear in SL and even in RL – and I wonder if the fragmentation of the mask symbolises our attempt to only show others parts of the masks we wear in order to further our interests and protect ourselves. Around the spiral, there are four rectangular shafts (the “shafts of memory”) and four masks. Each mask is surrounded by swirling, almost fiery particles. These elements of the installation are interactive; you only need to click on them to sit.
Once you do, you find yourself either placed behind the masks (Blue’s reference to the identity theme) or at the mouth of the shafts, being sucked into a tunnel of memory towards old photographs at the other end. Adding to the atmosphere is a looping song encouraging the visitor to wear that face he wears “when no one is watching.”
Personally, I really enjoyed this installation. It strikes a nice balance between sparsity and complexity, and makes very effective use of symbolism to convey the artist’s desired message. I strongly recommend that you visit it and have a play with it. Should you also wish to visit the other three exhibitions, the teleporter is a small, upside-down red pyramid at the centre of the vortex of golden mask fragments.
- Assis Art Gallery lobby
- You Wear That Face at the Assis Art Gallery
- The infinite space of the Mind’s Eye (this blog)