LHOOQ and Naked Gallery (NSFW)

It all started some months ago, when I read Webspelunker Ghostraven’s post about Naked, a nudist resort/sex sim in Second Life. In my early SL days, I used to frequent all sorts of such places, like many other people did and do.

What sets Naked apart, though, is its design and direction: Architecturally, there are references to classical antiquity; as far as its direction is concerned, while flirting and sex are encouraged, in my visits there I haven’t suffered the onslaught of obnoxious “flirting” that creeps many women out in other sims. Obviously, Cat (catredivivus, formerly known as Cat Lassally), the sim owner, runs a pretty tight ship.

But that’s not what really brought me to write this post. The Naked Regions are also home to various galleries that host (mostly erotic and sensual) exhibits by several SL artists. As a matter of fact, even the region dedicated to D/s play, Naked Bondage, is inspired by the writings of Anaïs Nin rather than the cookie-cutter bondage porn you’ll encounter on the internet.

Jessica Belmer's LHOOQ gallery at Naked Bondage.

Jessica Belmer’s LHOOQ gallery at Naked Bondage. Click on image for full-size version.

Yes, I’m very naked in these pictures myself, and it’s one of the rare occasions that I’m not encased in latex. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand… What really led me to revisit Naked and Naked Bondage was a post by Ziki Questi. SL photographer Jessica Belmer had moved her in-world gallery named “LHOOQ” to the Naked Bondage region. Now, what exactly does “LHOOQ” mean? It’s a reference to L.H.O.O.Q, a 1919 artwork by French painter Marcel Duchamp.

L.H.O.O.Q. by Marcel Duchamp

L.H.O.O.Q. by Marcel Duchamp. Click on image for larger version. Source: Wikipedia

Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. was one of his “readymades“, as he called them: he took mundane, utilitarian objects that were not normally considered to be pieces of art and transformed them into art by modifying them – or even simply renaming them and placing them in a gallery setting. In L.H.O.O.Q.’s case, the original “found object” (objet trouvé) was a cheap postcard depicting Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – and what did Duchamp do? Draw a moustache, a small goatee and add the “L.H.O.O.Q.” title.

L.H.O.O.Q. is a French pun. Pronounced in French, it sounds like “Elle a chaud au cul” (“she’s hot in the arse“); in French slang, “avoir chaud au cul” is a vulgar expression that describes a sexually restless woman. If you want, it might be seen as a form of slut-shaming. Duchamp’s own loose translation of it was “there is fire down below.”

It was the first time I saw Jessica’s art, and it struck me as beautifully conceived, composed and executed. As for the feelings it conveys, several of her works are unsettling, as if they have eyes that dig deep inside her psyche and the viewer’s. And it seems to me that all of her works come from a very personal and emotional place.

Jessica Belmer's LHOOQ gallery at Naked Bondage

Jessica Belmer’s LHOOQ gallery at Naked Bondage. Click on image for full-size version.

However, as mentioned earlier, Jessica’s gallery is not the only thing of interest for art lovers to see in the Naked regions. The main Naked region is the home of the Naked Gallery, curated by Cat, who also manages the four Naked regions (clockwise from northeast: Naked, Naked Ocean, Naked Bondage, and The Naked Rocks), which are shown in the map I provide below.

The map of the four Naked regions.

The map of the four Naked regions.

The Naked Gallery shows pieces of arts by numerous SL artists, including, but not limited to, Jessica Belmer, Winter Nightfire (who also has her own gallery in Naked), Thea Maiman, Amona Savira and Ziki Questi.

Thea Maiman's art at the Naked Gallery in Naked.

Thea Maiman’s art at the Naked Gallery in Naked. Click on image for full-size version.

Although the naked human form is featured prominently in many of the pieces of art exhibited at the Naked Gallery, the theme is not always erotic, sexual or sensual; more often than not, the images evoke feelings of introspection, solitude, hope, or melancholy.

Amona Savira's art at the Naked Gallery in Naked.

Amona Savira’s art at the Naked Gallery in Naked. Click on image for full-size version.

A few words on dress code, if you wish to visit the galleries presented here. It is OK for you to be dressed while in the galleries (although nudity is appreciated), but, if you are planning to venture outside of them, you will have to remove your clothes. If you are particularly shy, you may wear a bikini bottom.

All in all, I enjoyed my visit at the galleries hosted in the Naked regions very much. My only observation is that the Naked Gallery’s build, as well as Winter Nightfire’s gallery, could benefit from being updated with mesh components and from a little downsizing in accordance to the lessons learned from several people’s (myself included) efforts on the topics of camera offsets and proportionate building. But that really is a very minor niggle; what matters here is the works of art presented, and I must give kudos to Cat for her curating work, and thanks to Ziki for causing me to revisit the areas.

Yours truly at the Naked Gallery.

Yours truly at the Naked Gallery. Click on the image for full-size version.

Now… I mentioned an area named “Naked Bondage”. Indeed, one of the Naked regions is dedicated to bondage and Dominance/submission (D/s) play. Its imagery is inspired by the sensual and sensitive works of Anais Nin, and I believe those looking for a tasteful hangout for D/s activities will be quite satisfied with it. The main area dedicated to D/s is high above the ground, and not readily visible from there. Of course, I think you’ve guessed by now that all of these areas are adult-rated.

The Naked Bondage D/s social area. Click on image for full-size version.

The Naked Bondage D/s social area. Click on image for full-size version.

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See also:

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-Ac

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