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How We Play

Nonnatus Korhonen/Andrew Burrell, Curators
August 7 – 22, 2009

“How We Play” is a group exhibition looking at the performative self, digital and virtual animation, Web 3.0, new and emergent cosmologies and the role of play in art. The new media exhibition, produced by Soil Digital Media Suite will run from August 7-22, 2009 and be open to the public 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. There will be an opening reception and meet and greet with Chad VanGaalen Saturday, August 8th, from 12:30-2pm.

Nonnatus Korhonen/Andrew Burrell, Curator

“Caerleon Project(ions)”

“On February 12, 2008, eight friends, including artists, writers and philosophers were exploring cyberspace in a steampunk dreamliner when their ship crashed on a deserted island stranding them there. They formed a utopian community called Caerleon Isle, after the legendary seat of King Arthur’s Camelot and birth place of the forge of Excalibur, a symbol of the fusion of art, technology and magic that the islanders are in the process of creating.”

The intention of Caerleon Project(ions) was to create a space within the virtual environment of second life that would bring a series of artists works directly into the gallery space via projection. The works chosen are diverse in their conceptual content as well as formal execution, though they all share one thing in common, in that they are made by artists who are at the forefront of experimenting with virtual art. In each of the works we also find a sense of play, there is something to be discovered in each of them by the viewer who is able to invest a small amount of time exploring them, and this exploration is often best done with a sense of playfulness in mind.

This collection of works was also put together with the intention of inspiring a new audience to investigate second life as a site for both finding and exploring new art forms as well as being a site of creativity itself. The artists involved are also part of the second life community known as Caerleon Isle – a group of four virtual islands (or sims) in second life and a sim the the open source virtual world project OS-Grid. These sims are in-turn part of the Virtual Art Initiative project. ( which is a is an organization of artists, writers, musicians, and scholars who are using the immersive and interactive digital media of such virtual to develop new forms of artistic content, and develop a critical dialogue around this practice.

Andrew Burrell – Sydney, Austrailia

Andrew Burrell is a hybrid media artist and writer working across the disciplines of sculpture, installation, sound and the written word. He is currently based in Sydney and exhibits regularly both locally and internationally. He works with interactive audio/visual sculpture and installation in both the physical and real-time interactive 3d environments. Much of his practice revolves around the collection, writing and representation of narrative “fictions” and the interplay of art, philosophy, technology and the life sciences. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in 2005 by the University of Sydney. His practice is documented at

Participating artists and their works;

Pete Jiminy – Mem1, Pete’s giraffe dream V1

Sabrinaa Nightfire – Pickle Plant

Ub Yifu – Platonic

Thoth Jantzen – Divergent Complexity, Emergent Complexity, Recombinant Complexity, Resurgent Complexity

Sowa Mai – Running Man

Bryn Oh – The Rabbicorn, Bryn

Misprint Thursday – Archival Signal-projections

Georg Janick / Gary Zabel – Emptiness

Freewee Ling – Ghost Dancers

Al Lurton / Al Upton – Interactive Contrast Asynchrony

Adam Ramona / Adam Nash – Eudemonia Stellata

Aristide Despres – Le Funambule

Alizarin Goldflake / Martha Jane Bradford – Metempsyche’s Garden

Wizard Gynoid – Wizzy Gynoid’s Stellated Icosahedron

Pixels Sideways – Future Foods for Thought

Lollito Larkham – Life Arena

Adam Nash

“Eudemonia Stellata”

An interactive audiovisual sculpture for Second Life by Adam Nash.

The virutal – is it immaterial? Immersion, is it virtual? Virtual reality, as has often been pointed out, is an oxymoron. Those seeking eudemonia in the real world, and failing, will surely fail in the virtual also. Better perhaps to give up the search? The Nietzschean urge to forgo any mode of thinking that measures the worth of things according to pleasure or pain (Beyond Good & Evil, Ch.VI, Para.225)?

Equally misleading is Stellata. The Eudemonia Stellata has 3 rings of 8 petals each: not stellata at all, but perhaps magnolia, lotus and oak carry or are eudemonia, without being anthropomorphic.

This work is an attempt to build an ambient muscial instrument specifically for a realtime 3D environment, where the playing of the instrument is as much a visual experience as aural. An experiment in immersion, where time slows, blurs or disappears.

The work uses a musical scale of my own devising, based on 77Hz with intervals proceeding in fracions of 7. It is the same scale used in one of my other works, Infra Assemblage. The cents-difference of the ratios are derived from Kyle Gann’s chart Anatomy of an Octave,, but the calculations (and therefore any errors) are all my own. The sounds themselves are sine waves that I generated based on the ratio calculations. Since this is a rational scale, it may take a little time for the ear to get used to the difference from a standard western so-called Well Tempered Scale, but once accustomed, all the tones should sound consonant no matter which ones are played together. This is subjective of course, just like colour is.

As well as user-play, the work has an auto-play mode, using a psuedo-random number generator on a 3-minute cycle to decide which petals to play. This mode is for those who just wish to immerse or submerge themselves in the ambient digital formalism of it all, and is my preferred way of using this work. Autoplay mode turns itself off if no avatars are around, which doesn’t bother the birds and insects since they are only digital soundfiles themselves and know what its like to be on a random play cycle.

The rotation uses llTargetOmega(), which is a client-side operation, so there is no guarantee that, if two or more people access the work together, they will be seeing or hearing it the same. This is an echo of the problem of the multi-user environment (you never know where the “eye” or “camera” of another avatar is), which is itself an echo of the problem of existence, which leads so many to pursue eudemonia… ?

Adam Nash is widely recognized as one of the most innovative artists working in virtual environments, realtime 3D and mixed-reality technology. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he is a new media artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer. He works primarily in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live audiovisual performance spaces and sites for data/motion capture and generative audiovisual environments. His work has been presented in galleries, festivals and online in Australia, Europe, Asia and The Americas, including peak festivals SIGGRAPH, ISEA, ZERO1SJ and the Venice Biennale. He was the recipient of the inaugural Australia Council Second Life Artist in Residence grant. He was awarded an Ars Electronica FutuerLab residency in 2009. He was also awarded an Australia Council Connections Residency in 2009, for which he founded SquareTangle with colleague John McCormick. He founded the Australian Centre for Virtual Art with Christopher Dodds, which runs labs and workshops for existing and emerging artists to explore virtual media. He was shortlisted for the National Art Award in New Media at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in 2008. He has worked as composer and sound artist with Company In Space (AU) and Igloo (UK), exploring the integration of motion capture into realtime 3D audiovisual spaces.

He is currently undertaking a PhD by Research at the Centre for Animation and Interactive Media at RMIT University, Melbourne, researching multi-user 3D cyberspace as a live performance medium. He is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Games and Digtial Art in the School of Media and Communications at RMIT University. He was composer, programmer and performer with The Men Who Knew Too Much from 1994-2002, including several national and international tours. He has performed drums, keyboards and vocals with many musical groups and bands in Australia and Japan, including Japanese noise-chaos collective Proud Flesh, Melbourne electro-dub outfit Half Yellow, Brisbanes Choo Dikka Dikka (responsible for the legendary underground hit Cyclone Hits Expo) and Melbourne Concrete Poetry group Arf Arf, among others. He has been a writer and reviewer for Digital Media World magazine, and editor of the Computers and Internet department at LookSmart. He was also a Project Officer at com.IT, a community charity he helped to establish that recycles computers and redistributes them for free to NFPs domestically and overseas.

He also runs the net label Concentrated Sound to distribute his solo sound work under a Creative Commons license.

Bryn Oh

Quite some time ago I thought up a character called the Rabbicorn. Part rabbit part unicorn. I built up this whole story in my mind about where she came from and how. I sketched it out wrote down the story and then I promptly put it on the shelf and made the Gashlycrumb Tinies build for Arcspace. The Rabbicorn is connected to a variety of the characters I make, but to me she is one of my favorites. I had always planned on making this story in Second Life but I never had the space to do it properly. Immersiva is the world she lives in but to tell her story there would require me to delete most everything. So I was quite happy when IBM approached me to use one of their full sims for a project, and I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for.

Bryn Oh is a metaverse artist who is meant to exist only online. She is a concept, a pixel character who inhabits the virtual world of Second Life. She has plans to one day exhibit amongst first life artists. A digital creation sharing space with flesh and blood artists in the real world.

Georg Janick

Georg Janick has been taking photographs since he was a boy, as well as processing them, first in darkrooms and now in Gimp). He was taught by his father, who was a professional photographer for a few years following the end of the Second World War. Since becoming involved in Second Life one year and a half ago, Janick has been making assemblage and installation art. Recently, however, he has begun to import his photographs into SL, where he has combined them in the form of dynamically changing photomontages. By layering photos in semi-transparencies, and using simple texture-switching scripts, Janick allows images to superimpose in spontaneously random ways. In so doing he has attempted to use the technological capabilities of SL to suggest a new medium that exists midway between still photos and film. His installation, Saturn’s Elegy,appeated in the Rinascimento Virtuale exhibition in Forence in October 2008, and is published in the catalogue for that exhibition..

Georg Janick also founded and owns four of the five Caerleon sims in Second Life- The Caerleon Art Collective, and Caerleon Art Collective 2, home to utopian atists’ colonies, Caerleon Isle, a collaborative art sim, and New Caerleon, an experimental university. His real life counterpart, Gary Zabel, teaches philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Thoth Jantzen

Selected works from the “Complexity Collection” by Thoth Jantzen

Each sculpture is created from similar or identlcal ‘atoms’ arranged in increasingly complex layers of structure, with digital media played on the surface texture of the resulting object to create a dynamic and engaging experience.

The intent is to show in a simple but powerful way how complexity emerges from initial simplicity as a result of natural arrangements structured according to the properties of the components involved and how they relate to each other in that structure. Demonstrating how both complex structure and beauty can emerge from very simple fundamental parts, using digital media such as music videos allows the objects to demonstrate this dynamically as certain properties change over time.

Thoth Jantzen’s main interests in Second Life lie in community building, mostly in the areas of science, philosophy, education, and the arts. He’s the founder of Thothica SL, and is currently helping to develop Open Habitat, a project dedicated to helping people gain a better understanding of themselves and the world they live in through critical thinking and exposure to the arts, sciences, and philosophy. He’s also active in numerous SL communities, largely education and art related.

The inventor of the “Kaleidoscopium” and coiner of the term “media-active art”, through his Cosmique and other media-active builds he seeks to create environments that help people to think, enjoy, and relax, delivering maximum effect through total immersion in visual- and music-based experiences. Preferring to think of himself as more of a “builder” than an “artist”, he views his work as largely creating new types of canvases upon which the media being used paints itself. His larger and more immersive builds have been described as ‘ambiance amplifiers’, using and magnifying the moods and feelings from the music and video expression and enveloping the viewers’ minds within them.

His exhibition, “Cosmosis” featuring the ‘Complexity’ collection, opened at the New Media Consortium’s art space Ars Simulacra/Coliseum West in April 2009, and other works are on display at the Caerleon Art Collective and the Gallery of Media-Active Art/Cosmique III at Open Habitat.

Misprint Thursday

Archival Signal for Caerleon Project(ions)

Misprint Thursday’s work investigates untold narratives, pattern and persona and connectivity. In Second Life she is fond of physics, integrating custom sound art, creating layers of mystery, and generally exploring creative debauchery mixed with poetic metaphors. Misprint brings minor hazards to the virtual art world and openly suggests that one brings a sense of humor to her exhibits.

Misprint has a background in fine art, with a BA from Bennington College. She has trained with Catherine Mosley, the master printer for artist Robert Motherwell and also worked with Dann Carr and Julia Ferrari at Golgonooza Letter Foundry in Ashuelot, NH where she assisted in typesetting, linotype, foundry work and limited edition fine printing. Karina has studied in Paris with artist Janos Ber and art historian and curator Daniel Abadie.

About the work:

Archival Signal is an exploration of the ubiquitous use of satellites and the transfer of signals for communication information exchange. If we could see these transfers of data, what would they look like? What do they sound like? How can they be presented in a way that relates to our creative experiences in Second Life and virtual reality? The artist illustrates the concepts with her personal and poetic version of what such signals look and sound like.

The installation includes multiple parts:

A platform with particles surging and pulsing upward alternatively

A Box room with translucent sheer fabric flying

Old fashioned telephones which have sound on click

Aerial antennas, particle emissions, an interpretive build of sputnik in a fading box, sounds of some electrical type.

The viewer, in exploring these distinct parts has a chance to connect in several ways with the work as a whole, piecing them together like an audio visual puzzle.

There are some nostalgic aspects to the development of the work in using the old school phone, aerial antennae and the oversized sputnik model. These objects are represent the past. But more than nostalgia is the idea of context-the context of such communication objects and our connection to these modes of transmitting data in Second Life. Nothing is really invisible is it? Everything can be seen and heard with the proper tools for viewing and listening, can’t it? In this case, the artist chooses to create a slightly paranoid vision of “invisible” communication and the tools used to view this communication are the artist’s pure fantasy and imagination.

Pete Jimmy

Pete Jiminy received a bachelors degree in professional art that has so little bearing on his current art direction that he hesitates to even mention it. Living in Alaska with a love of the outdoors soon segued to creating paintings of the Alaskan environment. Working plein-air with oil pastel led to creating large studio landscapes which had a modicum of appeal in the Alaskan market, but may have been better had he chosen to include a few moose, or perhaps a soaring eagle or two in his compositions. His desire to learn more about art led him to fall into the company of others whos drunken ramblings at 2am eventually lead to the question of what is art anyway?

My personal art pursuits today focus on the search for new interpretations of subjects through use of abstractions of the medium and imagery, and my love of pushing paint around. I try to keep it fun with an emphasis on working intuitively. New works mainly consist of oil paint on wood, masonite and paper in small formats.

I usually start a painting with a specific concept, then proceed to break it down and react to the canvas. Often the end result is quite different from where I started. Subjects usually involve general topics of self-exploration, the environment, community, religion, sex, life, death the typical stuff.

I like creating a field in a manner that is open and ambiguous, with a controlled spontaneity, and an avoidance of a formulaic approach. I often use juxtaposition of imagery and narrative approaches, but sometimes it is fun to just slap paint down and see what emerges.

I feel that people share a common language of emotions and experiences. I enjoy creating something that triggers a familiar response in others. It is especially interesting if that response is different than my intent. Whether you love it or hate it, I appreciate dialog in art.

Sowa Mai

(aka) Stephen Beveridge is an internationally exhibited Scottish-born artist living and working in New York City.

To Date Stephen has had 78 exhibitions of his art including solo exhibitions in New York City at Columbia College, Work of Art Gallery, and Artspace OSA. He has been part of group shows in New York City at The General Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuala in New York, Sara Meltzer Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art. Stephen regularly exhibits at throughout New York City with a collaborative work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A feature length film starring Stephen was recently completed documenting the performance exhibition at New York’s Port Authority September 2001. Stephen was also featured in The Tartan Apple: The Scottish in New York City from the 17th Century to the Present, a film by Harlan Douglas Whatley. His articles about art and the Internet and other art topics have appeared in Art Calendar magazine and other art publications. His paintings consist of large abstract works of acrylic and collage on canvas as well as smaller works on paper. He also does digital paintings, sculpture, installation, animation, web design, virtual art, and album art.

FreeWee Ling

Owner of the SL artists’ community of Artemisia, the Galerie de la Vie, and the Treehouse at Artemisia music venue. Member of the Caerleon Art Collective. I’m a musicologist by education and I work with a colleague making musical instruments in SL. My work and my life are entirely here in SL. I am what you see. All realities are virtual. This one is no less real than any other and is a lot more fun than most ? I am a newly fledged member of the Caerleon Art Collective These people are doing some of the most interesting collaborative work in SL and it’s very exciting to be associated with them.

I’m not really a artist. More like a big kid in God’s Legoland. I like to build stuff. Then I get rid of it so I can build more stuff. People around here think that makes me a Builder (capital B) like doing art makes them Artists. I think it just means I have a short attention span.

I’m really just an idea manipulator. A conceptual cubist, perhaps. Most of my work is derivative. I see something cool and I want to know how it works, so I deconstruct or reconstruct the idea or combine it with some tangent. My laboratory on Artemisia shows a lot of my many creations. Other things are scattered around the island and much is stored in inventory. I just have too much stuff, that’s all…. I mean what do you do with a giant Delphic temple? Not like I’m going to sit in it and dispense advice, right?

I’m starting to get a handle on LSL scripting. I especially like to find ways to use script functions and variables in unintended ways.

I am deeply indebted to the generosity of Zephyre Zabelin, who made her dream of a creative artists’ community a reality on Artemisia and left it to me to carry on. It’s a wonderful place to live and work. I get inspiration there every day.

Wizard Gynoid

My friends caIl me Wizzy. So you can call me Wizzy.

You might say that I am obsessed by Sacred Geometry. I find Second Life to be the perfect place to obsess on Sacred Geometry and I spend a lot of time building Geometrical objects by hand. My Temple of Sacred Geometry is dedicated to these works and I find that some of my favorite artists and writers inspire me to build. Most notable of these are M.C. Escher, H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker and Neal Stephenson.

My RL training is in Philosophy, especially the History and Philosophy of Science. I was also a Business Major and in RL I am an artist.

My latest project is the Building of an 8th Dimensional object in SL. This was a daunting and difficult task and I had the help of a team of mathematicians and programmers.

The E8 Polytope is the most complex and elegantly symmetrical geometric object known to mathematicians. Inscribed within it, one can find all of the platonic solids and many other symmetrical polyhedra. The object has icosahedral symmetry, and is therefore encoded with the Golden Ratio.

A newer and updated version is exhibited through the end of February at ButlerCC. This “rotation” is twice as complex and better serves to illustrate the Unified Field Theory of Dr. Garrett Lisi.

I am of the conviction that Second Life is a perfect place to demonstrate abstract mathematical objects in an easily intuited 3D environment. With that in mind, the E8 Polytope visualized here has been demonstrated to astrophysicists at California Institute of Technology, physicists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, faculty and staff at the University of Michigan, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and Theatre and Techology students at St. Lawrence University, Canton NY.

Some of my recent work:

New E8 Polytope Jan 30 – current

Caerleon Isles “Portals” Show Jan 15- Feb 1st

Angelgate Arts Show – Oct 19th – December 15th

Caerleon “Dreams” Show – Oct 19th – Nov 5th

Rezzable Visions – “It Came From the 8th Dimension: The E8 Polytope” Oct 1, 2008 – Nov 1, 2008

Burning Life Theme Camp 9/27/2008 – 10/5/2008

Angelgate Arts Exhibition 3/1/2008 – 4/12/2008

Radiance Art Show 5/12/2008 – present

Rezzable NPIRL (Not Possible in Real Life) Art Installation: 5/11/2008 – 6/24/2008

Serendipity Art Gallery Show 6/16/2008 – 8/3/2008

SL5B Exhibitor 6/23/2008 – 7/7/2008

FRI’s Shengri La Show 7/28/2008 – 9/10/2008

Permanent Exhibition at Primtings Museum:

My Burning Life 2008 build is featured in this video:

This is a video by Crap Mariner of my M.C. Escher’s “Stars” build:

Videos of me building geometric objects in Second Life:

Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen, “Bald Static”. The 2009 Regina Folk Festival in partnership with Neutral Ground is incorporating the visual art of festival performer Chad VanGaalen. VanGaalen will show the work “Bald Static” on a continuous screen accompanied by a series of drawings in the Media Gallery at Neutral Ground.

Chad VanGaalen is an internationally respected musician and visual artist. He graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design in 2000 and immediately started an active arts practice; his animation and drawings have been shown across Canada. Self-recording, and playing almost every instrument – including many hand-crafted ones – VanGaalen has established himself as one of Canada’s most diverse and unpredictable artists. After the 2004 release of Infiniheart, a collection of his basement recordings a fanbase grew across the world. Legendary label Sub Pop approached to re-release the record worldwide, earning it great critical response around the globe. The 2006 release of Skelliconnection then brought him critical acclaim across the media spectrum and earned many award nods, including 2007 Juno and Polaris Prize nominations.

The 2005 release of a video for his own song “Clinically Dead” brought Chad to international attention as an animator and musician, soliciting requests for illustration and animation work from widespread sources. Piloting children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba! approached Chad and he produced a series of surreal vignettes for their children’s program. Over the following year Chad produced videos for several artists as well as for himself, while “Clinically Dead” went on to win best music video at the SXSWclick! Video awards, and was aired on MuchMusic and across the world on MTV. The 2006 video “Flower Gardens” became a phenomenon on YouTube, generating 390,000 views and linkage from blogs worldwide. This video and its follow-up, “Red Hot Drops”, were both nominated for MTV Subterranean “Best of 2006”. In 2007 Nickelodeon picked up Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Chad was again asked to do animated shorts and soundtrack work. He has been featured in numerous video festivals, and has completed a stop-motion video for Holy F**k. In 2008, Chad was one of three Albertan artists to be awarded an ‘Alberta Arts Award’. His latest full-length release, ‘Soft Airplane’, has received an unprecedented amount of international praise, including a Canadian Juno Award nomination and a recently announced Shortlist placement for Canada’s Polaris Prize.

Brenda Cleniuk

Brenda Cleniuk’s “Wind Song Machine” is a new, responsive and interactive, glass reed musical instrument created in Second Life to take readings and convert the velocity of the wind into musical phrases or audio outputs when activated by viewers in Second Life or Real Life. The new prototypical device that has real world applications, is currently installed on Pinten’s Field in SL, a parcel of land that resembles a prairie landscape and where 6 other virtual sculptures are made to be viewed against a prairie landscape and night sky. “Wind Song Machine” credits the new Soil Technical Team for creation of the software patches to make the Wind Song Machine available; John Hampton, Ryan Hill, Jason Thiry and Andrew Burrell.

To activate the piece, touch one of the 5 triangles and activate your media player (in-world). Your environment should be set to Sunset or Midnight and speakers on.

“How We Play” gratefully acknowledges the visionary support of the Canada Council for the Arts; Media Arts Section.