I Derryth

Rowan Derryth's Virtual Adventures

Ekphrasis

Ekphrasis is a column I write for the Prim Perfect Magazine Blog. With my physical world commitments, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I like, but hopefully that will change in the not too distant future.

Ekphrasis features interviews and in-depth discussions with virtual artists on their work, and the place of virtual art in the contemporary art world. All featured artists are active within Second Life, but any work on other grids as well.

I also write ‘Ekphrasis Extra’ features which are more topical discussions of events and controversies in our virtual community.

All articles can be accessed via the RSS links to the right of this page. The very first post is reprinted below so you can see how I came to all of this… some of these ideas have certainly been fine-tuned since, but the overall inspiration is certainly the same.

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Ekphrasis: An Introduction

Full disclosure: I’m an art snob.  Not only by nature, but I’ve been professionally trained to be one, so doubly dangerous. I happily embrace this trait, with the full cognition that aesthetic preferences are highly individual, and what one person might love, another sees as complete rubbish.  So before I begin my first in what shall be a series of profiles of various SL artists in a new column called ‘Ekphrasis’ (see?  art snob), I beg my readers (and my Editor!) indulge me and let me tell you what I am looking for when I search for what I deem to be ‘good’ art in SL.

First, it isn’t just rezzed, but resonates.  For me, it must speak somehow.  The message may not be coherent, it may just be one of the senses, but the work has something to say beyond just the figural, the representative.  I may not even like the work, visually (as in, “I wouldn’t hang it in my house”), but I am objective enough to recognize and respect what it tries to do.

Second, it doesn’t just resonate, but is rezzed.  While it is lovely to see what a fine photographer or painter someone is in RL, in SL, I want to see someone really use the medium at their disposal.  This isn’t to say that I would thumb my nose at RL work brought into SL, but then do something different with it… shape it, work prim light into it, or use it as a catalyst for the exploration of these two strange worlds somehow.  Examples that immediately come to mind in this regard are the Gracie Kendal Project; Scottius Polke’s recent whimsical installation mushROOM; and the stunning landscapes such as The Far Away built by AM Radio for the IDIA exhibition and installation sim for artists-in-residence, hosted by the Institute for DIgital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University (the light here is addictive for photo enthusiasts).

Self-portrait of the author at mushROOM, on the shelf (again).

And with that, a brief note on photography in SL.  Taking a picture with your SL camera is of course using the SL medium, so here I look for something beyond a snapshot, but rather artists who really have an eye for composition, light, colour.  I may be biased, but in this category, our own Prim Perfect photographers PJ Trenton, Raven Haalan, and Twisted Lemon are top examples.

With that, I hope to introduce our readers to artists that they may enjoy, as well as add to their personal collection to make their own homes Palaces of Art.

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