Since last year, every time we have an opening I publish a post usually with an artist interview here. The GBTH is big on its ambitions but quite small on its staff, so incorporating ways of consistently providing content and keeping the conversation going is a must in my book.
Interviewing 16 artists about an exhibition that asks them to answer a question in a form of artistic occupation seemed a tad redundant and tiresome, so instead I want to take this opportunity and talk a bit more about the thought process behind a proposal like Colonia.
As I probably stated here before, each exhibition takes around 3 months to get done, and there are always a couple exhibitions on the making. Colonia is actually on its final round, a short lived format because there are structural bits on it that made no sense insisting on, but also tempting enough that deserved one last time to shine.
For this last round, which we started working on in November, I knew it was fundamental to have a way of retexturing the inner walls in an optimised manner that wouldn’t be so heavy on land impact, as normal prims would do, especially if I wanted to have so many apartments involved.
You can save a prim structure made by you as a .dae file, to work on it further in an external program like Blender, and that’s what we did. I covered the inside of the apartment with prims (a gastly 59li structure), and we used that as a guide to optimise the construction in mesh (2li all 4 rooms linked). I also wanted to have a UV map that is more dynamic to retexturing and that bit alone was a challenge bigger than I could predict, but gladly Amanda (aht1981.resident) caved in and made it possible. Thank you, Amanda!
Getting this first bit done was essential to develop the rest of the structure for this proposal, because it would determine the maximum land impact the artists would have, and how many apartments we could host. We settled for 16 apartments with 200 prims each, 3200 prims total without considering the actual buildings and additional details.
On the previous Colonia, I intentionally didn’t propose a theme because tapping into new waters, and the pandemic showing devastating numbers each day, required some flexibility and the format seemed restraining enough. Curiously, when I talked with the artists of the first round about doing Colonia for a last time, what could be improved, etc, a theme was amongst the first suggestions they had, something that would give a sort of direction and thinking on the bigger picture, would make the group of apartments harmonic.
Now I’ll be honest with you and say that yes, I could try and explain the process I had to get into this theme. Could talk about researching Brutalist architecture, Soviet buildings (because of the Novograd building from Nomad we use), the fact my husband gifted me Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit for my birthday, therefore the flirt with Fluxus and their instructions pieces, or even the fact that I just had moved interstate and realised how many books, dresses, mugs and whatnot I had lost in the way and how others could relate to this in their personal life. But then you’d think I’m crazy and I couldn’t really argue with that. The important thing is that the theme was there.
Then you might wonder about the thought behind selecting this remarkable group of artists. My first “rule” is: the person needs to want to be part of it. It is a commitment, especially for Second Life standards, and requires a lot of real time and work invested. I also pay attention to consistency in their work, if they approach subjects they directly relate to and most importantly: for Colonia, what in this experience would add to their practices. All the subsequent challenges are manageable, and the GBTH being an art incubator, it is kind of what we do here - helping artists to develop their ideas into an art exhibition.
Colonia is a massive exhibition. It was made for you to walk inside each apartment. There are scripts that will act on collision with the avatar to change the EEP. There are also projections, sounds, lights, letters and whatnot that are essential parts of these installations. The instructions on how to adjust your settings to see the apartments as intended, and intention is very important in art, are available at the entrance.
On the final steps of Colonia, which originally was meant to open in the first week of March, the invasion of Ukraine took place. Since the pandemic, it seems common to “normalise” death, or to banalize life. This doesn’t sit right with me.
I am Brazilian, and art and politics often mix, although it wasn’t intended for Colonia to refer to the current events in East Europe, even because the invasion took place months after the theme had been chosen. However, it’s impossible to ignore what’s happening and we don’t wish to. At the Colonia landing point and the bottom of this page, we offer info and ways to directly support the Ukrainian people. While our artists may not directly address the current happenings, as artists, they still impact anything we create.
Colonia 2.0 is opening on March 18th 2022, 12pm SLT, with music by Haze.
Please check these links below on how you can directly support the Ukranian population: