Friday, March 6, 2015

2015 ART: Metamorphosis, Esher's Reptiles and the Quarry Hill School of Mines & Industries

Metamorphosis,  Esher's Reptiles and 
the Quarry Hill School of Mines & Industries
Metamorphosis is full sim art installation inspired by Esher's Reptiles. The School of Mines and Industries is a group in Second Life established by Steadman Kondor in 2014.  Mission: To support education and the arts in Second Life.
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tessellation of a flat surface is the tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes, called tiles, with no overlaps and no gaps. In mathematics, tessellations can be generalized to higher dimensions.A periodic tiling has a repeating pattern. Some special kinds include regular tilings with regular polygonal tiles all of the same shape, and semi-regular tilings with regular tiles of more than one shape and with every corner identically arranged...
A real physical tessellation is a tiling made of materials such as cemented ceramic squares or hexagons. Such tilings may be decorative patterns, or may have functions such as providing durable and water-resistant pavement, floor or wall coverings.
Historically, tessellations were used in Ancient Rome and in Islamic art such as in the decorative tiling of the Alhambra palace. In the twentieth century, the work of M. C. Escher often made use of tessellations for artistic effect. Tessellations are sometimes employed for decorative effect in quilting. Tessellations form a class of patterns in nature, for example in the arrays of hexagonal cells found in honeycombs.   --Wikipedia
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A puzzle for a myst-like story?
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BGQ? 

Metamorphosis - an installation in Second Life by Beq Janus

About the artist

Beq is a builder, photographer, videographer and writer in Second Life.  Since 2007, she has made her home in the steampunk city of New Babbage. As a writer and photographer she is a regular contributor to Prim Perfect magazine, and when time allows she is a videographer on the popular, long running Designing Worlds TV show. In recent years her building skills have taken her to the Fantasy Faire and Relay Day where her sim building desires have found an outlet.
Or something else?
  • You would have to find the right location to solve the puzzle
Does the small figure (me) help 
pick the right perspective?
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Metamorphosis in Tiles
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What is that I am looking at?
Click image to enlarge
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Comment by Artist Beq Janus

From the still, black waters emerge flat square blocks, flipping noisily from black to white as they build into a chequered land. With a pop and a jiggle the squares deform and evolve; black and white take on a grey and form into solid blocks that rise dramatically from the ocean. These blocks of stone, stable and solid, now shape and reshape to evolve into architecture. 

Welcome to Metamorphosis.

In 2013, I built two of the creations of Maurits Cornelis (M. C.) Escher, the waterfall and the Tower of Babel for Relay For Life. For me they spoke of two aspects of the fight against Cancer: the impossible being made possible, and the challenge of working together, crossing the divide of society, language, creed, colour and gender, sharing research and advice.
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In 2014 the theme was a journey of promise and brought me to the recreation of another iconic work by Escher. Or rather a series of works and influences in Escher's life that built upon one another. 
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Escher showed little promise as a child, sickly and weak, he struggled academically and after failing to progress in architecture despite his innate skills with the pencil he turned finally to art. It was a physical journey that first kick-started his artistic journey. A trip to Italy in the early 1920s filled his mind with the beauty of the Mediterranean country and the influences of Moorish architecture visible along the Mediterranean coast of Europe. He would return there often.

His early works include a water colour "view of Atrani", which you can see a picture of in the church here. The small town of Atrani on the Amalfi coast of Italy recurs in many places through Escher's life and most prominently in the Metamorphosis series.
My sim was inspired directly by a section of the 1939 woodcut Metamorphosis II - though the scene appears both in the earlier Metamorphosis I and the final Metamorphosis III, created towards the end of his career.-
Metamorphosis is itself a journey and the artwork "morphs" from one tessellated shape to another from a simple chequered grid through lizards and hexagons into bees and fish then birds, capturing many of the themes of his early paintings. It then morphs back into blocks before becoming the view of Atrani. 
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I have left many other "journeys" around the sim, some that draw on the notion of infinity that informed one of Escher's key themes. I leave you to find them and to find your own journeys.

And so, we have layer upon layer of journeys of one form or another all starting from the "hopeless" child, the "failure" with no promising future ahead. A child that became the artist whose natural grasp of perspective and geometry belied his lack of academic ability. An artist whose work confounds and challenges us today.
I was lucky enough to be in the Netherlands this year and to visit the Escher exhibition "Escher In Het Palais". It was a brilliant day out, which my children loved as much as I did. If you find yourself on a journey through the Hague (Den Haag) take the opportunity to visit this engaging exhibition. I promise you, you won't regret it. -------------

Recreating a two dimensional work in three dimensions has its challenges, and more so when the work is deliberately faking the third dimension, but it also gives you freedom to play with the unseen areas. I have tried to make the sim explorable, with tunnels and caves that lead you through the rocks, past stalactites and back round into the central square. I am sure that there are places I have not intended to make still waiting to be found. 

About the Quarry Hill School of Mines & Industries 

by Steadman Kondor

The School of Mines and Industries is a group in Second Life established by Steadman Kondor in 2014.
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We are named after the historical school that was opened in 1873 to meet the scientific and technical needs of the mining industry during the Australian gold rush years.

Our goal is simple  

We want to support education and the arts in Second Life.
We do this through providing sim-wide exhibition space, and promoting events through community networks of citizens, creators and educators.
We also develop innovative projects that explore the interface between RL and SL, art and science, game and education, community and the individual.

Context

Second Life provides a platform that has a complex culture of community, a rich source of creative assets, and pool of talented people with a variety of technical, artistic and networking skills.
Our projects benefit from our Director's experience as a University Educator and speciality in Information Technology and Integrated Learning. He also has 5+ years active involvement supporting and participating in steampunk and historical communities in Second Life.

Our base is in Quarry Hill, New Babbage

Quarry Hill is the latest sim addition to the steampunk city of New Babbage, also allows us to learn and benefit from the engagement with a rich community of friendly and creative citizens.
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In addition to the current sim-wide exhibition, "Metamorphosis: Journey through the Eyes of Escher" by Beq Janus, we have in development the following projects:
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The Quarry Hill Carillon will provide onsite introductory material on the ABC notation for recording music. At the top of the structure, we have commissioned a set of playable bells by New Babbage citizen Macknight Culdesac. These bells is powered by ABC notation and students can play their own notated tunes with them. The carillon itself, inspired by the famous Loughboough Carillon in the UK, will be a site for the ABC notation interest group, where students can get assistance from more experienced musicians.
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The Quarry Hill Observatory is a steampunk version of the University of London observatory in Mill Hill. It currently exhibits recent pictures of Mars from NASA, and also the "Mars" sim installation that New Babbage citizens collaborated on for a former Relay for Life event.
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The School of Mines is also consulting with an RL educator on designing a showcase of their recent initiatives and success stories at VWBPE 2015. More on this to follow in media promotions. 
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Geared for Exodus will explore disaster recovery and planning concepts in a roleplaying context. The impending deployment of SL2.0 is used as a starting point for organising a committee drawn from an established community in Second Life to plan how to set up the community in the new world.
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Video-Machinima in virtual worlds
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