Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Glance at "Virtually Real" by Victoria Lenoirre

For the month of April at LEA 6, there is a full sim installation entitled "Virtually Real" by Krystali Rabeni. You do not want to miss it!

In her profile pick she writes,

"The most exciting experience of virtual reality is not so much the one that totally alters the viewer's perspective on the real as the one that is able to expand, augment and enlarge the real. In other words, it is in its relationship with the real, rather than in its attempts to substitute itself for the real, that the most original use of virtual reality is found therefore creating the 'Virtually Real'.

Upon landing here, you will find yourself in a cramped area and facing an anywhere door. You are in part 1 of the VR maze. This place is dark and you wonder where to go until you see the door. Glancing at the door is like glancing at the unknown, just what lies beyond? Your curiosity spurs you on to turn that door knob and venture forward.

After the anywhere door you should be on an open platform. Beyond you, lies a vast land. Walk towards the edge of the platform and you'll see giant hands lying over the water. The giant hands are like stepping stones that you will need  to step onto to get to the beach. I couldn't resist posing on the giant hand. It makes for a great photo, right? The hands are so well done.

Second location after the Anywhere Door

Once off the platform, I heard the thumping of balls. Red balls are bouncing off the bleachers and landing on the beach. It's like dodge ball except you can't see who is throwing them at you. It might seem a bit strange. The bleachers are filled with various characters and objects. Most of the cutouts were of ballerinas, one leg raised up behind them. It is an odd assortment of figures.

Beyond the bleachers you find yourself in a flat grassy area. It is so lush and green. Mother Earth is the figure in the middle, holding up two mounds of earth containing trees. Farther away to her left is a little girl crying and her tears form a waterfall. On your right is a pixellated, blurry picture of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. In the distance,  you can see mountains. This spot is ideal for landscape photos.

Mother Earth
As is my habit, I question the artist about the work. Below is my conversation with Krystali Rabeni.

I like how you mixed the real with the unreal in this full sim installation. What does this work say about reality as a whole?

KR: Thank you, I'm very happy you enjoyed the sim. In my view, I really believe the vast majority of people are enchanted by media, celebrity and the material world and tend to forget to dream for themselves, instead aiding the dreams of others. We create a bubble around ourselves and 'stay safe' instead of maybe sometimes daring to be what we really want to be. We are all something to someone, be it a mother, father husband, wife, employer, employee, aunty, uncle, brother or sister and wonderful as this can be, we sometimes just forget ourselves along the way. I'd like to think that if my art has in some way inspired one person to do something they have always wanted to do or to ask a question they have always wanted to know the answer to then I will be very happy. I think the world can be too unreal and the true reality stays hidden.


Do you think we take ourselves too seriously at times?

KR: I do. I think we should laugh a lot more, love even more and treat everyone as we would like to be treated.

What is the most important build of this work, meaning that if you took it out, the work would not make much sense or be as cohesive?

KR: It would be difficult to choose just one piece as each is linked to another. But to answer your question and choose just one I think it would be Mother Earth. She is standing tall telling us that we all have a responsibility to ourselves, each other and our earth.

I was once told a story that I never forget...You may have heard the story of the doctor in a small French village who was about to retire. He had been on call day and night; the people could not afford to pay him much, but that had made no difference. He cared for them as best he was able. As the day of his retirement approached, the people wished to make a concrete expression of their gratitude and affection. It was proposed that on a given day (since they had so little money to give) they each bring a pitcher of wine from their own cellars and pour it in a large barrel. The day arrived and all day long the people were seen pouring their offerings into the barrel.

The evening came and the barrel was taken to the doctor's residence and presented with inevitable speeches.

The presentation over, the people went back to their homes and the doctor was left alone with the memory of their love. He went to the barrel and drew off a bit of wine and went into the house and there sat comfortably by the fire to enjoy it. The first sip was a shock. It tasted like water. He sipped again-it was water. He went back to the barrel and drew off some more, thinking that there must have been some mistake. But, no, the barrel was filled with water. He called the Mayor and the Mayor called the Council together and there were hurried consultations.

THE TRUTH WAS REVEALED. Everyone in town had reasoned: 'My little pitcher of wine won't be missed. I have so little for myself. The others will take care of it. The little water I substituted will not be noticed.'

It is a tragic story. It may never have happened, but it is the kind of thing that can and does happen when people refuse to accept their responsibilities.


What does Mona Lisa represent to you? What's her relation to Mother Earth and the crying girl statue?

KR: For me, Leonardo Da Vinci was a true master of art. I'd like to believe that if he were alive today then he would take a great interest in 3D art. Apart from the Mona Lisa paying a small homage to Da Vinci, I recreated her with four hundred individual boxes, representing pixels of virtual reality but also blurred beauty. We really must open up our eyes and see the beauty around us, if we do it soon, we may weep with joy, if we leave it too late we will weep with sorrow. Our biggest fears as a world are Virtually Real.


A big heartfelt thanks to Krystali! Virtually Real is a great contribution to the world of art in SL!

It is simply a fantastic view of a larger than life, beyond realistic work that really has a lot of meaning for a lot of us. We should all learn how to see the beauty that surrounds us. Life is full of  wonders and art. She captured it wonderfully.

Why don't you come on over to Virtually Real and explore while you can?! It's a glorious vision of what could be.

Have fun and enjoy the art!

~Victoria Lenoirre

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