The Art Thing @ Zindra

I’ve been releasing my art under the shop name of The Art Thing for the last 18 months or so and my other non art things under the brand NDC for years, I’ve kept both brand names but now with the redesign they inhabit the same space. 

When LL moved all the adult content to Zindra I had a choice to remove my erotic art and continue to sell the rest, close down or move.  I did close the gallery and shop and only had a limited selection of my sculptures and wall art on display in Zindra but now I have finally remodelled to include everything and am officially reopened.   

It still escapes me how a nipple is considered to be beyond the pale but extreme violence is ok for the pg areas.  LL demonstrates decidedly skewed values but it’s their game so it’s their rules.

The shop and gardens are here:  It’s on a hill leading down to the river and it’s a lovely setting.   The SLURL should take you to a landing spot by the river and then it’s a stroll up the hill through the sculpture garden to the shop.  There’s a couple of my sculptures that I’ve released in the last 12 months and a few other new bits and bobs.

If you can’t get to Zindra there’s a small sample of my range on Xstreet SL.  For those of you who can get over to the smutty side, I’ve also got a spot at the Zindra Unzipped expo that’s on at the end of the month, so come and check it out.  You can’t miss my stand, I’m beside the guy who sells birds (of the feathered variety) and got his tits caught in the LL naughty word filter last year..  His stand is 3 huge roosters (I’ll leave you to work it out 😉 ) and I’m just a couple of stands down from Elf Valley – which is a beautiful sim with no smut either.  Who would have thought it huh?  Yet Zindra is becoming the choice for a lot of people because it appears to keep a lot of the griefers and other undesirables away. 

Whatever you think Zindra is, it probably is and more beside but it’s also a lot more layered than that.  There are some beautiful places there that have nothing to do with whatever you think adult content is and you’re doing yourself a disservice by ignoring them.

The shop hasn’t covered its costs since the forced relocation because it’s not whatever extreme sex idea most people have when they think of Zindra and adult, so no one ever looks in adult when they use search for art or romance things.  I’m certainly not going to be able to change people’s minds on what they think is here but I do ask that when you go looking for things it won’t kill you to also check in the adult search – you just never know what you’ll find.


© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

Fringe acts are always hard to review, simply because the standards that would normally be applied to professional performances aren’t directly relevant.  A lower bar has to be used in judging or the reviewer is not being fair. So in a way pure mindless entertainment has more importance than anything else. Yet for this piece I found it hard to lower the bar.

This set of performances were of interest to me on so many levels.  The technical, the artistry and the interaction between our two very distinct worlds.  To me, a successful performance is one that engages the mind, the eyes and the emotions.  A very tall ask at the best of times.

I went to the RoH performance with low expectations.  I expected it to be more of a “look how clever we are!” performance rather than something that would be a life changer.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Yet it had a more profound affect than probably intended simply because it brought into focus those questions of defining reality, authenticity and how conditioned we are in our views.

During the interval I glanced at the monitor that was showing the activity in the auditorium and felt a frisson when I saw the performers setting up. The screen with the Second Life feed was at the back of the stage and the symmetry of the link came to mind.  I’m standing in real life watching a monitor displaying people setting up in real life that has a monitor with people in Second Life that leads to people in real life looking at their monitors. The shame was that the feed wasn’t two way, the circle would have been complete if in the background the soon-to-be mourners could see the RoH audience.

Those of us who were there from SL tittered at the jibes at LL over the instability of the sim, could relate to some of the points that were made about the utility of electronic platforms but I came away thinking that it just brushed the surface of everything it touched. 

The second night I was inworld and it my perspective shifted.  The distractions of the RoH were gone and there was only the inworld visuals, the music and the text.  It became less stilted and more engaging.

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

The words did stir a response that they failed to do the previous night, perhaps because of the intimacy of being so close to my monitor and the immersion in the set.  Certainly it should have been the perfect second life drama, all the ingredients were there..  The announcement of leaving, the monologue prior to departure, the flouncing off and then the return the next day – all pure SL drama that is acted out countless times by countless people each day inworld.

and yet it felt stilted.  The performers are obviously in SL but I don’t they are of SL.  The attention to detail in the build (that glow!!) and the lack of AOs on the performers didn’t lead me to believe they spend a lot of time inworld.  I don’t  the believe the performers are actors/role players either and the conversation afterwards between the mourners and Trixiebelle (the newly bereaved) made me wonder if she was laughing at those mourners who claimed to be so affected by the performance.

I’ve spent the best part of a week thinking about the performance and why I couldn’t uncritically accept what was offered.  In the end my conclusion is that it didn’t further the human condition, it failed to entertain, it was technically adequate and I still don’t get the point of the monologue or the reason behind why Caspar chose death. 

That to me was probably the biggest failing and if everything else was stripped away, that would be why I’m less than enthused.  It has made me think about what real actually means – actors in a performance aren’t real, my Beijing Brothers look alikes are real but not as they initially appear and what makes the virtual world not real? What’s the difference between picking up the phone to talk to someone who hears your digitised voice against meeting someone in a space where they see a digitised you? Yet that wasn’t the objective of the performance, just a beneficial side effect.

The performance would have been better in a more intimate real life space.  The RoH auditorium is just too big and detached the audience from the world they are glimpsing.  It was a bit like going to see a foreign movie with subtitles, the nuances are lost.  Certainly had this been in a more appropriate place it would have been more engaging but it still wouldn’t answer the question of the point of this performance.

It was stylish and to some would have been a clever use of technology and may tempt some to come inworld to explore the potential. As a performance piece though, I just didn’t get it.  Yet it has made me think about the separation of the virtual from the physical and how we perceive and respond to each. 

So for that I rate it as one of the better performances I’ve seen this year.  The questions it raises will be food for thought for a long time and very few performances can make that claim.

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

You may have seen this blogpost  When I saw it, I certainly couldn’t resist grabbing a ticket and allowing myself a chance to see the production from both sides of the divide.

Tonight I went to the real life premiere, tomorrow I’ll be inworld for the second performance.   The piece is part of the ROH’s annual Firsts series.  The series is a mini fringe festival showcasing performances from upcoming artists who are outside of the mainstream of the ROH productions. 

It was an interesting evening all round.  I discovered one of my favourite street performers actually isn’t always what they seem – if that makes sense..  I’ve seen an outfit called The Beijing Brothers on and off for the last 10 years playing around Soho, in Birmingham and in Edinburgh during the fringe.  I really like their stuff..  usually they’re playing different chinese instruments as they busk and they’ve always got at least one CD to sell to the punters.  Every time I see them I pick up another cd and say thanks to whatever act of fate that made me cross their path.

Tonight I heard those familiar sounds wafting across the Covent Garden Piazza and made a bee line for it.  I sat for a while listening and enjoying myself thoroughly as they’ve got a new cd out..  I went up to have a chat between songs and discovered that things aren’t always quite as you expect..  there’s a rival group called the Peking Brothers..  and the guy who was playing apparently didn’t have anything to do with them even..  He was flogging their CD though and I must say he played beautifully.  Does it matter?  What really is real and when does real become virtual? I was amused at the thought of a pack of old chinese guys busking on the street playing the music that sounds exactly like some other buskers to be enchanting. 

When I walked into the bar of the ROH I must say I was surprised at the diversity of the crowd.  From luvvies to the basement dwellers via suits, the young, old and virtually everything in between.  Suddenly I thought SL was a lot more interesting in it’s userbase than I had imagined.  Then I came to my senses and realised that there were 4 different performances on in the programme.  That explains the luvvies. 😉

The ROH programme itself was interesting as all fringe performances are.  Like all fringe performances though the artists are too clever for their own good and it does detract from the coherence and impact. 

I did get introduced to a new aerial rope act called Collectif and Then.  Think trapeze without the trapeze.  The audience was completely silent except for gasps as they demonstrated an agility and confidence in their ropework that surprised and amazed..  none of this clapping after each amazing twist and turn – just silence as if they didn’t want to chance distracting the girls.  Supposedly the piece as about how political decisions impact children longterm.  They could have ditched that and stayed with the ropework, all it did was distract from the visuals – which were stunning.  They have a show scheduled for February 2010 in collaboration with a juggler and a chinese pole artist..  Sounds delicious.

Next up was some modern dance thing about male violence.  3 men doing limited dance moves (think those head spin things from the 1980s) really left me wondering if I had time to get a nap in. They did have friends in the audience to clap after each head twirl thing though.  That’s what friends are for I suppose.

The next performance was another one of those blurring the borders of reality and illusion.  Called The Making of Doubt it was captivating.  It enchanted, puzzled and was completely engagingly visual. Unfortunately Saturday night is the last performance on their tour so if you can get down to check it out tomorrow night then do.  On it’s own it’s well worth the ticket price.

 The last piece was the one I was there for:  The Second Death of Caspar Helendale.  It’s an interesting concept – they stream the SL visuals out to the opera house and the music from the opera house is streamed in. 

Jeska Linden turned up looking completely inappropriately dressed but she wasn’t alone there was a least one newbie looking guy in a tshirt and jeans.  At least everyone else made an effort – it was a pre-requiem after all.

As to my thoughts on it.  I’m holding off until after tomorrow night.  I think I need to see if SL changes my perspective.

So if you’re not doing anything on 28 Nov at around 1.30 SLT then come join me inworld as Caspar Helendale spends his last 20 minutes in Second Life.

Shop Closure


The shop has closed.  Most of my items are available through XSL and there’s a selection on Apez. 

If you fancy being an affiliate then in the next couple of weeks I’ll post the link to the affiliate vendor that you can grab and set up. 

As always, it’s been fun.

With apologies of AA Milne of course 😉

 © Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

So, Second Life has reached its 6th birthday and once more the residents have come together to provide most of the content. I was invited to the press preview and managed to spend 4 almost lag free hours roving my camera over the builds.

It actually the first time I’ve managed to have a look at the birthday sims, in previous years either I’ve got in and got trapped in the lag warp ( got trapped under a bridge at a sim border!) or could never manage to tp in.

The theme this year is the future of virtual worlds. I must say that had I not known that I would have wondered.

The visual highlights were Brunswick Warburtons piece (ok, didn’t grab names or slurls, my bad) but here’s the youtube taster for it

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

 the birthday cake (you have to see the snowdomes with deckchairs in them.. mindboggling 🙂 ),

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

a rather nice pink garden,

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

a garden where you can be eaten by a venus flytrap (!) although this pic is me sitting on some kind of grasshopper munching on a leaf.

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

the snails (check out the neon effects and the fluttering eyelashes)

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

The city of tomorrow (when I first read the sign I thought it said cafe of tomorrow and got all excited lol)

© Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

Once you get into the main customer builds you may need to make sure that you twiddle with your environment settings.  Night doesn’t do the builds justice.

If you want to see the rest of my pictures, they’re on my SL event flickr stream here.  If you do decide to go along for a look, make sure you wear your most low lag clothing and ditch most of the huds.  If past years are anything to go by it will be a lagfest and anything you can do to reduce it will make it easier for you to get in and get around.

Templum ex Obscurum
 © Alexia Cournoyer. 2009  All rights reserved.

I went to Templum ex Obscurum. I didn’t realise just how many years it has been since I was last at Relic and it appears it has well and truly gone now 😦  

It seems that somewhere on The Nameless Isle is this organ but I couldn’t find it. 

Relic Organ
© Alexia Cournoyer. 2007 All rights reserved.

I’ll just have to go back and have another look.. 

Templum is owned and maintained by someone else now but it is still a joy to wander through. My Flickr site has a selection of a few of the pics I took while I was having a nosey around.

As always, Baron Grayson’s sims are a visual treat to wander around and I can’t wait to see how The Nameless Isle evolves.

He’s designed for those days when only a big bear hug will do. 🙂

He’s big at around 4m high but can be resized.  There’s nothing nicer than plonking yourself down on his knee and giving him a big hug.

The animation is specially made for this.

buy it inworld or on Xstreet SL