Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Virtual friendships are jewels in the hands of Random Calliope

Ever wonder how your relationships in Second Life stack up against your Real Life ones? How meaningful are they, really? It seems you are in good shape if you are friends with virtual jeweler extraordinaire, Random Calliope.

I attended the gala unveiling of Pretty in Prims - a retrospective of his work - at Tayzia Abattoir's Crescent Moon Museum last Sunday. A master of micro-prim manipulation, Random's jewelry is the most coveted and prized in virtual worlds; his limited edition sets often selling at auction for $50,000L or more. Every piece of jewelry is 100% prim work. No textures, no scripts... just hundreds of beautiful prims placed with precision and an artful eye.

While Random's jewelry is, more often than not, Possible in Real Life (PIRL), it's how he goes about releasing it into the world that makes it Not Possible in Real Life (NPIRL). Consider how his fan-base obsessively attends Random's butterfly hunts, where hundreds of the butterflies - not all! - contain pieces of jewelry from the Ode Collection. And there was his Winter Solstice release of the Amandote! collection, costing exactly one hug, a price everyone can afford.

For the retrospective at the Crescent Moon, and as a memento, Random gave each attendee a set of his newest collection, The Pearl. I eagerly unpacked my set and then stopped in my tracks when I read the accompanying notecard. I invite you to share this with every friend on that list of yours whom you value. It's a gem.

===The Pearl===
by Random Calliope

Sometimes I'm a idiot.

One of my best friends, whose time I can't seem to get enough of, is Italia Villota. Tali is an energetic DJ seeking opportunities to do what she loves. She and I have grown closer as friends over the months, and I thank Jacks, her boyfriend, for being both understanding and trusting about that.

In early December 2007 Tali came to me excited with some news. She said she was SL pregnant! She said it in such a way that I knew she was very excited, but also tentative. Her friends began giving her a hard time about it. Tali has never been a mother in RL, although she has dedicated her profession to children.

Just like everyone else in SL, I have been in groups where SL fetuses announce to the world that they are pressing on their mommy's bladder, or want apple juice, and I found it as annoying as the next guy or gal.

My reaction to Italia's news was exactly what she didn't need. It was not the reaction of a friend who understands her excitement, rather one who prepared to be annoyed by chat messages from her belly.

Tali was understandably upset with me. She had already become very sensitive as one after another she received the same reaction from her "friends". She stopped communicating with me. I mean she stopped really communicating, although she would speak with me she stopped sharing her thoughts like we had come to do.

I knew I had some growing up to do.

Why, I asked myself, would a young lady want to be SL pregnant? What is it about the experience that is so important to them that they'd risk snide comments from friends and strangers? The moment I asked myself the question the answer was obvious.

A woman's entire body is dedicated to the creation and nurturing of children, of course their mind and instincts would be also. SL is a place to try what you haven't ever experienced in RL.

I immediately made my apologies to Tali and let her know that I not only understood, but also deeply respect her decision. Of course she accepted my apology, but it didn't go far in helping me make amends to myself for my immaturity that caused a friend discomfort.

Although I realize that as a man I can never quite fully comprehend the pregnancy experience (nor would I want the reality of it wreaking havoc on my body), I began talking with my friends who have young RL children about what it's like to make a life.

Harper Beresford gave me an outstanding explanation I listened to intently and thought about for hours.

Alanna Vantelli created an experience on the posing stand as we talked about the instincts and feelings she has for her son, and what it was like for her to be pregnant with him. How the work connected to itself took shape.

My main goal was to try to capture the glow that women have when they are building a life. As Alanna stood there she mentioned that her mother knew she was pregnant before she did by the glow in her eyes.

To me, the glow is pearlesque, which shines from within and only appears through the surface. As I built the piece, I tried to describe both men and women, the emergence of matriarchy from novice motherhood as love matures into pride, the constant evolution of generations, the glow of the woman whose entire being is made to create what she is creating.

The necklace was modeled to exactly match the dip of the collar in front of the neck where the heat from the body lights up the face as if it were an uplight. Over the shoulders where in the piece individuals become anticipating couples, I draped the necklace to highlight the shoulders there.

In the back the necklace ends with two more glorious pregnant bodies laying down across the back of the shoulders at such an angle as to bring attention to the curves of the back. In this way hoping to explain that a woman's entire body - front, back, top, bottom, mind and soul, are dedicated to the task of creating life for us all.

And they glow naturally, even when there's a tiny elbow pressing on their bladder. There is no ring or bracelet. She would only have to take them off because of the swelling.

Tali, I understand and not only respect your decision and your new experience, but I also hope your SL pregnancy has given you the experience you are looking for.

Thank you for clearing my mind up on the topic of SL pregnancy. I think now I understand better.

You can see The Pearl, as well as Random Calliope's entire collection - every single prim beautifully displayed - at the Crescent Moon Museum now through Sunday, January 20, by teleporting directly from here.

Random Calliope's Worthwhile Gallery can be visited by teleporting from here.


Hitomi Mokusei said...

I was there also, and it was quite remarkable to see so much of his work on display all in one place. It is all so beautifully done with such exquisite, and intricate detail. I went back on another day to look at everything more thoroughly since the lag was so bad at the event.

In fact, there is so much history written up by him accompanying each piece, that you can take it all in much better in a less crowded situation. Anyone going... be sure to click on the Info tags with each piece...fascinating history.

I somehow missed out on the The Pearl set he was giving away to everyone, being the first event of his I had attended, being so crowded, and not realizing there was a place those were so nicely being offered, which was disappointing.