Saturday, March 14, 2009

"body parts" : Virtual lovers are star-crossed islands

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

“body parts,” Alpha Auer’s fittingly poetic contribution to the new Poetik sim, is an installation that consists of several monochromatic and nude human bodies heaped upon each other, and an offering of unusual skin outfits (both male and female) to be worn by its visitors. Poseballs scattered around the bodies invite visitors to become a part of the sculpture. In the accompanying notecard and on her blog, Alpha bemoans the lack of corporal love in our virtual environment and asserts that avatars are ultimately alone.

While Alpha’s work in Second Life® is often playful, this is no puff piece, and it opens up the conversation about the compromises virtual world residents make when we dedicate so much of our time tethered to our computers, manipulating our human simulations, but never actually making contact.

Virtual lovers are star-crossed islands but… are we not beautiful to look at? Like hothouse petals, translucent “body parts” emanate from the wearer, pining for, reaching out for, but never touching. Romantic? Yes... but also quite sad.

One might argue that physicality is not essential to love or to friendship, and most assuredly, it is not. But it is the deepening of that exchange between two people that gets hobbled and can go no further in pixilated form, no matter how ardent or tender the feelings. Intimacy is the casualty, and any participant in “body parts” is sure to face his or her demons.

Alpha was intentional in creating a colorless piece, but “body parts” plays well with Windlight. The installation can also be found on her own gorgeous sim, Syncretia, where it resides behind a cinematic wall of creamy nudity.

In addition to creating art of staggering beauty (or hilarity), Alpha Auer (aka Elif Ayiter) also blogs here on Not Possible IRL.

You can visit "body parts" at Poetik by teleporting directly from here, or at Syncretia, by teleporting directly from here and looking for a creamy globe some meters above ground. While the lighting at Syncretia is set to "sunset," Alpha has also created a Windlight preset for "body parts," which is available here.

Many thanks to Naxos Loon for posing for these photographs. Because Alpha is a mix-master when it comes to avatars and clothing, I knew she wouldn’t mind if I adorned my avatar’s body with Hern Worsley’s hair.


Unknown said...

This is beautiful!

Alpha Auer said...

My goodness!

Thank you! And no, I do not mind at all your mixing the avatar with Hern's hair. Between myself all my "tribe" members we have completely plundered his shop. There was one item we hadn't somehow gotten round to grabbing a hold of yet - but these days we have that one as well - and as a gift from the man of the hour himself no less...

I am glad you like "body parts". I had been meaning to build something about the absence of corporeality in SL for a while, but quite frankly had it not been for Poetik Velvets it would either not have come about at all or very differently. I built the piece very much with the architecture surrounding it in mind. Hence, the monochromatic thing and it is also the reason why I used an (for me) uncharacteristic amount of white both for the avatars and the sculptures. Again, I wanted to create some kind of contrast between the dark building and the piece. So, the place to see this is Poetik Velvets rather than Syncretia, since it is actually site-specific to Poetik Velvets. Basically I only rezed the one at Syncretia because I had a submission to make for an arts festival and needed a permanent slurl for that.

As for the NPIRL blogging... Ouch and double ouch! But I will be back with my (surely?) irresistible neko charm before too long... Promise!

Flexing my claws and grooming my tail even as we speak...

Anonymous said...

/me purrs and looks very forward to that moment.

(Alpha, this is just breathtakingly poignant.......... you've expressed so much that moves inside of us all...)