The artist who goes by the moniker “AM Radio” is legendary in Second Life. His environmental installations are among the most visited and most talked about places. The artist who brought us “The Far Away” comes to the University of Kentucky’s SL island with a brand new installation to open Saturday, November 15, at 6:00 PM SLT (9:00 PM EST). This promises to be another landmark event for the SL art world, and most certainly for the UK Art Department‘s gallery in SL.
AM Radio’s work is both expansive and precise. If you enter his world called “The Refuge and The Expansion,” you’ll have a sort of anti-Dorothy moment: “I think I’m in Kansas…” You’ll see wheat fields extending forever with the next farm barely visible on the horizon. You’re on a lonely country road with utility poles running along the side. (At the moment the sim is covered with snow in a way only AM Radio could pull off. I could almost feel it melting in my boots.) You might come across a house, or a gas station, or a barn with an aircraft in it. Or you might encounter the famous rusting locomotive in the middle of a field.
The macro vision is stunningly realistic, especially his meticulous use of light and shadow (which is very difficult in SL), but equally impressive is the detail as you look more closely. Yesterday I wandered into his barn-like workshop, currently serving also as a aeroplane hangar. Everything I saw in there was jaw-droppingly precise. I’ve been a woodworker and have used bandsaws a lot. When I saw his I just stared at it for a long time, studying the details. I had a strong urge to pick up a prim and saw it in half with the thing. (I wonder how you’d do that?) Radio’s installations have common elements: the wheat fieds, a road, etc., but he is constantly tweaking things. Moving things around. Adding new surprises. It’s always worth going back to revisit.
The UK Art Department has taken the bold move of hiring a curator for its gallery in SL under the supervision of UK New Media professor Dmitry Strakovsky. Andrew Sempere (aka Tezcatlipoca Bisiani in SL) is a fine SL artist in his own right and is well connected with some of the top names in the SL art world. This is his first presentation as curator, and it’s expected to generate great interest from across the virtual world and even into the art world in real life.