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Cutea Benelli's Shoes

I have to admit that I have let my SL shopping lapse somewhat since things have gotten so busy with alpha.tribe. A state of affairs which needs to be remedied ASAP! What I was doing before, and should really continue to do so, was creating a collection of noteworthy SL design artifacts. Which is of course an endless undertaking, given how much of it there is out there...

grim bros is no secret: Most female avatars who have been around the block once or twice (and quite a few men too, I would guess), have probably ended up there and have been as gobsmacked as myself at the amount of imagination, humor and diversity that Cutea manifests, in fact is literally bubbling over with. And no, I am not being impertinent or brazen by calling Miss Benelli by her first name only. She is in fact an SL friend, although admittedly we hardly ever exchange two words from one month to the next - both of us way too busy rezzing for much time to be left over for social chitter chatter. That is certainly what it is like on the alpha.tribe end and given the volume of output at grim bros (phenomenal would be an apt word? Staggering? Unbelievable?) I would assume that Cutea is even busier than we are.

Painting Syncretia

Naxos Loon gave me a landmark yesterday. I have yet to receive something from him which has not turned out to be some spectacular find or other (and particularly of the hilariously funny kind), so this evening I made my way over there. I am not a good SL traveler, in fact I am no traveler at all. But, when Naxos tells me to go someplace, I usually go. And am I glad I did so in this case!

Isn't this great? It has been created by pallina60 Loon, whose profile left me none the wiser since it is mostly, if not entirely, in Italian.

I love this! And Syncretia is in dire need of a lick of paint. Long overdue, in fact! The trail stays rezzed for a really long time by the way, so I was in no kind of rush to take these photos. Took my sweet time with camera angles and sky presets, in fact. That's how long it was around for! The sky preset I used to take these is one of the ones by Mescaline Tammas. And needless to say, the ones I took without the custom preset are not nearly as nice.

Note: I will be writing a whole big post on Naxos sometime soon, have been meaning to do it for ages, almost a year now. And that one will be an academic post by the way. That is probably what is taking me so long to get going with it...
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Artistic Oxymorons

... and Tautologies!

I have been giving some thought to these of late. I found a gem of a one the other day, but I am saving that one for later. And if I continue to find some more, who knows, I may even start a weekly rubric called "Artistic Oxymorons and Tautologies by Alpha Auer" right here on this semi-dead blog. Neat, huh? Pump some action into this place!

Coming home from work just now, stuck as I was in heavy traffic on the bridge, another really good one occurred to me. Which seems quite an appropriate location for inspiring thoughts to spontaneously burst forth by the way. Given how you are stuck between two continents, there would have to be some added planetary (not to mention cosmic, of course) energy, right? hhh... So, really no wonder at all that several million Istanbulites hit peak levels of misanthropy on this very spot on a twice daily basis...

But hey! What the bridge evoked in me tonight is not just another good one! Oh no! This one is the cherry on the icing of all artistic tautologies of all times: Conceptual Art!

As opposed to?... ? What?

Un-conceptual Art? Now what could that possibly be? The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel maybe? Wonder what Michelangelo would have to say about his pride and joy being called un-conceptual? Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson? I am sure he would not have been best pleased either! The cave paintings of Lascaux? Let me tell you, those shamans would have had fits! Elgin's Marbles - Phidias, dissolved in tears over the insult? Monet? Cezanne? Who? What? What in the entire history of art that is even worthy of the slightest mention therein is un-conceptual? Could ever be so?
So, if anyone out there can enlighten me on this subject, I would be truly indebted to them. Mind you, I am up to scratch on all of my Kosuth reading and so forth - so, I am most definitely not looking for any elucidation on what conceptual art is. What I would very much like to know is the other one...
So, please people - tell me: What exactly is un-conceptual art?
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de stijl

I wished to make something starkly, absurdly geometric and see whether it could in fact result in a garment – one that people would actually wear, that is…

I was thus hugely gratified when, not so long ago, fellow Turk and SL associate Troy Vogel contacted me and told me what a traffic stopping, knock em dead success he had been wearing this outfit (down to those lovely little prim shoes) to the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright museum in SL. And a more appropriate place to be flaunting this I really cannot think of…

The thing with the big tenets of modernist design, such as “less is more”, “form follows function” and “ornament is crime” is to know exactly how far to take them before the whole thing erupts in sublime ridiculousness, and somewhat more seriously in a relinquishment of personal identity, given that (when it comes to appearance) it is our very ornaments that distinguish us from the one standing next to us. Sometimes intentionally so, but more often than not quite unawares: You wear suede cowboy boots, I wear Doc Maarten’s – both are in their essence ornamental objects that reveal who we are, what we like, and quite a bit more as well. The purely functional boot, entirely devoid of the crime of ornament? Hmmm… Kinda hard to imagine really, no? And, I for one, have to be very careful to remember all this since my natural tendencies in design do in fact lean towards the stark, the unadorned, the less rather than the more… So, I do fall in love when I see something like Rietveld’s Schroder House and my little old graphic designer’s heart does go pit-a-pat gazing at his famous white chair.

Stark as it may be, the de.stijl dress is (in the end), all about ornament – and quite deliberately so at that. In fact, it is ornamental to the point where I quite enjoy imagining Theo van Doesburg clobbering me on the head with one of his arithmetic compositions as a punishment for it (not that he is still around to do so, alas…).

Ornament as evidenced in the spine cubes: They certainly serve no function, other than to make your life utterly miserable should you wish to lean back into your – oh so gorgeously comfortless – red, blue, yellow and black reclining chair. (Oh and, just before I forget – I did throw a couch along the same lines into the sales box of this. With embedded poseball of course! A nice small cube: Right where your derriere is supposed to go. Verrrry functional that!…). Or the prim train: Try getting into a crowded space with that! (I wonder how Troy managed it? Can’t have been much of a turnout at the event, I suppose). Or the mohawk? What would you need to put that on, I wonder? Screws? And last but not least is of course the prim manicure! Try nibbling at your hors d’oeuvres with that!

So, it is me taking the piss out of my own obsessions. This de.stijl dress. For men and women, I should add…

Note: Following the worthy adage of less is more, this is probably the most decolté outfit alpha.tribe has ever put out there. In fact, so risque is it that I got bashful and did not pose for it in any of the images but had Amina do it instead. I mean, when all is said and done, I am a look-alike avatar and it would not do at all, you know!?!

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Bob Dorough

If you talk about a musician who is special to you, are you (in the end) (again!) talking about yourself? Well, yes. I suppose you are. But, no matter - I do want to talk about Bob Dorough, for whose music I placed a big order at Amazon last week. Apparently they manufacture one of the items I wanted only on demand, so I am still waiting for the whole shipment to arrive; but this is my Syncretismas gift to myself this year. You can listen to the samples if you are not familiar with the man's music here.

I had not thought of Bob Dorough or listened to him in a very long time. I used to have his stuff on audio cassettes. Then when that technology became extinct I tossed out the whole kit and caboodle which I had accumulated during one of my major clean out sessions some years back and Bob Dorough's music went out with the rest. And then lately I started hearing his songs in my head. Why I hadn't done so in so long I have no idea. Anyway, the real music should be arriving in a few weeks and I cannot wait!

For someone who adores The Who, Bob Dorough may appear to be a somewhat bizarre choice but nevertheless I love his music - and I love Bob Dorough. He does "vocalese", which means he adds lyrics to jazz standards that are essentially conceived of as instrumental music. And then he also sings quite a few regular jazz standards that others have in their repertoire as well. Like Polkadots and moonbeams, after which I named a whole alpha.tribe outfit. I do not really care for any of the other versions of this song sung by other vocalists, but his I love!

And much the same also goes for Devil may care and even Midnight sun (although admittedly Sarah Vaughn does a pretty mean Midnight sun as well).

He sings almost like as if he is talking, even maybe whispering. And yet there is still the melody. But he sort of teeters on the edge of melody, doesn't seem to make a big deal out of it almost and yet it pours out perfectly of course. Off the cuff he is. Naughty. Mischievous. The voice of the refusal to grow up. Sticking to your guns of childhood as you plod through your boring old grown up life. And it carries both the joy and the sadness embedded into that state of being, which would inevitably bring with it humor and idiosyncrasies. And somehow Bob Dorough sings all of this, brings his psyche through in his vocals: Very tongue-in-cheek, very mercurial, very tough to pin down. Almost impossible to categorize, almost impossible to put a label onto.

Like I said - I love Bob Dorough. I love the music itself  of course, it is awesome. But I do more than just love the music in Bob Dorough's case. I hear the one who sings it and love what the voice tells me of its owner

I just rooted around online a bit and Bob Dorough is alive and well at the age of 87. He has a page on my-space and I am almost tempted to sign up and become his friend there. Bloody shyness stopping me of course. In any case, although it is extremely unlikely that he will ever hear me doing so, I wish him all the very best of health and longevity and good spirits in the upcoming decade!