“On February 12, 2008, eight friends, including artists, writers and philosophers were exploring cyberspace in a steampunk dreamliner when their ship crashed on a deserted island stranding them there. They formed a utopian community called Caerleon Isle, after the legendary seat of King Arthur’s Camelot and birth place of the forge of Excalibur, a symbol of the fusion of art, technology and magic that the islanders are in the process of creating.”
In February 2008, Georg Janick, ,the avatar of Gary Zabel (Professor of Philosophy at UMass), acquired Caerleon Isle and invited Aiyas Aya, Bryn Oh, Feathers boa, Kueperpunk Korhonen, marnie Reinard, Nonnatus Korhonen and Sunseeker Miklos to set up studios on the sim.
Shortly thereafter, Fran Benoir, Pete Jiminy and Pixels Sideways became resident artists on the sim.
The first collaborative project was dubbed “Future Man” by the artists. For three days, the Caerleon artists, along with a a few guest artists, piled on prims. The resulting sculpture loomed above the tallest point on the island sim and, despite the hodgepodge of diverse contributions from various artists, was stunningly beautiful. With its giant angelic wings spread out, “Future Man” appeared as if it might take flight at any second.
This set the stage for what Caerleon would become well regarded for in virtual worlds: Collaborative and themed group art installations.
Georg encouraged the resident artists of Caerleon to invite other artists. Glyph Graves, Olza Koenkamp, Ane Oh, luce laval, Blue Tsuki, Aequitas and Sabrinaa Nightfire joined in the creative madness.
The next project was The Surrealist Dance Hall,. The project concept was based on a building and the art within which would change after a few minutes from one scheme to the next — black and white, crazy Victoriana, modern surrealism and a prank scheme in which most of the building and art disappeared while local chat accused visitors by name of pushing a non-existent red button that in turn, destroyed the entire project.
The Surrealist Dance Hall was a huge success.
Georg decided to expand Caerleon and added another sim. New Caerleon would be the academic “open learning center” for Caerleon. Sabrinaa Nightfire created several of the buildings on New Caerleon, including a huge sci-fi museum for science fiction author and Caerleon member, Kueperpunk Korhonen. Feather’s Boa also built an open air lecture space crafted out of oversized art supplies.
Georg continued to invite artists to exhbit their work and/or provided studio space on New Caerleon where they could build. Alizarin Goldflake, Eln Alter, Cae Sands, Ub Yifu a few other artists became members.
Georg also began a lecture series and invited both Caerleon artists and others to participate.
When resident artist Pixels Sideways was approched by Mariposa Upshaw from the Angel Dorei art gallery to co-produce a large scale group exhibition, this became Caerleon Isle’s next project. “Stop Making Sense and Dream” featured a huge ascending helix of large platforms connected by ramps on which text written by the artist preceded their installations. The artists also created 2D flat art which was installed in the Angel Dorei gallery. The exhibition included most of Caerleon’s resident artists and opened up new relationships with several talented artists including Artistide Despres, Aurakyo Insoo, Wizard Gynoid, Botgirl Questi, Misprint Thursday and several others who would later become Caerleon artists in residence when Georg expanded and added a third sim, the Caerleon Art Collective.
“Stop Making Sense and Dream” further established Caerleon’s reputation for presenting art created by both emerging artists as well as established artists in an unusual and entertaining setting.
The next exhibition on Caerleon Isle was Life is a Bowl of… The criteria of the show was to challenge 30 artists who were given a 30m bowl shaped prim which was to be used in some way as part of their installation. The installations were as diverse and eclectic as they were impressive and the exhibition was well received.
Soror Nishi, four Yip, Miso Susanowa, Pyewacket Kazyanenko and Lollito Larkham became members and set up studio space on the Caerleon Art Collective sim
During this time, Georg held a meeting of resident artists and introduced his Theses Project. This was based on Georg’s “Theses on the Art of Virtual Worlds” which noted:
“There are six aesthetic-technological dimensions that collectively distinguish the art of virtual worlds from earlier forms of art. They are immersion, interaction, ambiguity of identity, environmental fluidity, artificial agency, and networked collaboration.”
Six team leaders were selected to lead the six described dimensions. The Theses Project exhibitons took place over the next three years and expanded and were seen by thousands of Second Life residents. Participating artists included:
4jetpacks4 (Immersion): Bryn Oh, Glyph Graves & Nonnatus Korhonen
Millifera (Artificial Agency): Nonnatus Korhonen &
The Vanishing: Caerleon Interactive Collaboration (Interaction): Artistide Despres, Freewee Ling, Miso Susanowa, Lollito Larkham, Mencius Watts, Pete Jiminy, Alizarin Goldflake, Sabrinaa Nightfire & Pixels Sideways
Voices (Networked Collaboration): Aequitas & Friends
Enviornmental Fluidity Collaboration Project (Envrionmental Fluidity): Pixels Sideways, Artistides Despres, Wotthe Dickins, Lollito Larkham, Banrion Constantine, PatriciaAnne Daviau, Alizarin Goldflake & Olza Koenkamp.
The Caerleon Museum of Identity (Ambiguity of Identity): Freewee Ling, Sabrinaa Nightfire,
Caerleon continued to expand and two more sims were added, Caerleon Art Collective2 — another resident artist sim — and Caerleon Erato, which was run by Sabrinaa Nightfire and would also provide space for resident artists as well as exhibitions
Georg also wanted to bring the art from Caerleon out of Second Life and into a “real world” gallery. He arranged a show that would take place in April of 2010. “Through the Virtual Looking Glass” began as another Caerleon concept exhibition but over the next several months, expanded to include art groups and gallery shows in France, the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil.
Caerleon artists and their art, both real and virtual, made their debut at the Harber Gallery at Umass in Boston. The exhibitions introduced hundres of people to Second Life virtual art via the “live” gallery shows ans thousands of Second Life residents were introduced to the art of Second Life’s most talented artists by traveling from sim to sim across the grid via specially designed kisoks and HUD’s.
For over four years, Caerleon Isle and it’s sister sims have hosted numerous themed exhibitions featuring the work of incredibly talented individuals from all over the world.
4Jetpacks4 *** Alea Fukushima *** Arcana *** Artists Caring For Artists Art Auction Benefit *** Big House *** Black & White & Red All Over *** Bloom *** Botgirl’s Identity Circus *** Caerleon Museum of Identity Collaboration *** Caerleon Project(ions) *** Caerleon Retrospective *** Childhood *** CONSUME! *** Constellations *** Enter *** Environmental Fluidity Collaboration *** Future Man Collaboration *** Future Project *** Icetopia *** Imagine Peacefest 2011 *** International Human Rights Festival 2009 *** Life is a Bowl of… *** Light & Gravity *** The Lost Wages of Sin *** Masks *** Millifera *** One Prim Wonder *** Our Place In The Cosmos *** Steamin’ Hot *** Stelarc: The Cadaver, The Comatose, & The Chimera *** Stop Making Sense & Dream *** Texture Challenge *** Through The Virtual Looking Glass *** The Vanishing: Caerleon Interactive Collaboration *** Voices (Caerleon Networked Collaboration) *** V-TV ***
Friendships that grew out of the collaboration have traversed the virtual into the real.
With the economic downturn and Linden Labs’ decision to eliminate the discount for non-profit and academic sims, a decision was made to scale back the number of sims. First to go was Caerleon Art Collective. A year later, Caerleon Art Collective2 followed.
In 2011, beloved Caerleon artist and curator, Sabrinaa Nightfire, lost her battle with cancer in 2011. Her sim, Caerleon Erato, continued to host artist exhbitions as well as Sabrinaa’s work. In February 2012, the sim was allocated to a group of Italian artists.
After some deliberation about the cost of maintaining non-profit sims in Second Life and whether or not the academic discount would be continued, a decision was made that Caerleon Isle would not be renewed unless funding was secured. To date, the fate of Caerleon Isle is still up in the air.
In February 2012, Caerleon submitted a proposal to LEA to continue the Caerleon tradition of providing fun, engaging and entertaining art exhibitions for Second Life residents. We’re still waiting for the outcome.
This website is a work in progress as Caerleon continues hosting/curating exhibitions on New Caerleon along with the expansion of MOVA (The Museum of Virtual Art). Caerleon will also expand outside of Second Life into grids in Open Sim and into more real world gallery exhibitions so stay tuned to see what’s next.
Information about all of Caerleon exhibitions will be featured on this website.
We hope you enjoy the work we’ve created in Second Life and other virtual worlds.
And to all the artists who have participated in the Caerleon exhibitions and to all the visitors who have enjoyed these wonderful works of art Caerleon has presented, thank you.