Aesthete & Amateur: Review of Rose Borchovski

Rose Borchovski takes risks in a narrative sculptural installation. By expressing the devastation of war upon the innocent, she shows the extreme positive and negative in human nature. Elegantly portrayed in an original setting, the process of degeneration also reveals the eternal winners of love and connection.

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On-going role-play series of gallery and art reviews by credentialed art critic, Eleanor Medier, and her less-than-professional husband, Heavy Writer.

History Rhymes: Review of Rose Borchovski

Heavy is determined to impress his snobby wife with all he has learned about visual art. He goes on a hunt to find the most moving and masterful installation in the virtual world. Once discovering the work of Rose Borchovski, he can’t wait to share with Eleanor.

Heavy: “You know I’m not a big fan of 3D big installations, but this one I think you’ll like. It is on three or four levels. Do you hear any sounds? The sounds are important. And there are some arrows for directions here and there.”

Eleanor looks around bewildered: “I hear child sounds and a dog.”

Heavy grabs her hand: “Come, follow me. You have to walk through so you can understand, dear. Here there are some toys and a child with his mom. He has a pet pig too.”

Eleanor: “There are these eyes following us—spies everywhere.”

Heavy: “In this kitchen, it looks like a birthday party. Mom promises a great time with a cake that floats above, balloons, and streamers. This is peace time. Now, follow me.”

Eleanor struggles to keep up with Heavy, as she gets distracted by more and more to see.

Heavy: “You see the yellow writing?”

Eleanor shivers: “Yes, it says: ‘BUT THEN THE WAR CAME.’”

Heavy: “Go through and make sure you listen to the sounds. Those shiny cubes are bombs, or explosions. Do you hear the siren like for an aerial attack? Then there are these signs popping up everywhere. They tell what we can’t do: we are not allowed to read, to walk in the park, etc. We have to wear yellow ribbons. We are not allowed to breed. We are not allowed to have a name. Now we are a number, etc. This is very well realized.”

Eleanor: “It is complex. We are brought into the story and drama interactively, as spectators. Here is the same kitchen after the war— it is destroyed.”

Heavy: “The kid is under the table, but he is still innocent, though very sad with his pet pig for company.”

Eleanor: “This is a nasty future.”


Heavy: “It is not the future, but the past—World War II, the Holocaust. The signs say: ‘You have lost your name. You are a number.’”

Eleanor: “Ohhhh the yellow ribbon! yes I get it now. However, I have to approach it not knowing that—it is much more about the human condition. Though a narrative, it is a huge piece, its visual symbolism carries through.”

Heavy: “Come closer and listen. Do you hear the list of names? And she put a pile of yellow ribbons to suggest all who died—nothing creepy. Most would have put bodies, but she could find a symbol for death. So the creepy thing is not visual, it is the suggestion of what happened.”

Eleanor: “This is a powerful portrayal. It pulls in the observer to experience and feel the changes.”

Heavy: “Here they are deported; you can hear the sound of a train. This is probably the best 3D installation I have seen in SL. I saw an interview with her on Youtube— she wanted to display this at SLB 2007 or so, and Linden Labs banned her. They didn’t want to display this.”

Eleanor’s curiosity overtakes her conviction to only judge visual artwork visually: “Why not???”

Heavy: “They said it has too much nudity for a PG sim. Since it has no nudity, it was obvious they just didn’t want to display it.”

Eleanor is aghast: “This can’t be ignored! This is a major work in SL—even exemplary of the medium! Here is an immersive powerful exhibition that could not be experienced any other way.”

Heavy: “The subject is controversial, but her staging is genius.”

Eleanor: “I wish to get a handle on the whole. Ok—starting with the floor. Why is it checkered? This is very visually dominant.”

Heavy grabs her hand: “Wait! You are going in the wrong direction. Now walk with me—come up these stairs—and on the way up, read the signs. This changes as we walk—the stairs appear before us. It is interactive— so walking activates. And the sound remains important.”

Eleanor: “I am climbing. These signs are devastating.” But she missteps and falls off back down to the surface.

Heavy is too busy looking up to look down: “Make sure you don’t lose the stairs—more will appear as you climb. See that big child head? It has a white pigeon circling around? Dreaming about peaceful times. This brings it together—the whispers, the people in boxes, the terror. Each box comes with a ribbon, one pair of eyes, and some personal belongings—pictures with love ones lost.”

Eleanor: “We don’t have enough pages to do this piece justice. Dear, I am hard to impress, but this is masterful.”

Heavy: “See here—the base of this story is where two children are friends—Beth and Lot. But Lot dies, or they are separated and Beth never sees Lot again.”

Eleanor: “This is very sad really. Overall—even in the happy parts, we sense dread coming.”

Heavy: “Yes, and I find it really amazing that she succeeds to represent this with symbols. We don’t see any Nazi soldiers, we don’t see any ugly piled up dead bodies. She tells the story through a human setting. It is all white black/bright colors.”

Eleanor: “This does make war highly personal. The black and white used in the figures too makes them seem tragic and ghostly, but they feel human too—their expressions and postures. We relate to them; they are us too. They are innocent victims.”

Heavy: “Now have you figured why the kid has a pet pig and not a dog? Pigs get slain.”

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Eleanor: “The boy does hide under the table with the pig. Though this piece is huge, the narrative holds together.”

Heavy: “Yes, there is unity in composition—a mature artist with a defined style.”

Eleanor: “Oh it is soooo sad dear. ‘Lot had no chance to become who she was meant to be.’ That puts tears in my eyes. This art has a spirituality—the birds, the beams of light, the ghostly figures.”

Heavy: “Now this is after the war.”

Eleanor: “Ohhhh. This is not an easy piece to see, but it is easy to understand. There is a lot to it though. It is weird how the eyes still follow us.”

Heavy: “I think the eye symbolizes the idea that terror will always follow you after such experience. Look on the wall—there are pictures of kids having numbers instead names. At the end of tunnel, you fall down to the first stage.”

Eleanor: “This is the kind of statement you will never forget. It is highly personal and very much affects your feelings for what the people went through.”

Heavy: “This goes beyond what we know about the Holocaust. This represents what can happen again in the next war— not necessarily to the Jewish people, but can be Palestinians next. It can be as well about people from communist prisons. Look at the bigger scale.”

Eleanor: “There is genocide throughout history. With all of our civilization too, this still happens. ‘History does not repeat, it rhymes.’”

Heavy: “Where there is war, there is massacre too. There are so many examples. I wonder if she has other dis- plays.” He pulls up his Search box and enters ‘Rose Borchovski.’ “I found out another, not as big.” Off he teleports and sends for Eleanor.


Heavy: “I don’t understand much of this one. It is called ‘Echoes in the Garden.’ Obviously she has an obsession for pigs.”

Eleanor: “Indeed. They smoke too. How did you get up there?”

Heavy: “Just walk; a path will rezz— walk towards me and you wont fall.”

Eleanor, who has a talent for falling off of stairs and platforms, mutters: “I’m scared.”

Heavy: “One pig is vegetarian. The pig is a symbol for politicians.”

Eleanor: “Generally.”

Heavy: “At least those two smoking I believe are politicians. I’m not sure about the third one.”

Eleanor: “It is raining on us. Perhaps the echo reference is that this does not take place in the garden. The pigs have emerged from the garden; they are dancing. She sets up her own visual metaphors, and the dancing pigs have little regard for anything going on around them. Careful, or you might get in their way.”

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Enjoy different, but related, issue versions: online and in-world (available at the Second Life® SSJ office (Innu 42, 35, 1649) or here as a PDF: Sim Street Journal #12
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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)





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Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.






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