The Aesthete and the Amateur: UWA

blog dept-A&A

by Eleanor Medier and Heavy Writer

An unlikely fictitious couple reviews sculpture exhibit at the University of Western Australia.

(Please see the in-world release for more photographs and articles, also available on MARKETPLACE)
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Well educated and sophisticated art critic, Eleanor Medier, has more advantages than most people. Able to pursue her dreams of controlling the aesthetic minds within society, a person with as many opinions as she has deserves an outlet. In a world where just about anyone who snaps a photo and manipulates it in a sketch program calls himself an “artist,” SOMEONE must make sense of it all! And Eleanor is up to the task. Mostly living in a celestial world of her own, occasionally she still has to deal with problems of the daily, routine life, problems that she usually leaves on the capable shoulders of her less-educated and more practical husband. She can tell the difference between an impressionist and an expressionist painter, but she can hardly tell the difference between a plate and fry pan!

Built like a Greek sculpture, Heavy would make a good exhibit in a gallery. But other than his visual appeal, he comes from a totally different world than his aesthete wife. Ex-truck driver, he supported Eleanor, while she pursued her education at The Chicago Art Institute. In the process, he gave her a child, so this is how they end up in such a weird marriage. Soon a second child came, not to mention horses, dogs, fish, meeroos, and some rather unidentifiable pets, that expand the family. So while Eleanor builds her career, Heavy, former truck driver, transformed into a “house-husband.” While Eleanor polishes her aesthetic discrimination, her husband focuses on shopping lists that always have a six pack of beer at the top. Personally, a balance keeps both content. But in society, their contrast can be a disaster.

Disaster was about to struck one fateful day when, dressed with taste and panache, Eleanor drove her sleek black Mercedes towards the prominent University of Western Australia’s gallery. So excited about her upcoming review for Unforgettable Magazine, she barely noticed when her car engine coughed. But she did notice when it died! Whomever  said that German cars never break down should consider that an engine, no matter how advanced, still needs oil to run—oil that Eleanor never considered to add. So, stranded, in the middle of nowhere, this cultural magesty made a phone call:

Heavy, dear, my car died! Change your dirty jeans, put a suit on—and come pick me up. I’m late! You better rescue me before another truck driver does!

Not jealous of the beautiful artists that Eleanor associates with each day, he considered them “sissies.” But he knew better than anyone what a truck driver can do. So he jumped off his comfy couch, guzzled the last drops of a Budweisser, grabbed an old jacket from the bottom of the dresser, slipped into his Mustang, and squealed down the alley behind their house in a cloud of smoke.

Ten minutes later, both Eleanor and Heavy descend in front of the gallery! She is fresh and elegant, like a duchess. He looks scruffy in red striped snickers, black training pants, T-shirt and on top of this, his great attempt at fashion—his glorious jacket from his high school prom! Eleanor furiously his attire. But, determined not to let down the readers she knows anxiously await her every word, she straightened up and grabbed him by the arm, composing herself to enter the vast exhibition space. Heavy, with innocence and pride in his re-found jacket, loosened himself from her grasp, and immediately strutted up to the buffet and bar, where he ordered a couple of drinks (delighted that they were free). The first he consumed in a few gulps, and the second he took with him as he sauntered back to trail after his fashionable wife.

Hence this unlikely couple captivates those nearby with their blend of both education and naivety. Perhaps those visiting the UWA exhibit will find a little extra intrigue from their banter.

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Mother by Rebeca Bashly

Eleanor: “I know this is dark—but it evokes many references.

Heavy: “It is not dark! It has an optimist twist. The links are not broken.”

Eleanor: “The connection between the two sides has a duality of form—a symmetrical balance.

Heavy: “It is expressive—it makes you think. This could be the image of our relationship—hahaha.”

Eleanor: “The divided earth is powerful. The eyes make it feel as if the whole world is one man—a dominance over the planet. The connectors show an interdependence, much like the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The energy flashes like neurons—and takes advantage of the kinetic medium. Very formal. Cathedral of thoughts… .

Heavy: “Simple thoughts. This can also be my brain in the morning after a night of drinking—like my head will explode—but nothing you can’t fix with an aspirin and a strong cup of coffee. This could make a good commercial for a pain reliever!

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Heartwood by Fae Varriale

Heavy: “I like this green one. A better title is ‘Primary Instinct’—man, dog, nature.

Eleanor: “It has an interplay of legend, without being too specific—clearly refers to Pan—especially if he had a flute. The man symbolizes all myth.

Heavy: “This guy is far from just living outdoors—he is connected with the environment. He is not the kind who will leave trash at the campsite.

Eleanor: “There is a symbiotic relationship between the man and the dog—even a devotion. The man in connected to the wilderness—symbolized by having horns and hooves. They could fight one another, but they choose to get along.”

Heavy: “This one I like—because i`m the outdoor type of guy. This can be a jogger who got lost in the woods! Is lucky that dog found him—maybe show him the way. So how does art have value or is this play?”

Eleanor: “I think art is one of the strongest aspects of SL. Here, there are no parameters. Artists are only limited by imagination and time. So it attracts those who appreciate an international audience and a new landscape for creativity. Like this sculpture can be beautiful in real life, but in SL, it can reach more people much faster.”

Heavy: “This is something people can understand. I like it—because I can relate.”

Eleanor: “I like the message of the piece—but it feels soft—not bold—and so can go unnoticed.”

Heavy: “The technical art extravaganza doesn’t impress me if doesn’t have a meaning. Art has to have a meaning—like a riddle.”

Eleanor: “I would rather see a strong idea done badly than a weak idea done well, any day.”

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Caravanserai of Fractured Fairy Tales by Eliza Wierwight

Eleanor: “Here we have a dark riddle.”

Heavy: “This is too dark! I can’t put this in my living room—the kids will have nightmares and I’m happy they’ve stopped peeing in their beds! I happy art. I fight with my dark side everyday, definitely don’t need to look at it on the walls!!.

Eleanor: “This seems like a tragedy. People like like tragedies! The rich tradition goes back to the Greeks—look—there are some classical references in the piece.”

Heavy: “People don’t like tragedies. I have enough tragedy scrubbing toilets, washing dishes, and ironing your dresses.”

Eleanor: “Tragic movies are popular though—the Romeo & Juliet thing. You will find every generation has its iconic tragic characters. Expressing angst at the human condition is one of the basic motivations of art—to recognize the various levels of experience and emotion.”

Heavy: “Romeo and Juliet are popular because they were in love, not because they end up dead! Tragedy is interesting only for sissies!

Eleanor: “Maybe it makes viewers feel better about their own lives. This piece is about the dark side of fables or stories, or games. Why do people like Edgar Allen Poe or Halloween? I think it is like songs. It is easier to write a really good sad song than a really good happy one.

Heavy: “You wanna feel better about your life? Listen to some down-hearted blues songs. Come on—you can’t believe that sad songs are easier to write than happy ones.”

Eleanor: “Ask Paul McCartney. I do believe that.”

Heavy: “Who is Paul McCartney? lol :)”

Eleanor: “Writing happy songs can so easily sound trite or sugary or just not genuine.”

Heavy: “What McCartney sings is not art—or good music, if you ask me.”

Eleanor: “You don’t think the Beatles were good music??

Heavy: “Beatles were crap, with few exceptions—maybe the White Album or Rubber Soul—and the music with oriental influence. You can give good examples, no doubt. But McCartney ruined Lennon which was the soul of the band. A guy standing for his ideas is what I like it about Lennon, and crossing the borders like Hendrix.”

Eleanor: “Lennon could capture such depth in his lyrics—he was a poet who used words people can understand, yet are still profound. In this piece I find intriguing symbols to decipher.”

Heavy: “This chess table is confusing—you can’t tell which one is king, queen, or rook!I don’t like chess anyway because gives me a headache—backgammon is definately more interactive and you only need to pray for a good dice! No headache in that!

blog-SSJ#1 UWA-nightfire2Ariadne Spinning by Fuschsia Nightfire

Heavy: “This one is not art for taking home, but art for main city square. This has a cool idea of those spinning planets way up there.”

Eleanor: “It is monumental, powerful, large—that is part of its impact.”

Heavy: “We are all string attached, stuff like that. It is like we could harness the energy of moons or the way we put a damn in a river.”

Eleanor: “It has an atlas-reference too.”

Heavy: “He puts too many details in his work, if I were to be made a critic.”

Eleanor: “You think it is too detailed? Because you know how to build things, you can tell that more than me.”

Heavy: “Well, mostly I think she has great legs! This made my day worth it. 🙂 Look at those shapes and forms! What a silhouette…what tail lights! This cutie is making the worlds spin and my cultural level raise! Let me get some snapshots to show my friends!

Eleanor, totally embarrassed by her husband’s loud appraisals, pushes him to the exit. Heavy sneaks a few more photos on his mobile phone, laughing: “Oh come on sweetheart you can’t be jealous on a statue! She is too tall for me anyway! But maybe I’ll buy her and resize. hahaha!

They pass close to a floating sculpture in one of UWA’s buildings, which momentary entrances Eleanor. But she pushes on with her mission.

Still controlling his trajectory out the gallery door, Eleanor encourages Heavy’s momentum right into the drivers’ seat of the Mustang. Five minutes later, waiting at a red traffic light, Heavy happily checks his quick snapshots and, in his usual effusive way, comments: “After so many years of marriage, I now understand you! Art is indeed a beautiful thing and I’m thinking to become a collector. So from now on, consider me your partner in crime! Let’s review all the galleries in Second Life! Now I have a new career as art critic—you’ll see. Heavy doesn’t need a degree to appreciate art! He has a natural talent for it.

This series continues in Sim Street Journal #2.

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(Note: please see the in-world magazine or download Sim Street Journal June 2013 for more photographs.)

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The Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of second to first life.
© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.

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