It must have been around September when the art world in SL heard good news about the reopening of Nordan Art, which disappeared suddenly and unexpected at the beginning of 2012 and has been missed since then. Flora Nordenskiold, owner and curator has chosen William Weaver (paperwork Resident) as builder of the new gallery.
I met William first in July last year, was immediately hooked by the outstanding quality of his SL photography and was lucky enough to have him as one of the two artists in my very first exhibition as curator at Art India Gallery. We became immediately friends. He is a humble, extremely talented person of outstanding generosity. He always gave support, advise (if requested) and his works for free. Many of you should know, that the Firestorm Phototools has been written by him. To me, his enormous productivity seems to be driven by a lot of passion and love for others and Second Life. He never took any money.
But back to the case. From beginning of October until end of December William worked day and night at the Nordan buildings. Not only to build. A lot of consideration has been included too. Regularly he talked to me and sent me invitations to see and discuss the progress of the work as he did with other friends. The whole assemble of buildings has been placed and built based on mathematical principles, the textures has been chosen carefully and William built everything for the best visitors experience, considering the camera position and avatar movement in SL, and, and, and...
At the beginning we discussed as well the function of a gallery in Second Life. I made him aware of the ongoing discussion about the necessity of virtual walls, the role of 3D art and immersion. But William and most of his closest friends are 2D artists in SL and with the progress of the builds I saw that they are solely meant for 2D art and maybe small sculptures. Honestly I was a bit surprised that the whole sim has been covered with structures in a way that would not allow larger 3D installations. But the arrangement of builds has been so genius, so breathtaking, that I was simply fascinated.
The next surprise to me was the announcement of the scheduled opening on January 12. (yesterday) with a artist line up of 2D and 3D artists. William took a break from SL for a while. The last months of building has been exhausting for him and the logged back last Thursday to see the already placed works, besides one artist who did not show up. William sent me an IM that he was shocked and extremely unhappy with the installed art, especially the works of one artist and asked me to come. We went through the exhibtion and he said: "I have not built this place for works like that." I spent many hours with him, making him aware of the needs of the other artists and to find a way of compromising for him. Honestly, I suspect that the invited 3D artists hasn't been happy either with the places they found to show up. At the end William calmed down and planned to contact the owner and curator Flora to find a compromise about the works of one special artist and accepting the rest.
The next day I logged in and got immediately a TP to Nordan by William. I found him and his team making a decision. I was told that William's doubts not only has not been heard, upon on that another 3D artist had been invited to replace the one who did not appear and worked already, covering the whole walls (don't get me wrong, I looove the works of this artist a lot and I know, that the art needs a special surrounding.). To William this was another hurting disrespect of his vision and he was on the way to take the Breakwave Building down. The team prepared a statement for the worst case, which I copy for you here:
|The Breakwave Building|
"Hello everyone, we hope this message finds you all well.
In the past few days, after a brief break from Second Life William returned to find preparations at the Nordan sim for the upcoming opening to take place on Saturday January 12.
While looking around the whole sim, we have noticed the work being set up for this event, and in many cases, it is our opinion that the work displayed does not suit the objective with which the builds were made. This is the case more than any other with the Breakwave Building, this build relies greatly on its layout and the textures which where carefully chosen and placed around it.
In what we have been able to see, we have noticed not only a lack of cohesion with the work displayed in the build, but also set ups where the build itself and its textures are covered so it would be the same to have them in any other structure.
It is for the reasons previously displayed, as well as others, that after careful consideration we have made the decision to remove this build from the sim, we apologize for the inconveniences this might create for those involved, and we can assure you we mean no personal offense to anyone with these actions.
Best regards to all,
Btw., the team is, besides William Weaver, Lo (dolliehaze Residen)t, Thalia Heckroth and Petra Messioptra.
William logged out, exhausted, deeply hurted and sad, but authorized his team to find a solution that could be suitable for all. He was still open to compromise. As I already said, he is a very humble person. The team started to link and pack the Breakwave Building when Flora appeared and sent all back, the builds and the art. As far as I was told by his team, she was not open to talk. The Nordan blog is deleted.
|The Breakwave Building|
What is the function of a built gallery in Second Life? Please spare me the talk, if virtual concrete walls are needed or not. That has been discussed often and is not the subject here, because in this case the decision has been made to have them. If you decide to have a structure as gallery, there are two ways of function: Either as shelf which should be covered to give the art the needed environment or you create a space to embrace the art. As I already mentioned, yesterday I was wrapped up in discussions about the case as soon as I logged in and I heard too: "Who cares about the gallery, it is the art that counts." I highly disagree with that point of view. The often ugly and cheap looking galleries are a pain for me and an insulting of the displayed art to my opinion.
Lets talk now about the role of a curator. A curator has the job to create a vision of an exhibition make a choice of artists that would fit and to inspire the chosen artists to share and follow this vision. In the progress of the work, the curator has to make sure giving the artists a working space that enables them to work without conflicting with the others. And from that perspective the dramatic end of Nordan Art before it really began, is clearly a curator's mistake. I don't know about the curator's vision, but I saw that William Weaver had a strong vision of an ensemble of buildings for contemporary art as a RL model. It does not count if you, dear reader, or me are sharing this vision. It only counts that the curator let an artist following it for months and violated it then with the chosen displaying artists, which made those probably unhappy too and brought all in a unpleasant situation.
It is so sad, because I wished that all of you had the chance to see the buildings which are simply breathtaking. I hope, that one day they will be displayed again together with works, the structures has been meant for. And I hope too, that all artists find soon other places for their works.
The worse off all is that William Weaver decided to leave SL and as far as I heard, Flora Nordenskiold too. That is a great loss and I hope that both rethink it, when they calmed down after this disaster. Both are still needed and would be very much missed!
The photos are taken by me, but if you want to see really good photos of the builds, visit William's Flickr.
Taxi: No taxi today :(