Hosted by Rezzable Productions in Second Life in conjunction with NPIRL, the garden is an art show, with over a hundred content creators. It has art over four simulators, and up to 3,000 metres above the sims. Some of the creators have provided freebies -- such as free avatars.
Light Waves has produced a puzzle -- a hidden sculpture; there's live concerts and DJs playing throughout; a sandbox with tutorials and a building mash-up and more. To see everything here could take you quite a while. It's running until 23 June, which doesn't leave you a lot of time.
If your machine can handle a draw distance of 256, take the tour. It gives you a quick overview of the delights, and some interesting information about the items in the art show. Unfortunately, if your draw distance won't go out that far, the tour may not do you much good.
Either way, wear a copy of the Garden HUD. It lets you teleport into the garden from anywhere in the grid, and will remember what you've already seen.
Start off at the Rezzable Dump entry, pick up a Garden HUD from one of the vendors and then follow the red line through the tunnel. Just follow the arrows, and you'll come to the garden vestibule, an impossibly green grove. Near the far side of the grove, you will see the main path (shining with a green light) and the tour vehicles on the right.
You can experience the garden by traveling the paths, or by clicking on the HUD and randomly teleporting from artwork to artwork. Each has its advantages; we suggesting doing a mix of each.
The four sims cover the Underworld, Earth and Paradise. Sound is a key part of the art. Even with streaming music off, the ambient sounds help create the feeling of each artwork, and each region. Make sure your speakers are on!
Some of the delights are a little awkward to find. Near the tour, there is a glade inside a heavily treed area: you have to look backwards to see the path, then walk right through an apparently solid tree. But inside there is soft New Age music and a lovely display of particle work.
There's a labyrinth with invisible walls in it: solve the labyrinth to find the sculpture in the center. Be warned: it is not easy.
In one location, you can walk/fall through the floor. Underneath the sculpture, there is a little shrine with relic bones.
The SOMA grove is beautiful: but don't just stay in the grove. It's well worth your time looking for the cave as well. The grove itself looks beautiful, but quite possible IRL: there are mosses and lichens which drape similarly to the silver-grey mosses on the distorted tree trunks, and while we can't recognize the trees which inspired the artist, we have seen trees somewhat similar. But inside the cave is another matter: inside the cave is quite alien.
The Purgatorio artwork has signs suggesting the ideal lighting and sound. The signs helpfully contain small screenshots of the correct settings and the correct menus. It's a nightmare for astigmatics (lots of stripes), but I found it quite amusing . . . in a creepy sort of way. Do use their suggested sound settings -- it does matter. The sound is very significant.
Purgatorio is an artwork to be experienced, not seen. Do walk through and explore it.
Another piece to be experienced, not simply looked at, is Charlot Dickins' Slippery Slide. Enjoy the free swim and barbeque! Actually, that describes most of it. Seeing an image is hardly as engaging as being able to look around, and walk under, over or through many of the displays.
There are pieces you have to fly to truly explore and see all the detail. Heterotroph, by Madcow Cosmos, is one of those. It's difficult to describe it - it's a spiral of flying creatures, apparently spawned from the remains of something on the ground. The detail work is amazing, and well worth flying up to examine.
Economic Mip has a piece called 'One Linden Dollar'. We found it very emotionally powerful - it takes a moment to truly understand what it's saying, but once you do, it's the sort of thing you never forget.
Some of the pieces are quite complicated to experience. Gaynor Gritzi produced a piece called 'Fall from Grace from Heaven To Earth then descend into the depths of Hell' (capitalization hers). Fittingly enough, it's a one-way path. Each section has a teleporter to the next section, but also has secluded areas or toys to play with while you're there.
Not all the pieces are entirely original: but that's by no means a bad thing. Wizard Gynoid has produced a replica of M.C. Escher's 'Stars', as Escher may have created it had Escher been able to use a 3D tool such as Second Life. It makes you regret that Escher isn't still alive to play with the new forms of art.
Gore Suntzu's art is a visual one, rather than an experiential one, but he's made it interactive. You can control its speed and rotation. Be sure to do so - it looks quite different from different angles.
Needless to say, some of the pieces would be quite unpleasant to experience in real life. One such is 'A Pleasant Stream In Hell'. You do get a pair of free hotpants at the end of your stroll - you just have to stroll through the lava to get them. Of course, the minute you hit the lava, your heartbeat gets so loud, and starts to race. And your clothing starts to burn and smoke. And Hell isn't known for keeping its promises exactly as you'd expect.
Others are simply disorienting. "Narrow Path to Infinity" starts out fine, but after you've fallen and teleported and landed somewhere else, there's no way to know where 'up', 'down' and 'sideways' are. Vertigo can be another problem: 'Perfect universal companionship' by Yeti Bing is about a universe which is still under construction. Looking down, it feels like you could fall forever. (Actually, there's a transparent floor.)
AuraKyo Insoo created the Inner Garden, a piece as much in words as in prim sculpture. AuraKyo has a deft touch with cognitive dissonance and with animation. Her English has distinct traces of whatever her first language is, but the quirks of grammar and word choice actually enhance the dissonance she's trying to achieve. A larger problem with her art is that the outer skin is permeable: we fell out of it several times, and the casual visitor will not be persistent enough to complete the journey that the artwork represents.
Eshi Otawara/Irena M. Morris produced a dress for the project: the only way to wear a dress like this in RL would be very temporarily, on a dais, and probably with stage lighting and assistants to get you into it and out of it again. You may even be sewn into it.
Eshi's dress is a bit similar: it's like a pose-ball, and you are animated into it and need to 'stand' to leave it. A quirk of the dress is that you can't just click on it from the viewing platform, you have to get past the sphere that contains the artwork and also find a viewpoint where one of the floating or flexi-prims isn't in the way. But it's gorgeous, and worth the effort.
While we've done some photography, and gathered together a gallery for you, don't just look at the stills. Most of the exhibits are in motion, the sound-scapes are delicious, and the whole thing is just begging for your presence, and your exploration.