You may notice that my coverage of the arts in Second Life often circles back to the work of Cica Ghost. The reason for this is simple: there is always something beautifully attractive about her work that draws me to it like a magnet.
Open now at Luna Isle, Strings is perhaps the most marvellous installation she has yet produced in a very long line of outstanding works created within Second Life; it’s a magnificent example of why I am so attracted to her art. And believe me when I say, this is not one you’re going to want to simply read about; – it is an absolute must see.
The initial tableau appears simple enough. On what might be the edge of a town, overlooking open country, or perhaps in the courtyard of an old villa now converted into little houses and apartments, a string quartet with piano accompaniment plays as others look on and listen with what seems to be varying degrees of interest – or even attempt to ignore.
Or is it really that simple? Look closer; this isn’t a single tableau; this is a collage of stories brought together in a single quilt of moments caught in time, framed by the music from the little quintet. As you look at the people gathered in the courtyard, on the balconies or sitting in their rooms, you can gain glimpses into their lives.
I use the plural there not just because there are multiple watchers / listeners. but because the glimpses you catch of any individual or group of lives will change depending on where and how you observe them. Thus, each scene within the overall story is itself made up of multiple threads – strings, if you will – which combine in different ways to tell more than one story.
Take, for example, the woman on the middle balcony; is she actually listening to the musicians, or is she a harried mother seeking a moment’s respite and relative calm from the constant demands of a young daughter as the latter guzzles a glass of milk. Or is the little girl taking advantage of her mother’s distraction to help herself, and if so, what is it that is so occupying he mum’s mind? The music or something else?
The answer may lie on the balcony to the woman’s left, part of the same apartment and occupied by a lone man. Watch him closely; he also is not really listening to those below. Together his actions and the apparent air of pensiveness around her tell a story of their own.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring apartment, a man sits over a chess board, the game frozen, his companion absent. Is she perhaps the motherly figure looking out of the window of the next room, or the daughter-like figure standing out on the stairway, both now looking out over the musicians.
But if the music was the cause for either of them to leave the game, why did they not simply go out onto the balcony of the room itself? why go elsewhere just to watch and listen? Could the young woman who has placed a distance between herself and the houses, standing alone, a forlorn expression on her face be the cause of their vigil? Or again, has she a story of her own to tell, and there’s yet another story to be found within the chess-playing family?
And thus it is with almost everyone we encounter here; what may at first seem a simple act – a glance, a hand upon another or a face at a window or even a book open on a person’s lap may seem to suggest one thing – but is that really the entire story? There are many threads – or perhaps I might say strings – here, which can be woven into many patterns by the eye and mind; thus we become more than visitors: we become passive participants in all we see; and quite wonderfully so.
Which shouldn’t be taken to mean the scene isn’t remarkable in and of itself without seeking deeper meanings. Strings is a wonderful piece of art whether taken as a whole, or studied at length. The characters inhabiting this little corner of the world all have their own personalities, whatever story you chose to tell, and they are beautifully designed – as is the region as a whole, filled as it is with Cica’s familiar touches and motifs. And if you fancy a dance, do be sure to touch one of the many stone cellos scattered around.
Finally, there is the audio stream, beautifully crafted by Cica to perfectly compliment and complete the central scene with the musicians, showing them to be a really talented group! I mean where else will you get to hear a string quartet offer a repertoire with everything from Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody through the likes of the Rolling Stones, Ziggy Stardust / David Bowie, Level 42, film soundtracks and The Phantom of the Opera, plus more, to arrive at O Come, Emmanuel?
These guys are wonderfully creative in their music – and Strings is a wonderfully created and creative playground for the eye and the imagination. Don’t miss it.