In January I visited Wendy Xeno’s Humanoid, which I found to be an evocative and photogenic experience. So when I heard she’s been commissioned by Dirk Talamasca to produce another piece, I knew I’d have to pay it a visit.
Hazardous, the result of the commission, is located on Misali, a Homestead sim owned by Mandingo Quan, who was also involved in the design process. The byline for the installation is Dream infinitely….. remain fearless…..seek Hazardous adventures, and for those familiar with Wendy’s work, it carries many of her trademark touches.
Your arrival receives a musical greeting, this time from a piano which features covers of Linkin Park’s “Numb” and “Beth” by Kiss, a rather eclectic mix of instrument and music that works very well within the theme and tone of the installation.
Around you lies a muted landscape with dark, dusk-laden skies (assuming you accept the local Windlight settings – and I recommend you do!). For those visiting with a partner / loved one and who have a romantic inclination, a bottle floating in the water alongside the guest book pedestal offers dances. For the adventurous, the silhouettes of a nearby landmass beckon – but be careful you don’t mess the balloons tethered closer to hand, which offer a fun way to see the sim…
The balloons allow you to ride around the installation, guiding yourself via the arrow keys and PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN, and make reaching various part of the piece a lot more fun than simply flying. If you decided to stop off anywhere, then your balloon doesn’t instantly vanish, giving you the option of grabbing hold and floating onwards if your visit to a particular spot isn’t too long.
Towards the centre of the sim lay a number of tor-like outcrops, the larger two of which are linked by a rope walk and offer visitors places to simply sit and observe or enjoy one another’s company.
To the north-east of the region sits a tangle of trees, denuded of leaves, and from which a stone path rises, angling gently upwards and inviting you to walk it, following the trail of lanterns to the top. As you climb, so the wind blows, carrying the sound of surf, as waves sweep against the tall tor you are approaching. At the top sits another symbol familiar to Wendy’s work: a birdcage, this one containing a music box. Dances are available nearby, but I’ll leave you to find the giver :).
Make sure you drop down to the graveyard below…the tombstones are a delightful read…
Like Humanoid, Hazardous extends its reach into the sky via three teleports located near the arrival point. These lead to various scenes contained within spheres high overhead, of which my favourite is the “ghost ship”.
Overall, Hazardous has much in common with Humanoid, but is also very different; together they complement one another and form pieces that work both individually and together. Both are evocative, but in very different ways. While Humanoid caused me to the think very much of Eliot’s The Four Quartets, Hazardous resonated with me in terms of fantasy, the colours and forms lending themselves naturally to images of strange and distant worlds, or perhaps other versions of this world where the fantastic is possible.
Like Humanoid, Hazardous offers SL photographers a great environment in which to work – both the Windlight settings and colour tones work very well whether or not you have deferred rendering active, making it possible to play around a lot with images and effects when using a Viewer such as Exodus or Niran’s.
Well worth a visit.