In their time, AM Radio’s builds in Second Life gained legendary status – and rightly so. Sadly, with the passage of time and other things, his builds have all but vanished from SL, leaving just The Far Away up and running – and even that was recently endangered.
The Far Away is beautifully minimalist in its execution and design. Smaller than AM Radio’s other SL art pieces, it covers a little under a quarter region and presents a simple tableau of a wheat field in which sit a few carefully chosen objects – the most noticeable of which is a large, rusting locomotive – and around which a box has been placed which forms a panoramic vista which adds huge depth to the piece and gives it a TARDIS-like feel of being much bigger on the inside than when seen from without.
The other prominent items in the piece are a dining table with violin atop and china cabinet nearby, and a table with a radio set, apparently just abandoned by whomever have been using it.
The windmill presents visitors with the opportunity to escape gravity’s hold for as long as they wish – as Richard Burton’s O’Brien tells us, possibly a little out-of-context, “The Law of Gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.”
I could draw some parallels between Burton’s words and the installation, and while they might not fit with anything AM Radio had in mind when selecting the audio clip, the parallel would perhaps seem appropriate. Nineteen Eighty-four was Burton’s last film, for example, and The Far Away now stands as AM Radio’s last surviving work in Second Life, as I mentioned at the top of this piece.
However, such parallels are perhaps superficial and beside the point. While Burton has long since sadly departed, The Far Away survives. That is does is in no small part to Ziki Questi, who has stepped in to ensure the parcel on which the installation stands remains for as long as AM Radio is happy to have the piece rezzed in-world.
Ziki did so, not because she sees herself as any kind of saviour of AM’ Radio’s work, but simply because her passion for art meant that she could not stand by and let what is widely regarded as a classic Second Life art installation vanish into the ether, simply because it is so well-loved. This is something she expressed to me as we discussed her decision recently. “I know that many people love AM’s work and visit The Far Away frequently,” she told me, “And that it resonates in beautiful ways, providing people with a sense of solitude and quiet, but also a shared sense of delight and wonder.”
Personally, I’m glad she did step forward; it’s encouraged me to dig out some old photos of the build and caused me add it to my list of places to re-visit.
Perhaps I’ll see you there when I do.
With sincere thanks to Ziki.