I first blogged on The Looking Glass, the fabulous joint creation of Marcus Inkpen and partner Sharni Azalee, back in October 2011. While I make frequent visits there, it surprised me to realise that I’ve not blogged about it in the nigh-one two years since. In that time some things have changed within the region, and my SL photography has (hopefully) matured somewhat. This being the case, I decided to gather together snaps taken during my most recent visits (the last being in August 2013), and update my thoughts on the region.
At first glance, not a lot appears to have changed over the years; however, appearances can be deceptive. While the run-down urban area is still very much present, the Looking Glass shops themselves have now gone. They’ve been relocated to a sky platform, leaving the ground level of the region as a veritable tour de force of Markus’ and Sharni’s creativity.
As befitting the nature of the urban quarter, the old Looking Glass stores haven’t been re-leased; they stand empty, just a couple of unwanted packing cases left to gather dust. Elsewhere, the old theatre is still its dilapidated self, the coffee shop still awaits patrons while a couple more pieces of graffiti appear to have found their way onto walls.
One of the things I love about The Looking Glass is not only the way in which tableaux have been set-out in a manner which so very artfully demonstrates the depth of their beauty and the attention to detail poured into them, but also the juxtaposition of themes and imagery which can be found as one explores.
From the very urban look at feel of the corner town, it is only a short wall down steps and through a rocky arch to a setting which is altogether more medieval in look and feel, with wood-framed buildings setting atop the stone walls of an old castle, complete with a brooding tower rising over the local landscape. There are a few subtle changes to be found here for those who have not visited in a while.
Carry on around the island, under the arches of the great ruined bridge which forms part of the region’s focal-point, and the place takes on an air of fantasy. Here is a verdant land filled with plants which are exotic in both look and colour, where a house sits shaped from the stump of some gigantic tree, a wizard’s tower sits atop a tall rock, and where gardens float serenely overhead.
Another delight with The Looking Glass is that it is not just a shop-front; it is a place to be explored and enjoyed, and where there is often something going on, whether at the amphitheatre, the ruined temple atop the rocky hills which split the region in two or at The Looking Glass gallery itself, which is currently preparing for a winter exhibition entitled Animals in the Scribbled Wild, featuring the artwork of Scott Rolfe, better known to many in Second Life as Scottius Polke, and which opens on December 17th.
Whether you’ve been to The Looking Glass once or a dozen times, it is a place which never fails to enchant and lift the spirits. Visitors are always welcome and there are plenty of places to explore (including some which are not so obvious!) or to sit and think and watch as the world drifts by.
And if you have yet to visit, then your taxi awaits; I very much doubt you’ll be disappointed by the trip.