Now open at MetaLES is Romy Nayar’s brilliant Sparkys, quite possibly the most engaging art installations to be seen in Second Life so far this year – and one quite possibly set to remain so in people’s minds. It’s an immersive, interactive piece which offers charm and fun to visitors – although it’s worthwhile taking your time to explore, or you might miss out on the major interactive element.
Visitors arrive in a land formed of greyscales. Colour seems to by almost entirely absent; tall slits, hinting at something overhead, rise from the surrounding grey/white water lapping at one’s ankles; a single set of step leading upwards to… nowhere, it would seem. However, climb the steps and an elevator will descend, offering you passage upwards to a multi-level town, precariously balanced atop the high stilts.
Houses, shops, stations, restaurants, parks: all sit at differing heights, all connected by various means: railway train, balloons, rickety-looking walkways, fragile seeming bridges, elevators – all of which make the act of exploring the town a joy in itself. For the daring, there’s even the opportunity to grab hold of the legs of a young man who has invented his own little gyrocopter, and ride with him as he flits back and forth between one house and another, the latter (I’m guessing) that of his log suffering mother, who keeps her attention square on sweeping the front path, rather than offering him encouragement in his madcap adventures.
As you wander this grey world, you’ll likely start to notice that some of the local residents are experimenting with paintbrushes, attempting to add a little colour here and there. This is because one enterprising young man has discovered the titular Sparky’s, bee-like creature that produce paint, which he is collecting, and (again, I’m guessing), his mother is making available to the townsfolk. The problem is, of course, that colour is a new concept here, so the locals aren’t entirely sure what should go where…
This is where visitors can help. Find your way to the little old lady operating a small market stall, and you can obtain a paint HUD. Join the group listed in the note card accompanying the HUD (just copy / paste the group link into local chat and click on it) and you’ll be able to help paint the world yourself, simply by selecting options in the HUD menu and then going to mouselook and left-clicking / dragging the cursor.
Get your position and draw distance right, and a lot of fun can be had. don’t worry about spoiling the environment – all the paint is prim-based and will “dissolve” after a while, although if a lot of people are slapping paint around, you might find prim limits are hit and have to wait a while for things to clear.
All told, Sparkys, as mentioned, is one of the most delightful, engaging and fun installations currently in Second Life, and will be open to explore through March and April. Do take your time when exploring, and be sure to cam around a lot – every platform has a little story to tell (complete with local sounds), which further adds to the delight and fun.
- Sparkys SLurl (rated: Moderate)