In March I wrote about Haveit Neox’s visually stunning City Inside Out, a full-region installation at LEA 20, which is displayed as a part of the 8th round of the Artist In Residence series.
On Saturday, May 30th, a new element in the installation, City Inside Out Phase II: “Stories” opened, and takes the visitor down under Haveit’s remarkable cityscape, where stories await.
To briefly recap on the original build, as per my initial post about it:
This is a city we’re asked to see through the eyes of the homeless, the dispossessed; those who have nowhere to be, nowhere to go. For these people, the city is a very different place to the one we know. It’s a place where everything is strange, alien, and threatening. A place bad enough in daylight, but as Haevit further explains, becomes much, much worse at night…
As I noted at the time, this premise of seeing a city somewhat in reverse, as a homeless person, makes for a remarkable – and is some places uncomfortable – place, where nothing is quite as it seems, be it the had offering money or the man walking his dog; threats real or imagined and spurred by fears and a sense of separation, can be found everywhere…
With Phase 2 of the build Haveit incorporates a series of short stories written by other Second Life residents on the subject of homelessness in the physical world as they perceive it. These are laid-out in an underground labyrinth sitting beneath the lowest level of the main build, and are arranged as a series of seven chapters reached by following subterranean paths.
There are a number of different entry points to these paths – simply walk onto one of the moving roadways and follow it, and you will drop into the underground world. However, to follow the chapters roughly in order, the best point to start is to walk to the dual carriageway that lies just behind the landing point information boards, and follow it eastwards. It ends in a slice in the ground that will lead you down to Chapter 1, which sits directly under the roads. Do note, however, that the route through the chapters from 1 to 2 to 3, etc., isn’t necessarily linear; spurs and turns can lead you through the middle chapters in different ways, depending on the route you take.
The paths also provide a hint of narrative as well the the story boards located along them. As you walk through them they change from a trench-like cutting to what could be long-abandoned mine workings or the underground vital intestines that keep a city alive, through to vast subterranean chambers suggestive of a city that has built over itself time and again, burying or hiding its past from view – just as we so easily can blot the homeless around us from our view.
This is a fascinating addition to what was already a brilliant installation, both in terms of the build and the stories it contains. It is also one in which you can play a role; Haveit is still accepting pieces on the subject of homelessness, and will add them to boards throughout the underground world as they are submitted. Simply send him your words via note card together with an IM notifying him you have sent something. Additions to the narrative will continue through until June 25th, and both phases of City Inside Out will remain open until June 30th.
If you haven’t already visited, I urge you to do so; and if you have been before, do make sure of a return visit and walk the underground paths.