The Path is a new installation by Cherry Manga, currently being hosted at Dividni Shostakovich’s Split Screen installation. It marks her first major Second Life exhibit in around 18 months, Cherry having largely moved to FrancoGrid in 2014. It is also just a foretaste of things to come: Cherry is working on a much larger piece which will feature in FrancoGrid’s annual Fest’Avi avatar-focused art event, which opens in September 2016.
At the arrival point, visitors are invited to take and wear a free, full-permission avatar, Line of Light, as well as a memento of their time in The Path, prior to teleporting to the installation proper. Here, against a cosmic backdrop of stars, sits a circle of meditative pose balls on which visitors are asked to sit and partake of a journey. Hypnotic music ebbs gently around travellers as animated lines radiate outward from the circle and the heavens all around are filled with wireframe figures and patterns, while a quote from Einstein, Creativity is contagious, pass it on, drifts and tumbles through the space.
There is a double meaning in this quote which is, for me beautifully reflected in this preview. On the one hand, it encompasses the idea that human creativeness is contagious, passing between us and between generations, driving us forward down through the ages as much as has our desire to understand all that lies around us. On the other, there a more cosmic element: everything that has happened since the dawn of time some 14.5 billion years ago, has grown from a single creative instant. Every galaxy, every star, every planetary system – each and every one of us – stem from that single point of creation.
These two concepts are perhaps embodied in the figures to be found in The Path. On the one hand, we have the constant figure holding forth a star-like sphere in which a smaller figure sits; a symbol of human creativeness passed from generation to generation, as well as, perhaps, the echo of creativity in its most natural form: birth and life.
Then there are the seated figures which flare into existence, follow their own path for a time before suddenly dissipating, with new figures appearing elsewhere. They are like the massive stars of the galaxy, which burn brightly, before throwing off their bulk in a vast, gaseous nova, through which the next generation of stars are born.
Travelling through The Path with these thoughts flowing through my head, another quote sprang to mind, which would also appear to fit here. As Carl Sagan once observed, “We are made of star stuff”; we are an inherent part of the creative process which gave birth to the cosmos. A process which continues to this very day, in everything we do, again as Sagan also observed when he famously said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
I will admit to finding the jerky motion of the pose balls a little distracting when following the path through the installation (as was the presence of other avatars sitting with me). However, this is still a fascinating glimpse of what should be an interesting immersive installation at Fest’Avi – and it is certainly one built on ideas which strikes a chord in me. The Path will remain at Split Screen through until the end of July.