Under the Sea, Cica Ghost’s latest region-wide installation in Second Life opened on Friday, March 3rd. It is in some ways a follow-on from her previous Frogs, in that it has a decidedly aquatic lean.
“There is a strange world under the sea,” Cica informs visitors, who arrive on a wooden platform, open on three sides and lacking a roof. A brief set of instructions are provided on how best to enjoy a visit (in short, enable Advanced Lighting Model and make sure Shadows: Sun/Moon + Projectors is active – Cica has taken care to minimise the performance hit with the latter as much as possible). Once done, follow the steps down beneath the waves, and discover that strange world.
Here can be found all manner of creatures, familiar and exotic. fronds of seaweed and forests of kelp undulate under the pressure of passing water; schools of fish hover at the edges of some of these copse-like knots of green, staring nervously outward. A great sea snail expands and contract, as if making its way across the sandy floor without moving. Other fish hover nervously at the empty eye sockets or under bleached ribs of even bigger creatures which have long since died, while splashes of vivid colour are offered by anemones, starfish and strange plants standing tall on cage-like roots.
Two great tanks sit on the sea floor, one with a glass panel through which you can walk. Inside are two denizens of the deep, each equipped with some rather vicious looking teeth, although both remain oblivious to visitors, content to share the tiled space with little sea horses – and you, if you opt to swim with them (touch the bed). In the tank next door, which has one end open and partially buried in the sea bed, an audience of fish floats, seemingly enraptured by the creature at the far end of the tank. Again, a bed is offered for visitors.
The scale here has to be seen to be appreciated. Everything is huge, with some of it a little threatening. The sabre-toothed fish, for example, may not seem interested in you, bit walk or swim close to one, and you start to wonder if it will suddenly dart forward and try to gobble you. Nor is this feeling of perhaps being a morsel in the food chain restricted to the fish; approach the great sea snail from the right direction, and you’ll feel like it is stretching its toothed maw up towards you in hope of a bite.
The entire region is fascinating to explore – swimming is by far the best way to enjoy it – and there are, as always, various points where visitors can become a part of the scene. The beds mentioned earlier offer swimming animations as well as sitting and sleeping poses, while mouse-over some of the shells and things scattered around, and hidden perches are revealed.
Under the Sea makes for a delightful visit, and will remain open through March 2017. Should you visit, do please consider a donation towards Cica’s work and don’t forget to visit her little store (LM at the landing point) should the mood take you.
- Under the Sea (Aggramar, rated: Moderate)