Orcadi Island’s simple splendour in Second Life

Orcadi Island – click any image for full size

Orcadi Island is a homestead design by Julya (Julya77) which is beautiful in its simplicity of approach, and likely mindful of places we may have visited or seen in the physical world. In my case, the strongest impression was that of England’s and Scotland’s heathland, thanks to the wide open vista presented. To others, doubtless it will evoke thoughts of America’s grain belt or the vast farms of the Australian outback.

The island rises from the sea table-like, the mostly flat top is entirely covered in tough wild grass turned sandy blond and suggestive of an autumn’s day – a feeling enhanced by the region’s windlight. A single hill rises to one side of this flat expanse, topped by the slim tower of a lighthouse. While this may break the illusion that the region is in the middle of a broad swath of heathland or wheat fields or the outback, it also reminds us that Orcadi Island isn’t really any attempt to mimic a particular place, but rather to evoke feelings and perhaps stir memories.

Orcadi Island

The landing point sits before the single cottage occupying the land – the storybook LAQ  Picturesque Cottage, which I still adore seeing, even if it’s not really suitable for placement at home. Its presence here further enhances the intertwining of feelings that this place is familiar with the knowledge it is really unique.

A track runs past the cottage, pointing towards the lighthouse on its hill in one direction, whilst winding its way towards a thatch roofed windmill in the other, passing horses grazing on the tall grass along the way. A branch of this path also offers the way to the beach on the north-east side of the island. A second windmill sits closer to the cottage, its circular sail turning slowly, a snuggle for couples sitting just above the late-blooming flowers surrounding it.

Orcadi Island

As well as the horses roaming the island, the yard of the cottage is occupied by chickens, while the nearby bales of hay, neatly rolled or squared, and the red bulk of a tractor suggest this is a working farmstead. But also scattered across the island are small ruins: a wall here, a shattered corner and floor there, the arches of what might have once been a chapel overlooking the sea. all of which suggest this place has long been a place of human habitation.

It’s often said that the skill invested in a design is often shown within its apparent simplicity – a word to which I keep circling back. Orcadi Island exemplifies this in spades: it seems so simple a design, deceptively hiding the care and thought invested in making it such a beautiful setting. Yes, you might be able to “see all there is to see” within a few minutes of arriving, but that’s not the point. This is a place to be savoured; a setting in which you can lose yourself in thought enjoy time spent with a loved one or friend without feeling the need to hurry on and see what’s around the next corner.

Orcadi Island

This is also a wonderfully photogenic place, richly evocative;  while walking through the tall grass, I found myself wanting to open my hands and feel the bushy tops of the golden stalks stroking my offered palms.

Should you enjoy your visit, do please make a donation at the tip jar by the landing point and help ensure Orcadi Island continues to be a place people can visit and enjoy.

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With thanks, yet again, to Shakespeare for pointing me towards Orcadi Island.

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MisaKaory’s The Way I Feel in Second Life

Club LA and Gallery – The Way I Feel

Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is The Way I Feel a selection of images from the portfolio of MisaKaory. I’m actually getting to this review a little late, as the invitation got buried in my inventory, and so offer apologies to Misa and Fuyuko;  but I do recommend a visit before it draws to a close.

“Photography gives me a lot of emotions,” Misa says of her work. “Sometimes it is too exhausting, when you can not sleep at night because you keep thinking of some idea for a photo. It seems the idea came and you get it all together and press the shutter, but you are still dissatisfied. So you keep looking through the viewfinder to find the right angle, lighting, waiting for the moment… And then suddenly, here it is! Often it is a completely random person that you have caught in the frame, a bird or a gust of wind. The feeling that you get after taking the photo you like is just wonderful! The world that we see is infinite, but we remember only some moments that have given us a strong impression.”

Club LA and Gallery – The Way I Feel

Impression is certainly the word I would use with the images she has selected for exhibition here. There are all powerfully emotive and rich in story. A total of 19 pieces are displayed, ranging from black-and-white through monochrome shades to colour, with multi-panel images are  mixed with individual pieces (note that some at the back which might be considered NSFW). The result is an exhibit which demonstrates not only the range of Misa’s photography, but also her sense of art and balance in putting an exhibition together; even the positioning of the sofas and cloth-draped table has been carefully considered.

The emotional impact of these pieces hits you as soon as you enter the gallery, thanks to the mirrored pairing of babe asleep and bald woman lying with eyes closed (seen at the top of this article). So much is conveyed by the two: the indelible link between a mother and her baby; the innocence of new birth reflected in the bald pate and unlined face of the woman; the echo of that subtle, womb-like feeling we get when caught on the divide between wakefulness and sleep. And then there is the eye casually held under the woman’s hand; a subtle note that we are perhaps voyeurs encroaching on the private worlds of woman and babe.

Club LA and Gallery – The Way I Feel

Facing these two images is a line of four pieces running from black-and-white through monochrome shades back to black and white. They are all extraordinary in the depth of feeling they imbue as we are instantly drawn into the stories they tell. The desire to shout a warning  to the girl sitting against the tree in the first one is almost palpable, such is the sense of menace conjured by the shadowy male form coming towards her. The remaining three evoke equally powerful responses.

I could write a lot more, but this really is an exhibition deserving to be seen, not described. The Way I Feel presents images which are both intensely personal but because of their emotional content, are immediately empathic. We can immediately identify with the hope, passion, love, fear, loneliness, regret, joy and more captured within them; the impression they make is almost palpable, remaining with us after we leave the gallery space.

Club LA and Gallery – The Way I Feel

Another highly recommended exhibition.

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