A sense of Confinement in Second Life

DaphneArts: Confinement

Confinement is a complex installation located at DaphneArts, featuring a concept and art by Mi (Kissmi), with the physical space and overall presentation of the elements making up the installation by DaphneArts curators Angelika Corral and Sheldon Bergman (SheldonBR).

Mi says of the piece:

Confinement is our lot – from the beginning, in the womb, and even before, as soon as the idea of our conception germinates in the minds of our parents, enclosing us.

In other words, how we might grow as individuals is subject to a series of constraints which encompass us from the moment of conception through until death. Mi sees these constraints as falling into four main categories: geographical, mental, physical and social, and the visitor is invited to consider each of these both visually and aurally.

DaphneArts: Confinement

To fully achieve this, it is necessary to ensure your are correctly set-up to experience Confinement. This means ensuring you have Advanced Lighting Model enabled within your viewer (Preferences > Graphics > check the Advanced Lighting Model check box), you accept the local Windlight setting on arrival (automatic if you are using Firestorm; if you are using any other viewer, the preferred Windlight is Phototools – No Light by William Weaver. Should you not have this available with your viewer, try opting for Midnight or a similarly dark setting). Most importantly, you must accept the local HUD when offered and allow this to attach – without it, you will miss the greater part of the installation. Once attached, the HUD will display introductory text, which can be clicked away once read and the instructions followed. You are then ready to proceed.

This involves walking along a walkway constructed of massive cubes, while walls of these great cubes dominate the view left and right, separated from the walkway by deep chasms.  As one progresses, each of the four categories of confinement are revealed in turn, starting with Geographical. Images by Mi are illuminated, and the HUD presents visitors with the opportunity to hear a reading in French by Mi intended to encompass the symbolism of the confinement – and to read the words, presented in both French and English (note that due to the limitations of SL, the words may lag behind the reading; this is unavoidable).

DaphneArts: Confinement

For Geographical, the reading is taken from the lyrics to né quelque part (“born somewhere”), first recorded by Maxime Le Forestier in 1987; for Mental Confinement, we are presented with Un grand sommeil noir (A big black sheep), by the 19th Century poet Paul-Marie Verlaine; for Physical Confinement and Social Confinement, Mi presents two poems by Jacques Prévert: First Day and Familiale, respectively.

Each of these reading is accompanied by a series of images by Mi, also designed to be representative of the confinement they represent. Like the readings (including né quelque part, when the lyrics are separated from the music), these are stark pieces; abstract in nature, are designed not so much to illustrate, but to encourage, along with the spoken words, our deeper contemplation on the nature of each type of confinement we live within: those born – no pun intended – by the place and time of our birth; the confinement we face in terms of mental development – both our own capability and the opportunities society gives to us;  and the constraints we have to face within both life itself and in society’s expectations of the roles we will ultimately play.

DaphneArts: Confinement

Beyond the fourth confinement, the way leads down to a lower level, stairs lit by the naked flames of candles cupped in stone hands as the darkness closes around. In descending these steps, it is easy to feel as if one is descending into a sepulchre; or that the descent marks the passing from life to death. In echo of this, the hands towards the bottom of the stairs become more grasping in nature, as if trying to reach out from the walls and grasp the life from those passing.

Finally, the path leads by candlelight to a last figure:  a woman caught between death (the hand at her throat) and life (the candle emerging from her midriff). And thus the circle is closed; our ultimate confinement lies within the unknown: we emerge from it in birth, and descend back into it in death.

One since June 2018, Confinement is a layered installation deserving of time and consideration when visiting.

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