Exploring Iona Shores in Second Life

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019 – click any image for full size

I’m always a little wary of blogging residential regions for a number of reasons. While many are open to the public to visit, for example, I’m uncomfortable in recommending them where there is a risk that visitor trundling in and out could be off-putting / annoying to those trying to live on them.

To this end, I use a (and admittedly very rough-and-ready) rule of thumb, which encompasses looking at the overall ratio of public and private space(s) in the region, the ease with which a region can be navigated without necessarily encroaching on people’s private residences, general public attractions, whether or not parcel ban lines are in force (often – although by no means always – a sign that people are somewhat narked by the idea of passers-by wandering through the gardens / yards), etc.

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019

Iona Shores is a region that sits almost exactly within in the middle ground between “to blog” and “not to blog”.  A homestead region, the landmass is pretty evenly split between public spaces, in which visitors are invited to space time and explore and take photos, and three large rental parcels with, it would seem, room for a potential fourth.

However, there is no doubting the region has been beautifully designed – the work of Adalynne Romano (AdalynneReed), who along with her SL partner, Doc Battitude, is responsible for the delightful Candlewood (see Touring CandleWood in Second Life) and the designs used for Bay of Dream (see The seasons at Bay of Dreams in Second Life and Destiny Gardens (see Destiny Gardens in Second Life). This alone would be enough to bring me to Iona Shores, being an admirer of Adalynne’s work, but the fact it came recommended by Shawn and Max increased my interest; and the rental spaces are clearly enough differentiated from the public spaces to allow for exploration by those not living there.

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019

The landing point sits towards the middle of the region, on a long south-pointing finger that extended itself from the eastern side of the largest of the region’s three islands. A low, cinder-beached promontory rising from calm seas, the headland is dressed as something of an aged garden, completed with greenhouse (the landing point) and paved terrace before it. To the north sits an dry stone wall with tired iron gates marking the way to where the land rises up to a flat crown of fir trees in the midst of which sits one of the three rental properties.

Two bridges sit on the headland, the first forms a double strand of wood and rope reaching across the inlet cutting inland by way of a little nub of rock, to reach a western promontory. Another cinder uprising, it sits a little higher than the landing points and offers the open space that could potentially be used by another house. For now, however, it is topped by trees and a small wooden deck, stone steps leading down to a rough, dark beach on the seaward side.

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019

The second bridge reaches across a sliver of water to where rocks step their way up to a broad plateau where sits the second of the rental homes. The base of this island offers a public path around the south-west of the rocks, passing stepping stones that breach another tongue of water to reach the three of the larger islands, the home to the remaining rental house.

Throughout all of this, there are places to discover: a little studio space, a rowing boat offering singles and couples seating, horses grazing on the scrub grass, while wolves and deer wander parts of the landscape. All of this is watched over by the revolving eye of a lighthouse as trawlers chug by on the waters below it.

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019

Finished with a gentle sound scape, Iona Shores makes for a photogenic and visually pleasing visit. For those seeking a place to living that offers space and a feel for the wilderness, it come offer the ideal home. For the rest of us, it presents a delightful sense of escape.

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Da Vinci and Steampunk in Second Life

Astral Dreams Project: 500 Leonardo

The latest edition of the Astral Dreams project, curated by Jack Davies and Mina Arcana, opened its doors at the start of June 2019 to present 500 Leonardo “celebrating 500 years since the death of Leonardo da Vinci in [a] Steampunk setting”.

Featuring art and models by Nabreji Aabye, Caly Applewhyte (Calypso Applewhyte), Sergio Delacruz, Desy Magic, Lara Tommaso and Ciottolina Xue, this is something of an installation in two parts: a celebration of the works of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, the most famous polymath of the Italian Renaissance, and a selection of steampunk inspired displays.

Astral Dreams Project: 500 Leonardo – Sergio Delacruz

The setting is a series of island floating in the sky dome, the largest of which features the Leonardo Museum and the landing point. In the grounds are marvellous models of some of da Vinci’s inventions: notably his proposal for a wheeled fighting machine, and his aerial screw.

While neither of these was built in da Vinci’s time (and the fighting machine would have been impractical under battlefield conditions), the fighting machine contained a number of elements and ideas still found in modern tanks and armoured vehicles, while the aerial screw is regarded as an antecedent of the helicopter. Sharing the outdoor space with both is a model of his catapult, all three beautifully modelled by Sergio Delacruz.

Astral Dreams Project: 500 Leonardo – Sergio Delacruz

Within the museum building is a broader celebration of da Vinci’s work, featuring reproductions of some of his paintings and his anatomical sketches, together with more models and reproductions of drawings of some of this other inventions – most notably his flying machine, celebrated in both model and drawing. Information in Italian on all of these, and the models outside, can be obtained via web links supplied by touching individual drawings / paintings or the easels alongside the models. In this, the display may well have been made more accessible to a visiting audience by providing language options in the links.

Just outside the door to the museum building are teleports that will take visitors to the installations by Nabreji Aabye, Caly Applewhite, Desy Magic, Lara Tommaso and Ciottolina Xue. These all focus more on the steampunk element of the installation, offering both 2D or 3D works by the respective artists. The teleports come in two flavours: a plain disk system that will auto-teleport you around the artists’ installations, and a menu-driven teleport unit (with a large floating sign) that allows you to choose your destination.

Astral Dreams Project: 500 Leonardo – Desy Magic

500 Leonardo is a curious mix; on the one hand the celebration of da Vinci’s life and the installation celebrating steampunk and art stand distinctly apart; on the other, they are somewhat linked.

As an engineer, inventor and visionary, de Vinci saw far ahead of his time, developing tools and technology that were far ahead of their time, from winches to the aforementioned fighting and flying machines; so too is steampunk associated with invention and machines. Da Vinci was also a cartographer, a science associated with exploration, and steampunk often encompasses the idea of exploration and discovery. I also have little doubt that da Vinci himself would be fascinated by the whole steampunk genre and its inventiveness as it sits within its 19th century framework.

Astral Dream Project: 500 Leonardo – Ciottolina Xue

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