Cica’s Dogwood in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

An arid land surrounded by the sea, conical hills sprouting from its back to rise above both the nude ground and denuded briar-like trees – this is the strange landscape that greets visitors to Dogwood, Cica Ghost’s latest installation in Second Life.

Within this landscape is an equally curious mix. Two slightly porcine dogs, the kind you might expect to see romping through an animated film, appear to stand guard either side of a ramshackle pair of fences that  themselves appear to be protecting a group of strange structures.

Looking like a mix of gourds, pearl drops and long-necked vases, these structures sprout valve-like arms from  necks rising up to open mouths. Combined with their sometimes bent shapes, these “arms” and open mouths give these forms a comically anthropomorphic look about them, little little odd women and men waving little arms at one another or to visitors, and exchanging conversation.

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

Two more dogs stand among these structures, again appearing to have dropped in from an animated film. One is a toothy and slightly worried-looking bulldog, the other an almost Chihuahua-like companion. Together they have an air of a Laurel and Hardy pairing about them.

Also scattered across the island are black birds, standing some in groups some on their own. With their colouring, long legs and beaks, they resemble a cross between a stork and a crow; but like the dogs and the strange structures, they have a strong sense of individual personalities.

Both dogs and birds are nicely animated – the eyes of the dogs dart around, while the birds move their eyes, turn their heads and raise the occasional leg as if about to take a step, then lowering it again in an change of mind.  These animations, together with the multiple avatar sit points with their share of dances waiting to be found throughout the region, add a subtle dynamic to this setting.

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

But sitting under a hazy sky, even with its oddly comical-cum-fairytale look, it’s hard to completely understand Dogwood – until that is, you reach the south-west corner of the region. It is here, with a narrow channel of water acting like a moat to separate it from the rest of the land, that a another hill rises. It is topped by a tall tower, reached by precarious-looking flights of steps stacked together without support. The tower is itself enfolded by the scaly tail of a great, wingless wyvern, who rests his bulk on the crown of the tower, eyes roving over the landscape before him.

Tower and wyvern add a further fairytale feel to Dogwood – but it is what lies within the tower, at the end of that precarious stairway that offers a key to Dogwood. A lone flower stands here, the brightness of its colours and the redness of its pot standing in strong contrast to the rest of the landscape. Put them with the quote Cica has selected to frame the installation, and the poetry of Dogwood falls into place:

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

– Hans Christian Andersen

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

Perhaps initially hard to grasp but equally quirky and cheekily humorous, Dogwood is genuinely poetic in its presentation, carrying a rich vein of fairytale under the banner of the Andersen quote.

SLurl Details

  • Dogwood (Dueville, rated Moderate)
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Peaches, ice, spring and summer in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, July 21st 18:30: James and the Giant Peach

Caledonia Skytower reads Roald Dahl’s first and most widely celebrated book for young people at a part of the Magicland Storytime series.

When his parents are killed by a rhinoceros that has escaped from the zoo, 4-year-old James Henry Trotter is forced to live with Spiker and Sponge, his mean-spirited aunts, who treat him badly.

One day, after an argument with his aunts, James runs from the house, only to meet a strange man who gives him a small sack. He tells James that if he goes home and makes a potion using the sack’s contents, something spectacular will happen.

Excited, James runs home to carry out the instructions, but he trips, spilling the contents of the sack, which fall into the ground alongside of a barren peach tree, apparently lost, and a despondent, James re-enters the cruel world of his aunts. But then Things begin to happen: a peach starts to grow at the top of the tree. And it grows, and grows and grows, until it is as big as a house.

Then, by chance, James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls in. Once inside, he meets wonderful new friends: the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of loneliness, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away – and the adventure begins!

Monday, July 22nd 19:00: The Ice is Coming

Gyro Muggins reads Patricia Wrightson’s 1977 novel.

Frost is seen in summer and ice patches form in spite of the hot Australian sun. To the Happy Folk, living on the continent’s green edges the frost is a reason to laugh and joke. For the Inlanders (Wrightson’s fantasy view of the Australian Aboriginals) however, the frost was once seen as a warning that an ancient foe, the ice-bearded Ninya, were on the rise – and so it might be that they are again.

The first to recognise the rise of the old threat is young Wirrun of the People. He leaves his job and sets out to meet the Ninya, taking with him as a sidekick, the petulant Mimi, and for protection, the Power bestowed by the first of the creatures in their path.

To assist in his quest, Wirrun sends for the men from Mount Conner to sing the Ninya down and keep them in their caves. But he must also beat the Ninya to the Eldest Nargun, source of fire, and use it to hold the Ninya until the men from Mount Conner arrive. And so his adventure begins.

Tuesday, July 23rd 19:00: The Penderwicks in Spring

Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family. Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbour Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business.

Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.

Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, The Penderwicks in Spring is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what’s hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

Dive into Jeanne Birdsall’s classic revisiting to the lives of the Penderwicks, read by Caledonia Skytower.

Wednesday, July 24th: A Cyberpunk Summer

Short stories with Finn Zeddmore.

Thursday, July 25th

19:00: Sarra Cannon’s Loxley

In a dystopian world where citizens log into The Realm, an on-line world, to escape from their dark reality, one hacker fights to make a difference as she goes in search of a rare artefact. From Once Upon A Star: 14 SF-Inspired Faerie Tales. Also in Kitely – teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary sci-fi with Finn Zeddmore.