In March we visited Grauland, the homestead region held by JimGarand and home (in the sky) to his M-1 Art Poses (see: Art as a landscape in Second Life). At that time, I noted that the region was one of the more unusual design we had visited.
Since then, Jim has redesigned Grauland to present a new look and theme, as Shawn Shakespeare nudged me about. So we hopped back to take a look at how things have changed, and whether the beautiful minimalism and artistic expression that was so attractive in March has been retained.
In terms of the minimalism of the region, this is still very much still in evidence. Now forming a C-shaped island surrounding a shallow bay, Grauland is low-lying and marked by a handful of buildings, most of them looking somewhat the worse for wear. They are scattered around the open ring of the island in such as way as to encourage visitors to step out and explore.
There are some carry-overs which help give a feeling of continuity for those familiar with the March design: the basalt columns, so mindful of the Giant’s Causeway on Northern Ireland’s northern coast remain, for example. There are also touches that offer familiarity by with a twist, such as the ranks of rock-like rectangles marching ashore from the small centre islet of the bay. These echo the concrete cubes once present in the courtyard of the gallery from the March design.
The gallery itself is no more, sadly, but the buildings replacing it offer a curious mix. There’s a cannabis farm within one, another looks to be the remains of what might have been an industrial unit, filled with assorted detritus (including some with adult poses). Alongside the landing point there is what appears to be the skeleton of a theatre, bare stage with graffiti filled back wall, wooden seats still ranged before it, while elsewhere, smaller buildings simply offer views across the water, both within the bay and out to sea.
Other places to sit can also be found scatter across the landscape, including the little islet in the bay, reached via an ageing board walk. This offers a good view of the trawler edging its way into the bay, ready to manoeuvre between some of the rock pillars and come alongside the island’s single pier.
I confess to missing the slant towards accommodating art that was far more present in the March build, but there is no denying Grauland in this latest iteration offers many opportunities for photography, and for simply relaxing, be it on the beach or elsewhere.
No actual landing point is enforced, so I’ve arbitrarily set the SLurl in the piece to a point in the north-west of the region, simply because it is there that the region’s gust book Flickr link and primary tip jar can be found, and because it perhaps offers the best point from which to start exploring the region.
Finished with a sound scape that includes the cry of gulls as they circle overhead or vie for space on the beach and which is mixed with the softer song of birds (some of whom add their own splash of colour for those who look closely enough), together with the plaintive warning chimes of a buoy at the neck of the bay, Grauland retains its delightful minimalist feel whilst still offering a lot so see and take in.
- Grauland (Mobile, rated Adult)