-ADreNaLin- is a relatively new region venture by Cherry Manga and JadeYu Fhang, intended to offer an “Art Place & Music Venue” with a focus on “Experimental Art – Music – Events.” It’s a multi-layered environment set within one quarter of a Full private region, offering room for art installations, a venue space and a store, all interconnected by teleport and with links to other French-related regions across the Second Life Grid (via a HUD that can be obtained from the region’s Les Explorateurs Francophones level – which can be reached from a teleport point on the parcel’s ground level).
Currently, the region is home to an installation by Cherry Manga entitled Strange Garden. It’s an ethereal, subtle setting that is evocative and layered, presenting something of a dreamscape and – possibly – reflections on self and human nature.
The dream aspect of the setting is perhaps most vividly offered through the monochrome styling of the installation (the use of monochrome to portray dreams has oft been used within media, although research suggests whether we dream in monochrome or colour appears to be down to an exposure to monochrome or colour television in childhood). However, the use of monochrome might be indicative of more than just dreams, and incorporates a commentary on the mind’s state – or perhaps the artist’s thoughts -, and the fact that we so often consider matters in a binary form – or black and white.
Presented within a hemisphere, the installation is bounded by black monolith-like blocks that lean outwards like the petals of a flower, slender trees rising into a grey sky beyond them. These blocks enfold a wild landscape, home to Animesh plants that whirl, writhe and sway to an unfelt wind, like stray thoughts turning in the back of the mind. More plants rise up and remain static, as if focal points of thinking (or perhaps creativity, if we consider ourselves inside the mind of the artist), while winged figures are to be found amidst this garden – angels of brighter thoughts, perhaps, countering the darker, lower aspects of the setting that might present more dour thoughts and feelings.
It’s a setting that is undeniably rich in symbolism. Within the garden can be found both Pandora’s box, and a memento mori. The latter is symbolic of the inevitability of death, offering again a suggestion of sitting within the mind and amidst reflections of self and identity (who among us has not pondered death’s ever closing hand and what might remain once it has gripped us in an inescapable grasp?). The former conjures perhaps thoughts of challenges unmet as a result of their complexity or the woes we set upon ourselves when seeking to gain greater freedom of expression through striving to create? (I would also suggest that perhaps the memento mori is a reflection of Cherry’s installation of that name that recently closed.)
This symbolism can also be found in the central “stairways” that twist in on themselves, apparently defying gravity it their suggestion one can climb up them, yet return to their base while still appearing to be climbing, almost Penrose-like. This also might be a reference to fate and the cycle of life – or equally to the font of creativity, where ideas fountain upwards, and also fall back to feed the ground from which they first rose, helping to nurture further ideas, enriching the garden, while the submerged elements could represent subconscious thoughts and processes…
A genuinely immersive (apparently developed for use with VR headsets) installation with multiple opportunities for interpretation / reflection, Strange Garden makes for an engaging visit (please make sure you have local sounds enabled and use the local windlight settings.
Note that ADRENALINA is an Adult-rated region.