Art and idioms in Second Life

Vegetal Planet: State of Mind

Currently open at Vegetal Planet is an impressive 2D / 3D interactive installation led by Cherry Manga, made with the support of JadeYu Flang, that makes for a fun, and also thought provoking visit.

State of Mind is a journey through 20 popular idioms and expressions, taken without the need to move that far. It’s a journey that requires visitors to enable Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences → Graphics), although you do not require shadows to be enabled as well, if you’re concerned about viewer performance.  With ALM set, touch the sculpture at the landing point to deliver you to the main exhibition space.

Vegetal Planet: State of Mind

Located in a skybox, this is an environment that is in a state of flux, the scene within it changing periodically, gently paging through the 20 idioms. Visitors can either stand and watch the show or, by touching the east wall, can become a part of it, floating serenely as the scenes change around and below them.

Each idiom  / expression is presented as a complete scene, with the expression written in French or English and French against the wall that can set you floating. While is it easy to look at this and translate what is written, it’s more intriguing to observe the scenes as they appear and decrypt what is being illustrated. Sometimes this is easy – as with Head in the CloudsWalking on EggshellsStars in (Your) Eyes, others may take a little time to figure out, and some may not have an literal translation from French / English, so may not always be familiar to everyone.

Vegetal Planet: State of Mind

All of the pieces are, however, cleverly presented, often inviting the observer not just to try to identify the idiom being presented, but also consider how it came about – particularly with those that border on cliché. Take Thinking Outside the Box as an example – where did it originate, and how did it descend into a management consultancy cliché? Turns out it may well have originated with management consultants in the 1970s as a result of the “nine dots” puzzle, only to circle back to them through wider use to become a common training cliché.

Consideration of the derivation each saying is encouraged by the lack of any explanation for each setting beyond the expression appearing on the wall. Thus, in looking at the passing scenes, the grey matter is naturally stirred into questioning just why such expressions have become so recognised, that nine times out of ten we’ll happily use any one of them without otherwise considering where and how it might have be born and then enter into common usage.

Vegetal Planet: State of Mind

Fascinating, intricate and engaging, State of Mind will, I believe, be open for at least the next month.

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