You know….we’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy … Imagine if every JoKeR character had a home they lived in during their reign…
About Land, mR J’s HoUsE
So reads the description for mR J’s HoUsE, the latest region design by Archetype11 Nova (aka Schmexysbuddy Resident), the genius behind Isolation’s Passengers (see: Isolation’s Passengers in Second Life) and before that, the distinctively captivating builds created under the Hotel California banner.
As with his previous designs, this is a visually impressive setting, one that – like Isolation’s Passengers in particular – carries something of a message for the times we are currently living through.
At first glance, the setting appears to be a purely fantasy / fantastical setting that carries echoes of the just past Halloween. This, however, is in part washed away with a reading of the About Land description dispels this simple explanation. The situation around the world today and the way in which politics, economies, working lives and even the collective health of nations are under assault, we are all perhaps a step from needing to give vent to a little craziness in order to stay sane – so what if that craziness were to become the norm?
Through mR J’s HoUsE, we can get to lose ourselves in a world where the craziness has been let loose; but not any craziness; instead, Archetype11 has given it at least a couple of twists.
The setting is almost perfectly described by the About Land description: we are within the grounds of the home of the archetypical crazy, The Joker (right down to a portrait of Heath Ledger’s iconic embodiment of that character in 2008’s The Dark Knight). It is a place that stands, perhaps in direct opposition to the staid grandeur of a place like Wayne Manor, but it is a manor house nonetheless.
But where the home of the Batman might offer order and respectability, this is a place that speaks to disorder and the rite of craziness: giant clown sculptures and grasping hands rise from the chaotic, untended grounds whilst leering jack-in-the-boxes stand guard at the entrance to the mouldering hall and a decaying carnival watches any and all comings and goings.
This is a place rich in narrative and commentary. Clowns are oft seen as malevolent as much as fun, this the craziness released her has an edge to it – a reminder, perhaps, that in this world, much of what gives rise to out need to scream and shout and go a little crazy is perhaps self-inflicted; and that under the veneer of politeness and civility, that craziness (and individual meanness ) are waiting to be exposed.
Mixed with these strands of narrative is also a strong vein of artistry. The contrasts of scale, for example, – from giant clowns to “life-sized” trees, or the gently-falling snow (or fairy dust – or perhaps something else; you decided). Within the halls of the manor house more of this artistic sentiment to be found. Yes, the occupants of the house might all be a little unsettling, be thy mannequins or jack-in-the-boxes or puppets, but the manner in which they have been set out speaks to an artistic purpose that in turn breathes life into the old adage, there’s method in his madness.
Offering a description of where to go following your arrival within the region is pointless: the design is open enough such that visitors should simply go where their feet take them – and everything is visible to a point where the major landmarks are easy to see as one explores. Narrative and metaphor also abound – although not in a way that demands you take all of it in; if you prefer to witness the region as a work of artistic statement, nothing in lost through ignoring that narrative and metaphor.
And within the madness of the setting are also moments of beauty: the glimmering of light strings hanging from threes, the burst of colour from a hidden bed of flowers and the promise of a coming season of joy in the baubles strung from another tree. Although these also have there twists of madness – as a walk through the aforementioned flowers will reveal (yes, there are interactive elements to be found here).
Rich in detail, edged with menace (for those who don’t like clowns), whilst attention-holding and highly photogenic, mR J’s HoUsE is yet another captivating region build from a true master of design.
- mR J’s HoUsE ( Solveig, rated Moderate)