In December 2020 I visited Path to Oneself Reflection, an immersive and semi-interactive art installation by the SL Random Art Crew led by RoxkSie (Roxie Logan) that sought to offer a look back at 2020 with its pandemic and divisions, and offer nudges for our thinking and outlook, and consider the ways in which the past years has both separated and united. It was an impressive and complex installation as I noted in A path of reflection in Second Life; in that piece, I also noted that the story of 2020 and its impact was far from over.
Thus is it that, officially opening on Monday, February 1st – although it has been available for the public to visit for that last couple of weeks – is what might be called the sequel to The Path, entitled Inner Self Awareness.
That it follows on from the Path is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the fact Inner Self Awareness has a setting that is very much in keeping with its predecessor, although the actual focus of the installation is very different: whereas The Path encouraged us to look back over the past 12 months and consider how they have affected us both on an individual and societal level, Inner Self Awareness asks us to consider, what, as we emerge into a new year, we may have learnt from the past twelve months and how we might, as individuals, seek to move into the future and the changes (if any – change is not a subject everyone is comfortable with, as the installation duly notes in places) we might make in order to better embrace that future. To quote RoxkSie directly:
We have lost so much that is fundamental to what we call our normal lives. We are going to learn what our new normal is very shortly. This will mean a lot of different things to everyone individually. The year that has passed us has shown more than ever that at times out thoughts are not united; however, there is a lot of good that can be obtained from this. Different mindsets build a diverse society.
As with The Path, this is an installation that encourages us to walk through a rugged landscape; one in which walls of rock, mountains and hills break the lowlands into a series of areas encircling a central body of water and high peak topped by a massive hand reaching upwards in what might be an attempt to reach beyond what we are and become the promise of what be might be.
In following the path and bridges through the landscape, we’re asked to consider a number of topics and how they might impact us, and we them: the nature of diversity, the ideals of choice and change, the challenge of acceptance and willingness to change, how we might better face the future as individuals and in the benefit of humanity as a whole. Within these topics are couched responsibilities that affect us all, from dealing with the pandemic through to touching upon matters such as climate change.
All of makes Inner Self Awareness as very personal experience, one that is extremely difficult to transfer into words, simply because it does require each of us to invest a fair degree of introspection in it – and the very fact that we all have different perspectives means that the installation is going to resonate differently, depending upon just how much time and thought we are prepared to give to the subjects RockSie prompts us to consider – and the changes we are willing to make in order to help bring about a more desirable future.
For me, these thoughts all coalesced around ideas of a greater need for tolerance and understanding on the part of all of us as individuals; we have become far, far too intolerant of any ideas or thoughts that are not in absolute lockstep with our own. Simply put, far too many of us have become entrenched in our various beliefs and leanings, that we’re unwilling to accept the views of others.
Whatever the cause – and it is hard not to blame social media platforms such as Twitter, it has been increasingly easy for any of us to retreat into (or create) hollow echo-chambers of so-called “like minds” which, whilst seemingly harmless, only serve to negatively amplify a sense of self-righteousness of outlook, to the point where anyone who expresses a point of view that is not 100% in accord with our own is somehow “against us” and thus to be ostracised and / or vilified for daring to offer an alternate viewpoint.
These are attitudes that require intentional act on our part to change, as this installation attempts to point out through the encouragement of introspection. However, the fact that it does require introspections and an acknowledgement of a need to change, it is easy to brush the need aside because “one person cannot make a difference”, or because there are those who simply will not change. However, neither of these are valid arguments, because the fact is that, while it might feel that “its only me”, numbers do matter and can have an impact, as RoxkSie notes – couching her observation in a frame of reference that appears to encompasses the subject of climate change:
Nature never changes in its diversity and beauty. From aesthetically ugly to perfect, it is always beautiful and constantly evolving. The things we choose to do, do influence how it evolves and changes.
One person cannot do a lot, but if 100 or 1,000,000 people change just one habit, it can make a difference.
Some don’t want change, but it is happening whether we like it or not. Because nature does not care what we think.
Challenging and potentially discomfiting for some, Inner Self Awareness is an interesting successor to The Path, presenting as it does considerable food for thought – far more in fact, than I’ve thought in here, as there is a veritable treatise to be found within it, and I’ve forcibly restrained my commentary here so ad not to blanket the experience other may have with my own subjective thinking. When visiting, do be sure to have local sounds enabled (not the audio stream).
- Inner Self Awareness (Roxkstudios, rated Moderate)