Hera’s reflections on War in Second Life

WAR, May 2022 – click any image for full size
The situation in the world at the moment has obviously been on my mind, like everyone else. And I wanted to express those feeling in some way. This is the result.
Visually, it is heavily influenced by Scarfe’s visions for Pink Floyd’s the wall. Please switch to shared environment as this build relies heavily on its lighting for full effect.

– from the introduction to WAR

Having almost not opened to the public, WAR by Hera (Zee9) is a build that has as its foundations – as the introduction notes – the naked aggression on the part of Vladimir Putin against Ukraine. However, to characterise it as purely a commentary on that situation would be inaccurate. Rather, it is a powerful statement against humanity’s willingness to repeatedly wage war on itself with increasingly devastating results for those caught in the fighting.

WAR, May 2022

To achieve this, Hera has created a simple but utterly effective environment: an outer façade of burning buildings blasted into ruin and rubble, within which sits the remnants of the great church, blasted into a skeletal shell, and upon which a great black eagle-like bird appears to perch as blood drips from a giant cross suspended before it.

A circular road encloses this church, sitting between it and the outer ring of shattered buildings, four great bridges spanning the chasm between road and church to provide access to the latter. Broken and in places covered by the wreckage of war, the road runs by way of shells of buildings, cement bunkers from which searchlights pan the sky, whilst the bridges extending from it to the carcass of the church carry their own battle wounds and scars. To the east, beyond the church, a great tower, aflame but otherwise unbroken by the tide of fighting and bombing rises into the sky, black wings of death spreading from its tallest face, a giant skull spewing blood down onto the flames below.

WAR, May 2022

Caught under a heavy sky of scudding clouds and with carrion crows circling, four great figures of death face outwards as they surround the church, each on its own island of rubble and wreckage. Holding a slender sceptre in one hand rather than the more usual scythe, they are brooding and tall, their presence adding further weight to the build’s commentary on the pointless destruction and loss arising from conflict.

Within all of this there is much more to be seen, from the weapons of war themselves and the chaos they have wrought and the death they have brought, through to reminders that conflict brings with it the kind of atrocities in the name of “country” we would normally refuse to allow and that it can not only end lives but also entire ways of life, whilst also preying most viciously on the most innocent: the young.

Perhaps the most powerful element in the piece for me is the statue not far from the landing point depicting a woman bidding a man farewell as he leaves for war. There is something deeply Russian in the piece, such that it offers an echo of what may have happened across Russia 80+ years ago during the Great Patriotic War. In doing so it shines a light on just how much Putin, in waging war on Ukraine and forcing those he has in the past referred to as Russia’s kin to take up arms and say farewell to one another, has twisted history.

WAR, May 2022

In presenting WAR, Hera offers three songs that give the build further depth. The first is the Temptations-written 1969 Vietnam War protest song, War (What is it Good For?), released in 1970 with Edwin Starr providing the song’s powerful vocals. The sentiments within it are obvious to all, and it provides an aural underscoring to WAR’s theme.

Then, and most particularly, Hera offers Pink Floyd’s Goodbye Blue Sky (1979) released in 1979 with a striking animated film by Gerald Scarfe, and which is strikingly echoes within this build, as Hera notes in her introduction. Finally, there is Russians by Sting. First released in 1985 as a protest against the west / east policy of MADA – Mutually Assured Destruction – under which both parties developed and built an insane number of nuclear weapons and systems to visit them upon one another, and which today has a particular relevance, as Sting himself notes in introducing the song in the video linked-to here.

WAR, May 2022

Hera states she is not sure how long WAR will be open – but I hope she leaves it up for as long as she can; as a statement against war, it is a powerful piece. Do make sure when visit to use the local environment (World → Environment → Use Shared Environment), and have local sounds enabled.

SLurl Details

  • WAR (Island of Jahesa, rated Adult)