Cica’s new Fairy Tale in Second Life

Cica Ghost – Another Fairy Tale

Cica Ghost opened her latest installation on Saturday, March 7th 2020 for a month-long run. Entitled Another Fairy Tale, it offers a continuation of ideas first presented in Fairy Tale in 2017 (see: Cica’s Fairy Tale in Second Life), introducing a new family of fantastical creatures scattered across a twilight landscape.

Like Fairy Tale, this installation is introduced with a quote by a writer of tales, with Cica using words from Hans Christian Andersen: Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch, and such is the evocative nature of the scene that for anyone who visited Fairy Tale, the intervening years between it and this installation simply vanish, and it is as if we’ve turned a page in Cica’s magical story and arrived at the start of a new chapter.

Cica Ghost: Another Fairy Tale

But while the original featured a somewhat bleak and barren landscape with columns of rock and branches bereft of leaves vied to reach the sky, here we are in a garden setting, where tall flowers point their colourful petals towards the darkening sky, and leafy vines droop their way around rocks even as flowerless shoots also rise towards the clouds scudding overheas, the ground beneath them mottled and covered by verdant, moss-like grass,

Within this setting reside creatures fantastical, some seemingly born of the land, some of the sea and some of the air; some with legs and / or wings, others limbless or with forelegs ans sinuous tails. Many are quadrupeds, some with cloven, hoof-like feet, with or without claws, others with foreleg appendages that appear to be capable of manipulating other objects.

All of them are united in the facial features, which range from the almost bovine (at first glance) of some through to the very anthropomorphic looks, the latter most noticeable in the winged creatures, graced with very a human-esque placement of forward looking eyes above a nose-like snout that in turn sits above a lipped mouth. All are faces suggestive of intelligence and awareness, eyes occasionally focusing on visitors, expressions set in frowns at being disturbed or what might be smiles of greeting.

Cica Ghost: Another Fairy Tale

How and where these creatures evolved is perhaps part of the region’s story. There is a suggestion that while some are now quadrupeds, they mostly share a heritage born of the surrounding waters, and that even now  evolution is being witnessed as those with sinuous tails or bodies are adopting to life ashore, growing forelimbs – or they are at least given to being equally at home on land or in the sea. This idea is aided by another creature that rises slowly from the waters just offshore,  as if gradually worming its way ashore, while nearby, a second, massive creature (a wonderful combining of mesh elements and the region’s terrain on Cica’s part to give it form and life) raises its bulk and head above the waves to look down on the landscape like a mother watching over her brood at play.

Whether this is a land of our own planet but hidden far, far, away from everyday human affairs (as can be the way of fairy tales) or is perhaps part of another world entirely is something also left to the imaginations of visitors. For those who like the interactive elements of Cica’s builds, be sure to mouse around; sit and dance points are waiting to be found within flowers and close to some of the land creatures, while grabbing a leg of one of the flying chaps will take you on a journey across the region, revealing many of its delights and curiosities – such as the Jaws-like rocks pushing up from the grass their open “mouths” partially lined with “teeth” revealing they are nests and home to as yet flightless version of the airborne creatures.

Cica Ghost: Another Fairy Tale

Imaginative, whimsical, and delightful, Another Fairy Tale is a delightful continuation of a trips through Cica’s worlds of the imagination. Do be sure to at least enable ALM when visiting to appreciate her always considered use of lighting projectors and materials.

SLurl Details

Cica’s way with Burlap in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Burlap

Cica Ghost opened her latest region-wide installation on Sunday, February 9th, and it is another absolute delight from an artist who can chase away the darkest clouds and turn the deepest frown into a smile.

Burlap is a marvellous setting where just about everything is fashioned from that fabric (also known as hessian in some parts of the world). The ground is a stitched-together pattern of plain and coloured burlap swatches, the houses, vases, pots and boxes that lay scattered across it similarly so, while a ribbons the fabric forms a road that winds around and over the land. Even the posts and fences are made from the stuff, as are the flowers that sprout from vase and pot.

Cica Ghost, Burlap

The only real exception to the use of burlap and thread comes in the form of buttons. These not only secure the clothes of the local population – of which more in a moment, they also act as wheels on vehicles large and small, some mobile, some static, some apparently being pulled along. Wheels even sit at the four corners or on either side of some to the finger-like houses, suggesting that with a firm heave-ho, they could be set rolling across the quilted landscape.

Within the setting, the local inhabitants watch the comings and goings of visitors with interest, forming a little community of burlap-dressed bears, rabbits, ducks, felines and mice (and even a giant fish apparently quite at home draped over a hill!). The bears, rabbits and ducks all have their own little neighbourhood areas, complete with their own burlap-fronted shop, while the felines – a lion jealously guarding his bag of potato chip (or crisps as we’re prone to call them in the UK), and a cat apparently out shopping with a little mouse literally in tow with her – stand apart from one another.

Touch the fronts of the shops, and the burlap “doors”  will rise curtain-like, to reveal smaller versions of the locals available for purchase and display.

Cica Ghost – Burlap

As with all of Cica’s builds, Burlap includes a lot of places for avatar animation / interaction, with sits and dances to be found on multiple sufaces – just carefully mouse over things and watch for the Sit icon to appear. Some of the obvious places are the giant gramophone player, the swings and the chairs – but there are more that I’ll leave yo to discover 🙂 .

Also, keep an eye out for the gift giver – it’ll present you with your very own burlap sack you can use to hop around the installation and have sack races with friends. There is also a fish car rezzer sitting to one side of the region awaiting drivers (turn off your AO to sit within in properly). Do be warned, however, that it does tend to launch you and your car once you’re seated!

Cica Ghost – Burlap

Whimsical, fun and bright, Burlap will remain open for about a month. When visiting, do please consider making a donation towards Cica’s work, so we can all continue to enjoy her art in Second Life.

SLurl Details

  • Burlap (Wisdim Isle, rated Moderate)

Melusina’s Cars in Second Life

Melusina Parkin – Cars

Now open at Melusina Parkin’s gallery space, located above her Melu Deco store, is her latest exhibition, Cars. It is a small, cosy exhibition of a dozen pieces focused – as the name suggests – on cars. Or more specifically, cars in Second Life.

In keeping with Melu’s approach to her art, these are not simple studies of motor vehicles; Melu has an eye for detail and angle, and this is much in evidence in these pieces.

Melusina Parkin – Cars

So, rather than presenting us with what might be regarded as “traditional” shots of cars – side views, three-quarter front or back views, etc., Melu presents us with images in which the framing and background is as important as the vehicle itself, or where the car is presented in unusual circumstances. Nor are these bright shiny models: Melu offers shots of vehicles that have seen better days.

The result is a collection of images where the vehicles depicted within them are more than just cars, they are characters, and the pictures containing them are studies of their nature. It’s an elegant series, each beautifully presented and with a story within it.

Melusina Parkin – Cars

As well as Cars, visitors to the exhibition space can also view a copy of Melusina’s Second Life Exhibits, a gorgeous collection of her exhibitions between 2011 and 2019. Just click on the book and follow the web link.

SLurl Details

Crossing Over and Night Walks in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over and Night Walks

Open from September 10th, 2019 at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery curated by Dido Haas, are two independent – yet in some ways complimentary – exhibitions by two gifted artists. Crossing Over features a 3D installation by Kaiju Kohime located in the middle of one of the gallery’s two arms, while Night Walks presents a further series of Melusina Parkin’s unique studies of Second Life. Both installation and imagery offer a richly layered environment in which thought is strongly provoked.

Crossing Over is the second installation Kaiju is presenting since his return to Second Life (his first being a collaborative piece with Electric Monday and entitled Orizuru (which you can read about here). It forms, in the words of the exhibition’s introduction, a commentary on the changing face of society’s thinking and structure:

The vertical small worlds we used to live in, illustrated by male white religious oppression, are slowly tilting towards a more horizontal and more human engagement. This installation is about the continuing struggle between verticalism and a horizontal way of thinking and being, about the masks we put on to protect ourselves from our mirror image.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over

The white-dominated element of religion (Christianity) is clearly symbolised by the main structure of the piece, which forms the framework of a great church. Within it, at the chancel, multiple white crosses float over the wireframe bust of a man as tendrils of light (thought / understanding / realisation?) fall from an angled blue cross to strike a mask that deflects them away – although it is showing signs of crumbling and breaking under their persistence.

It’s a clear and concise statement concerning religious oppression through the implementation of doctrine over belief / understanding. The white crosses stand as bars rigidly defining the dogma and the vertical nature of “white” Christianity as it is so sadly practised by some, wherein matters so often defined as “right” or “wrong” in terms of race, colour, gender and sexuality (perhaps more so in this present era than more recent times past). Meanwhile, the blue cross and the tendrils of light reflect that shift in thinking from dogma and vertical superiority towards the more compassionate, humanistic (and perhaps even more Christ-like?) “horizontal” view that we are in fact all equal; thus underlining the use of race, colour, gender and  sexuality by some as masks and shields by which they seek to hold themselves apart from, and over, others.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over

Night Walks, meanwhile, offers a series of images that take us on “journeys into a dark world”. As the introduction notes:

Streets are empty in the night. At 3 or 4 am we can walk around without meeting people (just somebody who is “still” or “already” there, according to the words of the great Italian writer Italo Calvino, a night owl or a worker). So, we can look at buildings, parked cars, windows, street lamps and benches as they are the true inhabitants of that dark world.

Thus we are offered a series of night-time images taken from around Second Life offered in Melu’s unique perspective where she uses minimalism and close focus to tremendous effect. These are images that offer not so much a picture of a location but a glimpse into a world; sharply defined and focused they might be in their composition, but behind each one of them sits an entire story into which the imagination can fall.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

Empty streets at night can be both enticing and frightening. We can be alone, even when just beyond the few inches of stone or brick that may separate us from the interior of house or apartment building, we know there are others, sleeping peacefully or – if lights are still to be seen through curtailed windows – going about their lives as we tread the pavements outside. Thus, we can wrap ourselves in a cloak of our own thoughts without fear of interruption or distraction.

But at the same time, the streets late at night can be unsettling: the familiar can be redrawn by the simple fall of light and shadow; doorways that by day might be welcoming can by night become places of menace. Thus – and again as the liner notes state, “Serenity and fear live together in the dark and empty streets. Which of them wins, depends on our mood. In the night the dark enchanting forest of the city becomes the landscape where the contrasting sides of our souls live.”

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

And it is in this contrasting sides of the soul that the link is formed between Night Walks and Crossing Over is formed. It is said that it is in the depths of night that one can most clearly hear the voice of God – or the voice of conscience, if you prefer. That quiet, insistent voice of challenge against dogma that cannot be silenced by the distractions of daytime life or deflected by the masks we might otherwise wear when not so deeply alone, and which calls into question our structure doctrine of thinking and encourages us towards a more open  – dare I say “horizontal” view of the world around us.

The symbolism within and between both Crossing Over and Night Walks is both rich and powerful, offering multiple ways to interpret each as individual pieces and as interconnected exhibits (there is something of a symbolism for death in Crossing Over, for example, and the small hours of the night as seen in Night Walks are said to be the time when death visits the most – ideas which can taken interpretation of both into a whole new dimension).

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

In this, I could go on to write at length on both, but I’ll resist putting words into the artist’s mouths and ideas into your heads. Instead, I would encourage you to go to Nitroglobus and view both, and allow them to jointly speak to you. Both Night Walks and Crossing Over officially open at 12:00 noon SLT on Tuesday, September 8th, 2019.

SLurl and Links

Cica’s Silly in Second Life

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

On Sunday, September 8th, Cica Ghost opened the latest in her monthly installations – and it is simply wonderful in its light-heartedness.

Silly is just that: a marvellous retinue of silly characters in a lush green landscape full of whimsy that would right at home in a children’s story or a scene in The Beatles Yellow Submarine. All of which is wrapped in an About Land joke by Cica:

Q: What is a cat’s favourite colour?
A: PURRRR-ple.

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

Across the vivid grass, two-dimensional shoots of many different hues periodically rise in bursts of speed growing, shoots forming as they do so. Except instead of becoming flowers, the buds they sprout become “fingers”, turning the plants into hands that wave in greeting before they descend back into the ground. Fluttering over these are similarly colourful and equally two-dimensional butterflies, their faces lit by happy grins.

There are no trees here; instead huge mushrooms rise over the landscape, casting broad, umbrella-like shadows, while the hump-backed hills are littered with boxes that have their own role to play. It is, in a word, a happy place, rich in humour. but it is not the scenery – whether in two-dimensions or three – that capture and hold the attention; it is the major characters within it.

These are a marvellous mix of the seemingly ordinary – cow-like creatures atop a hill and worm-like characters – to the quite bizarre. Some additionally have more than the usual allocation of heads or expected number of legs, but all of them would be perfectly at home within an animated film – a feeling that has added depth courtesy of the music stream Cica provides for the installation, which should definitely be played during a visit!

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

As with all of Cica’s installations, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the setting – places to sit, places to dance, and more. Just mouse-over the boxes scattered around and click when you see the sit icon. Where you end up might surprise you; one box certainly offers a new meaning to the term “in the belly of the beast”, while another might leave you feeling lighter than air! There’s also a free gift you can use to take to the skies and become an airborne participant in things.

Cica’s builds always offer something attractive. Sometimes they come with fun and frivolity, like Silly, others can be more thought-provoking or carry a narrative. It is this constant mixing of ideas and approaches that always made her installations worthy of time and attention. They are also why Cica is one of Second Life’s treasured artists.

SLurl and Related Links

Cica’s Dogwood in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

An arid land surrounded by the sea, conical hills sprouting from its back to rise above both the nude ground and denuded briar-like trees – this is the strange landscape that greets visitors to Dogwood, Cica Ghost’s latest installation in Second Life.

Within this landscape is an equally curious mix. Two slightly porcine dogs, the kind you might expect to see romping through an animated film, appear to stand guard either side of a ramshackle pair of fences that  themselves appear to be protecting a group of strange structures.

Looking like a mix of gourds, pearl drops and long-necked vases, these structures sprout valve-like arms from  necks rising up to open mouths. Combined with their sometimes bent shapes, these “arms” and open mouths give these forms a comically anthropomorphic look about them, little little odd women and men waving little arms at one another or to visitors, and exchanging conversation.

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

Two more dogs stand among these structures, again appearing to have dropped in from an animated film. One is a toothy and slightly worried-looking bulldog, the other an almost Chihuahua-like companion. Together they have an air of a Laurel and Hardy pairing about them.

Also scattered across the island are black birds, standing some in groups some on their own. With their colouring, long legs and beaks, they resemble a cross between a stork and a crow; but like the dogs and the strange structures, they have a strong sense of individual personalities.

Both dogs and birds are nicely animated – the eyes of the dogs dart around, while the birds move their eyes, turn their heads and raise the occasional leg as if about to take a step, then lowering it again in an change of mind.  These animations, together with the multiple avatar sit points with their share of dances waiting to be found throughout the region, add a subtle dynamic to this setting.

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

But sitting under a hazy sky, even with its oddly comical-cum-fairytale look, it’s hard to completely understand Dogwood – until that is, you reach the south-west corner of the region. It is here, with a narrow channel of water acting like a moat to separate it from the rest of the land, that a another hill rises. It is topped by a tall tower, reached by precarious-looking flights of steps stacked together without support. The tower is itself enfolded by the scaly tail of a great, wingless wyvern, who rests his bulk on the crown of the tower, eyes roving over the landscape before him.

Tower and wyvern add a further fairytale feel to Dogwood – but it is what lies within the tower, at the end of that precarious stairway that offers a key to Dogwood. A lone flower stands here, the brightness of its colours and the redness of its pot standing in strong contrast to the rest of the landscape. Put them with the quote Cica has selected to frame the installation, and the poetry of Dogwood falls into place:

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

– Hans Christian Andersen

Cica Ghost: Dogwood – July 2019

Perhaps initially hard to grasp but equally quirky and cheekily humorous, Dogwood is genuinely poetic in its presentation, carrying a rich vein of fairytale under the banner of the Andersen quote.

SLurl Details

  • Dogwood (Dueville, rated Moderate)