Cica’s Summer Day in Second Life

Cica Host: Summer Day

Cica Ghost opened her latest region installation on Sunday, July 18th. Entitled Summer Day, it is, as always with Cica’s installations, accompanied by a quote; one that might possibly have more meaning when taken with the installation than may perhaps have been the case with some of Cica’s recent works, a point I’ll come back to in a moment. That quote is:

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.

– Dr Seuss

The scene is quite simple – a rolling landscape under a deep teal sky, white horses gambolling and frolicking amidst the grass and under the shade of trees; a chap fishing on a little lake where he is watched by a swan, the fish under the water perhaps teasing him by ignoring his line and bait; and a woman (his wife?) sitting outside of a house, fussing a pair of geese, one of which is perched on her lap.

Cica Host: Summer Day

What is surprising is that unlike Cica’s other region-wide installations, Summer Day has few sit-points within it – just the bench with its white cat and the little boat bobbing off-shore, so far as I could see; and there are none of the usual animations / dances that tend to be a hallmark of her work. It is this lack of animations and sits, combined with the use of the quote from Dr. Seuss that led me to wonder if, perhaps, there is a message to be found within this Installation.

Seuss’ words remind us that memories grow from the experiences we have – or create – in our lives; so it is important we ensure we make time to have experiences – moments – that will result in happy, lasting memories – be it through engaging in something we enjoy, appreciating nature’s beauty or simply having fun. Otherwise, there’s a risk that when we page back through our memories, there is a risk that rather than having a richness of experience to enjoy, we find that all we have are a lot of “what if I had just…” memories.

Cica Ghost: Summer Day

So might Summer Day be a little poke Cica is giving us to maybe take a break from computer screen and keyboard and make time for the things that will give us happy memories? Those moments needn’t be complex: just space to enjoy a favourite past-time (the chap fishing), or to enjoy the touch of nature (the woman leaving the washing and fussing the geese) or simply taking time to play (symbolised by the horses), especially if we can share the fun with a friend or loved one.

Obviously, I don’t want to put words into Cica’s mouth, but I found it hard not to escape this feeling / sentiment as I wandered Summer Day, although it is true you might find it says something different. Which is why (as always with Cica’s work), I recommend playing it a visit yourself, rather than just relying on what is written here.

However, while you do so, please excuse me if I pop out to the garden for a moment, and make some memories playing with my cat šŸ™‚ .

Cica Ghost: Summer Day

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A trip to Cica’s Circus in Second Life

Cica’s Circus

For June, Cica Ghost is offering us all a trip to the circus with her latest installation which opened on Tuesday, June 8th.

Called, appropriately enough, Circus, this is an engaging setting that brings to life all the brightness – and perhaps some of the edge – of its namesake for people to explore.

From the big top to cages to transport animal whilst on the road to the animals themselves – elephants, giraffe, seals, lions, bears – Circus presents all the elements that for so long made circuses a place of wonder for young and old. And not just the circus – rids and other interactive elements aware those who visit, giving the setting a slight funfair lean as well.

Cica’s Circus

Scattered throughout are Cica’s trademark dances lay hidden within various objects awaiting discovery – keep and eye out as well for the gifts that can make the dancing even sillier! Other items, when moused over, offer sit point for those who wish to observe all that is going on. for the more energetic, the trampolines offer the challenge of bouncing in place or trying to time bounces and movement to catapult yourself upwards and back and forth between them.

Of course, circuses can raise feelings of disquiet over the welfare of animals, whilst clowns are not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to fun. These points are perhaps indirectly alluded to by Cica due to the clowns here keeping themselves to one side of the path through the circus, and the fact that the entire setting sits under a slightly gloomy twilight sky.

Cica’s Circus

But really, Circus is about freedom and escape, a recapturing of childhood innocence and wanting to “run away to the circus”. And in a time when there has been so much gloom and spectres of pandemics and political polarisation and more, taking time to escape is actually not a bad idea. So why not hop along to Cica’s Circus and have a little fun?

SLurl Details

  • Circus by Cica Ghost (Springville, rated Moderate)

Cica’s Stars in Second Life

Cica Ghost; Stars

Thursday March 4th saw the opening of Stars by Cica Ghost. Occupying a Homestead region, Stars is once again an interactive setting that makes for fun exploration.

Caught under a blanket of starfish-like stars (make sure you have your viewer set to use the Shared Environment), the setting has something of a Steampunk feel to it in general appearance, incorporating many echoes of Cica’s past installations waiting for those who are familiar with her work.

Cica Ghost, Stars

The town is laid out in something of a grid, with the landing point pretty much at its centre. laid out around it are squares and road and assorted buildings, some of which stand as a frame for the setting, other of which can be entered into and explored, or offer places to sit and chat.

Some of these houses resemble the tall slender houses found in the likes of Burlap and Sunny Day, or echo the look of those seen within Bridge and Donkeys or seen painted in Rocks and Drawn Town. Among these are fish and seas creatures, some hanging from pipes or forming strange wheeled sculptures and vehicles or sitting at rooftop decoration;Ā  whilst very different in tone, these nevertheless tickle fond memories of Under the Sea, while echoes of places like Little Town and more also await discovery.

Cica Ghost, Stars

Which is not to say Stars is not a unique environment – it very much is; but these little touches, which include Cica’s stick man on his bicycle still fighting the wind and the rabbits from from Burlap forming a part of the town’s puppet theatre and the keys on the wall of the house interior, add depth to the setting that can be very personal to those who have followed Cica’s work.

This is a place that introduces new characters as well, notably in the form of the wheeled, tin hatted robots rolling back and forth on their single wheel, or offering music to dance to under the stars. And throughout the entire setting are places for visitors to dance or sit or ride (from swings to vehicles) and simply have fun together. And when exploring, do be sure to check the terrain covering – it offers someĀ  art of its own.

Cica Ghost, Stars

Rounded with a quote by Charles A. Beard (or Ralph Waldo Emerson, depending on your choice of attribution, together with Martin Luther King Jr., and others in a slightly altered form), Stars is another richly engaging place to explore – do be sure to have the local stream enabled when exploring! And should you find them as engaging as I did, Cica’s robots at their friends can be purchased from the store in one corner of the region.

SLurl Details

  • Stars (Meropis, rated Moderate)

Fun and thoughts on Cica’s Planet in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Planet
What if I’m a princess on another planet? And no one on this planet knows it?

The above quote, from The Carrie Diaries by American author Candace Bushnell, is a musing on the part of the book’s protagonist, the young Carrie Bradshaw (the book is a prequel to Carrie’s later adventure inĀ Sex and the City) as she endures high school in Cranberry, Connecticut and dreams of life in New York City and all she might become / escape once she has moved there to become an aspiring author, and left behind her provincial origins.

It is also a quote that Cica Ghost uses in her latest installation, which opened on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 – and in using it, she offers perhaps the most perfect encapsulation of what Second Life can be to those of us invested in their digital world.

Cica Ghost: Planet

As such, Planet is a location that can be enjoyed on two levels. It can be taken simply as a whimsical and fun setting, filled with Cica’s usual interactive touches that always make a visit to one of her installations a pleasure; or it can be combined with the quote that accompanies it to offer the opportunity for deeper reflections on life and Second Life.

Caught under a mauve sky where the clouds have been strung into ripples that wash gently along under the light of a distant white star, this is a strange world filled with creatures of strange origins. Some are capable of walking, others of flying and some of slithering, whilst others appear to be rooted to the spot, almost as if they have been extruded out of the ground.

Not that any are particularly threatening – rather the reverse in fact, many of them standing in little groups or close enough together as if to be conversing. They are certainly at ease within their otherworldly landscape and not in the least fazed by the little flying saucers a that hover and flit around certain points over the landscape like little mechanical bugs.

Cica Ghost: Planet

Nor are the locals particularly bothered by the fact an very Earthly-looking rocket ship has landed among them, or that a human has quote literally established a homestead in their midst, one complete with cat potted plants and very Earthly looking grass and tree.

It is here that setting and quote intertwine to add that deeper layer of potential and reflection to Planet. Within her dome, the girl has arrived from another planet, a place where she might well be a princess, but here is just another sharing the land with her strange neighbours, none of them truly aware of the status or otherwise she might hold back in wherever she came from.

Cica Ghost: Planet

Thus, her presence might be said to mirror our own in Second Life. Here we can be anything we desire, unencumbered by who we are in the physical world – be it living the life of a princess or a pauper, so to speak; we can be accepted simply for how we are perceived through our looks and actions and activities within this virtual realm, free from all that might otherwise encumber us.

And, just as importantly, the reverse is true: here we can be that princess or that dragon or an elf warrior on a quest, or a starship captain seeking brave new worlds, or even a tinkerer and inventor of Things, or can simply escape cares and pressures and sit in the digital shade of a tree or sail the digital tides of a broad sea, and no-one around us in the physical world need be any the wiser as to who we become, where we travel, who we meet or the adventures on which we might embark and discoveries we make.

Cica Ghost: Planet

Whether you are looking to simply visit and have a little fun drifting around in little flying saucers or dancing among the aliens or drafting weightlessly within a space ship, or whether you are tickled into stepping through he door that Cica opens to deeper, broader thoughts about life, expression, the power of the imagination and the freedoms presented by SL, Planet makes for an ideal visit, and should remain open through to around mid-to-late February.

SLurl Details

  • Planet by Cica Ghost (Van, rated Moderate)

Cica and Bryn’s White Veil in Second Life

White Veil, December 2020 – snowballs are a rollin’,rollin’, rollin’

Cica Ghost and Bryn Oh have once again teamed up to provide a littleĀ  light-hearted winter fun for those who feel like a little bit of a challenge with some avatar exercise.

White Veil, located on a snow-covered Homestead region under the patronage of Clementine Rosca, challenges visitors to make their way over wooden boards to a snowy valley between high peaks that winds up to where a strange tower twists its way up into the sky – and then climb the curving ramp ofĀ  said tower to reach the room at the top.

White Veil, December 2020 – will the magnets help or hinder you?

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? And it is – except for the gigantic snowballs that periodically rain from the sky to roll at random down the valley to sweep-up all that lies in their path. They are invariably followed by one true monster of a snowball that rumbles down the tower’s ramp to join its smaller brethren as they tumble down the valley.

Should you get caught by any of these great balls of snow, then you’re toast – or at least, you’re teleported back to the start line to try again. Nor are the snowballs alone in trying to hinder you. There are also white blocks lieĀ  scattered around which, if you get too close will attempt to bounce you in the air, whilst blue bullets may be pelted at you from the tower’s open walls to try to delay you.

White Veil, December 2020, – meet the penguins

But, there is also assistance to be had. Scattered along the path are blue disks. Step on one and you’ll be enclosed in your own personal force-field for a time, impervious to snowballs blocks and bullets – just keep moving with the force field in order for it to benefit you the most. Magnets hanging over the curving ramp of the tower might also assist you by dragging you to them, and so up the slope – but they also might hinder, as once caught by one, it can be difficult to get free!

Nor is this all; while the goal is to reach the room at the top of the tower and witness the strangely garbed individual awaiting you there, so to are there opportunities to leave the valley and explore the lands beyond, occupied as they are by groups of Cica’s penguins, whilst pieces of Bryn’s art might also distract you.Ā  Also to be found at the tower’s top is a narrow, snow-covered walkway leading to a flying chair; use the arrow and page Up / Down keys to manoeuvre it once seated.Ā  A second narrow snowy walk can take you to a lonely television, whilst keeping an eye out for snow white pose balls might get you literally climbing the walls.

White Veil, December 2020 – having reached the top of the tower, I opted to take the flying chair back down, avoiding the snowballs

To experience the fun of White Veil, simply teleport over and then accept the experience associated with it (if you are a regular visitor at Bryn’s Immersiva, and have accepted the experience there, then you are actually all set). When you’ve done so, note the instruction about using Always Run (CTRL-R – although in places you might want to toggle it on / off. And for an added bit of fun, you could also try your hand at decoding the message in the region’s About Land description. It’s not hard, but all I’llĀ  say here is that it gives warning about the state of mind of certain flightless waterfowl …

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Cica’s Bridge in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Bridge

Cica Ghost dropped me an invite to visit her latest build, which opened to the public on Thursday, November 5th. Given I’m a long-standing fan of her work, I had to hop over and see it right away.

Bridge is another whimsical build – but also one that has a potential message for the world at large; a message encompassed in the quote Cica has selected to go with the installation:

It takes both sides to build a bridge.

Fredrik Nael

Cica Ghost: Bridge

For those who may not be familiar with him, Fredrik Nael, is an Indonesian writer of science fiction / fantasy short stories as well as a reviewer of books. In the west, he is perhaps noted for a series of inspirational quotes, of which the one Cica has selected might be his most famous.

With this build, Cica offers a pair of rocky tables sitting above the rest of the landscape, and on which sit two little towns – or perhaps the two halves of the same town, depending on your perspective. They are linked by a single bridge which – given both are walled on their own summits – appears the only way of moving from one to the other (although steps do descend from one to the valley below).

Cica Ghost: Bridge

Watching over all of this is a gigantic dragon. He doesn’t appear to be any threat to either part of the town (or the towns, depending on how you prefer to see them), but whether he is just visiting or a guardian is up to you to decide. He does, however, offer a nice link to Nael’s fantasy writing.

Walking around the tall, slender houses and the neatly set lawns and flower beds will reveal places to sit, places to dance and – across the bridge – pram-like cars (which can be purchased with a rezzing system) for those who want to try motoring around. Exploring will also reveal many of Cica’s cats, who very much have the run of the place – although they are likely not responsible for the little drawings from Cica that are on a number of the walls, and which bring further life to the setting.

Cica Ghost: Bridge

And the message? While Cica keeps her art largely apolitical, it’s hard to miss: at a time when we we tend to be defined by what divides us more than what can unite us, building bridges can do much to bring us back together.

Bridge will remain open through November 2020.

Cica Ghost: Bridge

SLurl Details

  • Bridge (Elle Island, rated Moderate)