Cica’s Pink Fairytale in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Pink Fairytale – September 2022

Every one loves a fairy tale, the opportunity to escape to a world where our imaginations can be exercised, to explore to lands far away, share in adventures and see good triumph. Fairy tales are stories we gain exposure to at an early age, and the four words that so often start them tend to remain with us forever – something English author Sir Philip Nicholas Outram Pullman once noted,  both in terms of the memories hearing the words can evoke and the escape they offer.

This power of fairy tales is the subject of Cica Ghost’s latest region-wide art installation which opened on September 12th. It takes as its foundation that quote from Pullman – an author who has perhaps enjoyed renewed exposure to a public courtesy of the BBC adapting his coming of age, multiverse-spanning trilogy His Dark Materials into a television series.

Cica Ghost: Pink Fairytale – September 2022
Once upon a time lasts forever.

– Sir Philip Pullman

Entitled Pink Fairytale, the setting offers an environment in keeping with its name: a pink landscape beneath a pink sky;  a place where pink flowers and trees climb towards the sky, and where the buildings and features of the setting resemble cakes and edibles topped with icing, and the cups of a carousel appear to be filled with ice-cream or some other delight, marking them as a haven for allowing the child inside to revel.

This is a place populated by animals and characters who in turn suggest stories and tales to the active imagination, where thrones with ears await a king and queen – or perhaps a princes and princess – the jug between them perhaps bringing forth thoughts of magic lamps. Elsewhere a princess can indeed be found, together with an entourage of geese – also often characters found within fairy tales –  and watched over by a elephant which, if not fairy tales, when certainly other famous childhood stories.

Cica Ghost: Pink Fairytale – September 2022

Scattered with little vignettes such as these and complete with Cica’s many places to sit or dance or – in the case of the bubble-burping fumaroles – float. Pink Fairytale is another light and fun installation form a Second Life artist who consistently offers us a reasons to smile. So, should you decide to hop over and experience Cica’s work first hand, do please consider making a donation to help her continue to keep us smiling.

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Dinosaurs and Coconuts in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Dinosaurs and Coconuts, July 2022

Cica Ghost carries us through the end of July and into August with her latest installation, which opened on Friday July 29th, 2022, bringing us a touch of Jurassic Park meets The Flintstones in another easy-on-the-eyes-and-brain piece.

Dinosaurs and Coconuts comes with a quote from the Dalai Lama – Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before, and this is a setting that surely offers us the opportunity to do just that.

Like Jurassic Park, this is an installation that presents avatar the opportunity to witness the great reptiles of an prehistoric era as they go about their business. Scattered across the landscape visitors might find armoured dinosaurs mind of those common to the Cretaceous period (Taohelong, Dyoplosaurus, Struthiosaurus, et al); sauropod-like dinosaurs that bring to mind those of the Jurassic the Late Cretaceous periods (such as Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus and the truly enormous titanosaurians); and two-legged carnivores suggestive of the infamous velociraptor genus.

Cica Ghost: Dinosaurs and Coconuts, July 2022

However, this is no trip down Archaeological Lane; Cica’s dinosaurs are not intended to be reflective of the great beasts that once called the world their own. Rather they are here to offer a lightness of mood and sense of fun, as demonstrated by their expressions and the tip towards the fantastical among some of them. This sense of fun is further emphasised by the landscape in which the are located; a place in which Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble may well find familiar were they to walk into it, with its stone-hewn houses and  cobbled-together wagons and caravans of stone and wood.

Some of the latter sit on the ground, others upon stilts and trestles. Quite who built them is open to debate; no sign of early Man here – although the local technology has clearly reached the point where the wheel is understood, as is the concept of the see-saw and that of the bridge (a concept a couple of the local raptors perhaps have yet to grasp, befuddled as they appear to be by the stretch of water which divides them, despite the bridge that sits close by…).

Cica Ghost: Dinosaurs and Coconuts, July 2022

At least one of the mysterious locals has even reached a point of understanding matters of ecology, a small windmill jutting through the roof of one stone house, presumably to supply power, and rudimentary garden spaces have been established to help give a sense of homeliness with some of these dwellings.

But it is the dinosaurs who hold sway here. From small to large (and in some cases I do mean large), they all have characters of their own, given life by a subtle sense of expression that suggests some of the thinking going on behind their eyes. Even the raptor-like dinos look like they’d be more interested in fun over hunting.

Cica Ghost: Dinosaurs and Coconuts, July 2022

Quirky and fun, and with a number of places for people to sit (or carry out handstands!), Dinosaurs and Coconuts is another fun installation from Cica, and the Dinos are available to buy though the little shop within the region.

Oh, and the coconuts? Just keep an eye on the local giant palm trees – and be careful not to stand too close to them!

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Cica’s Coloured Images in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Coloured Images, June 2022

Summertime is the time in which, when we are young, we gather precious memories of long holidays free from the supposed tyranny of school; times when we can run outside and play, build and create places of wonder through our imaginations, aided perhaps by toys such as building blocks or similar – or even the simple expanse of a piece of paper and a box full of tempting crayons.

The latter are particularly powerful as tools of the imagination, allowing young minds and hands create the most fantastical, colourful worlds, filled with the most bizarre or wondrous creatures and animals from upright elephants to giant ball-like and very happy spiders to aliens apparently visiting from another world.  The worlds we create using them can become a source of pride and a set of memories that, as we grow ever older and put such things behind us, summertime offers us again raising a smile and a sense of joy as they are recalled.

Cica Ghost: Coloured Images, June 2022

Because sometimes – as Cica Ghost reminds us through her June / July 2022 installation, all we need is a little splash of colour to gift us with a sense of joy.

Capturing the sense of fun exhibited with Garden (see: Happiness in Cica’s Garden in Second Life), this installation – called, for the record, Coloured Images – invites us to take a trip back to those younger times when our imaginations lay unfettered, and a new world lay in the promise of a blank sheet of paper and coloured sticks (or indeed, in the bricks or pieces of a toy building set).

Backed by a dark sky spotted with blobs and snowflakes of colour substituting for stars, the installation presents itself as a series of brightly coloured buildings – some complete, others not; some with bits and pieces of painted materials scattered around as if awaiting their turn to be used.

These buildings mostly stand on bases that suggest piece of card painted by hand to give the impression of surrounding gardens and footpaths, while walls carry painted images of creatures smiling happily and windows and great doorways edged as if with flooring petals. With strangely hued and coloured plants adding to the mix, and floors and different levels linked by simply-formed stairways, the entire setting is rich in its sense of imaginative invention and carefree innocence.

Within it, the animals and creatures are not just two-dimensional; they also exist as 3D characters waiting to be found. Some again look to have been painted by young hands that care little for “realism” such as the need for browns, white and black to predominate the coats of cows, or that caterpillars should for the most part be green. Instead, there is a further joyous riot of colour among all the creatures – from aforementioned upright elephant and multi-legged alien through to snakes, caterpillars, cows and more – that is exuberant in the sense of freedom it exudes.

Cica Ghost: Coloured Images, June 2022

As always with Cica’s installations, there are multiple sit points and dance animators waiting to be found (including one sit point right at the landing area – just look to one of the walls!), giving Coloured Images a further sense of fun as one explores.

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Happiness in Cica’s Garden in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Garden, May 2022
Happiness is a butterfly in my garden.

This is the sentence Cica Ghost uses to introduce visitors to her latest installation in Second Life, entitled Garden. It’s an expression that brings to mind a couple of thoughts, both of which aptly apply to Cica’s build.

The first expression comes from taking Cica’s words as given. For who can look upon butterflies on a summer’s day as they flutter around the blooming plants of a garden seemingly at random with brightly coloured wings catching the sunlight or raised like gay sails as they rest upon leaf, flower, or branch, and not feel a sense of happiness and joy?

Cica Ghost: Garden, May 2022

And within this setting there are butterflies a-plenty, hovering here and there over an expanse of clover and grass and flowers that tower over visitors like trees, and within which watering cans stand like (and indeed, have become) houses. Along with the butterflies, ants are also at work – more particularly, at play. Some chat with the butterflies, some sit upon the bent stalks of flowers or clover, waving for us to photograph them, whilst others perform feats of acrobatics in order to get up onto taller stalks!

Caught beneath a hazy teal sky, this is a wild corner of a garden with trails winding between tall flowers and clovers to lead visitors to places where they can sit and observe or join in a happy little dance alongside butterflies or ants, or – if they accept Cica’s gift at the landing point – drift along beneath their wings of their very own wearable butterfly.

Cica Ghost: Garden, May 2022

Garden is a simple, charming setting, where not even the trio of huge cats are out to cause trouble; instead, they are happy to converse with a little caterpillar who appears to have missed out on the opportunity to snooze its way to butterfly status in a chrysalis – and one of the moggies is even happy to have avatars take a seat on its back!

The other expression Cica’s description for Garden brought to mind is perhaps a little deeper:

Happiness is like a butterfly – the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Cica Ghost: Garden, May 2022

Granted, this may well not be what Cica had in mind when writing her description for the installation, but it nevertheless fits her garden, because right now with all the bleakness of news and headlines surrounding us in the physical world, we could all do with a little happiness. With its charm, simplicity and plethora of careful inhabitants, Garden presents an opportunity to turn our attention away from the things that crowd our thoughts, allowing that happiness to settle on us like that butterfly alighting on our shoulder.

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Make a Wish with Cica in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Make a Wish, April 2022
Make a wish Upon a Blobfish 🙂 

That’s the invitation Cica Ghost presents to visitors to her April 2022 installation, Make a Wish, which she opened to the public on Sunday, April 3rd.

It’s a setting  – for me at least – conjured up thoughts on nonsense rhymes and children’s tales. I’m not entirely sure why, but it did; I think it might because the installation is rich in a sense of fun and silliness, together with some fantastical amphibious fish that deserve their place in children’s rhymes.

Cica Ghost: Make a Wish, April 2022

The fish bask on the stony land or upon smooth, holding themselves up on fore flippers and fat tails, dorsal fins raised like sails, eyes roving around as they observe everything on this island of humpy hills and rather amusing stick-like houses that vie with the trees to lay claim to being the tallest objects within the setting.

Ladders climb the sides of some of the houses to allow visitors to work their way up onto their roofs, where poses might be played with. Elsewhere sturdy ropes slung between tall poles may offer tightrope walkers a chance to exercise their skills or, for the more sedate, benches present places to sit, either alongside houses or under the gaze of either the local storks or the giant pink blobfish sitting at the edge of one of the setting’s pools.

Cica Ghost: Make a Wish, April 2022

Caught under s grey sky and softly lit, Make A Wish is a simple, enjoyable installation, where even the ladybirds can take a break from their busy lives and give one another a flower over which to make a wish!

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Cica’s Green Planet in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Green Planet
There is another world, but it is inside this one.

– Paul Eluard

This is the quote Cica Ghost has selected for the description of her March 2022 installation, Green Planet, which opened on Saturday March 5th. Whilst most quotations give Eluard as saying “in”, rather than “inside”, it is nevertheless an entirely appropriate quote for the installation, and for at least two reasons – which I’ll come to in a moment, and promise not to offer an entire treatise on them!

Follow the SLurl (or the LM, if you have that!), and you’ll be delivered to the bowl of what might be an ancient impact crater, almost completely ringed by green-covered hills. The only way out – worryingly – is a gaping maw overseen by a single large, roving eye, and from within which rise or hang green stalagmites and stalactites – or might they be teeth?!

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

However, the maw is not that deep and is not waiting to chomp down on you when you attempt to pass; rather it is a gateway to a curved gorge-like canyon, its walls and floor again almost slimed in green and from which green flowers point their trumpet-like blooms at the strange orange-green sky.

The far end of this valley opens out into an even more alien landscape, a place inhabited by strange slug-like creatures as green as the their surroundings, some with what we would regard as the normal complement of eyes, others with decidedly monocular vision and still some with no real indication of any form of eye or eyes. Fat-lipped and bulbous-headed, they are clearly not of Earthly origin, and the mix with more of the strange maw-like creatures and one or two that have legs.

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

Throughout this landscape, more of the trumpet-like flowers point to the sky, and many of the undulating features have the feel of having been extruded rather than formed, while green globs drool from fronds and rocks as if someone has thrown green paint across this place – or perhaps it is the gunk thrown out by whatever caused the impact crater that is home to the landing point! Also to be found here are little fumeroles that periodically burp forth green bubbles that drift upwards, while grass-like fronds that have escaped any smothering by the green goop curl gently.

Sitting pristine within the setting is a silvered metal rocket, panels heavily riveted and a single viewport looking out over the scene – but the creature with its face pressed to the thick beaded glass does not appear to be human. The presence of the rocket and its traveller, together with a glass-domed very Earthly-looking flower, add perfectly to the overall surrealism of the setting.

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

And surrealism is one of the reasons the quote Cica has chosen for the setting is so apt: Eluard was one of the founders of the Surrealist movement, dedicated to opening channels in the mind as a means for the unconscious mind to express itself.  In this respect, there is much to be said about Second Life and the manner in which we can use it to express ideas of our own and unlock our imaginations in a way that somewhat parallels surrealism’s attempts to unlock the subconscious.

The second element in the fitting choice of Eluard’s quote is that just as there is a myriad of worlds out amongst the stars of our galaxy, some of which  – perhaps many – might will harbour strange and exotic life that might be celebrated through the bizarre creatures Cica has given us here; we have only to look inwards to find equally fabulous “other worlds” as they sit within our imaginations. Worlds like Cica’s Green Planet – wonderfully bizarre and captivating, unusual, engaging and fun (be sure to mouse over things – there are hidden dances awaiting discovery and a number of fun poses to be had – although you might have to look up at what is drifting around overhead to find the latter!).

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

As always, another great installation from Cica, who never fails to offer something fresh and eye-catching each month, so do please consider making a donation to her on-going work when visiting! And don’t forget the gift at the landing point!

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