Cica’s Waiting in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Waiting

It seems like only a few days since I was writing about Cica’s Sandcastles, so I was surprised to receive an invitation to return to her installation region and witness Waiting, which opened on September 19th.

This is a very different environment to Cica’s most recent installations – Sandcastles, Lollipop, Summer Day – in that the theme here is darker, both in tone and potential meaning. However, before going into specifics, while Cica’s environment settings are always central to her work, it is particularly important that Waiting is viewed under its intended environment settings, or an important detail will be lost.

On the one hand, this is a setting where the orientation seems clear: across a desolate, parched landscape with desiccated trees hills rise hump-like or broad and flat, and on which what might be the remnants of a town stand: tall, aging buildings that stand without glass in windows or roofs on top. This all seems straightforward enough. But then there is the sky.

Cica Ghost: Waiting

Stretching from horizon to horizon, the sky is a frozen expanse of flat, parched ground hanging over the setting. And while it may be difficult to initially discern, not only are the trees towards the centre of the land stretching up towards this desolate sky – they also appear to be reaching down from it, branches interwoven like bony fingers. It is a disquieting sight, once noticed, but its and the desolate land below (or is that above, if you flip your perspective to match the “sky”?) are just the start.

As well as the empty buildings and dried-out trees, this is a setting that is home to tall figures. Stone-like grey, emaciated and with faces largely caught in shadows frowns, they are almost golem-like, looking as if they have been formed out of the clay of the Earth beneath the feet of the majority as they sit atop of the central hill (although individuals might be found elsewhere). Why they are huddled together is unclear, but they sit under the tangle of branches “growing” down from the sky – but whether the latter are trying to grasp them or simply form a canopy over them?

Thus, this is a setting with many potential interpretations. These might be aided by consideration of the quote Cica includes with the installation: time waits for no-one. It’s a truism we’re all familiar with, but how might it be applied here? Could it be a reference to the idea that while we have been caught within the worry of the pandemic, life and the world have continued to move forward without us, or might the installation reflect the idea that life is something that happens whilst we sit around waiting for something to happen, or might it mean something more personal, is a matter for how the installation speaks to you as a visitor.

Cica Ghost: Waiting

However, when visiting, do be sure to look around carefully and mouse-over things: there are some interesting characters awaiting discovery – check the trees for a couple of them; and there are the expected sit points and dances that mark Cica’s settings, but which many also not always been easy to spot (but as a clue: when all you have is a hammer…).

SLurl Details

  • Waiting (Luna Sea, rated Moderate)

Cica’s Sandcastles in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Sandcastles, September 2021

We all have memories of childhood times, and while they can be a mix of the good and the bad or the happy or the upsetting, hopefully it is the good / happier times that stand in the majority and be recalled as we progress through life.

For those of us who lived on or near the coast during our formative years, it might be that some of those memories are about trips to the seaside: sploshing through the tide as it rolls up the beach, finding rock pools where some of the creatures of the sea – starfish, sea snails and so on – have found refuge until the tide returns, the sight of crabs scuttling their way over the warm sands, or getting out the bucket and spade to build our own fortresses of the imagination in the form of sandcastles.

With her latest installation, which opened at the start of September, Cica Ghost has offered us the opportunity to tap into those beach time memories and relive the delights of discovery and building on the sand. Called – appropriately enough – Sandcastles, its a joyous celebration of time spent at the seaside, and which offers a salient comment on life itself.

Cica Ghost: Sandcastles, September 2021

This is a place filled with the kind of sandcastles many of us might have envisioned when playing with buckets and spades: places of high curtain walls, tall keeps and graceful towers, where arches connect courtyards and sand stairs climb up to parapets and upper levels while moats stand guard, spanned by graceful bridges. Only here these designs are writ large by Cica as places we can explore and wander without any danger of accidentally treading on them and breaking them. They are true sand castles, complete the sandy stairs we can climb and wooden ladders ready to access higher levels.

Nor do they stand alone. within their walls and courtyards and across the sands on which they stand are denizens of the sea – starfish, hermit crabs, sea snails – all of them with happy faces, with many having fun we’re invited to join, be it dancing or riding see-saws. while for those who prefer something quieter, in places the sand has been shaped into benches to be sat on, or shells can be found that offer a place to curl up in.

Sandcastles is a place designed to evoke happiness and a sense of child-like release. It is also a reminder that it is important we not only keep hold of memories of happy times, we should make happy times part of the fabric of our lives, to be enjoyed and shared because – as the quote by American author and teacher Jack Kornfield that sits within the setting’s About Land description reminds us – nothing, from castles in the sand to life itself is permanent; the time will come when we will have to let things go (hence the beached whale, perhaps?).

Cica Ghost: Sandcastles, September 2021

But rather than let thoughts of the latter weigh you down too much, why not head over to Cica’s installation, grab yourself her free starfish wearable pet, and have a little fun amongst the Sandcastles?

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Have a Lollipop with Cica in Second Life

Cica Ghost – Lollipop, August 2021

Cica Ghost has opened her August installation, and its is one that really doesn’t need a lot of words to describe, other than perhaps those she uses herself:

Happiness is enjoying the little things in your life.

Entitled Lollipop, the installation is pretty much a light-hearted frolic through Cica’s imagination and sense of fun. Many of her trademark elements are here, offering a veritable melting pot of creations we’ve come to know and enjoy, as well as introducing some new characters.

Cica Ghost – Lollipop, August 2021

Among the former are her tall, thin houses that point towards the sky like a collection of slender fingers, the majority of them forming a little town built on platforms over cool blue water; then there are her flowers, this time of a giant size, mostly growing free although here and there they set within pots, whilst also scattered around are her dinosaurs, frogs, ingenious flying machines and multiple sit points with animations and / or dances.

The newer characters take the form of happy mice, and a chap who combines two of Cica’s past creations – cats and fish – and who looks like he would appreciate company, should someone opt to occupy the high chair alongside him. Several sea worms are also to be found, apparently fascinated by Cica’s buildings.

While one of the latter might appear to look upon the occupant of a chair within the house it is curled around as a potential snack the goofy looks of its friends belie any ill intent. However, if you are unconvinced as to the motives of said worm, then perhaps you might want to grab a lollipop from the big machine close to the landing point before trying the seat. That way, if the worm does look hungry, you can always offer him the lollipop!

Cica Ghost – Lollipop, August 2021

Caught under a summer’s sky, the colours of the ground bright and jolly as well, Lollipop is a place for fun, where you can sit, dance, climb, ride and enjoy yourself, free from message and worry. So go on, why not take a lick? And if you like the mice, you can purchase them through Cica’s little shop in a corner of the region 🙂 .

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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 🙂 .

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;  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 some  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)