Immersive worlds, truly immersive and well-thought out worlds that have the ability to suck an avatar in and show you a totally fantastic and imaginative perspective on the universe, are, in Second Life anyway, usually reserved for role playing sims. I have never seen, in my year-long or so career as a 2nd Lifer, an art installation that brings you into a new world and leaves you there to explore it yourself and gather your own observations and opinions without an endless supply of stories and note cards and graphics recommendations being thrown your way. Well, that is until I stumbled upon claudia222′s sim-sized installation named Spirit, consisting of grass that looks like dragon fly wings and large, floating females busts anchored by massive chains, as well as a tip jar that looks like a mix between Casper and Jessica Rabbit.
When one starts out in Claudia’s exhibit, they tp under a canopy of a massive bony gazebo of sorts, which demonstrates Claudia style of mixing very organic shapes with bony appendages, producing a very sinister but beautiful sight, reminiscent of Half Life head crabs. The exhibit, an open world with infinite paths, starts in the water. One is drawn to the mainland, which is a marshy place, full of wispy dragonfly wings in lieu of grass and strange creatures and plants which combine Claudia’s organicity with her fascination of the female form. Everything seemed to have an airy, dreamy feel to it that seems to have sprung up from the blue.
As I was snapping pictures, I noticed a large group of static creatures seeming to be place as though they were converging on one spot. I zoomed in to find a man’s face, a normal, human man, partially submerged with a dead emptiness on his face. A translucent copy of his body was lifting out of himself, and a little fairy/Casper/Jessica Rabbit ghost was lingering near his mouth. Creatures were set in positions next to him, looking like sharks zeroing in on their frenzy or just a really, really eager welcoming party. This planted a thought in my head. Perhaps this was Claudia’s vision of the afterlife, a happy and fantastic world full of bony creatures and graceful landscapes. Or so I thought.
Traversing through the landscape some more, I began to realize it’s true sinister quality. In a dark rock-like structure, ghosts traveled up into a dark colored honeybee, and strange sacks hanging from the trees seemed to chomp endlessly. I scrolled and scrolled, until I found one that had a human foot in it’s mouth, and a discarded, bloody one discarded underneath. This vision of the afterlife, as I had interpreted it, was becoming more cynical by the minute.
The place really is indescribable. One has to visit it to truly feel it, to truly experience it the way I did. I had the fortune of talking with the creator, Claudia222 Jewell, a Swiss woman who has experimented with almost “every type of visual graphics” before finding Second Life (out of curiosity) and being mesmerized by the chances to learn and then recontribute to a community. Spirit, she said, was more of a personal goodbye to her father, and she originally wanted to give it more of a story, but, eventually, decided against it in favor of the viewer developing their own interpretation. I agree with her decision fully, why, judging from the exhibit as of now, there’s nothing really left unsaid.
Avatar and Accessories: CCC Spirit Avatar by Claudia222 Jewell, free at exhibit entrance.