Of all of the artistic efforts I’ve actually created on my own in Second Life (as opposed to the many that I’ve marketed, promoted and hosted), there are two that really stand out in my mind. The first is the Multicolor Twist (left), my first (and arguably my best) SL sculpture. Three prims of smooth, shiny symmetry that really seem to have spoken to people and demonstrated that you can think up something truly special and not have to bust through prim limits to make it. If anything stands out in my portfolio as a signature piece, it’s this.
The other is Reflections on Sacred Space, my somewhat personal investigation into the notion of spirituality in the virtual world…and whether being in a virtual world can offer a means to further one’s spirituality. Think about it – we can’t see God in real life, but can we create his(?) image in Second Life? Can we interact with that image? Does the image have to reflect Judeo-Christian iconography? Or can we create a representation of the sacred that is so wonderful that we cannot help but feel closer to God? I tried to provide myself with some of these answers in Reflections on Sacred Space.
I started with a cathedral-like build yet kept the entire build shiny and white, allowing for the many lighting options presented in the Second Life WindLight settings to take a role in helping the visitor along. I also rezzed all of my SL sculptures but changed them all to white as well. Lastly, I put elros Tuinomen’s “Future Visions” sculpture in the middle as a focal point. This white-hot ball of kinetics is just incredible…it took the notion of a God in a toga and long white hair and beard (not to mention God had to be a white man…I mean, that’s a given, right?) and flipped the whole concept on its ear. God, in this imagery, is not a person but instead an idea – an energy.
In that space, that sacred space, I honestly felt like I connected to my spiritual self in a way that I had not done before. Thirty-plus years of Roman Catholic mass and something like seven or eight years of Catholic education, and it took a bunch of prims in a virtual world to help me contextualize the pure wonder of God. I took a few snapshots to get my mind around the concepts presented in this post, and I’ve put them in a slideshow after the fold. (Note to the prudish: The slideshow investigates mature themes in a mature way.)
Pardon the self-indulgence (especially ironic, knowing that pride is one of the seven deadly sins), but I wonder if my little build, in a small way, may have helped steer artistic curiosity in a new direction on The Grid. I was always a bit saddened that I never saw SL-generated artwork that stepped past the religious iconography and into a deeper meaning of religion while managing Oyster Bay Sculpture Garden. Since I opened Reflections on Sacred Space, however, Bettina Tizzy and (cough) Rezzable teamed up on a build project that plays with the concepts behind Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, with its competing notions of Heaven and Hell. I gather that a number of SL sculptor artists – a number of my friends included – are getting involved in that project; I look forward to seeing the results.
Artistic urges lead me in different directions, however, and it’s time for me to close this special build and perhaps build my mansion – the build that instead found me building Reflections on Sacred Space. I’ve taken to machinima in a big way if you can’t tell, and I want to continue on that path. So I’m going to grab some footage of Reflections on Sacred Space and then take it down. Maybe that mansion will have a movie theater!
Anyway, I hope you liked the build. It’ll be up for a couple more days, as I do need to grab that footage before deleting it. Please stop by and draw your own conclusions.