Sunday, 26 May 2013

Cerridwen's Cauldron

Why has no one ever told me to go to Cerridwen's Cauldron? I must have been living under a virtual rock, for missing this place! It was during Madpea's hunt for the Lost Treasure of the Inca's that I finally came to Cerridwen's Cauldron first time and recognised the building style of Titan's Hollow - my favourite sim at the Fantasy Faire last month. So this is where those magical glowing plants come from, that you can see all around the grid!

After finishing the Mad Pea hunt I didn't wait long to revisit and explore the whole Cerridwen's Cauldron sim. When you search for Cerridwen's Cauldron, you'll find a teleport that takes you to the shop building, that's floating in the sky.

Cerriwen's Cauldron

The building is beautifully decorated, with pinnacles, curly arches and dragons. Speaking of dragons: close to the landing point one is waiting for you to take you on a flight around the building (my kids loved watching that!)



Dragon Arches

In the building are several displays that show the products from the vendors - trees, plants, mushrooms and much more. There's a garden, a swamp and an amazing aquarium where you can dive in with a splash. All destinations can be reached by the teleporter at the landingpoint, but I'd recommend walking if you don't want to miss any part of the wonderful building.

The teleporter is useful though to reach the groundlevel, where is much more fantasy goodness. On a big mountain stands a temple, surrounded by surreal plants. But the best part is inside: not inside the temple but inside the mountain! You'll find a few gaps in the mountain wall, that lead to a giant cave, filled with lava spitting plants, bright crystals, glowing mushrooms and a couple of creepy spiders.

At the bottom of the cave

Via narrow bridges and rope ladders you can descend to sea level and walk out of the cave to find yourself in a tropical swamp. Here you can enjoy the superb plants from Cerridwen's Cauldron collection in a natural setting. I'm definitely going to buy some of those to decorate the empty part on my parcel!

Swamp plants

Swamp plants

The imaginative creations and not-possible-in-real-life buildings make this sim one of my instant favourites. My photos show only part of all the beauty to be seen. You should visit it and explore it to get the full impression.

Here's your taxi to the sky building.
Here's your taxi to ground level.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A sad but true story

I was looking for one of the installations by Rose Borchovski about her character Susa Bubble, when I ran into The inevitability of fate on Two Fish. According to this blogpost the installation has been around for almost a year, but I had not seen it yet.

At first I was reluctant to explore this immersive story landscape: it was not the one that I'd been looking for and from the description in the destination guide and the notecard at the landing point I figured that it wouldn't be a cheerful experience. Curiousity won, I clicked the teleport button and I don't regret it at all. When I logged off at the end of the evening The inevitability of fate had left a deep impression.

Two Fish

The inevitability of fate lets you walk through an interactive landscape where you experience the story of Angry Beth and Lot. It's not a happy story:

Lot turned eight, the sun did shine and all were happy.
But then the war came and all did change.
A harsh hand ruled the world of Beth and Lot.

They were forced to leave.
They were separated from each other.
They were made the enemy.

The war was bitter and long.

After the war Beth returned.
The child Lot had disappeared; no one knows where she went.

Beth keeps searching for Lot.
On good days, Beth is able to imagine that
Lot is flying like a bird, with her face towards the sky,
searching for the stars.
On bad days, Beth can only be angry about her loss.
Beth’s wounds will never heal.

Lot had no chance to become who she meant to be..
Scene by scene you are lead through the story. It starts with Lot's birthday and ends with her flying like a bird.

Two Fish - Happy Birthday
Two Fish

The figures of Beth and Lot are made with skill: the emotions speak from their faces. But that's not the most impressive part of the installation.  Along the way  you receive many of the objects that Lot and Beth encounter  in their live and you become part of the story. There's a yellow ribbon that you have to wear, a letter that summons you to leave home, etcetera. You are encouraged to use the items and to interact with the story by sitting on the poses in the different scenes.
What touched me most though, were the sounds. The voice of Lot who misses her family, a man telling that you have to work for them, a child's voice listing all the names of people who died. The despair of Lot and Beth is tangible and it is impossible to catch this feeling in a picture: you have to experience it yourself.

Two Fish - You have to leave

Obviously the story of Lot and Beth is about a Jewish family in the second world war. Rose Borchovski managed to depict this heavy theme in a light and imaginative way that fits the world of Second Life, yet does justice to reality.

But it's more than that. It's not only a story about the Holocaust, but also the general story of a mother being separated from her child in wartime. Unfortunately this still happens until today. That's why this story should be told again and again.

In two weeks my country (the Netherlands) will remember the end of the second world war and celebrate its freedom. Many will visit a  memorial to commemorate, which is good. But after my visit to this installation, I wonder if the world would still be the same if real life memorials would have the same impact as 'The inevitability of fate'.

Here's your landmark to visit Lot and Beth.

Two Fish

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Legion Project

The Legion Project is a nice hangout that opened not long ago. It's just a quarter sim, but looks much bigger due to the use of off-sim elements and different levels in the landscape. The quiet streets surrounded by high mountain peaks and pine trees remind me distantly of Twin Peaks.

I couldn't find much information about the project, nor a program - maybe I missed a sign somewhere - but this is what the destination guide tells about the place:
The Legion Project was carefully created for you to hang out, enjoy some music, play your tunes and take amazing pictures. Designed for those who want to spin and party without being added to a staff or hired at a club, the Legion provides open streams and two different stages for your musical enjoyment. All are welcome. 

The first stage is right at the landing point, near the water, with rugs in the grass to sit and listen to the music and  a retro bar for your convenience.

The Legion Project - The Bar

The other stage is at the end of a short street with a handful of small shops.

Scattered around the place are seats, where you can hangout with your friends or simply enjoy the beautiful nature. One of the terraces in the landscape habits a gypsy field:

The Legion Project - Gypsy Field

The creators seem to have a thing with religion - or actually not - regarding a sign saying 'religion free zone' and a street with two abandoned churches.

The Legion Project - Church Door

The Legion Project - Sacred Space

The Legion is a nice corner of the Port Said sim. It is attractive for photographers and invites to stay for a while. The only thing that I missed was an easy way to walk from one level to the other: once I disappeared between the terraces and I was glad that I had 'double click to teleport' activated in my viewer.

Here's your taxi to visit the Legion Project.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

It was about time that I visited the LRRH exhibition curated by Mimesis Monday, as it opened back in February and will close within a few weeks. Mimesis is a RL storyteller - Heidi Dahlsveen from Norway - and in the past years created several storytelling related installations in Second Life, often with cross over activities in the atomic world.

This time she invited SL artists to share their view on the well known fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. In the course of centuries Red Riding Hood has evolved to the cute little girl as we know her, but originally it was a story with much more (sexual) symbolism and violence. The installations in LRRH - The other Side of the Story refer to that raw version of Red Riding Hood.

Alpha Auer's interpretation goes back to her childhood memories: she always felt pity for the wolf, who was dearly punished for his natural behaviour, i.e. hunting for fresh meat. Her installation expresses the brutal murder of the wolf. It is quite gruesome and dark, but has beautiful details, like the moving trees and an android Riding Hood trying to flee away in the depths of the sky.


LRRH - tree

Personally, I enjoyed the second installation more. It's a collaboration by Cherry Manga and Sorror Nishi and they created a surreal landscape in red and grey.

LRRH - Welcome

My own outfit fitted in fairly well:

Zippora @LRRH

I loved the wolf trees near the landing point:

LRRH - Wolf Tree

A path leads you to subsequent scenes of the story, that are definitely not suitable for small children in this version. But I got totally sidetracked by the awesome plants of Sorror Nishi, of which the vibrant colours are in huge contrast with the sober shades in the rest of the place.

LRRH - The Forest

LRRH - Mushrooms

LRRH - The Forest
But believe me, the (NSFW) scenes from the story are certainly worth a visit too. The sim will be open until April 15th, so you still have a couple of weeks to go.

Teleport to the main landing point.
Teleport to Alpha Auer's installation.
Teleport to Cherry Manga and Sorror Nishi's installation.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

A lot to tell about Torell

This week I saw this artwork as background in a fashion blog picture and was amazed:

The Tower (Rebecca Bashly)

I was very happy that the blogger (who's name I forgot to jot down, unfortunately) had added a landmark and was quite surprised to see that the name of my country (the Netherlands) was in its name: Torell Nederland . That was an exra reason to visit soon!

Once in Torell Nederland I discovered that the artwork is part of Rebecca Bashly's 'The Tower', which happened to be on my places-to-visit-list anyway, so I could tick off that one now. The Tower is a dark but beautiful installation and quite impressive. Only this is already worth a visit to Torell Nederland.

The Tower (Rebecca Bashly)

But there's more. Much more.

Only one day after I had made a note of the landmark to The Tower, I received a snapshot from my friend Peter Stindberg, with a beautiful landscape that seemed to be copied from a Van Gogh painting. Sim name on the snapshot was, you guess it, Torell Nederland.

Thus, after my visit to The Tower, I teleported to sea level to find a complete village inspired by Van Gogh indeed. The buidings are old fashioned prim builds with simple textures, yet it's a funny experience to walk 'inside' Van Gogh's paintings.

In case you're not very familiar with the works of Vincent van Gogh, you get a little help from the owners of the sim, JanFolkert Alter and Ellenilli Lavendel: they set up easels with copies of the paintings on the spots where you can see the depicted scene.

Le Café de Nuit, but unlike the painting, without visitors:
Van Gogh Village - Café Terrace at Night

Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles:
Van Gogh Village - Bedroom

Outside of the village is a Mediterannean scene with golden wheatfields, cattle and mills, and also a small patch of forest with a more fairytale-like atmosphere.

Torell NL - Magic Forest

More of Van Gogh can be found high up in the sky, where several galleries are located in ultra modern buildings. In a number of galleries are exhibitions of real life paintings by Van Gogh, Klee and Klimt, which makes me wonder. The strength of Second Life is that it's a 3D world, where you can interact with objects, so why would I use it to watch 2D art work from the atomic world?

Only one gallery could grab my attention, with an installation by SL-architect DB Bailey. Like in the Van Gogh Village and in Rebecca Bashly's Tower you can walk through and you are immersed in a strange world of pillars and colours:

Installation by DB Bailey

The outside of the galleries could not really attract me and I felt pityful for this poor little dog:

Lonely Dog But in general Torell Nederland is a great sim with a lot to see. Here are your taxis to see it for yourself:
To Rebecca Bashly's Tower
To Van Gogh Village
To DB Bailey's installation

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Last week we had two days of marvellous spring weather, but yesterday winter returned. An icy wind with an occasional snow flake was blowing around the house, when I saw this picture and thought: "That's where I want to be! Spring!" And I teleported to Cherry Blossom.

It's just a quarter sim, home of Qbee skins and shapes and... packed with flowers. Seriously. The frame rate dropped drastically, but the first impression was worth it:

@Cherry Blossom - Spring!

Flowers and colours everywhere! I know, maybe it's a bit over the top, but today this is exactly what I needed.
Everything in this little corner of SecondLife is so fresh and bright, it's like sunshine coming through your  screen.

@Cherry Blossom - sunshine

The whole place is decorated with love for detail and without fear of bright colours. A corner like this one makes me long for my own garden:

@Cherry Blossom - Flowers Everywhere

But right now it's still cold and grey outside, so for the time being I can only dream away with the pictures that I took of this lovely place.

More pics of Cherry Blossom on my Flickr stream
Or visit Cherry Blossom in SecondLife

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hazardous Hype

I was reluctant to visit Hazardous. After the first 'Oh cool!' when I saw a pic of the tilted lighthouse a few weeks ago, I've seen so many pictures of the sim on my Flickr stream, that I started to get bored with them. I've seen the lighthouse a dozen times by now. And the cliffs. And the fields with the crooked trees.  Hazardous is a hype and I don't like hypes. Yet there was an itch to see it with my own eyes.

Yesterday I invited my good friend Peter for exploring and despite my feelings decided for Hazardous.
It is a beautiful sim indeed, with a remarkable landing point and funny teleports. The surface reminded me of The Quiet, the sim by AM Radio, that started the trend of rural landscapes in SL a few years ago. But Hazardous offers more, with its cliffs and the spectacular cleft in the middle. It was fun to explore and the lag was reasonable, despite the crowd gathered on the sim.

Today I returned to take some pics. Yes, that means more pics of Hazardous on Flickr :P But I don't have the skills to give them that vintage look, that seems to be so popular (and that, admitted, fits with the look and feel of the sim). Instead I played with WindLight settings, tried different frame sizes, and tried to avoid the beaten track.  I could not resist taking the umptieth picture of the lighthouse though, but I'm pretty content with the result.  I hope you like it too.

Visit Hazardous

Hazardous - Lighthouse

Hazardous - Waterlillies

Hazardous - Buddha

Hazardous - Birds

Hazardous - Stairs