Art As Immersion

Art, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. In the usual sense, the visual arts are paintings or sculptures. Maybe, if one is generous, a film is art. […]

Art, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. In the usual sense, the visual arts are paintings or sculptures. Maybe, if one is generous, a film is art. Second Life has added the dimension of immersive installations to art. It’s not that “big art,” like miles of fabric fence (1) or room-sized installations (2) are unknown in real life. It’s that SL allows for the instantiation of whatever one’s imagination can imagine.

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) makes a number of full size sims available to artists who then create flights of imagination that one can move into and explore. The LEA has been doing this for a number of years and I have explored some amazing, mind blowing, worlds of pure inspiration. Some installations were scary, others insightful, some totally confusing and all provided a look into the mind of a creative person.

Links for the LEA are listed at the bottom of the page.

Main street in the town of Dover

I wanted today to focus on just one installation. It is called The White Cliffs of Dover and is a recreation of the town of Dover on the South coast of England with flashes of flavor from the 1940s. Dover is near the famous white chalk cliffs that aviators used as a landmark when flying across the channel, coming home from war. This installation will close at the end of December but they will stage a major event there this month. It will be a re-creation of the Battle of Britain.

My first impression of the sim, based on the 1940s feeling and the Spitfires and Hurricanes parked about, was that the installation was an opportunity to immerse oneself in the strange and terrible world of a country at war. But Tah (Tahiti Rae), the installation’s creator, told me that she “built this installation to represent HOPE in the eye of adversity, so it’s not really about being in the war.” It is also not focused on just the 1940s but meant to connect to the history and human stories of a town that goes back almost a thousand years.

When you explore the town, be sure to locate the Library and Archive. Here anyone can log their story in an archive. It can be about events in Dover or a personal story of hope.

There is an iconic lighthouse on top of the white cliffs. In the lighthouse is a quaint coffee house. It’s a nice spot to savor the quiet isolation of this unique location.

Rae added, “I want to thank everyone who has visited this world, making it what it was meant to be! I’ve spoken with many visitors and had some very nice conversations, learning even more about Dover and the Cliffs and seeing your perspectives. The cliffs will come down at the end of the year but will not go quietly! I hear there’s going to be a huge battle, one where the Brits will prevail! I believe it’s called the Battle of Britain! It’s a big one, so it might last across a couple days. So keep your ears open and maybe think about how you could participate in the battle as civilian or military, and help defend the homeland at the end of the year! Announcements will be made via the LEA Blog, the group, the cliffs subscriber, my profile, and the sim website. A video of the battles may even be in the works and you would be added to the permanent history of this amazing place!”

Resources

  • The White Cliffs of Dover
  • Linden Endowment for the Arts
  • Further Resources for the Battle of Britain
    • Piece of Cake (1988) –  Six episode TV series about the Battle of Britain produced by London Weekend Television (LWT). Also, a highly acclaimed novel by Derek Robinson. Available from Amazon.com.
    • Bomber and Goodbye Mickey Mouse. Two novels by Len Deighton. Bomber deals with a 1943 bombing mission by British forces on Germany. Goodbye Mickey Mouse, set in 1944 England deals with American fighter pilots and their English counterparts.

Notes

  1. Miles of fabric fence. See the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
  2. Room-sized installations. See the Twilight series by Gregory Crewdson.

Written by Deepthinker Oh

Deepthinker Oh
Managing Editor

What is ManiStyle?
ManiStyle is a monthly column that explores an idea, a style, a trend or a realm in SL and gives you some links to go explore and draw your own conclusions. MANIERA SL expresses an outlook on life that is part Vanity Fair and part Rolling Stone. In ManiStyle, we introduce you to our take on life and ask that you share your views and reactions.