The Best of Second Life™

Where will you teleport to today?

Tyrol Rimbaud’s “Ego.”

By ‘Ego’ in this case, I am referring to the remarkable exhibition in the virtual world of Second Life™ by Tryol Rimbaud.

I’ve been to a couple of exhibitions in game but never have I found myself feeling so challenged by one. I have always felt that Second Life as a platform for art or creative expression has incredible potential. This exhibit goes a long way to cementing this belief.

The exhibition deals with humanity in a social context. It falls across a number of parcels which enables a variety of different mood setting audio streams. The ‘Provenance’ parcel provides is home of the welcome area, over 500m in the air. The ‘Ego’ signs around and about contain notecards about the exhibit and provide some crucial information. My first time around, I missed the fact that these were notecard givers, actually!

The welcome notecard lets you know about the audio, how you might want to view things and asks you to pay real attention for the hidden details. Personally, I found the exhibition to have the greatest effects in midnight settings, though for clarity of photography these are taken in daylight settings by my rather wonderful photographer!

Upon entering the cave that marks to true beginning of this exhibit, you are greeted with historic tribal images, representing (in my opinion) the beginnings of mankind. You are suddenly taken by surprise while walking through here as you suddenly fall through the floor into the next part of the exhibit on the next parcel.

The next parcel is the Hall of History, which is a tunnel like corridor with images of world landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China. Here the notecard speaks the responsibility society gained. You walk through the curtain here into the next parcel, which is in my opinion the most challenging.

The parcel is called “Will to Power,” and features some upsetting images that speak volumes about society. With photographs of missing child, Maddie McCann, other children as well as some disturbing Holocause images, this room will undoubtedly stir emotion in anyone. With minimal use of words this room says more about what society can do at its worst than any essay, political or philosophical paper ever will. One of the quotes that features around these images is, “People who live in society have learned to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. I have it, the filth, the Nausea.” The notecard here offers, “Each of us is capable of horrific deeds. The limits of human cruelty has yet to know its bounds.”

Again the descent into the next room takes you to Converse, a tunnel offering a number of evocative images floating around in a ghostly fashion.

The walk through here takes you out into the end parcel, “Responsibility.” The most interesting feature, I found, was the statue of a human with a globe balancing on its finger, representative of just what humanity has in its own hands.

The producers of the audio throughout are credited on the notecards. The audio varies from lines from Shakespeare to ambient mood setting music. The quick summary of the basics of what to expect from this exhibition, as I have provided here, cannot possibly do this work much justice. The fact is there are so many hidden details there and so much to consider. The descent from the Welcome Area throughout the exhibition to the end is symbolic of the progressive descent of society in complete moral disarray and actually left me feeling guilty, as a human, for all that mankind has done and continues to do. This is particularly impressive, in my opinion, as TV commercials and the like, all designed to make us feel guilty, often fail to have that effect. Yet here, with an exhibition put together in this virtual world… I was actually impacted. Forget the fact that I was actually, if we think about it, just looking at images on a screen. I wasn’t out there causing the Holocaust, kidnapping children, beating people or causing any physical harm myself. Yet I felt, in some way, responsible for the acts of humanity as a whole.

All in all, an amazing exhibition. I do feel that the notecard giving signs are very easy to miss… but honestly, once I’d realised what they were, the information they provided was invaluable and a true joy to read. The emotions evoked by the exhibit are incredible. The build itself is effective, put together to enable to images to have the biggest impact they can.

It’s certainly something I believe everyone should see. Tyrol told me that the exhibit was three months in the making. It will be on for several weeks to come and anyone not going to look will be missing out. You can visit “Ego,” here.

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September 21, 2008 - Posted by | Arts and Culture | , , ,

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