Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Black and White and Fascinating All Over

The fascination of Second Life is usually its three-dimensional quality. The ability to pass through a 3-D environment and interact with objects that are textured and shaded to enhance that quality, to make it as life-like as possible, is perhaps the defining feature of the experience of being in SL. What, then, do we make of a sim constructed to the polar opposite of those factors?

This is *C i c a*, the latest Linden Endowment for the Arts installation. It is (apparently) a two-dimensional environment, void of color or significant texture, and peopled by stick figures.

The simple black-line environment is utterly charming. Trees and flowers sway in the breeze, the stick figures interact with each other and their surroundings, and surprising emotion is evoked through the simplicity of the design.

I joined a stick-fisherman on a bridge for a while, looking out over the landscape. It was an odd experience to feel so fully human in SL; the obviously hand-drawn nature of the surroundings made my virtual representative feel less like pixels, having more in common with the line drawings around him than with his operator, and more like flesh and blood.

* C i c a * is an enchanting installation and artist Cica Ghost has created a wonderful venue to either pass through or linger in contemplation.

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