In their efforts to provide immersive and thrilling Second Life experiences, MadPea Productions regularly organise what they call exPEAditions. These are, as far as I have experienced them, mini hunts that are limited to one sim which the MadPea crew deems worthy of exploration. It is a nice way to discover a sim you might otherwise not have visited on your own accord and there’s the extra incentive of earning a MadPea achievement and a little prize at the end of a challenging hunt.
This time the exPEAdition took us to Glass Jars, a LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) sim and the brain child of Art Aloja. She has been an SL resident for over a decade now and well before she knew of its existence, she already took a keen interest in the concept of a virtual space. In her quest for finding this kind of space on the internet she has come across various cyberspaces that didn’t quite hit the spot, until she landed on Second Life. She realised that she wanted to use SL to view the world, both online and offline, through an artistic lens, but she had no idea that she would end up being the one creating the art.
Personally I interpreted Glass Jars as a sunken city that was at the same time futuristic and ancient. It was difficult tot tell whether I was on earth or on a planet in a distant galaxy. All together the result was eerie and quite stunning and even more amazing and inspiring if you know that Art Oluja started reading a blender tutorial only a week before she received the sim grant and was learning how to make mesh as she was building this underwater world. Three months later Glass Jars was officially open to the public.
MadPea used the many little corners and nooks of Glass Jars to hide 10 glass tear drops containing the lost childhood memories of a young woman who had tried to rid herself of recurring nightmares by turning to the dark arts. This story line tied in quite nicely with the artist’s original vision for this sim. She tried to place her emotions and memories in spaces she could locate in her mind. She was imagining our memories and emotions as on ocean of space and compartmentalising specific fears and memories, finding hiding places for secrets and keeping comforting thoughts somewhere safe.
I pointed out to Art that there was something very organic and almost erotic about some of the rocks. She admitted that the effect was not entirely unintended, as she wanted the rocks to have a vagueness to them, like dreams you can’t completely understand but which leave a lasting impression. The shapes provoke you, but you can’t really say why. Art has received a lot of different interesting responses to these rocks. Some people felt they were erotic, disturbing and alien-like, others saw them as twisted bodily organs they couldn’t quite describe. A blogger friend of hers (bakerbloch.com) described the area as the inner-ear valley. In the end it is up to every individual to make up their own mind about it, whether you are seeing an alien inner ear valley or an erotic warped nightmare.
The current round of LEA runs till June 30th and when the round is over a different group of artists will receive the grant, the sim will be wiped clean and become a fresh canvas for the next creative project. Then this ethereal underwater world will disappear and be but a memory which some people will store somewhere in one of the rooms in their own memory ocean.
Overall I got the impression that my fellow peas (members of the MadPea group) thoroughly enjoyed this sim and I’m chuffed with the diving helmet in Jules Verne style we received as a prize for completing the hunt.
Make sure to visit Glass Jars by Art Oluja before June 30th! If you like my little swimming trunks, they are available at the Noche store and don’t forget to head over to Mad City to find out about MadPea’s other games and events.