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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wall to Wall

Teacher: Get on with your work.
Pink Floyd, The Wall.
About an hour north of Beijing, draped along the the dry mountain ridges of Luanping county, is the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China. In the 1500's, under the watchful eye of the great General Qi Jiguang, tireless militarist, writer and poet, the wall was reinforced and manned by soldiers from Zanjiang by the South China Sea, where the winters are mild and the summers are long and languorous. So far from home, guarding the Northern Frontier from the Mongol hordes, the soldiers renamed the towers in memory of their home, and retold the legends of this most ancient borderland, legends rich with the threads of history, spread out across all the space and time of real history and into the virtual world of myth. There is nothing new under the sun.
Second Life's Great Wall is part of the Hosoi group of sims, and as you would expect, is beautifully crafted. The Welcome area is heavy on ads for modular and light on interpretive material, which is a shame, and if you're tall like Thirza you may have trouble getting through the doorway (I ended up flying over the wall, very Crouching Tiger). Not unreasonably, there's lots of non-realworld ocean around - I like to call it the Metarranean - but that just makes the photos pretty in windlight. Despite the proximity to the always busy sims of Hosoi Ichiba and the Edo period village on Japan Kansai, sim Mao has captured limnal loneliness one associates with the Great Wall, or even Hadrian's little version: it is easy to imagine a melancholy watcher up here, waiting for the action to start: speaking of that, at another wall...
This time at Diabolus, where Josina Burgess, Velasquez Bonetto and the rest of the C.A.R.P. gang are into their third incarnation of The Wall, the original soundtrack, with, and I quote, " an extravaganza of sound, light, dance, giant animated puppets, effects and many other surprises". The Wall is the rather miserable story of the descent into madness of a failing pop star, whose childhood, wracked with troubles - open vowel syndrome has always been, to my mind, at the heart of his problems- is brought to the brink through a series of flashbacks and fantastical set pieces... first an album, then a film with the Great Unwashed Bob Geldof, now in gorgeous virtual splendour and judging by the texture-rich set you see here, one can hope for much more than a Saaf-of-the-River accent, and smashed up Hampton Suites.
This pic is borrowed from Josina, for I fell off the sim before the show got underway, underlining once again the huge problem of lag. I know LL want to go in lots of new exciting directions, like getting behind the newish social networking site for avies of all worlds, AU, but really, solving a boring problem like lag would be much more valuable use of time and effort. Anyway, The Wall will be repeated every Friday at 2.00pm SLT for a few weeks, so hopefully we can go and see it in the near future... TP me if you get a good seat!!
Speaking of carp, once kicked from Diabolus, I ended up at another smashing show, by graphics tablet artist Alizarin Goldflake over on one of the Pirats sims. Isn't that a brand of tropical fish food? ...may be where she got her inspiration for these wonderful piscine specimens. You can admire her scales and fins, even swim among them: there are games of proportion and perspective to be played on both sides of the perspex. Visit Alizarin'studio to get the full picture, or if you're in the mood, take the Youtube complete novice tour, it's always fun to hear someone explain prims to the uninitiated. Her "Real identity" site is www.marthavista.com. OK now I suppose I put this all in again in the Other Language...
A circa un'ora da Pechino, disposta come una boa gigante sulle aspre montagne del Luanping, è la parte della Grande Muraglia denominata Jinshanling. Dalle belle torri di guardia oggi sono i turisti a sorvegliare la panorama ma nel '500 erano i leali soldati del Generale Qi Jiguang a tenere alta la guardia contro le incursioni mongole. Erano ragazzi nati nel lontano Zanjiang, una terra lambita dal Mar Cinese, non lontano dal VietNam. Queste secche rocce devono aver provocato una forte nostalgia nei cuori du uomini destinati a lavorare con grande disciplina e progetto per il loro Generale, poeta, docente di storia militare e arti martiali. 
C'è poesia tra queste mura: e se ti fermi e ascolti bene, forse sentirai le leggende del Imperatore di Giada, e del Maestro Ubriaco. Qui alla versione SL della Grande Muraglia si sente quella nostalgia, e il vuoto nello stesso tempo sprigionato e confinato che può esistere solo in un luogo liminale, come qui sulla frontiera... o nel cuore d'un uomo. Qui a pochi passi degli altri sim di  Hosoi Ichiba (da non perdere anche il paesino di epoca Edo!) è possibile trovare la serenità d'un mondo passato ma sempre presente,  dove in un certo senso il muro siamo noi...

...e da un muro ad un altro, la nuova produzione CARP Diabolus (accidenti al sense of humour inglese, devo sempre stare attenta digitando quella sigla!!!) Josina Burgess, Velasquez Bonetto e i loro collaboratori hanno perfezionato la loro versione del musical The Wall, di Pink Floyd, la storia della tragica esistenza d'un rock star Pink, drogato e sull'orlo della follia. Prima un album poi un film, ora rinato in SL con pupazzi giganti come vedi in questa foto. Tantissmi presenti per lo show di venerdi, non sono riuscita a rimanere al mio posto, ma spero di tornarci presto - la notice promette una replica ogni venerdi alle ore 14.00 SLT.
Fa meditare su una nuova versione del ritornello fanciullesco di The Wall, 'We don't need no education', forse se cantiamo ai Linden, con quello stesso accento orribile, 'We don't need no lag' si arrenderanno e risolveranno il problema, invece di perdere tempo promuovendo iniziative carine ma inutili come Avatars United.
Infine, una visita a Pirats dove non manco mai, e alla mostra di Alizarin Goldflake. Bravissima artista digitale, crea con Corel immagini molto delicati, e anche divertenti, ha portato in SL deliziosi pesci e piante acquatiche, grandi e piccoli. Puoi nuotare nel acquaio o semplicemente studiare lo squame da vicino... per conoscere meglio tutte le opere di Alizarin sia su Youtube che al suo studio inworld, basta un clic. Uffa... che voglia di fish and chips.....
        

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