Comment Crisis

Sorry! Blogspot makes it almost impossible for real people to comment directly at the end of each post.
Your feedback is welcome via Google+, the SLArtsParks page on Facebook, or tweet #slartsparks or @thirzaember.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Between the light and me: Penumbra's Fly

I have no life but this
Emily Dickinson, Love, XX 

If she were alive today, 19th century American transcendentalist poet Emily Dickinson would be in Second Life. Oh, don't jump all over me for saying such a thing - unless you're handsome, single, and have nice accessories, in which case, let's talk - she so would, you know. Think about it. Comfortably well off, surrounded by opportunities and encouragement to take her poetry to a wider audience, Dickinson chose instead to write them in pencil and sew them together in little secret books she called fascicles. Far from 'shut up in prose', Emily was able to meet the likes of Emerson at her Harvard-educated brother's house. Another guest was Atlantic Monthly editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson, with whom she struck up what today would be an online friendship. He tried to make her modify her verses, but she wouldn't;  eventually their fragile romance died. Kidney disease, eye problems, and disposition limited her mobility in wider social circles, but did not prevent her having a her rich inner life, and enhanced by the magic of books, nature, and imagination.
Obsessive, observant, somewhat slanted, she would own a sim called Amherst,  - or would she 'dwell in Possibility' ? - all overgrown with cunning moss, and daisies in the sun; in her cottage, an orderly parlour where she would have laid out a marble tea, she would remind guests that, 'Except the smaller size, no Life is round'. There would be a quote from Keats in her profile, and long silent days spent building or exploring, weighing the symptoms of affection and finding them equal in silence and speech.  She would not 'know a Linden'. You wouldn't find her elbowing her way onto the stage at a poetry event, all puffy and huffy with brittle ambition. But it wouldn't be that hard for the discerning heart to find her verse, safe in an alabaster chamber perhaps. She might give Steampunk a run for its money, for as long as her eyesight held out, or surprise everyone by going Neko. Maybe not, I think she was more of a dog person.
It's not a dog, but a fly that invades the transcendent moment of death, in I Heard a Fly Buzz, the Dickinson poem that inspired Penumbra Carter's latest build at Art'e. Small, random, fecund, unruly, the fly breaks into the still solemnity of the conventional rites of Death, the king, and makes quiver the poet's resignation to the stillness of the air. In the stillness of the air of Second Life, in a world where loneliness is the default setting, where windows frequently fail and self annihilation is always within grasp, often deeply desired, that inquisitive buzz is often all that stands between us and existential limbo. Or Blue Mars, which may amount to the same thing.
Carter's work seems often occupied by thoughts of rooms, from Dorothy's Kansas bedroom in her 2009 Wizard of Oz paintings, to her Premium Lindenites video. At Art'e you'll find boxes piled up like a makeshift doll's house, or wooden sets held together by a dreaming field of poppies. Lost living rooms animated by contraptions, muted with fragments of meditative still life, and worn textures, invite the viewer inside to weave a personal poem somewhere between death and our busy lives.

No comments: