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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mind the Gap

In 975, the mind of many a Wessex nobleman was exercised by the increasing wealth and influence of the Benedictine monasteries and a quarrel between the great lords Aelfthere and Aethelwine. Civil War was in the air. St Dunstan, who had been himself a monk and later Abbot of Glastonbury and was now Archbishop of Canterbury, had allied himself closely with Edgar of Wessex and indeed it was Dunstan who devised the coronation ceremony (still essentially used to this day) full of mystical imperialism, which moved other monarchs of Britain to pledge allegiance to Edgar, King of the West Saxons. The achievement was short-lived. After only two years Edgar died, leaving his teenage son Edward (born, some say, of an illicit relationship with Aethelflaed, the 'White Duck', cloistered away in the nunnery at nearby Shaftesbury) to take the throne. 
The succession was anathema to Edward's stepmother Aelfthrith who naturally favored her own boy, Ethelred, later to prove himself 'Unready' (meaning 'without good advice'). For the next three years Aelfthrith plotted Edward's downfall. And so it was that in 975 AD after a reign of little more than a thousand days, King Edward, not yet seventeen, was lured under mysterious circumstances to the castle at Corfe, a Saxon word meaning 'gap', and there met his death.
It is a place of ghosts.
The great castle was literally blown to bits by Cromwell, half a millennium later, in an actual Civil War, and thanks in part to that rock-redistribution, there is a second castle in the village, where the smoked halibut and salmon entree sounds to die for. 
More importantly, Fuschia Nightfire or (to put it mildly) Nina Camplin, has been working (in the real world) on a mural at  Corfe model village where the castle has been faithfully reconstructed on a 1/20 scale. The quandary for historians is often how to interpret the visual impact of a building over the arc of its evolution. Which is the 'real' Corfe, the wreck or the reconstruction? Well, of course, both and neither. For the people who have lived here for generations, Corfe -the Saxon gap- has been a mirror of their lives, changing fortunes, growth, and mutating tradition. The picturesque ruin we see today is a far cry from the living, working castle of the past, yet they remain equally symbols of domination in the landscape which raises interrogatives about how we imagine and preserve power in the modern age. 
It's a pretty problem and, if you have the energy to walk all the way up the real-life Dorset hill, one that will become more compelling with every step. As will your need for ice cream. But until you can drag your sorry butt away from the computer, there's an alternative, one of the most simply clever builds in SL at the moment. 
Fuschia Nightfire's Ghost Castle, in the sky above Italian Square - the New Generation. It's an exhibition curated by Tani Thor and Aloisio Congrejo of Tanalois.
These days, SL tends to promote expectations of gorgeous but detail-heavy builds. 
With Ghost Castle, Fuschia has escaped from all that overload, distilling her concept to its archaeological essentials, and leaving the rest to her audience, to color as they will. 
The opening party was yesterday and there were horses.
 A lot of horses. Also a cow. 
 Sorry about that.
The castle came alive with neighing and braying, and SaveMe Oh added some alarming and hilarious special effects. 
Death and suffering, fire and destruction, some horse poop, a lot of fart jokes, and confirmation (if such were needed) that there are no circumstances under which an Italian man will not stare at a female butt, given the opportunity.
Solkide Auer takes an interest in the ... guillotine
Bring your own stallion. Ghost Castle will be at Italian Square for the next couple of weeks.

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