Leaving Berkman Island

So here I am on a scavenger hunt. I am writing this as I go along, toggling the Word document with the SL screen- it is not as inconvenient as I expected it to be.

CRESCENT MOON MUSEUM– As my first destination, I have chosen the Crescent Moon Museum. There is a bleeding heart in front of the door. The heart, stabbed onto a marble base with a long sword, is truly bleeding. The blood is trickling off the base into a pool at the bottom. I try to remind myself that it is not only modern art that is gory- why Renaissance paintings were filled with bloodshed. But somehow, the freshness of the blood nauseates me. I can almost smell it.

I perch myself up on the base, feeling the warm bloom soak my already-crimson plaid skirt. The pattering sound of the blood drops falling on the sand is strangely soothing. I know I am letting my imagination get away with me, but am I really sensing these emotions (through my brain) because of the presence of my cyber avatar? It is a scary question.

I wander around the rest of the museum, impressed by some of the other artwork and the scripting involved to achieve it, but cyber art in SL cannot never beat going to the MET or MOMA. Some things can never be entirely rebuilt in the context of cyberspace, and the appreciation of true art is one of them. Why would people go to museums when most painting can be viewed online? Clearly it is the entire experience and interacting face to face with a painting or sculpture that is so intriguing.

There are several buildings next to the main Crescent Moon Museum building, and I trespass on some property, and sit down on someone’s couch for some rest. Some of the houses are very nice. One day, maybe I will have a house of my own.

MIDNIGHT CITY– My second stop is Midnight City. Teleporting to Midnight City, I arrive in a phone booth, like in the Matrix. It is a cute detail.

The city certainly lives up to its name. It is dark, studded with glowing streetlights, and almost deserted. The shops shine brightly with clothes, wigs, poses, and skins. I look at all of the clothes and skins and their price tags and feel somewhat depressed that even in SL I have to spend money to look good. And what exactly is “good?” Who set the good-looking standards in SL? Naturally the people who play. And those people inevitably bring into the game their offline desires and prejudices and preconceptions of beauty. Although it may feel real, SL can never be an independent world because SL does not exist without FL.

My criticism of society’s crave on a standard ideal for beauty, however, is only in theory. I have fun browsing and trying on some outfits at stores that let you try things on. I finally end up buying some buns for my hair. When attached to my head, I look like the cartoon character Pucca.

I love cities- the beautiful modern architecture, the busy atmosphere and all the crowds (though not the shoving and pushing)- but somehow Midnight City doesn’t live up to my expectations, or rather standards, of what a good city should be.

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