Khodovarikha news

Our new sim, Khodovarikha, has been open for two weeks now and it’s been busy, with around 300 visitors every day and a Flickr group that has already passed 100 members posting more than 350 pictures. A few visitors have left comments in the guestbook, and we’d be grateful for more. The book can be found upstairs in Slava’s house …

Outside

We’ve been impressed by how many people have taken the trouble to look into the background of the sim – Slava has proved to be a figure of some fascination and intrigue. I did some more digging, and found this interview with Evgenia Arbugaeva, the photographer responsible for that wonderful series of pictures of Khodovarikha that I featured on this blog when opening the sim.

Evgenia explains that Slava had worked on Khodovarikha for 15 years when she met him …

and before that he worked at other remote stations. He was born on a ship. His mum was a cook and his dad was an engineer. He spent all his childhood there. The reason he likes to live on this peninsula is that it reminds him of the ship because, wherever he goes, he can see the sea. So from the beginning of his life, he was used to the water, to nature, loneliness, solitude.

Apparently Slava went missing for a while quite recently, and – bizarrely – Russian officials contacted Evgenia to ask whether she had any idea what might have happened to him. She explains …

They said that he had left the station and hadn’t come back. He’d been lost for some time and it was very cold, around -40C. He left on his snowmobile and no one had seen him since. And I said: “I’m in London. I have no idea where he is.” I hadn’t communicated with him because there is no way to. He eventually arrived at a nearby town with frostbite. His snowmobile had broken and he had walked and stayed in some shack. He didn’t have GPS and he had to navigate through empty tundra. He’s very special in that sense. He feels the land and he can read the stars and understand the wind. I think we understood each other very well.

Slava saw and liked Evgenia’s photographs of Khodovarikha, particularly those she took of the landscape and the aurora borealis. “But he didn’t really care about his own image. He didn’t comment on that at all.”

Visitors to the Second Life version of Khodovarikha have taken some wonderful photographs, and it’s been fascinating to see how different photographers have handled the combination of dynamic light and the constantly falling snow. Some make a virtue of it and come up with stunning images of colour and light …

H o l o c e n e

" How rare and beautiful it is to even exist. "

Hypnotic

Khodovarikha

… while others choose a more muted feel that captures the sense of desolation the sim conveys …

Arctic landscape

His freedom is not your loneliness

Khodovarikha

Sirens

There have also been some great shots that capture some of the sim’s finer details …

. that a person can be kind .

Ходовариха 12 - Too much Vodka

… some great examples of fine texturing …

Sous le ciel de Khodovarikha

xодовариха

… as well as of romance and poignancy amidst these desolate arctic wastes …

Intertwined.

Waiting For Tristan

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." — Pietro Aretino

All is known in the sacredness of silence.

The range and quality on display here – and, indeed, throughout the Flickr group – is enormously impressive.

So … what of Khodovarikha’s older sister, Furillen? Some of you will have seen that the sim has closed for refurbishment. As ever, we don’t exactly know what we’ll do until we go ahead and do it … but we’ve been trying out some sim designs that might work rather well as a seasonal antidote to Second Life’s customary Christmas cuteness. My lips are sealed.

Meanwhile, as Slava might say …

Мне пора, до скорого!

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