Reflections from Rummu

Rummu opened on the first day of the year and it has been well-visited since, with around 1000 distinct avatars paying approximately 4000 different visits. The sim tends to be full during the busiest periods, and many stay for a very long time – the record for Rummu currently stands at around 13 hours in one single stay. This suggests that the sim has become an ‘AFK home’ for some regulars, and we don’t mind that at all.

Rummu has had great reviews from Inara PeyMaddy Gynoid and Susann Decuir, for which we are very grateful, as well as some generous feedback from visitors – both in conversation and via comments in the guestbook. But as ever, we mostly look forward to your pictures. The Rummu Flickr group has been busy. As we approach 400 images in the group after less than two weeks, we have been struck by both the quality and diversity of the pictures you’ve been taking. As I said once in a post about Bayou, it is on Flickr that we see our places though the eyes of others, and we really enjoy viewing Rummu from different perspectives and angles, light settings and so on. So … here are some personal reflections about the images taken at Rummu so far.

As with Bayou, it’s been striking how many photographers opt for monochrome, and with real skill. Here are some great examples …

@ Rummu

The Sound Of Silence

equilibrium position

strange ideas

Rummu. Surface.

On Reflections

sometimes its only black and white

The V.acuum

Delicate

Rummu2

“The quiet sense of something lost”

As for subject-matter, we were intrigued by what photographers would do with the murals at Rummu, and have not been disappointed …

Rummu

Rummu

AHHH

Graffitie sur le mur!

wallpainting

Soviet Suprem

whisper

Remembrance

And given that we always intended that Rummu should be a place with summer vibe,  where visitors enjoy hanging out with each other – making use of some of the ‘toys’ we left lying around – it’s great to see so many fun images like these …

searching naturist place(s) (for better suntan)

Love at first sight

Fun.<3

Jade Koltai: lol les petits culs

08012019

1 2 3 ja

I don't have a choice, I still choose you

dive for dreams

Aquagym

Emotional rescue

Happy Chit chat :D ( raw shot)

One of the other intriguing features of Rummu lies underwater – the old prison – so we’ve especially enjoyed seeing pictures taken in the murky depths …

Submerged Ruins @ Rummu

Rummu........

Drowning in the waves of a no man‘s land

History

Rummu - Jan 2019

Rummu II - the past underwater

There have also been some excellent pictures by photographers with a talent for spotting those small but all-important details that give any sim its distinct character and sense of life …

Sound of wood

I am a unicorn

From Hell to Paradise ...

Rummu 04

Rummu 09

Comptine d' Un Autre Eté

Finally, there are those pictures that simply stand out – because of an angle, a colour, or some other indefinable quality …

Freedom..

Stay

transformator

[ Breathe me ]

Jungle Pool

Summers look good already.

Swimmingpool

Remains of the past...

🌺

symmetries

Rummu

Tetris

Silence

Rummu III

εmo *295 @Rummu

Happiness Does Not Wait

Running

So, as ever, our sincere thanks to everyone who has visited Rummu, given us feedback, and taken pictures. We enjoy seeing the place occupied, used and interpreted.

Nobody will be surprised to learn that we are already working on a new project … so the next time you read a blog from me, it’s likely to be a notice about Rummu’s closure. We don’t have a set date in mind for that yet, but you know us by now, it’s never too far away. Which means … keep enjoying Rummu while you can.

Welcome to Rummu

rummu 01

Rummu is located in the Vasalemma Parish of northern Estonia, around an hour’s drive from Tallinn, the country’s largest city and its capital. It is the inspiration for our latest sim, which opens today. Here is the landmark.

rummu 02

We came across Rummu quite by accident, but instantly felt that this was an ideal place on which to base a Second Life sim. It was the location of a quarry from the 1930s until the early 1990s. More notoriously, Rummu was the site of a Soviet prison, whose inmates formed the majority of the quarry’s workforce. Rummu prison – also known as Murru prison, which was situated close by and eventually merged with Rummu – has a dark history: known and widely feared for its abuses of prisoners, little of that history is documented today, although various references to human rights violations at Murru can be found on the US Department of State website. Rummu quarry was essentially a labour camp in which prisoners were forced to work and to endure brutal treatment from guards who barely spoke their language.

rummu 03

After Rummu prison was closed following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the quarry ceased operating. The site was flooded and another remarkable story began. The prison itself now lay hidden beneath a lake that slowly became a well-known Estonian beauty spot, drawing many visitors who wanted to swim and dive in its crystal clear waters. In summer, this place resembles a city beach, packed with bathers.

rummu 04

As one commenter said under a YouTube posting of a video taken at Rummu, one might describe this is a story of “how hell became heaven with love …”

At present, Rummu quarry is officially closed, and swimming is outlawed – and yet still visitors come, sneaking in past security gates.

entrance-to-the-rummu

There are many good articles and blogs about Rummu, with some excellent photographs that we relied on when making the sim – see for example here, here, here and here. Rummu also features as a backdrop in the video for Alan Walker’s Faded

… and in Einar Kusk’s short post-apocalyptic film, The Most Beautiful Day (2015) …

We were drawn to the place by its contrasts: between past and present, between what lies above and below the water, between freedom and captivity, between beauty and brutality. We also liked Rummu’s bohemian vibe: there is something carefree and illicit in the way that visitors use it, painting murals on the walls of the buildings one can see, and staging impromptu parties and music events. I imagine that most of us know of places like this, with their mix of beauty and squalor, and understand how seductive they can be.

rummu 06

SONY DSC

rummu 08

Rummu can still be a dangerous place. The lake is deep, the ground falls away quickly, and is full of bits of broken rubble and barbed wire that will cut careless swimmers or any paddlers without shoes. For those choosing to dive from one of the derelict buildings above water, there is the ever-present danger of colliding with something in the water, and there have been a number of deaths and injuries in recent years as a result. Nevertheless, the swimmers still swim, and the divers still dive.

rummu 09

A large part of the attraction of Rummu is the knowledge that beneath these waters stands the old prison, which – fortunately for us – has been regularly filmed by divers.

Those who visit Rummu and write about the experience invariably say that besides the strange beauty of the derelict buildings that lie partially submerged, it is the knowledge of what lies below the water – and the terrible history of the prison itself – that lends the place its extraordinary charisma. We have tried to recreate this combination of surface and depth. If you venture into the water and walk around, you will soon find yourself in darkness, surrounded by plants and pieces of derelict building. Keep on going down the slope, and in the depths you will reach some gates. Here you enter the prison itself, deep under the water, just as divers do today. It’s a creepy place, for sure.

rummu 12

rummu 11

rummu 13

Above ground, Rummu’s most striking feature consists of the giant slag heaps that were created by quarry works.  These act as a great vantage point, while in the real place, they have to be crossed to gain access to the beach.

rummu slag heaps.jpg

Besides the ruined buildings and underwater prison, Rummu’s other distinctive feature are its murals, and we have recreated some of these – while adding others – at the sim. The biggest murals, most notably the image of the coffee cup, which exists at Rummu, appear to be the work of a Moscow-based group of artists called Zukclub. Looking through the group’s website, Rummu’s derelict buildings were once used as a ‘street art gallery’ for a show called Past Future Perfect Continuous, and we have recreated this concept at the sim.

zukclub gallery

A music festival – Moonland – was planned at Rummu during August 2018, but it was cancelled when its financial backers withdrew. At present, a degree of uncertainty hovers over the place, as the site’s owners appear to be building a technology park there. We will see how that turns out.

We have enjoyed creating this space. For the past month or so while we worked on details, it was our private ‘summer haven’ in winter. But now we are ready to open Rummu for others to enjoy. As is normal for us, we won’t keep the sim open for long; we don’t plan any exhibitions or events; we ask for no tips, donations or membership fees. There are no rez rights – we needed every last prim – but there are plenty of animations on the sim, including two places where you can dive (find them if you can), a rope slide, a pedal boat rezzer, and plenty of seating. The Flickr group is here.

So, now that January is here, and the myriad winter sims of Second Life are becoming tiresome  … enjoy a taste of summer at Rummu.

welcome to rummu.jpg