Furillen re-opened a week ago and has been busy ever since. The sim isn’t just popular; it actually means quite a lot to many people who have spent many hours there in the past. I was unsure about re-opening it, because sometimes it’s best not to look back. But having watched the sim being re-populated again this week, it simply occurs to me that Furillen will just keep on being the backdrop to whatever its visitors want to make of it – that’s the way it’s always been. There have been new visitors, too, and it has been interesting to see their reactions to this strangely magnetic place. Thanks to those of you who signed the guestbook, and to busy bloggers who have written reviews.
Furillen was always a photographers’ sim, and here are some highlights from the week on Flickr …
Once again, Furillen seems to bring out the best in SL photography. Thanks for everyone who has been posting. Keep them coming …
As for the sim’s future, I am keeping an open mind. And I have some Furillen things planned, so closure won’t be on the cards for a while yet.
There is a retrospective exhibition of my pictures starting at the DixMix gallery tomorrow, the landmark is here. After spending years politely refusing to exhibit my pictures, and with Furillen re-opening yesterday, some of you might be asking what’s going on.
I am not usually given to public statements about my private affairs, but in this instance I feel it is appropriate to ‘clear the air’ and avoid misunderstanding. For over a year now, I have been living with cancer. I spent most of last winter receiving chemotherapy, and it was brutal. The treatment worked, but nothing is forever and my ‘struggle’ will be ongoing. During illness one inevitably spends time looking back and reflecting, and although DixMix had (and still has) no idea about my circumstances – hardly anyone within SL does know – a ‘retrospective’ exhibition seemed like something I could and should be doing right now. Likewise, it felt right to re-open the sim I always felt would be my ‘legacy’ in SL, and which I am incredibly fond of.
I am passing this news on not to elicit sympathy, nor – God forbid – to suggest that I’m going to expire any time soon. But my motives have occasionally been misconstrued in the past – sometimes quite hurtfully – and I want to avoid any misunderstanding now. I am all too aware that cancer touches many, possibly all, of us at some time in our lives. I am also aware that many of you who are reading this may have gone through, or are going through, a similar experience to mine, either directly or indirectly with friends or family. To all of you – solidarity.
Furillen started out on a region called ‘Love of Life’ and that always felt to me to represent what the sim was about – for all of its melancholic atmosphere, it was intended to be a place where visitors could reflect, take time out, and find their own peace. One of my favourite pictures carries a title which I believe expresses this sentiment well. The words – ‘nothing can surpass the mystery of stillness’ – are from EE Cummings:
While I take a break from making new sims, I have revived the sim where it all began – Furillen. The landmark is here.
Furillen first opened at the beginning of October in 2015: it was announced by posting this picture in Flickr. The building process continued to be ongoing through that winter as refinements were added – including a pier and utility shed made by KT Syakumi and two buildings – a huge concrete bunker and a smaller building that serves as a cafe – by Megan Prumier. These were all based on photographs of the original location – Furillen is the site of an abandoned limestone quarry on the Gotland peninsula in Sweden – and were intended to help realise my original aim, which was to replicate the real place.
The sim subsequently went through a number of iterations – it was turned into a virtual celebration of Radiohead and Pink Floyd, as well as a series of Star Wars locations – that were punctuated by partial rebuilds and redesigns of the “original” Furillen itself. The sim eventually closed – albeit with a promise that I would revive it some day – in October 2017.
This latest revival of the sim consists of a hybrid of the different versions, focusing on my own personal favourite bits. Most notably I have used the first hotel building – taken from Soy and “decorated” in a style quite unlike any hotel I have ever stayed in – as well as the original, highly distinctive, line of trees. The old gallery building is back, along with the Gotland ferry. There is also a new communications bunker – acknowledging Furillen’s association with military radar surveillance.
And it’s snowing, which always seemed to the “right” Furillen weather.
For photographers, there is an already large Furillen Flickr group, and I would be pleased to see visitors adding their names to the guestbook. And given that I am funding this on my own, donations would definitely be welcome! I cannot say how long the sim will stay open, but it definitely won’t be for long.
For those who remember the sim from before, I wish you a nostalgic return. For anyone who has never seen it, I hope you like what you find.