by Bridget G.
by Bridget G.
There is a door on the south east corner of the sim marked ‘exit’.
Some people ask me what it’s for. Nothing, is the answer.
Some ask it does. Nothing.
What, exactly, would you like it to do?
Others ask why I put it there.
Perhaps this seems a bit obscure, but it reminds me of that moment in The Truman Show when Jim Carrey bumps into the edge of his sim, gets out of his boat, finds the exit door, and leaves.
I love that scene.
I like to imagine how mind-blowing it would be to discover that what you thought was your life is merely entertainment for people who inhabit a much bigger world.
That what you thought was ‘reality’ is merely a distraction.
So what’s this got to do with Furillen?
Nothing. And everything.
“Fuyuko 15-12-17 008 Through the window (furillen, love of life)”
Besides the long pier, the airstream stands out as a symbol of the real Furillen. Its position is evocative: standing besides that solitary tree, set against the rough concrete of the slag heap next to it. The airstream points out to sea, giving a view on to the pier that must create a wonderful feeling of space, in contrast to the cramped conditions inside. Here is ethereal beauty juxtaposed with brutal industrialism – the very core of what Furillen represents in my eyes.
Like Furillen’s chairs, part of me wishes that this had been all my idea, a product of Footman’s imagination and flair. The potential for the airstream to be played off against different kinds of light, its capacity for sheer moodiness, would be a characteristic move of a sim designer in Second Life.
And yet …
… knowing that there is a real airstream situated at the real Furillen, that you can go and photograph it for yourself, and that you can even rent it for your vacation – these things, for me, make the scene even more evocative and powerful, even more captivating, than if it was just a virtual creation.
Having said that, the Second Life version adds a touch of the surreal that arguably only we can achieve.
It is this constant interplay and tension between the virtual and real Furillen that has made the process of building and developing the sim so fascinating.
As the pictures here will testify, I took some liberties with the virtual version of Furillen, using a tree whose wind-battered appearance fits the airstream itself perfectly, and placing it to the right rather than left of the pier.
It is a special place; visitors to the sim spend hours sitting inside it or taking pictures of it; it is often the first thing you see when you arrive at the sim.
To many visitors – and perhaps even to me – the airstream is Furillen.
“End of the line”
I would love to claim credit for the line of chairs on the pier, which add a touch of colour, texture and chaos to the monochrome environment of concrete and snow. But like most of Furillen’s best bits, I took my inspiration from the real Furillen. Having said this, I don’t know whether these chairs are a permanent feature of the real island or – more likely – were a temporary art installation or photo op.
In a slight deviation from the arrangement pictured above, I placed my version of the chairs further right, on the pier. To my eye they work better there, providing a focus of their own – and leaving the airstream to bask in its own glory.
Although they are not easy to capture in pictures – something odd happens with the LOD – the chairs are so popular that they now have their own Flickr group. There are many very creative images of them, either empty or with one or two people sitting.
But one of my abiding memories of the early days at Furillen is when Mich Michabo turned up and invited a group of her friends to sit. The result was deliciously surreal.
“beneath your beautiful”
The pier at the real Furillen is iconic: narrowly and seemingly endless, with that old crane at the end, unused and unloved. My virtual version bugged me from the outset, because it should look like this:
This is beyond my current building skills, so I opted for the simplest option: a single prim, laid flat in the water and textured in the same concrete mix as the land.
Then along came KT Syakumi, a very accomplished builder who I ran into a few weeks ago at the sim. She agreed to take a shot at the pier. What she has built is stunning in and of itself, but all the more so when you compare if to the original pier at the real Furillen. This is still work in progress: the platform needs to be built properly, and we haven’t yet decided exactly how this should be done. But KT was at Furillen earlier today, and what she’s planning is really exciting. So keep checking back.
The visitor clock ticked over the 10,000 mark yesterday. That’s the number of visits (not visitors) to Furillen since mid October. The sim is often full these days, and around 350 people come by each day. For a sim that started from nothing in October; was built ad hoc with no grand opening; by an avatar (me) with no reputation; and with no shops or – ahem – sex balls in sight, this is pretty good going.
The interesting question is why. I was chewing this over with Cica Ghost, who in my view is (alongside Bryn Oh) the most all-round talented person on the grid. Her latest sim, Roots, is incredible, a world rich in colour, fantasy and imagination that surely captivates anyone who goes there. But the traffic has been quite low. Roots has not been included in the Second Life Destination Guide despite Cica requesting this. Shame on whoever at Linden Labs has neglected to do this. (Update: Roots finally made it into the guide … and Cica had over 4oo visitors in one night!)
But Furillen was getting high traffic even before it was placed in the destination guide. My theory is that the very active Furillen Flickr group helps a lot, generating the network effects that we tend to see on crowded sims. Second Life is a social game, after all.
Furillen is a sim that, for many people, stands for solitude and isolation. And yet a community of sorts has grown up around it, giving the place a life of its own.
We like to be together, even when we want to be alone.