Your State of Mind
“Hi, how are you doing?”
A question we often get asked or ask ourselves. Because it is a standard opening in a conversation, a polite gesture. We don’t always mean to know someone’s state of mind so precise when asking how they are doing. We also don’t always feel like the other expecting us to share that and mostly will answer with a short reply: “I am doing fine, thank you.” The real state of mind can be horrible or euphoric despite the common answer. We do not reveal all to everyone because it is not that person’s interest or business or too personal and hard to share. Many other reasons available :)
The Strange Garden in Second Life, created by Cherry Manga, makes a State of Mind everyone’s business. When walking in you will be surrounded by all angels and demons you posses inside or who posses you maybe. The Garden is one of opposites and contrasts. Black and White as base colours, Sweet and Disturbing both. Hypnotic music drawing you into a dangerous box owned by Pandora. A meditative sphere with dark sides. Fairies with horns, death watching you, a ‘Buddha like’ creature meditating through painful sounds, poetical sea life with a shark to keep you out, but also beautiful waving and curling plants with a stair towards the kind of light you also experience in your mind. In fact the Strange Garden shows how we shift between dark and light, good and bad, joy and fear, truth and mindfucks, high and low, life and death. It mirrors how we feel. One day we feel like in heaven, the next day hell knocks on your door. In between our mood is grey and maybe balancing in the safe neutral zone of nothing too exciting or threatening. No matter what you try to hide, your mind never will stop to influence you and make or break your day. What you feel is what you will see around you. A bright sunny day can look black due to that. A horrible place can give hope when your mind feels like wanting that. There is a big or small box of Pandora in each of us. Till death comes for you. Death wins from all, even from Second Life or First Life magic.
I am a bit bored with making pictures at the moment and especially a place like Strange Garden cannot be done right with a pic. So I decided it would be cool to challenge myself with doing a little movie. All I ever did was using Gyazo for quick gifs or static no moving camera shootings (for fun). After 5 days of struggling with camera work inworld (pain in the ass) and editing in for me new software, I created a short (very short) machinima I can live with as result. The music you hear is mainly from Cherry (she made the music herself) but I added some sounds and effects as extra. With thanks to Iono and Tutsy for some technical support and thanks to my husband for not killing me when I challenged his nerves with playing the music a bit too loud for his ears. Yes we have an exciting life with typical issues on things like that. This is the story:
When shooting inworld the volume was high up by accident but since I already was recording and needed to focus on that I decided to not change it until I was ready with recording. Meanwhile my husband came upstairs asking me if I could PLEASE turn down the music because it was disturbing like hell and so loud it would sound through all the house (he CAN exaggerate is my humble opinion . . . ), but since I needed my focus on the recording I did not react, even not when he was standing behind me asking it for the third time. When I was done finally and explained my strange behavior he was not impressed with my excuse. Tsssk. But yes, the music is disturbing when you are close to Pandora’s box in the installation, the one where the sculpture with chains crawls into, but also very nice. I like dramatic sounds when used well. So I will have to be careful to not be banned from my room with computer now in case I like to do more recordings . . . .
P.S. My husband does like the end result and I am forgiven :) Take a look yourself. I am an amateur, but tried my best and am ok with it myself as first trial. But it also is just fun to learn and play with new things.
On the installation
It is a very captivating place and still here a couple of weeks in case you like to visit. It is placed on ADreNaLin, a new art and music place owned by JadeYu Fhang and Cherry Manga. The description they use themselves: Original Art, Animesh, avatars, freebies store. Musique Venue.
Cherry used Tilt Brush (Google VR paint program) for the mixed media at Strange Garden, the grass, flowers etc and the open source Manuel Bastioni addon from for the sculptures (MD LAB). The sculptures were rigged in Blender. Tilt Brush was used with Oculus.
I asked Cherry what her own idea or feeling was behind Strange Garden and she described it as this:
An illustration of the feelings I have while in VR with tiltbrush, it’s like being in a space, physically and emotionally, somewhere you can’t be elsewhere. It’s a place from the brain, like a dream.
I am a total noob in use of any of the techniques and tools Cherry uses (she is a genius yes) but the way she describes it makes total sense to me. Especially the Oculus (VR glasses) create a new experience you indeed cannot have anywhere else. And dreams are places that also take us into unknown worlds and new experiences in the same way. Sometimes fun, sometimes disturbing, always different and fascinating. Below you see a video made by Cherry on the use of Tilt Brush
Avatar, shop, landmark
When entering Strange Garden you can take a free avatar. It actually is the Buddha sort of character you will see inside the installation and makes you blend in totally with the surrounding. Close to the avatar freebie there is a TP to the shop at the same sim. Worth a visit too! Many older works or parts of older works can be obtained there. Some of the sculptures and objects at Strange Garden are for sale as well. Just click them to be able to buy them.
Please use region Windlight settings and put your sound on.