“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I am not exactly sure of the translation of Templum ex Obscurum but I think it is something along the lines of ‘Sanctuary of Secrets’ or ‘Temple of the Obscure’. This shadowy island demands a lot from aging graphics cards (like mine) but the immersive moodiness is worth the laptop burn. When I arrived it took a while before my avatar eyes could adjust to the gloom of the temple’s cave like entrance.
In many ways Second Life is Templum ex Obscurum! It takes time for new people to adjust their minds to this enigmatic virtual world. Certainly there are many secrets hiding in the shadows, and many obscure desires (and other rather more obvious ones) being acted upon by multitudes of anonymous avatars. Ah! But humans love mysteries, and the unknown just adds suspense and gossip to the adventure.
This virtual world attracts artists, and artists like visual metaphors, they deliberately play with these oracular code carriers. The strange thing about Second Life is that it truly reveals so much of what is hidden away in the physical world. Ironically, highly purposeful individuals (who declare they have no time for artistic expression) often produce the most revealing metaphors of all! For in a 3D world we communicate from within the visual language of imagery i.e., speech and text lie encased within the pictures on our computer screens. As I write this I am thinking about the symbolism of a university who owns an island in Second Life, this island is divided in two by a moat; thereby, keeping classrooms and student’s to one side and well away from the university buildings! For now there is one lone bridge that crosses from one side of the island to the other but I wonder if it will become a draw bridge? My reason for writing about this, is not to explore the divisions of universities with their Shakespearean intrigues, but to illustrate the obscure constructivism of Second Life!
In my photographic exploration of Templum ex Obscurum I saw other avatars exploring the shadowy places. I guessed these were Second Life photographers who were , like me, looking for photographs to take back to the bright pages of the NPIRL photo challenge on flickr. Everyone I encountered worked with quiet concentration and avoided the small talk of local chat. I was surprised when I wandered over to a nearby island and someone spoke to me. Standing amongst the crumbling walls of an old ruin I met none other than Cuwynne Deerhunter, the caretaker and hospitable owner of Templum ex Obscurum. (I had seen him walking around the temple earlier replacing old waxy stubs with newly lit candles.) What a pleasant chap he is too! He is in the midst of building on Cariwynne (the home of Templum ex Obscurum) and he even shared a secret building project with me! I am sworn to secrecy, and if you try and uncover this secret you may find yourself being devoured by piranhas!
Templum ex Obscurum was built by Baron Grayson
Female Bronze Sigil Knight created by Flea Bussy of Grendel’s Children