Monday, October 8, 2007

The wheat field... has a secret

In real life, crop circles have mystified us. Now too, this wheat field in Second Life is having the same effect. Moreover, only a very few visitors have discovered all there is to know about this place.

It covers less than a 10th of a sim… but standing there, I feel it goes on for miles…

These fields were created by NPIRL’er AM Radio, and they are drawing people from all over the grid who find themselves returning again and again to contemplate them. I spoke with AM this evening, and learned that, like the wheat fields, I will never finish discovering all there is to know about this man.

Bettina Tizzy: Why did you choose to make wheat fields in the first place?
AM Radio: In real life, these fields are disappearing. I live on the edge of these fields. Every year another mile is taken for a McDonalds and Old Navy and a Super Cuts.
Bettina Tizzy: Is there a meaning behind the very surreal items you have placed here?
AM Radio: I wanted to challenge people's idea of place. We have so many preconceptions of space. What is a sidewalk, what is a house, what is a trail, what is a cave? We've evolved our sense of space and place. What better place than SL to challenge it? You call it surreal; I wonder if it simply isn't just-not-the-norm.

Humans have requirements of space. If you consider academic research, most agree that humans require a vista and a haven. A haven is a place of safety. A haven generally has a good vista of the surrounding area to escape to if danger ever arises. So the table and chairs are a haven, the hutch, safety. Why do we have skyboxes? Aren't those perfect havens with vistas? This is what makes space feel good to us; we want to be in these spaces.
Bettina Tizzy: …and the items on the table?
AM Radio: I can't play the violin. I can't play any music… but when was the last time you heard a violin being present or being played that it didn't provide comfort? They played violins when the Titanic sank. The sketchbook is definitely an echo of my RL sketchbook.
Bettina Tizzy: Do you keep it near you often? Or are you a paper napkin doodler?
AM Radio: Always… on the train, on airplanes, it’s always on me. I require a moleskin and Staedler pencils. Nothing else will do. I want a medium that is worth the time I am going to take on it.

AM's trademark is an AM radio sitting on or near his builds.

Soon after rezzing the wheat fields, which AM Radio calls "The Far Away," AM began to offer variations of them in exchange for donations to Heifer International, a charitable organization that lifts impoverished families around the globe to a state of self-reliance by providing them with the means to feed and support themselves. AM's goal is to raise enough money - $500US dollars - to buy a cow for a family.
Bettina Tizzy: How close are you to buying that cow?
AM Radio: I am happy to say we are about 95% there. About another 10 wheat fields will do it.

As for secrets... sometimes, not always, one catches a fleeting glance at a startling image...

Click for close up.

I will give you a little hint. Look for this hat.

AM Radio: It was all on a mighty whim. Of course, whim is the root word of whimsy.

Bettina Tizzy: People find themselves flying in the fields...

AM Radio: Ah, a gift animation. In real life, my art is collage, and usually I try to paint something… like a field, and use one found object or one extra thing that isn't from me, but inexplicably seems to work. The animation worked so well here that the field felt incomplete after I removed it, so there it is on the windmill.

A thousand thanks to NPIRL'er Matthew Kidomen for introducing us to AM Radio and his wheat fields.
Slurl: The Far Away