“Skyscrapers” was a Second Life art installation by Gem Preiz, an artist most known for his intricate fractal images. Here, he created an immersive, scaled-down cityscape—inspired, as he writes, by his “fascination for [these] modern cathedrals which are, like those of the past, the synthesis of all the techniques of their time, dedicated to the collective aspirations of their builders.” Also, a note on cinematographic technique: Although there were a number of elevated mass transit tunnels crisscrossing the city, there were no trains, just the flying vehicles at the landing point; I filmed the two separate shots that make up the final video by setting my camera position and angle appropriately, then going “backwards” through the tunnels with my SpaceNavigator 3D Mouse after turning off (or rather, zeroing out) all the other axes in the Second Life flycam feature’s configuration. Oh, and the color shifts and hallucinatory, back-and-forth swaying are, of course, a result of editing, not something this or any other city does naturally. So far as I'm aware. Music is by SLOOM, specifically the track “Skyscrapers” from his Mix Tape #1 album. (I sought out a track with the same name as Gem’s installation on purpose—though it still had to fit the kind of sound I wanted.) It can be found at the Free Music Archive (https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Sloom/Mix_Tape_1_1397) and is used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License version 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/); more of SLOOM’s music can be heard on Bandcamp: https://sloomsmixtapes.bandcamp.com/ Filmed on Linux with the Firestorm Viewer and SimpleScreenRecorder and using a SpaceNavigator 3D Mouse. Edited with GIMP and Kdenlive.
Erik Alessandro Mondrian is a writer, artist, and scholar who makes work about place, belonging, love, longing, and madness. He holds a BA in French, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; an MA in Communication, with a specialization in Mass Communication and Media Studies, from San Diego State University; and an Interschool MFA in VoiceArts & Creative Writing, with a concentration in Integrated Media, from the California Institute of the Arts. Erik’s MFA thesis project—For the Light of Other Shores—was a series of short films combining vocal recordings of his writing with footage he shot in the virtual world of Second Life.