Now open is Keys, the latest in a series of sim-wide installations by the prolific artist Cica Ghost. Amid miles of twisted industrial pipes, rods and chains hang dozens of keys of every shape and size, some gently twisting in the wind. The scale is monumental: in the image above, one can just see my partner Kinn and me in the lower right corner, two small dots on the dark metallic surface.
Keys can be things that open doors, can unlock mysteries or reveal things; they can also lock and secure things, keeping them out of reach or confined. "I was thinking about keys as answers," said Cica as we walked about. "When you look for a key to open a door, it's like looking for an answer to a question." In whatever way individual visitors interpret the sim's keys for themselves, they might also feel compelled to search for a key with their initial on it — as seen in the image below (click on any to zoom in), many keys are adorned with letters. In this way, the lettered keys increase the immersive aspect of the build and invite visitors to engage in their own quest. (It's a long story, but the key with the letter J is situated far away from all the others.)
There's a darker looking aspect to Keys: here and there throughout the sim are small prison-like cells or areas that confine various individuals, their faces white and identical, as if they could be anyone (image below). "They are thinking," explained Cica. "They need answers. They're not really in prison — it's more how you feel when you're looking for an answer, when you're locked." Visitors can enter the cells to join their occupants for self-reflection or to initiate their own personal searches for answers.
Shown in these images is the sim's default windlight setting, a hazy grey-green that perfectly enhances the surrealistic mood, and photographers will no doubt delight in playing with the seemingly endless opportunities of distance, light and shadows, and depth of field the sim affords. If you enjoy Cica's work, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point, or by visiting her shop in Appalachian.