26 March 2015

City Inside Out

Opening today, Thursday, March 26 at 1:00 pm slt, is City Inside Out, a major sim-wide installation by Haveit Neox. Focused on the struggles faced by those who are homeless in our major urban centers, the build is dazzling in its complexity, although, with its clear layout, not what one would call bewildering or confusing. "To someone without a home living on the streets, the bustling city becomes one united exterior," explains Haveit in his notes. "City Inside Out explores a world that lacks interiors. Entering any doorway opens onto yet another exterior." To the homeless, living on the streets is their never ending experience; their perception of life is from the outside, never able to enter or be accepted into interior spaces.

Towering hundreds of meters into the sky, City Inside Out unfolds on three levels: underground (be sure to walk through a narrow doorway to reach the larger space), on the surface, and in the air. "The eroding exteriors infuse themselves into the air space of the sky, onto the land of perpetual traffic, and below the land, completing the dominance of the harsh realities into every possible corner," adds the artist. (For today's opening, the landing point is here, up in the sky, but otherwise visitors should start at the ground level. "The LEA kiosk is on the ground, where I prefer people to start," says Haveit. "I'd like them to see ground levels first, then walk up to the sky level.") Visitors might discover a number of "hidden" places, such as the one in the photo immediately above, which Haveit calls The Dry Fields: "There is no life there. It's barren of opportunities."

Although Haveit's work often focuses on issues of social inequality, the initial inspiration for this build came from another source entirely. "I had recently seen pictures of the most ancient city in civilization called Catal Huyuk, in Turkey," he told me. "There were no streets, but only holes in the roofs for people to climb down. The rooftops were the streets. And this got me to thinking...why didn't people have roads? Were there dangers on ground level? Such as carnivorous beasts? That idea of not having doors or windows was really interesting to me. But the dangers in the 'streets' is what lead me to thinking about the homeless, who face this daily."

The windlight setting preferred by Haveit, Phototools- July Light 02, is seen here, and provides a beautifully foggy and misty experience. (Unfortunately, some bloggers and photographers who may have taken images before today depicted a black sky background, which is not at all what Haveit intended. The large megaprims surrounding the build were set on full bright and were affected by this ALM bug — I noticed the problem and alerted Haveit, who has now switched off full bright.) While City Inside Out is finished for now, there's more to come. "I set up a notecard at the landings to encourage people to participate their observations of the homeless," Haveit explains. "I would like to build one or two scenes from their texts, and post others on boards to share with visitors for phase 2. So there will be a few more additions to the city." The installation will remain on display through June 30.

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