25 July 2016

Soul of Colors: Variations on The Magic Flute

Now open at LEA21 is a sim-wide installation by Giovanna Cerise, Variations on "The Magic Flute," representing the first component in Soul of Colors, the next component of which will appear in September. This immersive environment was first created by Giovanna on the now-gone sim Imparafacile back in January 2012. "I thought maybe it would be nice to show it again," she explained to me. "This was my first big installation, and I wanted present it again before submitting my new work for September. It's all built in prims except for the stairs at the entrance — before working with mesh I had always worked with prims, and it was a good school."

Reflecting Giovanna's love of opera (and following on last summer's Tristan und Isolde — read here), the build investigates Mozart's timeless opera and collaboration with librettist and singer Emanuel Schikaneder, Die Zauberflöte, or The Magic Flute, K. 620, a masterpiece that premiered in 1791 shortly before the composer's death. Reflecting the progressive philosophical views of the artists — both Freemasons influenced by the Enlightenment — the libretto interweaves Masonic and idealistic elements through the entertaining storyline.

Venturing through the build, visitors move along a series of staircases from one scene or vignette to another, all representing different moments in the opera. "The Magic Flute is a path of growth and overcoming obstacles," Giovanna added. "Climbing the stairs is a metaphor for this ... [The artwork] unfolds in a series of environments full of references, allusions and allegories, in an infinite game of layers that overlap and intersect." (Indeed, guests who decide to walk the stairs through the entire path will discover one flight that's intentionally blocked — flying around the barrier is the only option.)

Throughout Variations on "The Magic Flute," visitors are invited to hear excerpts linked to the various scenes depicted, and are also invited to be "stimulated by the use of poses that encourage interactivity." Those who are interested in learning more about Giovanna Cerise's artistry would be well served to read an extensive interview with her conducted by Bryn Oh in December 2015 — read here. Variations on "The Magic Flute" will remain on display through the end of August.

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