I Remember: Fantasy Faire and the Multiple Imaginings of Alia Baroque
Hi all. I can't not write an "I Remember" Fantasy Faires blog series without somehow involving the mention of the rather brilliant Alia Baroque can I? For who has seen one of his Fantasy Faire sims, or viewed one of his newly minted creations and not said wanted to say "I wish I could make and think of brave new worlds as clearly as he and with such incredible dedication and persistence to detail. And also have the skill." He was and still remains my favourite SL designer - for both his re-imagining of the classic and his visioning of the futuristic and fantastic - I think no one does the aesthetic of unusual better in SL. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us this year - I am sure it is incredible.
I have been at four Fantasy Faires to date since 2011 when I spent the Faire wearing huge elf ears and a pitch black elf skin by Adam n Eve or the Glam Affair Mary grey skin and the barely there free Fallen Gods Inc. low lag lily pasties. Enchanted Mysts was gorgeous and on a grand scale, and I was amazed, but at the time I was such an abysmal photographer I didn't know what a wind light setting was, did screen grabs rather than taking proper pictures, had five poses and didn't know how to open Photoshop. I took a copious amount of pictures at my first Fantasy Faire. Needless to say I do not have a single good picture of Enchanted Mysts.
By the next year I had at least learned how to take a high-res photo. I blogged for the Faire that year officially so I had early access and The Tides was the first sim I came into and I was dumbfounded. The Tides was awe inspiring in fact. I just loved its fantastic yet classical feel and I could not get enough of that sim - I was a winged fairy or petite for the most part that Faire and I was like a bird in its roost in that sim - I lived in The Tides stark high perches for more than a week, with forays into the lush and more welcoming Nu Orne. It was like being able to witness first hand the feeling that ancient Greeks might have had viewing Rhode's colossus. The beauty of The Tides and The Ruins of Nu Orne inspired me to take my first landscapes in SL.
By the next year my expectations were pretty high and Magnificat more than met them - with the centrepiece being a canal full of endlessly moving sailing ships which was so rhythmic it was almost musical - the aesthetic this time was Renaissance orderliness with a twist of dragons. The secret corridors and hidden music rooms of Magnificat were also favourite spots for me to lurk - and this was not without its perils - of course the dark corridor leading under the city were inhabited by scuttling rats.
Last Year Sanctum was also quite wonderful - my favourite part being the re-imagining of the stairway to heaven and the chains grasping at Sanctum anchoring it to the earthly and more sinful plane (Alia likes his heaven and hell analogies but I love that his landscapes tell stories). His sims always have a tension between water and land - it is almost sculptural. Water is not used decoratively in a pastoral sense, but serves to indicate more unsettling narratives (lost things, solitude and memory, peril, places to plunge into in despair). His work is not picturesque in the scholarly sense. But at the same time his sense of humour is always there - one word - pigeons!
One More Sleep!!