Every now and then I grow weary of the visual (and yes, sensory) overload in Second Life, and long for something simple, something not so.. primary. And lately, rather than unplugging and heading for the beach (yeah, sad but true; I live in Santa Barbara and still do most of my surfing in SL), I am more likely to slip away into the wonderful world of wireframe.
Wireframe is a place beneath a place; a world where nothing is hidden, where you’re confronted by the stark reality that we are all math after all, and where, like Superman, I can see right through you. In fact, I can not only see right through you but also through the building behind you, and on and on all the way to that wiry horizon back there. For an artist who tends to spend too much time in an abstract-expressionist frame of mind, it is pure delight to wander this minimalist utopia. It clears the mind, calms the soul, and reminds one of the structure, the underpinnings of it all… the mesh we are all made of.
When all is revealed and one sees that mesh, that gridwork – oddly enough, it still contains much of the emotional content of the textured world. A motorcycle becomes a lacy whirl of linear confection, as though it were made to eat rather than ride. That lovely woman who moves so many parts of you is transformed into a beautiful web of glossy sugar strands. I’m looking through you, The Beatles once sang, but even though you’re not the same, it’s still you. Sugar is spun into cotton candy, after all.
To go behind the curtain is to see virtual life in its raw form, without the seductive power of texture, to see the ‘reality’ behind the illusion. I love this part of the metaverse almost as much as I love the surface world, probably for the same reason I love to wander the deserts of the southwest in rl…. it is nature at its most honest; a place where nothing can be hidden, a place where the ground meets the sky and the eye meets its maker.
To get to this magical place, just head for the Advanced menu, scroll down to Rendering, turn right and scroll down to Wireframe. Or, just double-shift using the keyboard command Control-Shift-R, and you’re off.
Author’s Note: For those readers who saw this when it was first published and might be wondering if they were imagining things, I decided to pull the photo of Chrome and Juliette and replace it for one simple reason: this closeup of a custom Harley chopper more clearly illustrates the point I was trying to make regarding the delicate beauty of the wireframe mode. Besides, I was getting tired of seeing my face up there. That’s two, I know, but…