Furillen: “An island off the northeast coast of Sweden. Once a limestone factory, now a hotel. Remote, bleak, beautiful”. So it says in the information ‘about land’. And so it is. Furillen is based on a real place. If you want to find out more, these are links to [the hotel webpage has now gone] and a wikipedia page. I’d just dropped by while chasing links about a fortnight ago, and returned yesterday to get some shots, and completed them today. It’s a place that has a presence, a magnetic immediacy that makes you want to stay.
The first impression is one of space and falling snow. There are objects around, some in place, some out of place – a blend of modelling of a real place and the adventurousness of art. And this is where it excels – that blend of the two.
There’s the rundown railway, with an engine and a row of wagons along the lines, then there’s a curving row of wagon bodies running round the base of the hill. There’s a concrete hotel, with a changing artwork or installation in each room. There’s a workshop, followed by an armchair overlooking the sea.
What makes it particularly fascinating is the change in scale and character. There are wide open spaces with objects arranged sparsely through them. Some objects are clearly modelled on the industrial and what is there on Furillen, others are idiosyncratic and out of place. The hotel rooms are full of detail, art installations that are reflected or reprised on the concrete walls, with doors letting out to the cold air and snow. Each one is different, but there is a coherence.
This is one of the ‘must go to’ places in and works to the strengths of Second Life as a medium for creativity. While I was there, Serene Footman, the owner, started up a conversation – that too added a lot to the visit, to talk to someone who also had a stake in making things in and out of Second Life, and as a place for social interaction. What a wonderful world.