Italo Calvino’s "Invisible Cities" in Second Life

“Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino was first published in 1972.  In the book, explorer Marco Polo describes to Emperor Kublai Khan, the cities he has visited in his explorations.  The Emperor does not believe everything but listens to the explorer’s vivid and dreamy descriptions of the urban settings in his travels.  

In the Second Life installation of “Invisible Cities”, thirteen artists have collaborated on the LEA 15 MetaLES…O sim to recreate four of the cities described in Calvino’s book – Cherry Manga, Marcus Inkpen, Fuschia Nightfire, Romy Nayar, Ux Hax, Hypatia Pickens, Lanjran Choche, MORLITA QUAN, NicoleX Moonwall, Rebeca Bashly, Spiral Silverstar, Leona80 Mhia, and Nadiemekiere Adamcyk.
Ground level – Cherry Manga 

You will arrive on the sim at ground level, created by Cherry Manga, which contains all the “doors” or teleporters to each city.  There are four cities on four different levels, plus a fifth location – a larger than life version of Calvino’s desk, pictured at the end of this post. 

Eudoxia – Marcus Inkpen 
Armilla – Romy Nayar and Ux Hax 
Isaura – Lanjran Choche and MORLITA QUAN 
Esmeralda – Rebeca Bashly 
When you arrive at Calvino’s desk, you will find descriptions about each level in the books.  A nice touch, however I found it easier to read the text at the Invisible Cities website, direct link here.  There you will find more details about this collaborative project and links to five machinma videos about the project. 

Knowing nothing about Invisible Cities prior to my visit today (shame on me), I found this to be a really interesting exploration.  I have to admit that I did get a lost a few times when I could not find the teleporter to take me back to ground level.  That was a little disorienting, but I made it through all locations and it was well worth the bit of searching I had to do.  And what’s an explorative journey without getting a little off track every now and then?

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