Second Life is an infinite customized virtual world where humans being's deepest darkest fantasies can be realized. So it's no surprise that people often associate it with alien sex, and the possibility of a sudden penis happening at any moment. But artist Jo Yardley actively fights that reductive perception of the medium with a charming, realistic recreation of 20s Berlin, which filmmaker Pepa Cometa turned into a wonderful montage you can watch below.
"According to the media, I should be using Second Life for all sorts of wacky kinky pervy stuff, but I’ve found something a lot more exciting… time travel!" Yardley writes on her website. She and a group of Second Lifers have been creating and maintaining historically accurate bars, restaurants, alleyways, landmarks, private residences, advertisements, and more over the past seven years to create a world called The 1920s Berlin Project.
One of the first buildings Yardley created was a replica of the Zum Nußbaum hotel, which was built in Berlin in the early 1500s. The building was destroyed in a bombing during World War II, so in order to recreate it successfully, Yardley had to use old pictures and even paintings as source material. "I think I succeeded pretty well in making the building look like the way it did before the bombs fell," she writes. "Someone alive back then would at least recognize it."
Cometa's video documentation of the world is a work of art in its own right. She captures a host of avatars dressed in 20s European attire, each going about their days normally. She has also made videos in other Second Life worlds, including a version of Luxembourg in the 1800s and a historical Crestwick set to "This Land Is Your Land" by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. These historical adventures are a soothing break from modern life, which is kind of ironic considering they take place in a virtual world that some people are frightened might one day replace reality itself.
Watch Berlin in the 20s below: