A colossal experience

Tall and imposing, the Colossus of Rhodes, in Ancient Greece, was short-lived: the statue stood at Rhodes’ harbor (or at a site nearby, depending on the sources that you consult) for 56 years. In Second Life, the Colossus of Rhodes‘ existence will be even shorter, at least as a building for the “Fashion For Life” event, which opened on March 9 and will be closed on March 17 (next Sunday!) as part of the season of campaigns for the “Relay For Life of Second Life 2013”. So, if you don’t want to miss it, you should run.

The Colossus of Rhodes' hand in SL
On the god’s hand: where’s Adam?
The Colossus of Rhodes in SL
The statue of Helios

Relay For Life, as you may know, “is the signature event of the American Cancer Society“, designed to celebrate life, remember loved ones lost in the battle against cancer, and raise funds and fight back against the disease. Fashion For Life is not its biggest event in SL, but it is part of the season of initiatives that culminates with the 24-hour journey held in July. At Fashion For Life, you can buy clothes for your avatar and, at the same time, contribute with the fund-raising efforts.

The head of the Colossus of Rhodes in SL
The face of Helios

This year, Fashion For Life gathers nine sims inspired in the seven ancient wonders of the world. Of course, all the other buildings – the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Zeus at Olympia, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Artemis at Ephesus, the Pyramid of Giza and (I love it!) the Lighthouse of Alexandria, plus the International Plaza and the Event Sim – are worth visiting, but I confess that I got particularly impressed by the Colossus of Rhodes, a building by Rebecca Bashly.

The feet of the statue, in SL
Colossus of Rhodes: at thy feet

In the atomic world, it is said that the Colossus of Rhodes, which was a thirty-something meter tall statue of Helios, probably made on iron and bronze, could not have stood with one foot on each side of Rhodes’ harbor entrance, with boats passing under its legs, as it is generally imagined. Not even its place, at the entrance of the harbor, is undisputed (some argue that it was most likely built on a hill nearby). Nonetheless, in SL, the Greek god’s statue can correspond to our imagination: its legs apart, raising above the sea.

Helios' statue with windows
Helios with windows

The building hosts stores that participate in the Fashion For Life event, and it creates an interesting effect: Helios’ body – the sun’s body – is full of windows and doors, opening itself to a pathway that leads the visitor up, towards the god’s right arm.

Pathaway around the Colossus of Rodes
The pathway goes around the body of Helios’

The statue’s right hand, i don’t know if it’s on purpose or unintentional, reminds me of God’s hand on Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling – except for the fact that Adam is missing, and the index finger leads to nothing but an abyss (though it does point to the other sims). Standing there, I felt tiny, swollen both by the “hugeness” of the monument and the “nothingness” before me.

On the statue's arm
On the god’s right arm, swollen both by the hugeness of the statue and the nothingness before me

Definitely, the Colossus of Rhodes in SL is a breath-taking building. I hope it survives time, it may reappear in the future – but maybe transience is part of its destiny, such as the atomic world’s statue that inspired it, which was never rebuilt after its destruction by an earthquake in 226 BC. So, run and see it! You have until March 17.

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