Altitude (noun): the vertical elevation of an object above a surface […], the angular elevation of a celestial object […], vertical distance or extent, position at a height, […] a high level (as of quality or feeling).(Merriam-Webster, 2019, Altitude)
Altitude is not only a club for alt music, but also a place for an alt visual. As alternative rock is difficult to define (because it’s actually a collection of different subgenres, some of which are, themselves, also complicated to characterize), so is Altitude’s landscaping. It has a bit of surrealism, but not in a classic way, and some industrial and post-industrial elements, mixed with a diffuse dystopian feeling and resorting, to a certain extent, to the aesthetics of destruction or decay, with a sense of loneliness and desolation.
Altitude’s landscape has varied since the club first opened. I’ve been visiting it repeatedly in the last few weeks, and I’ve found there a water-dominated sim, with a small structure that works as a landing point, an abandoned house at a distance and a ruined bridge sided by the remains of a hangar that is kept in the air by a number of propellers. Near the hangar, there’s a crashed plane.
There’s also an underwater scenario, with a sunken castle, sharks, sirens, a whale and other creatures. Those varied spaces may work as different areas for musical events. Since I’ve started visiting the place in order to write this post, I’ve experienced two different WindLight presets there: an orange, warm light and a blueish, colder one embracing the region.
(In the past weeks, when I visited Altitude, I actually arrived there during DJ’ing sessions twice. The sim’s description states it also houses live performances and voice events.)
At water level and above, Altitude’s elements form a somewhat futuristic and dystopian scene. Destruction is there, everywhere one looks at: the ruined overpass, the old hangar, the crashed plane and the lone, abandoned house near the pillars of the bridge – they all carry the marks of devastation and decay.
There are some absurdities: not only the propellers that keep the old hangar floating in the air, but also the damaged bridge pillars that defy gravity and the skeleton with a parachute that seems to have jumped from the crashed plane, among other items.
It’s interesting how water adds to the feeling of isolation of the structures already placed in a relative distance from each other. In Second Life, water is probably the most perfect “infinite” surrounding that sim owners have at their disposal. As such, it may increase the perception of loneliness, for it creates a huge emptiness around the sim elements.
The underwater world is, itself, an environment set apart. Nonetheless, it has its wonders too: fantastic creatures as well as impossible features, such as a captured shark hanging from a pole. As one explores the submerged domains, an unlikely whale watches the visitor.
As one may see, the different items that form Altitude’s landscape are not actually a single unit, but it’s not that the sim lacks coherence – at least if one observes the scene above sea level and the underwater part separately. Even these two different spaces share some characteristics, such as destruction and absurdity, though the submerged area is more fantasy-like and the environment seen above water is more surreal and dystopian. Anyway, both zones work well with the idea of the club, dedicated to alt, indie music.
Altitude is, thus, a sim where one can feel astonished just for being there, a place where contemplative visitors can get visually – as well as musically – high.