Forget ME not exhibiting at SL20B
We were delighted to be invited to exhibit in the Second Life birthday regions this year in celebration of the 20th SL birthday - between June 22 and July 16. This gave us an incredible opportunity to reach so many more people and raise awareness about M.E.
Our exhibit description was: "In this buzzing city like any other, do you dare to look beyond the everyday life and notice the forgotten people? Learn about the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that left millions in lockdown long before COVID, now affecting ~50% of LC patients."
Having more space in this area (less patient stories but more space otherwise), I tried to make the best of it. By using static 3D-model humans, I attempted to bring the surroundings to life and create a more immersive experience. My aim here was to more clearly visualize all of the things M.E patients miss out on in the daily life, and how different our lives are from healthy people.
I wanted to somehow explain what we mean when we say "Living with M.E is not living" or "Living with M.E is struggling to survive". Our youngest patient story, the one of Eliana, she is only 16 and she has already had to learn what this means. We are alive, but would you actually call it LIVING when you miss out on so much in life?
The people in this outdoor city scene are all engaging in some kind of activity or interaction. Mostly normal, mundane day to day things, but also some that are more special like the outdoor live music performance. And as you can see, all around in the windows of the houses we are displaying our patient stories.
When visiting with your sound on you could also hear the normal sounds of a busy city; cars, trains, people chattering, in the park you can hear the water flowing from the fountain, the birds chirping, and by the live music performance you can hear piano music playing (some jazz and classic/modern love songs on a loop). The musicians are also the only models who are actually animated and moving/dancing, bringing more life to this specific scene.
I hope that I was able to enlighten and spark an interest. It's necessary to realize, there may be a few M.E patients out and about in this outdoors scene. You wouldn't really know since the illness is not really visible on the outside. M.E comes in different grades and not all of us are bedbound or housebound. But it was important to me to really show more clearly how limiting this illness really can be and that many of us miss out on most, if not all, of these activities every single day. Plus to emphasize that this is a current, ongoing issue that isn't going to simply to go away, and we need to pay attention to it.
It has been a very interesting and good 20th celebration of Second Life, and we thank them once again for including us this year. Our exhibit has been visited by so many and we've made new, valuable connections. Hopefully we raised the awareness about M.E, too! My heartfelt thanks once again to all participating patients - this was all possible only thanks to you! ♥