Virginia Blakeley is an 80 year old, nearly blind lady who lived alone for 20 years in this house I have reconstructed. She is someone who suffers from Schizophrenia without recognizing that it is her illness. We have psychologists and textbooks to endlessly classify behaviors and symptoms, but this story is not about that. It tells of a lady who struggled her entire life against a mystery which she classified and came to grips with under her own interpretations and personal fortitude.
Virginia recorded her thoughts on hundreds of cassette tapes over many years and I have used portions of these to give a glimpse into her mind. Some also contain segments of an interview I did with her at a nursing home where she was brought after being discovered by her estranged daughter in this derelict house.
By clicking on any tapes or cassette players in the artwork you will be taken to a YouTube site to hear a portion of a cassette. You may find them difficult to comprehend, but the more tapes you listen to the greater will be your understanding of Virginia.
This build opens June 22nd at the Santa Fe new Media Festival and I would like to express my appreciation to the organizers for their interest. Virginia Alone will run three weeks on a ten foot monitor connecting this virtual environment to a real life exhibition.
In truth, one need only go to YouTube and search out the nine videos under VirginiaAlone. Mrs. Blakeley's narrative is alternately touching and unnerving as she describes parts of her life, how she sees the world (her house "vanishes" when she ventures into the yard), her abusive ex-husband, and so on. However, listening to her while standing in the Second Life recreation of her house only adds to the experience.