In RL, the gestalt that is the club experience usually involves trying to fill in the gaps in your conversation with the person standing right next to you on the dance floor, awash in drink, wading through waves of push from the closest bass bin. By the end of the night the experience is less heady and entirely more visceral, as one leaves for home with ringing ears, stinking clothes, and a bad taste in the mouth.
My first visit to Club Felix (Atis 185,82) was surprisingly similar. The air was stuffy with lag. There were only four other avs in the entire place, and one of them pulled a gun on me.
I guess it begs the question, if RL clubs are so disliked and my first experience at Club Felix was so negative, what reasons would one have for going back to either of them?
In RL, from the process of filling in those conversational gaps, making constellations from the stars as it were, usually shine moments of complete profundity and brilliance. As well, for every person you find in a club causing you grief you find ten who are smart, funny, and friendly. Finally, there is something truly compelling about the paradox of being somewhere to see and be seen, yet simultaneously deindividuated into a larger whole.
It is in this regard that my subsequent visit to Club Felix was also surprisingly similar. Of course the barriers to carrying on a conversation in an SL club are gone, unless one has trouble reading over the music and that constant clickity click sound. In this case it is the architecture of the club itself that is asking to be read into.
Like the Avalon Film Festival site, white surfaces are utilized throughout the club in an obvious attempt to appear 'fresh' and 'contemporary,' however the decision to do so reaches beyond merely stylistic associations in the manner in which it defines the overall experience. The interplay between those surfaces which are strongly expressed and those that lack in differentiation leads to spatial qualities that are largely in flux and open to interpretation. I found myself strongly connected to the spaces by virtue of this abstraction, leading to moments of strong introspection, and yet heightening the presence of the other avs in the club.
Among them were some of the club's VIP's as well as Detect Surface, the designer and builder of the structure. They gave me a warm reception, answered my dumb questions, and even took me down to the secret underground VIP room (that in contrast to the main structure is all black and decidedly sci-fi). Detect's background is in graphic design and illustration, and it shows in the strong graphic identity of the club and the consistency between the club's graphics and its architecture.
This consistency could stand to be a bit more rigorous, however, as there are a few objects around the area of the dance floor and main entry lobby that begin to feel either too gregarious or too spindly when compared to the majority of the structure. As well, when the place is empty the geometry does show a few seams, but overall this is a sophisticated build that is easy to navigate and generously scaled with lots of variety all under one roof.
On my second visit to Club Felix I stumbled home, like after any great club night, with my moments of profundity and brilliance.