‘plug it in, change the world’

cyberloom sitting on candy in the PAL pop dome
cyberloom sitting on candy in the PAL pop dome

I am building a Second Life landmark gallery for my students who will be new to Second Life. I look for good examples of places to visit, take a photo, add a note card and landmark, then fold all ingredients together with a touch of basic scripting. People can wander around the ‘gallery’ pick a picture that interests them and teleport straight to the featured location. All sounds easy enough but it is a surprising amount of work! Oh well, I am not complaining because in the process of doing all this I get to find new places in Second Life™. Sometimes, I find real surprises.

I like finding virtual places that are just that little bit different, where people are being adventurous and exploring the platform, even pushing it to its limits. The main group of people playing so imaginatively are the Second Life artists who are exploring the NPIRL possibilities, but every so often I find others making something intriguing that draws me back for another visit.

Aerial view of the Pop Art Labs (looking something like part of pinball machine...)
Aerial view of the Pop Art Labs (looking something like part of pinball machine...)

One place I found recently is Claus Uriza’s Pop Art Lab. I imagine everything here is possible in real life if money were no object? This charming Dane is creating something that could be described as an immersive, 3D radio station. The colors and shapes reminded me of a pinball machine or an old fashioned valve radio that had turned psychedelic!

The Pop Art Lab houses 4 colorful music domes, and music is streamed into the central dance courtyard that lies between the domes. The music stream shifts from dome to dome over time. One of the features I really liked about PAL is that you can see which dome is producing the music and go in to find out the name of the artist and the title of the track. Even better you can check to see what was just playing and see what is coming up. If you don’t like the stream of music coming into the central courtyard you can walk into one of the other three domes and listen to completely different music.

PAL electronica dome
PAL electronica dome

There is also a Movie dome where trailers and videos can be watched. Claus is concentrating on new releases and says ‘you will be able to hear some of the best new CD releases full length in the following styles; Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Electronica and Pop. Some CDs will be added weeks before official release and same goes for promo videos of artists’ upcoming releases. Imagine that! You can hear the whole album! Not the stingy seconds that iTunes gives you for just one track. This is a great way to hear new albums and decide if you like them. I have to admit after hanging out in the ‘pop’ dome at PAL I am becoming addicted to MGMT (they sound so cheerful!)

Every day Claus features a new album in each music dome so go and listen! Walk around inside this 3D internet music juke box, you might hear something new that you like! PAL provides a glimpse of the future for listening to music on the Internet; we will immerse ourselves in the sound, and listening will potentially become a more interactive visually immersive experience too? Our avatars will walk around inside internet radios, changing the music streams by where they chose to walk just as we can in PAL. Claus Uriza will officially launch the Pop Art Lab later this year; for now he is still testing everything out, paying close attention to every detail to create a quality experience for his visitors.

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