Q: Second Life – Why would you go there?
A: To enjoy the nocturnal art of architecture
This answer is lifted from G.K. Chesterton who said:
” All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.”
This seems an apt quote to use with Second Life where the virtual sun rises and sets several times in 24 hours. And, should we be so inclined, where we can go and adjust the environmental settings for a whole day of an endless end to end sunset! Judging by the proliferation of romantic saccharin avatar photos to be found on Flickr, Second Life’s sunset is one of the most favored ‘hours’ of the virtual day. But Chesterton observes how splendid architecture can be after sunset, an observation applicable to architecture in both our physical and virtual worlds. Another reason for selecting the above quote is because so many Second Life builders are working into the small hours adjusting prims, and adding textures, to their fabulous creations. It seems fair to deduce that virtual building is itself largely a nocturnal art, conducted by creative individuals opting to build something (rather than watch TV).
Well, some virtual creations do become ‘like the art of fireworks.’ Seems to me that my own (nocturnal) virtual wanderings have led me to some fabulous displays of nocturnal art recently. First Kolor Fall and now D.B. Bailey…
I found D.B. Bailey at Locus quite by accident. I was checking landmarks for my next Second Life class, as places tend to come and go in Second Life, it is always a good idea to ensure they still exist for when you need them. Second Life has its own seasons that mark its ebb and flow of decline and productivity. Builds pop up then vanish, simply melting away to leave large dents on mown lawns, or lost aspidistras marooned beneath the sea.
I had a landmark to the Cetus District, an area of Second Life that replicated a traditional art gallery district of London or New York. I landed on a mountain peak instead of a cobbled street and could see from the buildings below me that there had been some dramatic changes to the location. I went to explore and began to marvel at the imagination of the builders. When I clicked on these buildings, I kept seeing D.B. Bailey’s name and discovered from his profile that he is a first life architect called David Denton. I was then lucky enough to meet David Denton in avatar form, and he treated me to a tour of Locus. It turns out he is experimenting with Second Life to build a real world shopping mall in Cairo. See his write up about this experiment in Dispatch from Cairo: a Message from DB Bailey in The Arch blog.
I have often thought that Second Life is like a 3D sketchbook, and find it intriguing to see it utilized for a first life project. Locus is a gorgeous place to visit! I found myself marveling at the mind and imagination of DB Bailey and his skill for drawing in what looks like complex 3D layers. Friedrich Joseph Schelling described architecture as being like *frozen music, and here you can see that thought realized. One final observation, due to DB Bailey’s use of autumn oranges set against electric blues the architecture at Locus will conjure up reminders of G.K. Chesterton’s fireworks and sunsets.
*”Architecture in general is frozen music.” Friedrich von Schelling
More pictures to follow! (Images above barely skim the surface of Locus).