Cyberloom’s Sunday Threads

Cyberloom’s Sunday Threads are links to just a few of the most thought provoking articles, essays and blog posts I encountered over the previous week. This week’s threads are accompanied by photos from the Art Breaker Exhibition (extended until November 4th) at Claus Ulriza’s Pop Art Labs in Second Life. The pictures here show Bryn Oh‘s Desk Top Computer exhibit.

This week’s threads:

Somatic Cognition, a new frontier of human potential: On the Threshold of the Avatar Era by Jaron Lanier for the Wall Street Journal.

“No one knows how big a deal avatar-directed cognition will be. Will students routinely dance to learn chemistry in the future? Quite possibly. A student might also become a triangle to learn trigonometry, or a strand of DNA to learn about biology. Will professional nanotechnology engineers become molecular structures in order to refine them? Once again, it seems quite possible.” (Jaron Lanier)

Computer screen and keyboard by Bryn Oh
Computer screen and keyboard by Bryn Oh

Kevin Kelly: Technology is as great a force as nature by Tim Adams for the Observer.

‘Digital prophet’ Kevin Kelly says we are experiencing the most significant period in human history since the invention of language. (Tim Adams)

“The point of technology, I would say, is to create structures that organics cannot. What life is trying to do is to discover all the possible ways to evolve. What we are seeing is that there are possibly minds in the universe that biology cannot get to, but technology might be able to get there. We are making minds that biology can’t make. The long-term trend will be to make as many different kinds of mind as possible, because only in that way can we comprehend the universe.” (Kevin Kelly)

(This reminded me of an earlier post I wrote where I was trying to say that the internet has become so vast it has become a force of nature itself. See The Internet: Is it raw power for Cyberloom’s pontifications!)

Glow from Bryn Oh computer screen
Glow from Bryn Oh computer screen

Harold Jarche: Network Learning: Working Smarter Life in Perpetual Beta

… The amount of information flowing through the Internet today is measured in exabytes, or billions of gigabytes. We now create as much data in days as it took us centuries to create in the past.

This information overload has a direct impact on workplace learning. Workers have access to more information than ever before, but often don’t know if it’s the right information or if it’s current. In the industrial workplace, our training programs could prepare us for years of work, but much of what we learn today will be outdated in months or even weeks.

We need to re-think workplace learning for a networked society. Our organizational structures are becoming more decentralized, with individual access to almost unlimited information, distributed work teams, and digital media that can be copied and manipulated infinitely. In the interconnected workplace, who we know and how we find information are becoming more important than what we know.

Bryn Oh keyboard
Bryn Oh keyboard

I will end this post with this quote (by Herbert Simon) which Jarche uses to open his article:

“In the period ahead of us, more important than advances in computer design will be the advances we can make in our understanding of human information processing – of thinking, problem solving, and decision making…” ~ Herbert Simon, Economics Nobel-prize winner (1968)


Happy Birthday Pop Art Labs!

Today was the first year birthday of the Pop Art Labs. Sadly, I got there rather late for the celebrations – the birthday party had already been running for a good 6 hours by the time I popped in! Still, the Labs looked festive with fabulous flowers everywhere, a band called Engrama was playing and people were dancing, or mellowing out as the sun rose in the early morning sky. Here are some photos recording my very late visit to the birthday bash.

A big congratulations and Happy Birthday wishes to Pop Art Labs and the charming master mind behind the whole fabulous operation Claus Uriza!

Happy Birthday to PAL- Pop Art Labs!
Happy Birthday to PAL- Pop Art Labs!
Engrama band playing at PAL's birthday party
Engrama playing the final set at PAL's birthday party
Claus Ulriza dancing (one of the sweetest people you will ever find in Second Life!)
Claus Uriza dancing (Claus is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet in Second Life! If you see him say hi!)
PAL Flower Power!
PAL Flower Power!

Check out the Pop Art Lab’s blog for upcoming events at the Labs visit:

See earlier cyberloom posts about PAL here: ‘plug it in, change the world’ and 3D Pop Art Lab Experiment

Location of PAL:

Happy Birthday Claus and everyone at PAL!

3-D Pop Art Lab Experiment

Spawn of Sotek listening to AC/DC in the Rock pavilion!
Spawn of Sotek listening to AC/DC in the Rock pavilion!

One of my favorite places in Second Life is the Pop Art Lab (PAL) created by Claus Uriza. Earlier in the week I was lucky enough to see Claus, and (despite being really busy) he took me on a tour of the secret chambers hidden around PAL. (Just click on the heart shaped boxes of chocolates dotted about the Labs to teleport to the surprise locations.) Claus told me that he has approached 5,000 visitors since the Labs were officially launched on September 5th! Not bad! The Labs are a test project, analyzing the 3D world platform as a location, where you can listen to new album releases in Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Electronica and Pop styles. (You can also watch movie trailers here too.) Media is streamed in 24/7 and updated on a daily/weekly basis at the Labs, and what is more you can hear the new CD releases in full length! As I wrote in an earlier post ‘plug it in, change the world’ a visit to PAL is like taking a walk inside an old fashioned radio.

Lily Dryad (Veyanki) dancing to New Order in the Electronica pavilion
Lily Dryad (Veyanki) dancing to New Order in the Electronica pavilion.

3D web pages, browsers and online social networking spaces are currently undergoing considerable experimentation at the moment. A number of companies are trying ideas out and the 3D concept is taking on various manifestations. Try typing ‘3D web browser’ into Google to see a slew of new approaches eg, SpaceTime, ExitReality, and 3BRooms, not to mention sites such as Google’s Lively. The ‘killer application’ may not have appeared on the horizon just yet but you can see hints of what is to come. It makes a lot of sense to promote music the PAL way; just imagine something like iTunes as a 3D world shop with rooms to chat, dance and share recommendations etc. A visit to PAL is a glimpse into the future of music promotion and marketing.

Lily Dryad (Vornaki) dancing outside the movie theater at PAL.
Lily Dryad (Vornaki) dancing outside the movie theater at PAL. (Notice how the Vornaki looks like a kitsch show girl!)
Hip Hop Robot dancing to
Robot dancing to Lil Mama in the Hip Hop Pavilion.

Claus is always thinking of new things to entertain his visitors, whilst also managing audio streams for recent album releases and setting up live music events. (Take a look at his blog at to see previous events and get notices for new upcoming live shows.) Claus promotes music is a novel way, demonstrating how business promotions can work in Second Life if they have some intrinsic value (i.e. they are entertaining and/or informative). A teleport is very easy in Second Life, that means it is equally easy to teleport in as well as out again! The secret is to make the teleport worth while and keep your visitors. Claus keeps his visitors at PAL, and the live shows can be completely packed as Speedmaster Bing describes in PowerMatch.

Royal Draconite dancing on the roof of PAL
Royal Draconite dancing on the roof of PAL.

For the pictures in this post I switched around avatars at PAL (while listening to the music streams of course). Then I added dance animations and tried to photograph my avatar as it careered around! I am wondering if this could qualify as a new form of action photography? Mind you, attempting to catch the ‘Decisive Moment’ of avatar dance animation made me wish I had a motor drive on my digital camera!

Pop Art Labs will be featured on SLCN’s TV show RealBiz on November 3rd at 2pm (SLT) and this appearance will include a tour of the Labs.

Credits and Locations:

Pop Art Lab

Spawn of Sotek, Lily Dryads and Royal Draconite avatars all created by Flea Bussy of Grendel’s Children

Robot Seeker created by BUFF Steinbeck.

‘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.