Reviewing My Second Life

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Yesterday I added a post to Cyberloom, and I realized that it is three years since the last post was added to this blog! All I can say is time flies when you are preoccupied! Today, I have been reviewing some of my 190+ earlier posts. The reason for this review is that my friend Suzanne asked me to send her the link to this blog. Gosh, I thought how to guide someone through a blog about a peculiar hobby visiting the Metaverse? Well, Suzanne, I hope that this post will help.

I began writing this blog in 2008 when I was an Adult Education student looking into online education for my Certificate in Advanced Studies. One of the first things that hooked me into the virtual world was the discovery that I could interact with it. In an early post, I wrote about this in a piece titled: Living in a Painting: Introducing Second Life and Windlight. I had discovered I could take photographs and adjust the lighting in a virtual 3D space reached by my computer. Strange that this machine of glass and metal and tiny computer chips could open up such a vast and visually imaginative realm.

 

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Majilis al Jinn. Sands of Time by Calein Flux

 

I have a few preoccupations when traveling in the virtual world. The first is an ongoing interest in adult learning in its various manifestations:

Self Directed Learning Exercise #2: Virtual flying

Maslow’s ghost in a virtual world 

Second Life – Simulations#1: Watch the monitor my darling while the gentlemen go by…

Another recurring theme concerns a stack of sketchy questions about who we are as we connect with each other across the room, across virtual space and multiple time differences? Here are some of these posts:

Social Presence Theory & Second Life

My blog is my connectome…

Fear of the ‘Stopping Point.’

 

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Reunion by Andrek Lowell 

 

Virtual Art is another area that fascinates and my approach to the work of Metaverse Artists stems from when I was a photographer working in London, and I would help artists by photographing their work for publicity purposes. I soon found that Second Life was teeming with incredibly thoughtful and talented artists. I also saw that there was a problem in that if you did not enter the 3D online space via your computer, you could not see and experience the work of these artists. This lead me on a mission to record the work of virtual world artists, here are just a few:
Archetypal Robots and Giant Donuts

“its not real art is it?”

The happy jellyfish tree

Love Dot

Over the years, I have created a series with the title: “Second Life – Why would you go there?”

Second Life – Why would you go there? #1: To look at books!

‘Second Life – Why would you go there? #2: To be creative and express myself!

‘Second Life – Why would you go there? #3: Deep Sea Diving 

‘Second Life -Why would you go there?’#4 Foul Whisperings 

‘Second Life – Why would you go there?’#5: To practice Tai Chi in Narnia

‘Second Life-Why would you go there?’#6 To enjoy the nocturnal art of architecture

‘Second Life-Why would you go there?’#7: To stand at the edge of the underworld 

Second Life – Why Would You Go There? #8 – To be a dancing banana

Second Life – Why Would You Go There? #9 – To walk into panoramas (and perhaps even take a ‘kinetic’ shopping trip?)

Second Life – Why Would You Go There? #10 – For Weird Fiction on Halloween

Image locations in Second Life:

Majilis al Jinn. Sands of Time by Calein Flux

Reunion by Andrek Lowell on display at Ars Simulacra: NMC’s SL Artist Showcase Island

 

Flea (and Bettina Tizzy and Sabine Stonebender) in NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ #4

Bettina Tizzy. NPIRL Garden of Delights

Bettina Tizzy’s installation

Continuing with my ‘Ever Changing Avatar Tour’ of NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ I found myself on Bettina Tizzy’s sky platform standing between two liquorice trees (at least thats what I call them). One half of the platform floor looks like ice while the other half is a floor of hot lava. Prickly music notes float in a gauze around each tree giving them a cactus-like appearance. I discovered that if I clicked on these floating notes I could hear musical chords. By repeatedly clicking on the notes I actually made music! (Can’t claim that everyday!)

Seemed appropriate to change into Flea Bussy’s Icy Draconite avatar here in an attempt to color coordinate with the music notes at the chilly end of the platform.

Draconite by Flea Bussy and Bettina Tizzy\'s installation

Draconite ‘chilling’ on the lava flow.

Draconite by Flea Bussy

And a Flame Draconite (male) looking rather splendid !

Flame draconite avatar by Flea Bussy

Flame draconite taking a ‘light bath’ in the middle of the sky platform.

I tried to find out more information about this exhibit but there was none other than the NPIRL’s hud that gave me Bettina Tizzy – Treesong by Sabine Stonebender’ before I teleported up into the installations. Some of the secrets of this exhibit were revealed in stages but others remain hidden!

If you want to know more about NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ try these links:

Bettina Tizzy’s blog: Not Possible IRL

Press release: A Virtual Art Show that Would Not be possible in Real Life

YouTube video ‘NPIRL Garden of Delights’ by Hamlet Au of New World Notes

And for the very best way to see all the photos on FLICKR that feature the Garden follow these directions from ‘Your Photos, your world’ on Bettina Tizzy’s blog: “… try Tag Galaxy and then type “NPIRL” as a tag.”

Take time to visit Rezzable as well! The Garden was a collaboration between Rezzable and NPIRL. See ‘Delights, Wonder and Chaos: Explore the Garden!

To see more of Flea Bussy’s avatars visit Grendel’s Children in Second Life™

Flea in NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ #3

Alpha Auer\'s \'Public Baths\' with Lily Dryad by Flea Bussy

Lily Dryad standing in Alpha Auer’s ‘Public Baths’ installation. NPIRL’s ‘Garden of Delights’.

Back to my explorations of NPIRL Garden of Delights with Flea Bussy’s avatars. (I just love these strange images!) Alpha Auer’s ‘Public Baths’ were definitely peculiar, yet oddly charming, and peaceful at the same time. Just imagine lying in a tub with gentle jelly fish wafting back and forth across your face! Alpha’s note-card provides the following information:

“Please jump into the pond to take advantage of the extraordinary cleansing and relaxing properties of the Garden of NPIRL Delights Public Baths, provided for your enjoyment through 6 bathtubs. The fact that the bathtubs are already submerged in water should not confuse you: The water inside the bathtubs is quite separate from the water inside the pond, having been piped here directly from the Black Mountain of Syncretia island – a location well known for its high levels of alchemical cleansing and rejuvenational properties.
enjoy…
😉
Alpha Auer

Oh and… please do not be irked by the jellyfish! Not only are they squeaky clean themselves but they also secrete additional chemical agents into the water for enhanced skin softness and blemish removal…”

Alpha Auer\'s \'Public Baths\' (The pool)

Surface view of Alpha Auer’s pond.

Eshi Otawara\'s Death of a Phoenix\'

Jumping from the bath water and into the feathery fire…

Next a visit to Eshi Otawara’s ‘Death of a Phoenix’. This work reinforces what I said in Flea in NPIRL’s ‘Garden of Delights’#1 that art in Second Life frequently invites us to step right into it and become part of it. In this case you click on the dress of burning feathers and suddenly your avatar is wearing it making you look like an exotic dancer. This makes me wonder about that philosophical question: ” If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Or, in this case if an art work is incomplete without you, is it visible when you are not there?

Eshi Otawara\'s \'Death of a Phoenix\'

Wearing Eshi Otawara’s dress.

Flea Bussy’s avatars can be found at Grendel’s Children in Second Life™. Visit Bettina Tizzy’s blog NPIRL for more information about the NPIRL Garden of Delights.


Flea in NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ #2

Corra Nacunda by Flea and Scarp Godenot art

Corra Nacunda avatar by Flea Bussy looking for flowers to eat in ‘Florilishiousness World’ by Scarp Godenot.

I decided to experiment with the size of my photographs. These images can be be seen much larger if you:

  1. Click once on the image in the post.
  2. Then wait until your mouse cursor turns into a plus sign.
  3. Now click again and see the images super-sized.

Photographs below show more of Scarp Godenot’s installation ‘Florilishiousness World’ which can seen in the NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’. in Second Life.

Scarp Godenot - \'Florishiousness World\'

Scarp Godenot - \'Florishiousness World\'

Scarp Godenot - \'Florishiousness World\'

Flea Bussy’s avatars can be found at Grendel’s Children, Dragons, The Birdworx, and more! in Second Life™.

Please see preceding post: Flea in NPIRL ‘Garden of Delights’ #1″



Political is Personal is Political

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Political is Personal is “a collaboration between PleaseWakeMeUp Idler and Sherpa Voyager that explores the personal nature of violence through the lens of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq.”

I teleport to Emily’s Nest in Cryphia and immediately feel a sense of foreboding. As the area ‘rezzes’ around me I see I am surrounded by a wall. I wait, and a narrow slit in the wall appears. I look up to see clouds moving high above me.

The political is personal
… is political
Always take it personally
Always

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I step through the gap into a courtyard overgrown with nettles and surrounded by prison walls. I walk past dead trees to a warehouse. A blood red mist fills the shadowy interior.

A rotating image called ‘Bibles and Korans and Guns’ spins in the entrance. The image consists of two photographs stuck back to back and I see boy soldiers on both sides. American boy soldiers holding Bibles and guns and a lone Iraqi boy soldier holding the Koran and a gun.

The boy who used to have a
conscience
who used to have a life
who used to have a love
Give him a gun
give him fear
give him anger
It’s all political
It’s not ever personal
It’s only one life.

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I walk further into the warehouse, stepping into the red mist and see strange pipes with people’s faces on them. The pipes twitch and move when I come close. Some pipes rear up and bend over me and the face is staring down, watching. I don’t know who the people are but guess they represent the men, women and children who have died in Iraq. I wonder why the pipes? Perhaps they are periscope worms rising out of the ground? They are shaped like question marks and remind me of the hearing trumpets used by deaf Victorians. There is no sound here. I am deaf too.

The faces follow you at night
the eyes are watching you
asking you why
the cries haunt your sleep
asking you why
if you want to save us
why kill us first?
you say you want to
create something
yet we are the ones dying
why are you killing us?

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I turn to look at the glass panels.

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I step up to the panels and then begin walking into them.

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As I walk I see hundreds of names appear before me. I walk through the names. The names of casualties.

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The picture is never
whole, complete
the mirror has shattered, shards of
glass reflect drunkenly
what we thought to be true
who we thought to be us
when we thought we were right
we never were

Installation created by artist PleaseWakemeUp Idler and poet Sherpa Voyager. All quotes above are by Sherpa Voyager. I could not record all elements of this installation, take a look at it yourself in Second life.

“its not real art is it?”

Reactive art by Feathers Boa

Reactive art piece presented by Feathers Boa during Art Talk! at Mandel ‘BRAT’s and BREW’, 10 March 2008. Location: Artropolis (70, 101, 25)

This virtual world is a giant interactive art exhibit.
I first ventured into Second Life to look at the Goldsmith College of Art, 2007 degree show after reading about it on the BBC . Students put up a digital replica of their art and displayed it in a virtual gallery. Since, that first venture into SL, I have found hundreds of visual artists at work. In fact this virtual world is a giant interactive art exhibit in a constant state of flux, or ‘lag’; perhaps I should say ‘SLag’ or ‘flug’ instead? (To describe SL ‘go-slows’ and crashes.) Artists are no longer bound by the laws of physics, or financial constraints (just the aforementioned technical hiccups) they exploit this by creating unique digital art often on a grand scale. This post is about an artist, Feathers Boa, who makes ‘Reactive Art’ i.e. art programed to respond while you look at it or walk into it.

“its not real art is it?”
When I heard Feathers Boa speak she was asked by the audience if she shows her work ‘in the real world’. She said she is currently an art student and she does not show her SL art anywhere. She believes her art school would not take it seriously “they would laugh at what i do here- its not real art is it?” There is a problem here! Feathers might be right that the school would not take her work seriously. On the other hand, there might be some interested faculty there but art schools can be very intimidating places. Sadly, sometimes these institutions can have an altogether negative effect on student’s creativity. Feathers is making art to be seen in a virtual world and a surprising number of people will see it there. Obviously, at the moment, more people will see her work there than in the physical world.

Second Life as a kind of sketch pad or experimental ‘ideas book’
This makes me wonder whether art schools might benefit from using Second Life as a kind of sketch pad or experimental ‘ideas book’? Send students in there to make art. Encourage them to create media ‘mash-ups’; explore their images and virtual sculpture; get them to experiment with their art on a huge virtual scale. Instead of discouraging students it makes sense to see what they are doing; consider how to bring their ideas into the real world; at the same time start taking people into immersive virtual gallery space. This is just what Course tutor Matt Ward at Goldsmith College of Art did in 2007.

Feather’s Boa
And now a look at just a few of Feathers Boa’s art pieces. I photographed the works at a distance so that you can get a sense of their scale. She has more work but I only managed to capture these pieces. I am not doing them justice here as they are ‘frozen’ by my camera. In SL, I could walk into some pieces, hear them or see them move before my eyes. I have added some of Feathers Boa’s words beneath her artwork. (Words saved from the text message of her presentation at ‘Art Talk!’) Also see PleaseWakemeUp’s (Art Talk’s host) introduction to Feathers at the end of this post.

Heart of Steel

Heart of Steel
ok this one is weird
very little reactiveness
the contrast is beauty and hardness
industrial and cold
the heart is rusty
and u can hear the beat (it’s true, the room is filled with the sound of heartbeats)
you’ll notice details
the corrosive materials
label
the broken tile
the rustiness

Haunting Beauty

Haunting Beauty
this is a self portrait of sorts
the face is RL me
the rest is an old picture and a montage
now watch
(Feather’s walks towards the picture and the face changes into a skull)
this is about death and spirits of the past
i found this photo and it intrigued me
it was in some stuff of my families
i wanted to make my portrait as if it was haunted
when i was a little girl i felt i was ugly and weird
i do alot of self portraits now
its the idea we are haunted by the past
our own
and others

Live Book

Living Book invites Feathers to walk into its pages

Alice in Wonderland
you walk into the book
and it changes
Living Book: Walk into me!
your perception changes inside
from outside
Living Book: Walk into me!
the pages shift
Living Book: Walk into me!
and you never can be sure what they say
its the constant shifting of perceptions

Frigid

Layers in front of this image move like ghostly curtains

Frigid
and its a self portrait
this was my first reactive
more 3D mixed with photoshop and objects
she is frozen
trapped and trying to escape

About the Artist – PleaseWakeMeUp Idler’s introduction given at ‘Art Talk!’:
“Feathers Boa is the avatar of a 19 year old female art student from the Boston (U.S.) area. She creates richly textured and incredibly detailed digital paintings that blend modernist and antique styles seamlessly. To create the pieces, she trolls junk shops and back alleys to find interesting objects such as old sepia photos, newspapers, postcards, letters, broken watches, etc. She either photographs these objects using a consumer grade Nikon digital camera or uses her Epson RX580 scan bed to scan them directly into Photoshop CS3. These “found” objects usually form the central images of her pieces. But she also uses Cinema 4D r10 to create wholly digital 3D objects. She sees textures everywhere and never leaves home without her camera in her handbag or backpack.”

UPDATE 29 March. 2008
See Feather’s work on display at: VIT World: Art Maniac Research