InWorldz: The future enters

InWorldz SXSW Event: Rainer Maria Rilke tree
InWorldz SXSW Event: Rainer Maria Rilke tree by Teal Freenote. (Not the real name of this sculpture but it was a tree covered with Rilke quotes!)

InWorldz put in an appearance at SXSW the music, film and interactive conference held in Austin, Texas every year. The virtual world categorized itself as a game developer at the convention and simultaneously showcased itself within InWorldz. In effect, they connected the conventional with the virtual with their “Welcome to Our World” exhibit.

InWorldz SXSW Event: English Galleon at dusk
InWorldz SXSW Event: English galleon at dusk created by Nyx Breen

For this post I collected together some photos I took on the Arts & Literature sim. There are other sims, each devoted to displaying different topic areas. These areas include: Education, Entertainment, Technology, Physics, Fantasy & Roleplay, Transportation plus Harbor – Boating & Nature. There is much to see and explore as InWorldz very cleverly invited their most talented citizens to show off recent or favorite works. This is certainly a very good idea for it means the pieces on display have a depth and maturity that can only be the product of hours of thoughtful work and personal skill development. It is also worth pointing out that many of these artists cut their baby avatar teeth in Second Life before being drawn into InWorldz with its generously sized building spaces and atmosphere of calm. The other observation worth sharing is that in practice many artist avatars have bi-world passports. That is, they work in Second Life and in InWorldz as interstellar traveling artists and troubadours. (Some probably travel even further into the OpenSim firmament appearing in multiple worlds.)

InWorldz SXSW Event: Dreaming (detail) by Sy Celina
InWorldz SXSW Event: Dreaming Side Table (detail from larger exhibit) by Sy Celina

Above you can see a detail from Sy Celina’s ‘Dreaming’ exhibit which was originally built as a Christmas display. The exhibit, a comfortable living room and child’s bedroom is housed inside a giant blue Christmas ornament. The room conjures up an atmosphere of childish excitement with idealized Christmas memories and presents stacked high by the perfect roaring log fire, yet the furniture in the room is strangely transparent. I opted to avoid taking a ‘Christmassy’ picture as I found myself drawn to the pipe holder and photographs perhaps the two most solid and ‘real’ memory items in the strange room?

InWorldz SXSW Event: Steampunk Tree by soror Nishi
InWorldz SXSW Event: Steampunk Tree by soror Nishi

soror Nishi is one of my favorite artists. Her work is always full of color and humor. Her exhibit ‘The Steampunk Tree – a mechanical marvel’ (above) was in 3 sections, with the tree itself linked by a series of pipes to two other peculiar machines. She had placed 5 goats on a high platform at a feeding trough where they seemed to be eating colorful gourdes at one end whilst regularly emitting spherical droppings at the other. These droppings were then carried along a watery chanel to a filtering chamber filled with giant amoeba/octopus type creatures before being sent into the steampunk tree and thereby feeding its ability to deliver flourescent spores into the air. Smelly virtual worlds have yet to be invented but I am positive that soror Nishi’s tree smells like new roses growing in a farmyard.

Alizain Goldflake - 'The Niagara River'
inWorldz SXSW Event: Alizain Goldflake’s tribute to Kay Ryan’s poem ‘The Niagara River’

Finally, I have featured Alizarin Goldflake’s display, an unusual black and white exhibit based upon Kay Ryan’s poem ‘The Niagara River’. This exhibit makes full use of the three dimensions available with virtual spaces and also employs sound effects. As you wander around the exhibit the black and white photographs of trees are constantly scrolling slowly around the walls, at your feet water is steadily running over your toes and in the background you can hear the sounds of a river and distant human voices. Alizarin wrote about this installation in her blog post ‘The Niagara River’

Because the poem uses a dining room melded with a river as a metaphor for the passage of time, life, or maybe the constant stream of consciouness, my installation has a sound environment that mixes the sound of rushing water with steady stream of people talking.  The people have long departed from the room, from life, but their voices linger like ghosts and their names float in hover text.

The ‘Welcome to Our World’ exhibit is still open in InWorldz. The best way to visit is to go to and register before simply downloading their viewer. A display board at the landing area will provide a teleport straight over to the exhibition sims. They always have helpers at the landing area who can direct you as you take your first steps in Inworldz. For more photographs of the InWorldz SXSW exhibits  visit Rig’s Photos and scroll down through his posts (he has 5 InWorldz photo posts).

soror Nishi is the ‘bee’s knees’ (InWorldz)

I have been flying around Soror Nishi’s island like a bee buzzing around flowers. soror is inspired by plant forms and provides a bug’s eye view of the architectural sweeps of tree branches, sprouting bulbs and bulging stamens.

Xmess Daisy Tree (closeup)
Xmess Daisy Tree (closeup)

It is intriguing that she uses such vivid, almost cartoonesque colors to create her fabulous plant emporium in the virtual world of InWorldz. The colors lend a bright humorous feel yet close examination reveals soror’s organic creations have near cousins in our duller toned, earthy world.

Complex thorny thing by soror Nishi
Complex thorny thing by soror Nishi

This virtual garden center is built upon tiers which reach high up into the skies of InWorldz. Visiting avatars fly through these layers and this ‘visual-movement’ of traveling through 3D space provides a sense of what it must be like to buzz around a flowerbed! (I half expected to see neon colored pollen dusting my avatar’s knees as I flew from flower to flower.)

Seed clouds by soror Nishi
Seed clouds by soror Nishi

If you visit, watch out for the layer of seed clouds topped by ghostly mushrooms. My sense of scale went haywire as I flew through this cloud. It seemed for a moment as though bubbles of giant coral were hovering above great whales basking in the InWorldz sea, then I realized the ‘whales’ were corn on the cob shaped seed pods suspended in the midair just below me.

Telepathic Swamp Lily by soror Nishi
Telepathic Swamp Lily by soror Nishi

soror Nishi’s work can be found in Second Life as well as InWorldz. Virtual world artists are not tied by the gravitational pull of just one virtual world, they are increasingly inclined to travel across the digital vacuum of cyberspace, pollinating new worlds with their ideas and creations. having said that, no more appropriate plant can end this post than soror’s ‘Telepathic Swamp Lilies’

Inworldz Landmark: Rainbow Country, soror Nishi Island (36, 90, 21).

Squatting on a virtual lily pad (InWorldz)

soror Nishi has created a gorgeous island within Inworldz. I believe I read somewhere that InWorldz provides a 10,000 feet height allowance to builders, soror takes full advantage of her height quota and has placed in the center of her island a strange giant bean stalk / elevator type structure, this inclines at a gentle angle and allows you to ascend through many levels of soror Nishi Island.  The photos below show just the first level, the water gardens that house fabulous giant lily pads. My avatar is squatting on one of these lily pads having managed to single out a particular pad and ‘Set as Home’ on an earlier occasion. So far soror has shown no signs of evicting me and I wonder whether some of the other lily pads have become homes for other itinerant virtual world wanderers?

Lily Pads and the Old Pine Tree
Lily Pads and the Old Pine Tree by soror Nishi
The Copper Beach by soror Nishi
The Copper Beach by soror Nishi
The Lantern Tree Grove by soror Nishi
The Lantern Tree Grove by soror Nishi

Inworldz Landmark: Rainbow Country, soror Nishi Island (36, 90, 21).

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world”

(Title Quote by John Muir)

I returned to explore InWorldz further. It is a quiet and beautiful world. I find the best way to travel is to pull up the world map and aim my avatar at a square of green grass on some unknown island. Sometimes I don’t make it, the teleporter just won’t transport me over, once or twice I ended up with arms and legs spinning in the air above the ocean. However, it worked a treat the other evening and I landed on the beautiful Music Island owned by Julia Hathor. InWorldz is apparently not fussy about where you make your home so, for now anyway, I have made Music Island my wandering avatar’s home. I especially like the trees here, they are the work of soror Nishi and Julia Hathor. I did not find pine trees like the ones mentioned in John Muir’s quote above but it is intriguing to see these gorgeous trees growing from seeds first sewn in Second Life.

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men… trees are travellers, in the ordinary sense.  They make journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true:  but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings – many of them not so much.

~John Muir, Scribner’s Monthly, November 1878

Music Island view
Ficus Inworldzii ( a rare fig tree) by soror Nishi to be found on Music Island - InWorldz
soror Nishi tree
Detail of 'the old oak tree' by soror Nishi
Twilight Elven Jeweled Willow
Twilight Elven Jeweled Willow by Julia Hathor
Island Boabab by soror Nishi & Mountain Island with Waterfall by Julia Hathor
Island Boabab by soror Nishi & Mountain Island with Waterfall by Julia Hathor

Note for virtual world photographers the skies in the photos courtesy of the Imprudence viewer with Windlight toolbar activated.

The happy jellyfish tree

Pitcher-Plants. Soror Nishi's 'Tree of Trees' on display at IBM in Second Life
Pitcher Plants growing at the base of soror Nishi's 'Tree of Trees' on display at IBM C in Second Life
Soror's Tree rising above the clouds looking like a happy jelly fish on its way to a party
soror's Tree rising above the clouds like a happy jelly fish heading off to a party
Scotti the Dragon visits Soror's tree
Scotti the Dragon visits soror's tree
Soror Nishi's 'Tree of Trees' takes off into the moonless night sky
soror Nishi's 'Tree of Trees' takes off into the moonless night

Note: Doubleclick images above to see them enlarged

For more information about soror Nishi’s Tree of Trees visit Doubledown’s Take

Location in Second Life:

Slideshow on flickr created by the artist herself: