Tagged: art

Virtual 1990s Hit Second Life With SecondFest

SecondFest music and arts festival opens in the virtual world of Second Life

The virtual world of Second Life is often compared to the annual Burning Man festival in that both are a place where fantasy becomes reality and almost anything goes. But SL resembles another, more mid-90s slice of festival culture as well, at times, and never more so than this weekend, when it takes on the guise of a field in Hampshire (extra credit for catching that reference) with the three-day SecondFest that’s about to kick off, sponsored by the Guardian newspaper and Intel, and organized by Rivers Run Red with promotional help from the ever-brilliant Aleks Krotoski, who writes for the Guardian. The festival gets underway tonight with DJ sets from people like the Glimmer Twins and Tom Findlay, according to the schedule, and wends its wooly way through to a Sunday-evening set from none other than the Pet Shop Boys. Taking place over no less than nine sims (»start here«, and see map after the jump), and with multiple stages, screens and, of course, tents, and too many acts for me to bother to count, it sounds like SecondFest could actually be some kind of landmark entertainment event in Second Life — if no more than 500 people want to get in at the same time. Sounds like fun in any case. Check it out. Easier to park, and just as much chance for muddy casual sex — if you like your muddy casual sex virtual, that is. Continue reading

Destroy TV Directors Cut Now Available

Destroy Television directors cut now available
Ceedubs (in red t-shirt) looks out from the virtual gallery and through the screen, while Destroy, housed in the real version of the virtual kitchen cabinet at center, looks on, and the real CW (not pictured) looks in from outside. Confused? Good.

Electric Sheep Christian Westbrook reports that he has now posted a downloadable series of the adventures of Destroy Television in the virtual world of Second Life. (Downloadable series of enormous files, that is.) Destroy, of course, is the multiuser avatar who lifelogs her every virtual moment on Flickr. But because she’s taking a screenshot every five seconds, ceedubs has been able to cut these all together into a very cool series of short films. The films are taken from the ten days in which Destroy was on display at the Fuse Gallery in New York City, and includes the 683MB monster I’m downloading at the moment — downloading because I want to see how much of our wedding Destroy managed to capture. It sounds all good fun and games, but there’s a serious side to it as well: consider what Destroy’s up to in the context of things like Justin.tv and Ustream. The original plan (not sure if it’s still the plan) was to embed clickable information into Destroy’s home movies, using a service like Click.tv, which seems to be dark at the moment, but which lets you embed links and comments at any point in a video clip, displays them as an overlay on the clip, and lets you click directly to that point. Imagine that kind of digitized information overlaid on your own lifestream, complete with whatever other information was embedded in the environment around you. Second Life constitutes an excellent testbed for that kind of service. Useful? Not at the moment, but it will be.

Brian Eno and the Long Now in Second Life

Brian Eno's 77 Million paintings come to Second Life courtesy of the Long Now Foundation

Advance word comes to 3pointD that the Long Now Foundation (which has to be one of the coolest organizations on the face of the planet) will bring Brian Eno’s art installation, 77 Million Paintings, to the virtual world of Second Life at the end of June, concurrent with the show’s real-world opening. The virtual show is being built out by a startup metaverse services firm known as blueair.tv. For those who don’t know it, the Long Now Foundation is developing the world’s slowest computer, which is meant to “do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment.” As the site points out, “Such icons reframe the way people think.” The term “long now” was coined by Eno, who, for those who don’t know him, is one of the most influential contemporary musicians around, and also a Long Now board member. Eno has also been more closely involved with things metaversal of late, having hooked up with Will Wright some time back. (And if you don’t know who Will Wright is, you had really better start doing your homework.) No details yet of what the SL opening and build will feature, but if Eno is making an appearance it’s sure to be extra cool.

The Bridges of Second Life

Forseti Svarog's collection of shots of the bridges of Second Life

Second Life resident Forseti Svarog (aka the Electric Sheep Company‘s Giff Constable) has put together a cool collection of SL screenshots showing, at last count, 46 bridges that have been built in Second Life, including the quite beautiful example above, from the Svarga region of SL. Forseti’s looking for more, so drop him a landmark in SL if you know of any bridges that aren’t in his set. If he can find enough, maybe he’ll make a book out of them, as he’s done in the past with shots of SL avatars (a physical book) and the great builds of SL (a virtual one).

Alternate Reality Games or Fiction of the Future?

Virtual wedding ring by Elexor Matador, bought by Walker Spaight for Destroy TelevisionThe virtual world of Second Life got a little bit stranger for me this week. I went over to see Destroy Television the other day at the gallery where she’s hanging out at the moment, and my avatar, Walker Spaight, ended up marrying her! (That’s Destroy’s rock at left.) Now, if you know me and you know my Second Life, this is slightly unusual, since for me there’s very little space between myself and my avatar(s) in the virtual world. I use Second Life as simply an extension of my first life; there’s nothing virtual about it. But here I was role-playing the lovestruck journalist to Destroy’s hard-to-get videographizing vixen. Walker even started a Tumblog about his romance. The formal ceremony was yesterday afternoon (Walker was all nerves — though he didn’t show it), and you can view images of the happy couple together on Destroy’s Flickr stream.

It struck me at some point that what I was doing — along with Annie Ok, who was driving Destroy at the time, and Jerry Paffendorf and Christian Westbrook, who conceived Destroy and brought her to life — was creating a little Alternative Virtual Reality Game, in a way. I don’t write a lot about alternate reality games (ARGs) — i.e., narratives that involve audience participation, which usually have some real-world component, and which often feature a prize or reward at the end — mostly because I don’t really roll with them as a genre. Things like Perplex City and World Without Oil are very cool, to be sure, and I’ve been fascinated to see how this stuff is developing, but I’ve always found myself rubbed the wrong way by this “alternate reality” moniker. But it wasn’t until I started getting my alternate reality on, via Walker, that I realized why. What’s going on in all these cases looks to me less like “alternate reality” than it does like fiction, and fiction being formulated on the same level as broadcast media like television — i.e., it’s just the same kind of fiction that’s happening in a TV show like Law & Order, for instance, only with the audience involved in writing the story as it goes along. From some angles, it looks like there isn’t any such thing as an alternate reality game at all — there’s only the fiction / narrative / media of the future. Continue reading

D-Briefs: Parties, Sweden, Jobs, Charity

3pointD briefsTwo stories out of Sweden in today’s D-Briefs, plus a charity in Africa, a party for a book of watercolors and one for Second Lifers in Europe, and eight job openings — all happening in or around virtual worlds.

• SL.UK07, Europe’s annual meetup for Second Lifers, now has a date: it’ll take place 23 June, starting midday (that’s noon if you’re American) till “rather late,” at a place called the T-Bar, located in the Tea Building, Shoreditch High Street, London E1. RSVP to Nick [at] riversrunred.com. Machinima or video submissions can be sent to Eddie Escher in SL, music submissions to Neil [at] riversrunred.com, and art gallery submissions / video projections to Rosie [at] riversrunred.com, all of which must be received by 16 June. Places are limited, RSVP early.

Continue reading

Japanese Child Avatar Portraits from Second Life

Eva and Franco Mattes' Annoying Japanese Child Dinosaur portaits from the virtual world of Second LifeEva and Franco Mattes, the Italian artists and pranksters who put on the 13 Most Beautiful Avatars show in February, have another series of portraits on display, starting June 2. This time it’s Annoying Japanese Child Dinosaur, a portrait series featuring avatars constructed in the virtual world of Second Life to resemble Japanese children. (I.e., residents’ avatars, not avatars constructed specially for the show.) The title of the show is apparently taken from a James Patrick Kelly novella titled Mr. Boy, which is “the tale of a genetically stunted 12-year-old who literally lives inside his mother, who has turned herself into a three-quarter-scale model of the Statue of Liberty. And his best friend, Stennie, is a child-dinosaur,” according to Franco. Very Second Life. The February show in New York was fairly gorgeous. This show, at Dockswiss in Luzern, Switzerland, is not to be missed if you’re anywhere nearby. There’s an opening reception for the artists on Friday, June 1, from 6-8pm. If you miss them there, you may be able to catch them on »Cosmos Island«, where they’re reenacting Joseph Beuys 7,000 Oaks as part of a series of Synthetic Performances, or reenactments of historical performances by artists like Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, and Valie Export inside synthetic worlds such as Second Life. Definitely worth checking out. Be grateful that two such creative minds as Eva and Franco are working in SL. They push the boundaries of art and performance in the real world; it’s interesting to see how they approach the same task in Second Life.

Destroy Television Gallery Show Opens Tonight

Destroy Television art show opens with a Metaverse MeetupDon’t miss the Metaverse Meetup this evening at 7pm, where we’ll be back at the Fuse Gallery (93 Second Avenue, between 5th & 6th Streets, through the back of Lit Lounge) for the opening of Destroy Television‘s gallery show, which I blogged up a week or so ago. More information from Jerry in several recent blog posts. Should be a hoot, as usual. See you there.

Book of Watercolors of Second Life Now on Sale

Book of watercolors painted from the virtual world of Second Life

Amy Wilson has been painting really nice watercolors illustrating her travels around the virtual world of Second Life for some time. Now, she’s published them in a 32-page book, available on Lulu.com. If you dug Giff’s Avatar Expression, you may well dig Amy’s work. The paintings are lovely, and the idea of using a virtual world as the source material for a painting is one that interests me a great deal. Painters have long used the real world around them as their subject matter; why not do the same with a virtual world? Does that mean Amy is painting from life? You can chat about that and other topics of art and virtual worlds at an opening in Second Life being thrown in Amy’s honor on June 2. More details on the where and when of that event when I get them.

Mass Consumption Portraits on Display in SL

Detail from Chris Jordan's Cans Seurat, to be shown in the virtual world of Second Life

Chris Jordan takes awfully cool photographs that are for the most part “portraits of American mass consumption.” They’re also awfully big, often measuring around five feet tall and eight feet wide. They have to be large-format to fit the 15 million sheets of office paper (used every five minutes) or the 106,000 aluminum cans (drunk every 30 seconds) that Jordan photographs. (The prints are actually huge composites of lots of smaller photographs.) As of yesterday, Jordan’s latest series, Running the Numbers, is on display in the virtual world of Second Life at the Q2 Gallery »in SL’s Palulop region«, which is run by SL resident Sebastian Standish. Continue reading

Open-Source Museum Opens in Second Life

A modified Manet's Olympia at the OSMOSA open-source museum in Second Life, beforeA group of students from Brown University have launched an open-source museum in the virtual world of Second Life. Known as OSMOSA, the Open-Source Museum of Open-Source Art, the museum is located »in Second Life’s Eson region« and features a mess of artworks that anyone can copy, modify, alter or otherwise contribute to. The museum itself is open to alteration as well, which is a fantastic idea. The modding got under way at the opening party Tuesday night: an already-altered image of Manet’s Olympia (with space helmets added to make it more excellent) came out the other end of the night with some interesting additions and adjustments, as seen below:

A modified Manet's Olympia at the OSMOSA open-source museum in Second Life, after Continue reading

Physical Book of Second Life Avatars On Sale

Buy a real book of portraits of virtual avatarsGiff Constable of the Electric Sheep Company (aka Second Life resident Forseti Svarog) has published a book of avatar portraiture from the virtual world of Second Life that’s now available not just in a virtual edition but as a real, old-media paper book as well. Out for about a week now, Avatar Expression gathers “56 color photographs revealing personality across a range of beautiful, exotic, humorous and even abstract” avatars. It’s available in its virtual edition for free »in Second Life«, or you can order one for $13.68 (the cost of production) at Lulu.com. A couple of dozen copies of the phyisical book have sold since publication was announced a week ago, Giff says, so hurry and get ’em while supplies last. Actually, they’re printed on demand, so there’s no hurry, but pick one up anyway; physical documents recording the history of virtual worlds are few and far between.

Destroy Television Returns for NY Art Exhibit

Just when you thought it was safe to watch lifecaster Justin.tv, or broadcast your own life with Ustream, along comes a virtual life you can not only watch on the Web but take part in controlling, a kind of collaborative stream of avatar consciousness — and one that’s going to be on display in a real-world art gallery from May 23 to June 2. Curated by the excellent Annie Ok of the GHava{SL} Center for the Arts in the virtual world of Second Life, the show will be designed by Electric Sheep Jerry Paffendorf and Christian Westbrook, and will involve Destroy Television, the interactive avatar-bot designed as a research project of the Electric Sheep Company, who streams live images of Second Life to her Web site (although that seems to be dark at the moment). Just what form the exhibit will take has yet to be revealed, but the show will take place simultaneously at the Fuse Gallery in New York (at 93 Second Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Streets), and in SL at the GHava{SL} Center for the Arts, which is run by Annie’s SL self, Xantherus Halberd. Continue reading

Brazilian Art in SL as 3pointD Holidays in Rio

Brazilian artist Löis Lancaster exhibits in the virtual world of Second Life

I missed the opening of this art show in the virtual world of Second Life, but it will apparently be up for a while, at the [KODE] Gallery in »SL’s Envy region«. It’s a solo show by Rio-based artist Löis Lancaster (aka Haemetz Mizser in SL), “a figurative digital illustrator in the real world, who is at the same time — and with the same body of work — an expressionist painter in Second Life,” according to SL resident Cobala Koba, who organized the show. Coincidentally, I’m headed for Rio this evening, to attend the wedding of a friend and to try to take a well needed break — although I’m already trying to set up meetings with various SL people there, so we’ll see. I’ll be away for a week, which means there may be some slow posting ahead on 3pointD. However, I’ve left the blog in the capable hands of our three contributors — Glitchy Gumshoe, Chip Poutine and Aleister Kronos — so hopefully they’ll be able to keep you entertained. See you soon.

In the Cultural Metaverse of Berlin

Vivaldi's Four Seasons at RadialSystem in BerlinIf you’re reading this, you probably know that I gave a presentation on Friday to the Art Directors Club of Germany here in Berlin. I had written my comments into a long post that also included these more general thoughts on culture and the metaverse, but realized there was too much for any sane person to make it through to the end, so I’ve split them up into two. First, the cultural metaverse of Berlin. Coming soon: Some idle thoughts on next-gen virtual worlds.

The day-long conference I spoke at actually turned out to be quite interesting, featuring not only creative professionals from branding, marketing and advertising, but architects and event planners as well, including Ric Birch, who has been organizing the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games since around 1984. I’ll go over some of what was said below, but first, to explain the pic: The event was held at a very nice new arts center here known as RadialSystem V, where in the evening I had the chance to attend a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in which the chamber orchestra of about 14 pieces had also been choreographed as dancers. One non-musician dancer was also on stage, doing things like sprinkling solo violinist Midori Seiler with snowflakes and autumn foliage when he wasn’t running around in his tighty whities. The musicians mostly walked or sometimes ran around the stage, and though I’m usually not a fan of avant-garde treatments like this, the effect was actually quite captivating, and worked exceedingly well, and a lot of the choreography of the solo dancer was very Beckett-like. The whole thing was conceived by the formidable Sasha Waltz. The space at RadialSystem is very impressive to begin with, being a modern structure built into the remains of an old warehouse or factory building that sits right along the former Berlin Wall on the edge of a canal. The audience loved show, giving the performers something like six or seven curtain calls. Continue reading

Bum Rush the Charts With SecondCast Today

SecondCast #55 is on the air! Johnny, Lordfly and Torrid are joined by TheDiva Rockin, co-hostess of The-Broad-Cast.com, favorite podcast of oversexed metaversal Jersey girls everywhere, to chat about Twitter, the Second Life Relay For Life, and the international podcasting effort to Bum Rush the Charts, which is going on all day today. This is a coordinated effort by podcasters and listeners to drive a podcast artist to the #1 position in the iTune store “as a demonstration of our reach to Main Street and our purchasing power to Wall Street.” Go buy the song right now — you want to try to buy it while it’s still March 22. [If that link doesn’t work, try this one.] Or if you need more convincing, read on. Continue reading

3pointD Weekending in Berlin

Jorg Immendorf's Brandenburger Tor WeltfrageI’ll be blogging as usual for the next few days, but I’ll be doing it from Berlin, where I’m headed this evening to spread the gospel of 3pointD in the form of a talk on virtual worlds I’m to give to a room full of advertising execs, creative directors and other marketing men and women. (Justin Bovington of Rivers Run Red will be there too, it looks like.) Berlin, of course, has some cool metaversal stuff going on lately, and I’m hoping to make contact with some of the people who are hooking it up. If you’re in Berlin and you want to get a coffee or a drink, drop me a line at themetaverse [at] gmail [dot] com, or SMS me on +1-917-749-6185. (I probably won’t have Twitter going on my mobile, just to save on international charges, which are stiff.) I’ve always wanted to go to Berlin, which first capitivated me something like 20 years ago in the form of a book by the artist Jorg Immendorf (on which the sculpture above is based), accompanied by a remarkable poem by the artist and printmaker A.R. Penck. And to my surprise I’ve just found that you can read the entire book online! It doesn’t have anything to do with 3pointD, of course, but it’s one of my favorite books, so I highly recommend it. See you in Berlin.

SXSW Xcript: New Media Goes to the Movies

I came into the panel New Dogs, New Tricks: New Media Goes to the Movies just slightly late, but caught most of it. It looked largely at marketing and promoting films in the new media environment, but didn’t seem to go very far past current services like YouTube and several recent launches represented by the panelists. The MTV rep, however, did venture into the land of new modes of storytelling that new media might make possible.

Moderator: Scott Kirsner from Variety
Rick DeVos from Spout.com:
David Gale of MTV New Media
Scilla Andreen of IndieFlix
Seth Nagel of iKlipz

When I came in, Kirsner was asking about who the new power players would be in the new media space, where long-form downloadable content was concerned.

Rick DeVos from Spout.com didn’t see any big new players in long-form downloadable content. Rick believes in the power of social recommendation and word of mouth to hook up niche filmmakres with niche audiences, which is what Spout is trying to do.

David Gale talked about what he looked at at MTV, which covers everything “from short films to a gaming mechanism. MTV launched the Daily Rage this week, wher the audience can win money in a gamelike mechanism.” They also bought a company recently that takes comic books and graphic novels and turns them into cool new media versions. “There’s a whole opportunity to take what’s been traditional media and turn it into new media. It really opens up another way of telling stories. Film is still its traditional media thing [in terms of MTV’s business]. My division is about taking anything that is not film- or televison-originated and looking at the platform and how you can create things in those mediums.” Continue reading

SXSW Kicks Off With Geeksleep #4

Geeksleep #4 from South by Southwest 2007Well, the Electric Sheep Company‘s Jerry Paffendorf starts off his South by Southwest with this years First Geeksleeper of the Year award, for having the presence of mind to snap the shot at left, which shows fellow Sheep Meg McGrath dozing off while the rest of the crew partied on around her. If you’re not familiar with the grand tradition of the geeksleep (as if anyone could have missed this cultural imperative that has swept the nation over the last 12 months), dial on back to geeksleep #1, which was taken by me at last year’s SXSW. What is geeksleeping, I hear you ask? According to the description I posted on Flickr back then, it’s the following:

Geeksleep: (noun) 1. the act of sleeping during a technology conference or while involved in any geek-like activity. 2. sleep performed by anyone who could be described as a geek. (verb) 1. to capture a geeksleeper on camera and post his/her picture to Flickr with the “geeksleep” tag.

Seems Jerry’s new geeksleep hasn’t had a chance to make it into the Geeksleep stream yet, but no matter. Congratulations are due, and you can give them personally if you wander over to the Electric Sheep booth in the Screenburn arcade. Meanwhile, get your geeksleep on. Shouldn’t be hard for the assembled to get at least one more of these a day up on Flickr for the rest of the week. If not, it means you’re not partying hard enough in the evenings.

At Home With Cruxy: Multi-Platform Media

Nathan Freitas and Jon Oakes of CruxyJust took a nice stroll over to Park Slope from the 3pointCrib to have a chat with Nathan Freitas and Jon Oakes, two of the co-founders of Cruxy, the new(-ish) Web site for independent musicians, filmmakers and other artists to promote and sell their work. (The third co-founder is Web services wizard Will Meyer, who’s based elsewhere.) That’s Nathan on the left (aka Nat Mandelbrot in SL), with his pet AIBO, which, sadly, suffers from the classic symptoms of DHS. I got in touch with them after blogging up their music player for SL, and was happy to hear that they have more cool stuff on the way, and are in fact already working on some things that could make it a lot easier to do media-making not just in a virtual world but on the Web itself, as well as to cross over between the two. For musicians, filmmakers and artists in both the real and virtual worlds, it seems like Cruxy’s versatile player and format could provide a small boon. Continue reading

Mixed-Reality Fashion Talk in NYC Tuesday 2/27

Daria Dorosh mixed-reality fashion event in NYCIf you’re in the New York City area tomorrow, Tuesday, February 27, and want to participate in or just attend a discussion of male fashions in both the real world and the virtual world of Second Life, drop by the A.I.R. Gallery at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 301, in Manhattan, at 5:30pm Eastern time (2:30pm SL Time) for an event being put on by Daria Dorosh, a long-time professor at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology — and also a long-time explorer in virtual worlds. In fact, the organizers could use some help, so if you’re going to be in the area and you have some facility with Second Life, Skype and stuff like that, see below. Continue reading

Lifelogging the Living Canvas: Dylan to YouTube

The above YouTube clip, from Minneapolis artist Phil Hansen, doesn’t appear to be all that 3pointD, at first, but appearances can be deceiving. It’s a full five minutes of some really nice action painting with a unique twist (which I won’t give away; hit the Play button already!). In an unbelievably fortuitous moment of technological serendipity, I happened to be listening to Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues on iTunes when I was watching this, and had the YouTube soundtrack turned down. All of which engendered a small epiphany about the history of lifelogging and the origins of the mixed(-up) media we enjoy today. Read on, if you dare. Continue reading

13 Most Beautiful Avatars By 19,373 Artists

13 Most Beautiful Avatars show at Postmasters

Jerry Paffendorf, Rik Riel, my friend Micah and I dropped in Saturday night at the 13 Most Beautiful Avatars show at the Postmasters gallery in New York. The prints on display were beautiful 36″x 48″ prints of avatars taken from the virtual world of Second Life by a pair of artists named Eva and Franco Mattes, who together constitute 0100101110101101.ORG. I don’t know where that number came from, but it spells 19,373 in binary (unless my calculator is broken). I spoke to Franco at the show and he told me a little but about their work and the process of putting the show together, but what I didn’t realize at the time is that he and Eva and a pair of hacktivist pranksters (or “restless European con-artists,” as they describe themselves) who have engaged in some pretty formidable and in some ways very 3pointD works of art in years past. Continue reading

3pointD Needs A Logo — Can You Help?

3pointD is looking for a logo -- can you help?There comes a time in the life all good blogs when they must spruce things up a bit, and such a moment has now been reached by 3pointD. I need a logo, to fill the space in the upper left that’s now occupied by the title and description. Let’s say it has to be 468×60 pixels, so that I can use it for an advertisement, and also has to come in a 125×125 version. It doesn’t have to include the description line, just the word “3pointD.” And it has to better than the crude 3pedia logo that I pasted together a while back, which you can see above.

What do you get if you do me this favor? Well, you get paid, for one thing. Continue reading

Real-World Gallery Show of Virtual Portraits

Postmasters Gallery in New York City mounts show of 13 beautiful avatars on February 17SLInsider reports that the Postmasters Gallery in New York City will be mounting a show of portraits of Second Life avatars on February 17. The portraits were shot by Eva and Franco Mattes, as far as I can tell, and have been digitally printed on canvas at 36″ x 48″, all of which sounds like it makes for a pretty formidable show. I’m planning to drop by for the opening, this Saturday, 17 February at 6:00pm Eastern, but the show will be up for a month, so if you’re in the area, don’t miss it. Great way to spread the virtual word to a broader audience, if you ask me.

Contest: Design Your Own Coffin in Second Life

Ghaniain Nokia cell phone coffin

Here’s the weirdest thing to hit my in-box in a while: A design-your-own-coffin contest in the virtual world of Second Life. Held by Dutch funeral company Uitvaart and coffin-makerer Bogra, the contest starts February 6, when free modifiable virtual coffins will be available at the Bogra office in SL’s »Tathlina« region. Residents then have until March 1 to trick out their personalized coffin and return them to SL resident Gwendolyn Kronsage. “The finished coffin needs to be accompanied by a notecard describing the design, as we would like to know why residents decorated the coffin the way they did and what materials they used,” according to a press release. Rather hilariously, the rules of the contest stipulate that “only biodegradable materials can be used in the design process” — though this is apparently “to guarantee the feasability of the Real Life production of the winning coffin.” Continue reading

Can A Million Penguins Write A Wiki Novel?

This isn’t specifically Second Life-related, but it’s a project that a Second Life resident is helping to run and it’s very cool, so I thought I’d mention it here. SL resident Jeremy Neumann helped bring excerpts from the seminal metaversal novel Snow Crash to Second Life last August. Now, in the guise of his real-world avatar Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Pengiun Books UK, he’s created and launched a very interesting collaborative novel that’s being written by many people at once on a wiki. Anyone can contribute, and anyone can edit anyone else’s writing. The novel has been seeded with contributions from a team of MA students, but over the next six weeks anyone will be able to contribute, after which, it sounds like, pages will be locked and the novel “published,” at least in Web-based digital form. The progress will be chronicled on the Penguin blog. Already the wiki site has proved so popular that high volumes of traffic are forcing Penguin to switch in some heavier-hitting servers. No one at Penguin is making any claims for the quality of the finished product — they just want to see what will happen, and explore the results of crowdsourcing an artisitic work like a novel. I’m all for it. I’d love to see this kind of thing in Second Life, as well, whether it’s something made from words or prims. How can we make that happen?

Four-Eyed Monsters to Screen in Second Life

Four Eyed Monsters, the movie I’ve been blogging about periodically here, is finally getting its screening in the virtual world of Second Life, tomorrow at 5pm SL time (8pm Eastern). The screening will take place at the Sundance Channel‘s Second Life »screening room«, as part of Sundance’s entry into SL. (Sundance is a client of the Electric Sheep Company, sponsors of this blog.) The movie is a hugely interesting take on life and love both online and off, and addresses along the way questions of identity and how that’s changing in our increasingly virtual world. Check out the machinima invite that filmmakers Susan Buice and Arin Crumley have made for the film. They’ve really taken to SL since being introduced to it by me and Jerry Paffendorf a while back. Both filmmakers will be at the screening to chat with audience members. This is highly recommended viewing. [Oops: Forgot to mention that the film will simultanously be shown at a handful of other locations around SL, and you can even host your own. See the Sundance Channel’s Second Life page for more details.]

Warren Ellis’s Reuters Column Launches

Graphic novel Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis, who has launched his Second Life column for ReutersGraphic novelist (now there’s a double entendre) Warren Ellis launched his column for Reuters’ Second Life bureau today. Ellis’s take on the recent griefing of Second Life land baron Anshe Chung is refreshingly honest. Ellis writes of Anshe’s “desperation to drop the incident down an Orwellian memory hole” with the DMCA-like notices Anshe’s typists have been sending around. This is exactly correct; there’s no rights violation in a media outlet publishing a shot of an incident that took place in public, even if copyrighted material is contained in the image. Of course, most of the media outlets that did publish those shots (of Anshe being assaulted by a flock of flying penises during an interview with CNet) are hardly concerned. Continue reading

Shared Markerboard For Second Life

Cubist Scarborough's shared markerboard for the virtual world of Second LifeThe screenshot at left is lifted from a BlogHUD post by Second Life user CDB Barkley, which flags a shared markerboard created by user Cubist Scarborough, which you can see in the Cottonwood sim. It’s a pretty nice piece of work. You sit on one of a handful of chairs and click through to a Web page, where you can draw in various colors, as well as erase. Everyone’s contributions show up on the same board, which refreshes itself in SL every five seconds or so. Continue reading

From 3D to 2D With Gamics

Comic book created in Lego Star WarsA while back, Glitchy and I were contemplating creating a comic book that instead of being drawn would be shot in a virtual world or computer game. You set up the scene for each panel in a place like Second Life, World of Warcraft or (as seen at left) Lego Star Wars, take the right screenshots, put it all together with Comic Book Creator, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a cool graphic novelette. Well, it seems someone beat us to the idea long before we even had it, as you can see from yesterday’s Glitchy Links, which flags a report from Matteo Bittanti, who’s writing about the Gamics site. There, Nathan Ciprick has been creating “gamics” for some time now, and has cool offerings from all kinds of games and online worlds. Comic books, of course, are one of those media that do not suffer from existing in two dimensions. But I love the fact that you can go through 3D to get there. Is anyone doing this in Second Life? Plywood was an absolutely fantastic SL comic strip, though it’s no longer in production. What I’d really love to see (or create) is a comic that isn’t tied to the fiction of the world in which it’s produced, but that only uses that world as art to illustrate a fully formed story that stands on its own. Can anyone help us out?

More Real Stuff To Buy With L$

Tony Walsh comic books for sale on SLBoutique

I love it. Clickable Culture‘s Tony Walsh is selling copies of his He Is Just A Rat comic book series (which he wrote and drew) for Linden dollars, the virtual currency of Second Life. The comics are available for L$2,000 exclusively on SLBoutique, one of the major SL shopping Web sites. Tony’s comics aren’t the first real item to be sold for L$ on an SL shopping site, but I like that he’s putting them up for sale there. The ability to make money within the confines of Second Life is regularly trotted out by residents, journalists and Linden Lab, but it seems there might also be potential to make some spare cash on the edges, by marketing real items to a captive virtual audience. Not everyone wants to spend their L$ on prim skirts, after all. Why not provide them with some physical goods they can spend their virtual money on?