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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Take It Easy

Don't let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy
We met, not on his sim Imparafacile Island, but in a real-life Tavola Calda, on the outskirts of Milan. Tell no-one. His avatar's name means 'easy learning'. An IT instructor in schools and colleges in Lombardy, Imparafacile Runo - Impa for short, and Gio' dalla Bona in RL, is boundlessly enthusiastic for his inworld schemes -but as we all know, when it  comes to keeping up a vigorous interest in virtual culture, you need more than enthusiasm; it's all about staying power. As he sat down to a plate of vitello tonnato (I went for the Caprese), Impa told me about the idea behind his Island.
Imparafacile Runo: The important thing is to take small steps, and form a solid basis for our work. We have hosted many different kinds of shows over the past years, from educational seminars to art shows, e-learning courses, poetry readings, and social gatherings. Just a few weeks ago, we had a hugely successful immersive art event called IONOI (in English, I/Us), filmed by Christower Dae.

Italians have a schizophrenic attitude towards the internet.  Even among the younger people, it seems like half
 the population  has embraced it, while the other half barely knows the internet exists.  Mostly, I suspect, because it's freaking impossible to be online in any meaningful way, by US standards. *silent scream at the slowly turning wheel of wait * On the other hand, they often kind of want to run before they can walk, as a visit to your average Italian website will tell you - way too many bells and whistles, heinous or hilarious English translation, and the general sense that, if they had as much substance as they do style, they'd be on the moon by now. Possibly eating vitello tonnato. Which is what makes this guy, and this sim, a little different.
Imparafacile Runo: A well-planned, regular mix of events that don't last too long - that's our policy, events like Bookcrossing, our regular literary evening, where RL books are presented, with selected readings, comments from the audience, and interviews. We have another upcoming event in our series on the virtual economy, which will discuss the Linden $ and Facebook Credits. We often stream conferences that relate to virtual life, and have more planned.
The connection with RL is important. One way in which the island has fostered the SL/RL cross pollination is through their connection with the Brera Art Institute thanks to Bruno "Canadeo" Aliprandi; art students came inworld to experience building for the first time, and to see how they could expand their techniques in 3D - all of which grew into this imposing build by
Merlino Mayo, high above Imparafacile Island, complete with anatomically incorrect trains. As you can see the Meeting area nestles comfortably in the cranium of a very big head.
The project flowed out into the real world in the form of a series of screens, set up on the Milan Metro, where images by Brera Fine Art Students were mixed with photos of artwork made in Second Life, including pieces by Prajna Seetan and Christower Dae.
 It was a positive experience all round, and now another department within the Academy has set up a presence in SL, and their main sim is being being constructed by another Imparafacile Island stalwart, Vive Voom, seen here with Simba many moons ago.
Imparafacile Runo: One of the best things about the events we have here is the people I get to work with, people like Helenita Arriago, Maryhola McMillan, Morghana Savira and Marinu Gausman, to mention just a few. They are completely reliable. For each upcoming event, I know I can count on them to do their part, whether it's having the interview questions prepared, getting the publicity out, or being ready to document the gathering on our Ning. That really makes the difference. Simba Schumann is another valuable ally when it comes to the SL art community, something I don't know much about. Right now we're delighted to have soror Nishi's Midsummer Night's Dream installation on the sim.
The Imparafacile website is an important asset - it's a tangible record of the scope and variety of learning outcomes offered by the group, an online CV that they can use when applying for grants and sponsorship. The site is multi-functional, with help for italophones, whether noobs or just otherwise flummoxed, plus updates on sim activities, and links to places interest. As the summer holidays loom, and Imparafacile Island prepares for its customary hiatus, I wondered what the prospects are for Fall 2011.
Imparafacile Runo: We plan to relaunch Bookcrossing; although it will have a new name, unique to SL, it will essentially be more of the same, and as part of that we'll be looking into welcoming RL publishing houses to the island, for presentations and interviews with emerging authors. We're looking into some local government sponsorship, too. And there will be many more art events,  certainly. Another new thing, whch we began developing just recently, will be a course in English conversation, with Nymphea Kira, who's just graduated as an English teacher. This is a demo lesson she did in SL, which she shared with  faculty and students at her college.

She will be organizing a series of classes in the fall, based on games and communicative exercises - should be fun. The lessons will be short, weekly events, and we encourage anglophones to come and join us for some conversation and cultural exchanges!
The season at Imparafacile Island is coming to a close with a final Bookcrossing, on July 14th, and the wrap party will be on Sunday July 17th. Worth a visit, I think, even if you don't like tuna.


Thirza Ember said...

I'd just like to say that there was an extended Cialis pun lurking in this entire post and I resisted it, and I deserve props (possibly flowers, I like freesias)for not exposing y'all to it.

Thirza Ember said...

....wait. Or did I.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thirza, thanks for the two nice photos about the "big head" ^^ I built for the project not only the head. I list here some links about the whole work and the presentation we did in RAI national Television live on 12/2010 in Rome. Merlino Mayo ^o^


Thirza Ember said...

way to show the world the Big Head may be gone from SL, but still lives on in RL, Merlino

Thirza Ember said...

Mexi, please confine your spamming to Second Life, and stop commenting here. No-one can understand what you're saying, even supposing they cared.