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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wor(l)ds together: Noke Yuiza

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. 
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. 
I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. 
All those... moments will be lost... in time, like tears... in rain. 
Time to die."
'Roy Batty', Blade Runner
Noke Yuiza has been busy in SL. You may have seen her latest build, showcased at the Brera sim, and you won't be blamed if you think that she's all about the stage. It comes as no surprise to find that in her real life she has been both dancer and choreographer, and, perhaps most significantly, as a set painter in the theater. You probably saw her interesting take on Hoffmann's The Sandman, hosted at Arte Libera a while back.
Noke's build takes to new heights the extreme conflation of real and virtual realities that's been the hallmark of Imparafacile Runo's work in SL / RL. Impa, as you know, has been running learning and cultural schemes in SL for ages. His group Libriamo Tutti is pure reality overlap. His able and talented team organize meetings where a RL audience, meeting in libraries in towns across Lombardy, can listen, see and participate alongside SL residents in literary evenings where books are discussed, read aloud, explained, and generally celebrated. Impa's longstanding friendship with Professor Giampiero Moioli of Milan's Brera Academy of Art, and a close collaboration with Simba Schumann, led to a recent RL seminar in which students were able to make a virtual field trip to three installations on the Brera sim. Each build is based on a literary work close to the artist's heart.

The students got the opportunity to hear the wonderful nessuno Myoo explain his Edgar Allen Poe 'Pit and the Pendulum' build - this was nessuno's first foray into Voice! Another section, a rather overblown take on Herman Hesse, is of little interest, but Noke's install, based on Spanish writer Rosa Montero's latest book, Lacrime nella Pioggia, has a wonderful twist to it. Not only is theatrically fresh and interesting (Noke, shown here in white with blue hair, has an on-Stage and behind-the-scenes background, as both a dancer and set designer), she chose an author who has a presence in SL.
Rosa was kind enough to come into SL especially for the Brera show, and fixed up her avatar so it would look like the main character from her book, a replicant with existential issues.
Rosa Montero: I entered in Second Life six or seven years ago. I frequented that world a lot for, say, half a year. My name in SL was Bruna Husky (after my beloved dog). When I had the idea of writing a novel about a replicant woman in Madrid 2109, I thought of giving her my name of Second Life. I loved the SL experience, most of the time I was a Dragon! It was truly interesting, but at the end of those six months I got fed up of it. I have already written a novel in which Second Life has a lot of importance and there are some scenes that happen in Second Life. It is the novel before this last one, the novel before Lacrime nella pioggia. It is already published by Salani in Italy and titled Notturno di Sole (in Spanish it was called Instrucciones para salvar el mundo). In the last six years I barely entered, may be three or four times only, just for events like the launching of Lácrime nella pioggia in SL.
Through a short story competition, Rosa and Noke met in real life, and formed a friendship which ultimately led to the author kindly agreeing to make recordings of some key passages of the book, which you can find and listen to, as you wander round the bright, busy install. It's pretty rare to have that kind of direct access to a writer, but Rosa is equally impressed at being part of Noke's art.
Rosa Montero: The installation is very surprising and brilliant. It is not exactly my book, but what that book originated in a mind as wonderfully creative as Noke´s, and that is perfect. I have specially liked the last floor, the one with the rep head emerging from the water, from a sea of tears, maybe. So, so, powerful and beautiful. I loved it. It's moving, thrilling art. That kind of "alive" art a virtual surrounding can help to create.
The respect goes both ways.
Noke Yuiza: Writers are "creators of worlds". They have that amazing capacity of the "God". I love that capacity of the "inventors of stories" to increase and stimulate our collective imaginarium. So, it's impossible to don't being "contaminated" by them being present in certain way in artworks, films, theater, music, dance and include videogames, but to try to cach the essence of a story it's probably the most difficult thing because it depends on the resources one has and the ability to recreate it with originality. For Lacrime nella Pioggia installation my objective was to represent the essence of Bruna Husky, its main character. She starts in a dark point of her live cause she has lost her love and she is going to die in a few years because she is a replicant and they all have an expiration date, so she is addicted to white wine and she is in a certain way angry with the world. But if we follow her into Lacrime nella Pioggia, we can see her evolution. For me, the most interesting and difficult moment to recreate was that moment of inner awakening and auto-reconcilliation with herself (in the middle floor: Bruna "starts to wake up" in the city, her environment, from a sea of white wine).
While Rosa thinks that Skype conferences are probably the most efficient way to run virtual book events, rather than the book club evenings she's attended in SL,  here at the Brera, she found the quality of work impressive. Science fiction readers are, for her the same in all worlds, a thoughtful and rewarding audience. Noke loves the concept of celebrating literature through art too, for both aesthetic and practical reasons.
Noke Yuiza: Metaverse platforms as SL can help writers to advertise their books, get a better feedback with readers, do crossover transmedia projects with other disciplines as art, build the collective imaginarium of these VWs. It is a way to approach their stories to the audience, to reaffirm readers and to get some brand new ones. And for their readers, an amazing opportunity to get author's feedback and, in cases as immersive story-telling or artistic projects as this installation, to "live" a bit the book.
The Brera show will be on until at least the end of the summer, and here's the video of the virtual field trip for all you italophones and dittophiles.

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