Sunday, May 29, 2011

X rated

It is stormy here.
Kolor Fall sent a gift in the night. I thought he'd forgotten about me, since I'm hardly ever in SL, but he hadn't. I opened the simple granite column on the roof, the only part of my house that I use these days.
The build starts with a spark, and then unfolds.
That's beautiful in itself, but once open, it's hard to take your eyes off these silent, spinning creatures.
 After Y is part of the gorgeous Puddles of Light build, currently under construction on sim KolorFall. The new build, which opens this ...fall (how appropriate) is out of this world, but this small taste has a solemn, living grace that outdoes any photo or machinima. Machinima is great, but it's someone else's viewpoint, and no substitute for your own vision, your idiosyncratic camera movements, the serenity of waiting on your own time, in your own moment, for the flock of after Y's to move again.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


There's something of the Anne Frank about being an avatar in Facebook, don't you think? You're there, you function, fight, write and love, but for how long? The login page of Second Life actively encourages us all to join the FB community - but FB policy does not permit  'fake' accounts, and every now and then, people send out dire warnings of an impending avatar cull. And we all know what happened to SaveMe.
A few weeks back, Georg Jannick

Friday, May 27, 2011

Betty's Boxes

Sitting in front of a computer is a sin, on days like these. Everything non-virtual presses its case, urging one to think outside the box, to get out of the room. The Great Outside, where my experimental pineapple bed has nothing to do with furniture, or prim count. Further outside, where mockingbirds mob a burly crow, the timid hydrangea opens one flower at a time, and the evenings are made for long, honeysuckle-scented walks to the pub amid fireflies in the sweet heat that will soon melt into oppression.
But then there's Betty Tureaud. Her build, The Box at Danish Visions, is like a fruit salad for the eyes. I went to see it with Karllos Decosta, who has recently fixed and updated the links in the ArtsParks sidebar. If you have some suggestions of unsung and interesting places that should be in the list, let him or me know and we'll see what we can do. (But no shops, vampire related crap, or obvious places like Bryn Oh installations.) Meanwhile, back in the box...
Karllos Decosta: There are many aspects of Betty’s art that you can explore: the political side, like her Arab Spring work at Kelly Yap Artist Gallery, her little robots, the use of search engines to structure our experience of ourselves and the world, following the ideas of the theorist Lev Manovich about the database as a new symbolic form. Other artists explore topics like identity issues or interactivity. I think Betty wants to explore the immersive possibilities of virtual worlds. So the big size suits that. The cube work is the best I have seen this year. As you walk, light goes through the cubes. I always liked huge spots of color, and I like how the colors change as you walk. I keeping coming back here, it's a beautiful work, it reminds me of Paul Klee, with his controlled and subtle chamber music style that you can see in a painting like Flora on the Sand. Both Klee and Kandinsky were accomplished musicians. Maybe Betty will surprise us by taking an electric guitar out of her sleeve and entertaining us, setting everybody in a mood of luxury, calm and pleasure.
  I'm all for that. And of course, Betty's famous for her Facebook collection of Danish Girl vocalists, including The Asteroids, Louise, and many more.
  Just then, Betty tp'd over to the sim to chat. She looked chic in her asian maiden outfit. We asked how long it took her to construct this huge, bewildering place.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Screen Saviour

He's mad for movies. Madmaninc Zapatero came into SL to sell computers, fell in with the Steampunk crowd, and ended up living his dream, owning his own movie palace, the Phantasmagoria Theater.  He started out with P.T. Barnum's American Museum, but he quickly moved from a 'phantasmagoria' or magic lantern show to showing full length films through
As GoldenWillow ResidentMaddie Mhia, Trilby Minotaur, and the rest of the crowd milled around the grand lobby, getting their popcorn, I asked Mad what is up with film in SL.
 MadManinc Zapatero: I love movies. I love talking and watching and showing movies to people. Movies are a social experience, and if your friends are across the globe, now you can sit down watch a movie together. Plus, it beats pretending to dance to music I don't like.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

U Wiz A

Mighty is geometry. Joined with art, it is irresistible.
Last month, soror nishi filled UWA's Virtlantis sim with an incredible, and much blogged-about build, Transubstantiation. It was a beautiful sight, and showed just what can be done when an artist is allowed to expand an idea to sim-sized proportions.
This month it's the turn of Wizard Gynoid to spread her geometry out before us. The UWA's JJ Zifanwe is closing the sim for reasons of cost, but with classic Antipodean good humour, rather than doing a lot of hand-wringing about the decision to downsize, he's taken the opportunity to give some of SL's best loved artists the opportunity to make the sim go out with a bang.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not Just Anybody

When I was younger, so much younger than today...
How is it that even in SL you can choose your friends, but not your family, I thought, when my brother started shouting stuff about "un orgy room da niubbio". He is a much-married, howling combo of Arthur Daley, Scarface, and  the Cable Guy, for whom factual reality is a movable feast, and trouble a companion never more than one step to the rear. We have absolutely nothing in common, except for everything: we are the last survivors of a once vibrant family. Those first fatal days  in Second Life have cemented us together in a childhood shared, and the memories of those places and people are a sticking post in the heart.
Like you, I was moderately intrigued to know what constitutes a 'newbie' orgy room, but, being busy with something else at the time, was kind of glad when we moved into the standard Third Act, the familiar 'no, you better not threaten me' stage. One of his 'becauses' rang false, however. Surely I'd read somewhere that they don't have mentors any more in SL. And this proves he really is my brother, because if any random dude made similar wild statements, I'd simply mute him. But sibling rivalry demanded that I bring living proof of his BS to his door. 
I took time out to consult my favourite Knower of Things Linden, Wizard Gynoid. She rolled her eyes and passed a link to the Alphaville Herald, written some 6 months ago. I shook a triumphant sisterly fist in the air, but Wizzy's reaction was more reflective. Poor noobs - what happens to them now when they have questions? We packed some sandwiches, Wizzy got out her 'Noob Assistance' folder, and we TP'd over to Help Island to see what went on.
The noise is the first thing that hits you; Help Island Plaza was full of people. There was a big fight going on in Chat about Viewer choice, and the term 'smart ass' was being passed around pretty freely. 
Wizard Gynoid: Part of the reason they did away with the mentors is because they all argued, lots of ego problems.
Among the 'patients' - not all of them noobs, strictly speaking - were a woman who was ruthed, a guy inquiring about megaprims, and somebody who spoke only spanish. Wizzy found herself a newbie with a texture/money problem, but I was curious about the helpers, and asked Lisa Lowe what was going on there. After all, didn't the Mentor program get nuked by LL?