21 April 2012


The Flemish town of Ypres had it pretty bad in the First World War. Bad enough that there wasn't just a Battle of Ypres—oh, no, there was the first battle in late 1914, the second battle in the spring of 1915, the third battle that raged from July to November in 1917, the fourth in the spring of 1918, and the fifth in the fall of 1918. Not exactly the greatest location to hang out, and the place was pretty much torn to shreds.

In the Second Life sim of Ypres, Arduenn Schwartzman has recreated the scene at the trenches with evocative detail—just about the only thing missing are soldiers, dead and alive. On opposing sides are British and German encampments, artillery poised, with observation balloons floating overhead.

The sim is designed for some fun combat play, actually—in contrast to the somber mood on the ground, you can rez some rather cute little warbugs (planes) and have dogfights. There's a scoring system, but I didn't investigate, although I did have fun piloting one of the warbugs around the sim. Almost everything you see is for sale on Arduenn's Marketplace store, so if you're feeling really inspired you can recreate the Battles of Ypres in your own back yard.

I'll be posting more images on my flickr stream.

12 April 2012

Mcarp Land

I was surprised to see Mcarp Land on a Linden Endowment for the Arts sim (it seems quite atypical of the usual LEA fare), but it is a fun place, and it's up until August, so there's plenty of time to explore this rich creation. Its masterminds, Mcarp Mavendorf and Aley (whom Mcarp credits with the more beautiful parts of the build) say, "A lot of clocks, a cathedral, a castle, wierd machines and a lot of clocks. Did I mention clocks? Yes, we have a lot of them. Really just a front for the Sea of Aley..."

And that's true, because above the ground is playful and picturesque (I love the giant girl, who looks strikingly like Mcarp), but down below there's an acquatic world that's even busier. And there are prizes to be found in the sim's treasure hunt. Just find a treasure chest (there are more than twenty down in the depths, and they may eventually rez some above ground too), and voilà! You can take a tunnel down to Captain Nemo's workshop, although you won't be too much reminded of Sextan Shepherd's glorious Nemo sim of old. They're always tweaking the place—last I saw Mcarp was putting in a sky bucket lift.

10 April 2012

Alizarin Goldflake and Blue Tsuki at Split Screen

I'm hardly the first to blog about the two artists whose work is featured through the month of April at Split Screen, but I hope I'm also not the last. Curated by Dividni Shostakovich, the Split Screen Installation Space presents both established and emerging artists, and the current presentations are not to be missed.

The first work, by Alizarin Goldflake and pictured above, is entitled Acquarella: After the Apocalypse (Chapters 1 & 2). A fiery world where something has clearly gone wrong, it tells the story of efforts by the goddess Acquarella to repopulate the dead ocean after humans have destroyed life on earth. You can read more on Alizarin's blog.

The second space, Adagio (photo below) by Blue Tsuki is, as the name suggests, a more meditative space, populated with slowly turning windmills in a watery world, surrounding a field of urns that gently emerge from flowers. The sounds are lovely, so please turn up your volume.

If you can, please consider making a contribution to the tip jar for Split Screen, located right at the landing point.