30 December 2012

Dream for New Year's

Yes, for New Year’s Even you can go dancing, you can party, or ... you can participate in a fabulous sonic art event, the culmination of Ione’s 17th Annual Dream Festival. Since 1996, real life author/playwright/director Carole Ione, in collaboration with many other visual and performing artists, has organized an international series of events to celebrate, well, dreams. She notes, “This year’s festival theme focuses on ‘Abundance.’ Dreaming of abundance means seeking clues in our dreams to a sense of plenty and goodness that could be financial or emotional, for example.”

For Second Life on New Year’s Eve (from 2 pm slt on December 31st to 6 am slt on January 1st) North Zipper (Norman Lowrey in real life, the chair of the Department of Music at Drew University) has organized the culminating dream event at the Odyssey sim. (Click there for the teleport link—these images are just some photos of the stage area, but they don't convey much about the event itself.) As Zipper says, “You are invited to dream with us at any time for as long as you wish, weaving in and out of Real/Virtual Life sleeping, dreaming, waking, dreaming.” Attendees will be provided sound-producing devices and a HUD, and you just ... listen. As people float nearer or father, the amplitude of their sounds increase or decrease, creating an ever-changing (or sometimes static, depending on what's happening) sonic environment. It’s a very simple and at the same time very beautiful experience.

“Deep listening” is a term coined by real life composer Pauline Oliveros, who began her career in the 1960s as one of those at the forefront of electronic music. Over time her career focused more and more on the importance of sonic awareness—of listening, not just hearing, sounds and music—first through the development of compositions known as Sonic Meditations and eventually through Deep Listening, a program which has spawned multiple pathways toward sonic awareness, from performances to annual listening retreats and other events. Oliveros will attend these performances through her Second Life avatar, Free Noyes. (I love that name.)

So, as you float about on New Year’s at Odyssey, it’s not only a chance to celebrate, have fun and socialize: it’s a chance to listen, to really listen, to the beautiful sounds that we will all create together, and then to carry that experience back to real life, our ears wide open.

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