31 December 2013

Overnight for Dreaming Avatars

Tonight, celebrate the new year in Second Life in style with real life artists and musicians Carol Ione, Norman Lowrey, Pauline Oliveros and others as part of Ione's 18th Annual Dream Festival, to be held in the Odyssey NE sim starting at 2 pm slt and continuing through midnight until 6 am slt. "You are invited to log on at any time, receive a Dreaming/Sleeping Cap animation for your Avatar, sound Dreaming into Alternate Universes instruments, and dream together with us from Central European Time (CET) to Pacific Time," say the organizers. "We recommend that you log on early and simply leave your Avatar in its Dreaming state if you have to actually be at a live party or engage in real life sleep!" It's a meditative sonic event at which you're invited to both listen and dream.

The Dream Festival is connected to the Deep Listening Institute, about which you can read more here—it provides "a unique approach to music, literature, art, meditation, technology and healing. DLI fosters creative innovation across boundaries and across abilities, among artists and audience, musicians and non-musicians, healers and the physically or cognitively challenged, and children of all ages. This ever-growing community of musicians, artists, scientists and certified Deep Listening practitioners strives for a heightened consciousness of the world of sound and the sound of the world."

30 December 2013

Second Life and Gmail Alert

If you use Gmail and have set your Second Life preferences to deliver your IMs to email while you're offworld, and you've recently noticed a drop in communications, there's reason behind it: Google now places IMs/emails coming from @im.agni.lindenlab.com into your spam folder. Prim Perfect posted on this today, and included very clear and easy steps to fix the problem: head here to give it a read.

Oh, and the photo? I forget where I took it, but it's from July 18. Give it a click. ;)

29 December 2013

Isle of Serendipity

Neva Crystall, who has emerged as one of Second Life's premier sim designers, several days ago opened the wintery region Isle of Serendipity, adjacent to her well known Neva River (about which I wrote here back in spring 2013). It's a splendid and enchanting place, where the chilly scenes are complemented by the warmth of smoke rising from chimneys and wood fires burning in the distance. The snow, which falls softly everywhere, has packed onto the ground; paths invite us to set out on foot.

Part of what is so impressive about Neva's designs is the way in which we see as we explore: our field of view can be limited as we climb a hill or round a bend, perhaps only seeing the tips or sides of the barren trees, but then a beautiful vista might open before us, affording a tremendous view. While most of the pathways on Isle of Serendipity are open to the public, the homes are rental locations, so please be respectful as you wander, lest you walk into someone's back yard. (Although it might seem an imperfect solution, turning on Property Lines can help see where safe travels lie.) This is simply a delight in which to wander.

28 December 2013

Annwn Willows

On December 25, Joanna Corith re-opened her sim, Annwn Willows, with a new design. Those who remember and loved the old landscape (or waterscape, more appropriately) won't be disappointed—the calm stillness of the ocean, out of which trees, rocks and other features emerge in five clusters, still dominates the build. From the landing point, at sea level in the center of the sim, these groupings splay out in a quincunx, and you can reach them by flying, taking a raft (if one happens to be near the landing point), riding a bird (click on the star to have one appear) or by swimming (as there is much underwater to see as well!). It's an exceptionally photogenic region, and rezzing is allowed for 30 minutes.

In addition to the sea level and underwater areas, a third place of exploration is high overhead, called Moon & Stars. There are teleports quietly placed here and there that will get you up, or you can fly, although Joanna requests no flying above 1200 meters. (We all need our privacy.) At Moon & Stars (detail photo below), some stars offer you rides, while some are just there for playing. Also on the sim is Joanna's store, [[loftbólur]], and at the store level there's also a cinema showing a number of films. Please consider leaving a contribution if you enjoy Annwn Willows.

24 December 2013


Back in August, my friend Good Cross invited me to see a sim he had created and has continued to refine, Megiddo. For one reason after another, I never seemed to find the moment to write about it, and when I visited just now I learned, having planning to post something this week, that the sim will close on December 27! So, if you haven't visited Megiddo, you have only a few days—but Good Cross says he plans to build something new in the future.

The name Megiddo is drawn from Biblical references to Armegeddon, which may mean the "Mountain of Megiddo"—although the mountain to which the Bible refers was more of a hill, or tell, created over time as humans built again and again on the same location. Here on the sim of Megiddo, small but steep hills, all topped with miniature scenes, punctuate the landscape, and the sim overall is split in two: the eastern half is the bright side, and the western half is the dark side (which I find more compelling). Even though the sim will be closing, I'm sure contributions toward future works would be most welcome.

23 December 2013

Project PossUM

My friend and fellow blogger Kara Trapdoor posted a photo on flickr recently that caught my eye: an ornate structure created from what appears to be Delft pottery. Located on the sim Aldous Huxley—"Home of Tree and Ocean SL (TOSL) and Project PossUM!"—this charming little build is set on an enormous plate that stretches across the sim—click here for a reasonable landing point.

This, I suppose is the "Project PossUM" part of the sim, which is also is home to the shop Tree and Ocean SL, owned by designer Quinlan Quimby (or QQ, as she prefers). Although it's under construction, the shop, located above the world of pottery, is also delightfully quirky and worth a visit. Click here to teleport up—be sure to cam or venture outside the store to see it in full.

21 December 2013

Kowloon Tote Bag Festival

I haven't written about Kowloon since my early blogging days (way back in 2010 with this entry), and I never really blog about freebies and things to buy, but the new Kowloon Tote Bag Festival gives me an excuse to revisit this extraordinary sim, which continues to stand as one of the jewels of Second Life. So, if you're into things like tote bags, pop on over to Kowloon to grab any of several dozen different designs, all for free, being distributed in six different locations around the sim.

But beyond that, explore the labyrinthian corridors, alleys and streets of Kowloon, designed by magnum Yoshikawa. Even now, having roamed on and off for years, I'm often finding little spots I hadn't discovered, and Kowloon's shops, not found elsewhere, continue to offer new items. There are hidden locations, as well: can you find the room shown below?

20 December 2013

Roots & War

Several days ago, JadeYu Fhang opened Roots & War, an installation situated in the sky over her sim (about which I'm to sure to write more soon). Two enormous globes are aloft in air, connected tenuously by tangled roots that stretch from one to the other. Inside the first, where one lands, is what appears to be a scene of carnage, although not without some signs of rebirth or hope (at least from how I was seeing it). The sphere contains another, smaller, structure that looks a bit alien, a ship of some sort perhaps, but the scene inside features Death on a horse, smoke rising from smoldering fires. Above the entire sphere, two colossal hands reach out as if to encircle it, one looking significantly more ominous than the other.

The second large globe, to which one can either fly or walk, is comparatively quiet. While not a carbon copy of the first, it lacks the scenes of death and decay, and feels almost meditative, its grayish-brown surface looking suggestively lunar. It's important to have local sounds turned up in the installation. If you like what you see, venture down to the ground to explore more of JadeYu's artwork.

19 December 2013

Special Arts Event at Lost Town - La Città Perduta

Opening tomorrow, Friday, December 20 at Lost Town - La Città Perduta, curated by AKILAE Gant and Sivi Kelberry, is a "Special Arts Event" to commemorate four years of Lost Town and its artistic activity. Over the years, the sim has hosted some remarkable art installations, and is currently home Rebeca Bashly's Invisible People (top image), about which I blogged here. AKILAE and Sivi have invited several other artists, all of whom have created significant artworks at Lost Town—namely Nexuno Thespian, Yooma Mayo, Haveit Neox, Lilia Artis and Moe Sandalwood—to include some of their work concurrently with Invisible People.

Pictured here in order are Idus December—The Night of the Winter Creatures, a collaborative work by Haveit Neox, Lilia Artis and Moe Sandalwood; Angel Free by Nexuno Thespian; and Cocoa/Warmth of Dream by Yooma Mayo. (Yooma and I are there in the bottom photo—I'm on the far left using Yooma's very creepy wangnin "KurmaiChu" avatar, available at Kowloon.) The sim itself is wrapped in a wintery landscape created by Yony Bing.

The opening event, scheduled for 2 pm slt, will feature Psyche Lunasea and Dance Unit MaHal with newly developed choreography. The landmark being provided is this one, although that might not be the best spot for entering the sim in general if you're visiting to see the installations, in which case try here. Please consider contributing toward the support of the sim and its forthcoming exhibitions—there's a tip box near the second landing point.

18 December 2013

Chateau de Versailles

Back in February 2013, Cajsa Lilliehook and I collaborated on a story for AVENUE magazine, "Date Night: Exploring Second Life and Each Other," that recommended ten very different kinds of places for couples to explore. One of the locations I photographed for the article was Chateau de Versailles, which just by chance I happened to visit again today as I was randomly clicking on map locations (often an interesting experience!). It's not a mesh build and accomplishes much of its ornate decorative work by employing two dimensional textures of three dimensional things (sculptures, etc.)—which I know this era some people will regard with disparagement—but it's an impressive place, stretching over three sims that include an entrance area, the castle itself, and the gardens in the back.

The chateau, designed by Ninjah Valeeva, is, in many ways, a faithful reproduction of the original, on which construction began in 1664 and continued, with modifications and expansions, more or less until the French Revolution—great effort has been taken to capture the appearance and experience of the original. A few areas within the chateau aren't accessible, as work here seems to be ongoing, but it's possible to wander through the grand Hall of Mirrors and many of the apartments and large rooms, often decorated with period furniture and faux mirrors. Versailles is home to an active roleplay community, and if that grabs your fancy you can visit Ninjah's shops, located within Versailles, to select some appropriate period attire. (Some free options are also available.) Flying isn't permitted on the sims, but a local teleport system will help you get around.

16 December 2013


Opening today, Monday, December 16 at 1:30 pm at LEA6, as part of the LEA Full Sim Art Series, is Giovanna Cerise's Fisicofollia, which will remain on display through the end of the month. The artist states that Fisicofollia refers in a free way to the Futurist theatre and especially to the Futuristic artworks by Enrico Prampolini, Giacomo Balla, Fortunato Depero and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, whose 1909 Futurist Manifesto, published on the front page of Le Figaro, launched the movement. Taken literally, "fisico follia" means roughly "physical madness" or "body madness," and was a term Marinetti first used in the 1913 manifesto Del Teatro di Varietà (The Theatre of Variety) to describe his highly stylized way of addressing audiences, convinced that he had developed a declamatory method that could more effectively incite the masses.

How the term fisicofollia literally applies here I'm not certain, but one can see stylistic connections with many of the paintings and other artwork by Prampolini, Balla, Depero and Marinetti, ranging from the early Futurist years up through the 1950s, by which time the surviving artists had moved in different political directions. In particular, there are two large areas (second image detail) that are curiously evocative of Futurist artworks, and here, as elsewhere in the installation, Giovanna's use of semi-transparent grids, spaced closely together and at slight angles, produce moiré patterns that appear to move as our field of view shifts. A central feature in the installation is the repeated figure of a man ("uomo che tende il filo," or "man who tends the wire") constructed of pastel blue and violet tetrahedrons—the standing form gestures forward, as if beckoning.

Giovanna adds, "It is designed as a multi-dimensional performance space, in which light and shadow, color and movement are the protagonists. The scene expands to create a multiplicity of perspectives in a continuous emotional tension. Lines, planes, shapes and colors combine, alluding to an invention related to childhood and madness. The visitor can interact with the environment simply going through it, resulting in different visual impressions. It is recommended to activate the sound, to catch the auditory sensations in the scene."

15 December 2013

Rosemist Isle

The foliage at Rosemist Isle is sometimes so dense that it's easy to lose one's way—but that's not a bad thing, as the trees and leaves themselves are resplendent, in shades of green, lilac, violet, orange and everything else under the sun—and one always emerges someplace interesting. Beams of light shine through to the forest floor, and intimate bridges traverse the quiet waterways that flow throughout the region. It's a remarkably photogenic location, designed by Nila Byron almost a year ago now, and owned by KJ Kiranov, who says "the sim is dedicated to the Wonderment of Life, and the pursuit of Peace and Tranquility."

There are several structures on the land, including a home (which appeared to possibly to be private, so I didn't pry), an elegant concert venue, a manor house with a galleon harbored in the nearby waters, a stone and iron gazebo and others. On the far northwest corner there's Club Magneto, where KJ is a frequent DJ—although the club doesn't share any landscaping similarity to the rest of Rosemist Isle. You'll also find as you wander about many cozy, contemplative or magical looking places—and head for a swim underwater, too, where more awaits.

13 December 2013

We Annihilate Remotely

The subject of military espionage, drones, surveillance and the like has captured the attention of a number of real life artists, most interestingly Harun Farocki, whose 2011 one-person exhibition at MoMA explored the military apparatus in a fascinatingly detached way. In Second Life, the Galerie Artemis now presents Nino Vichan's We Annihilate Remotely (the title letters forming the acrostic WAR), an impressive visual environment of motion and sound on two levels, Control Room and Killing Fields. The notecard accompanying the exhibition suggests that society improperly endorses drone warfare as moral, adding, "Individuals who choose moral action are popularly held to possess 'moral fiber', whereas those who indulge in immoral behavior may be labeled as socially degenerate."

Photographs will do little to capture the very active movement in either of these spaces—in the first, with its circuit board references and rows of dizzyingly fast moving 0s and 1s (top and bottom images), or in the second, darker space, with its red digits and flying ships, somewhat hidden against the blackness, that send searchlight beams out toward visitors (middle image). It's a lot to look at, and technically superb, but, like Inara Pey, who wrote a thoughtful piece on her blog, I'm not strongly convinced that the artwork makes a tangible connection to its intended subject. (In fact, if I hadn't know the subject was drones, I probably wouldn't have made the link, although the Killing Fields level does suggest surveillance.) Still, it's visually captivating and I recommend a visit.

12 December 2013

Tunnel of Light

Now open at Nitroglobus Gallery, curated by Nitro Fireguard and Dido Haas, is a stunning installation, Tunnel of Light: an experience by Mr and Mrs B. (Burk Bode & Maloe Vansant), by photographers Burk Bode and Maloe Vansant. It's exceptional not only because of the excellent artistic work of Burk and Maloe, but also and especially because of the installation design. Rather than having their two-dimensional works hung on the walls in a traditional gallery setting, the artists have used projectors to literally shine the works on the bending and curving walls and floors of the space, transforming the experience into one where the gallery itself is the artwork, as are visitors if they wander into the path of the light. This "Tunnel of Light" was originally conceived by Burk, and you can purchase at the landing point a smaller 40m x 40m version for your personal enjoyment.

To appreciate this exhibition—to really see it at all—you must have advanced lighting model turned on, as well as local lights and a default windlight setting (Ambient Dark, although others might work). When I arrived, I happened to bump into Winter Hendes, and so the two of us explored the space together, and he remarked that he found it quite enjoyable to venture through in mouselook, which would never have occurred to me. Some of the pathways are easy to navigate, and others are playfully confusing—actually by watching Winter roam about I discovered a couple places I would have missed, and even then I wasn't quite sure I had seen everything. A tip jar for Nitroglobus is located at the landing point.

10 December 2013

Sleepy Snail

Snails bring to mind motion so slow that it might be imperceptible. And a sleepy snail? Would we see it move at all? Determine for yourself at Rebeca Bashly's new installation, Sleepy Snail, which opened Sunday at Per4mances metaLES ..O.., managed by Ux Hax, Lanjran Choche and Romy Nayar. In contrast to Rebeca's recent installations Invisible People and Colour Key, Sleepy Snail is almost lyrical and lightheartedly whimsical. A giant snail (upper photo) dominates the sim-wide build, stretching about 125 meters into the air, its bronze and glass construction evocative of steampunk style.

The enormous snail overlooks ten platforms set on the water below, from each of which blossoms radiant golden leaves. Some platforms are home to smaller snails, some to curvaceous metallic platforms, and one to a couple of fireflies on its uppermost reaches. We readily see that the central, giant snail is hollow, and within it are a series of small platforms, connected by circular staircases, that lead up to another firefly. What it all means, if anything, I don't know, but it's beautifully constructed and delightful. While you're there, take the teleport located at the extreme northeast corner of the sim to visit a machinima station featuring works by other artists.

09 December 2013

Shadows in Black and White

Now open at The Skywalk Gallery at The Station is an exhibited entitled Shadows in Black and White: An FCP Reunion Exhibit and curated by Kara Trapdoor, featuring photographic works by Burk Bode, Maloe Vansant (top image), Zach Larsen (middle image), Chaos Richard, Josie Anderton (bottom image) and Sugar Silverstar. These artists, and others, were part of a now mostly-inactive group, Flickr Collaborators and Posers (or FCP), and have come together for this reunion show, featuring mostly black and white or monochromatic images.

A strong interplay between light and shadow plays a hand in many of the works, particularly in those by Chaos Richard, Burke Bode and Maloe Vansant. Zach Larsen seems to have good-naturedly wrapped his portrait at The Far Away, entitled Wind, around a curving wall (the gallery space lacking any alternative), but I'm not sure that's to the benefit of the image, which ends up with a fisheye perspective. Many, but not all, of the works are for sale—Josie Anderton's for only L$5. The exhibition will remain on display for an extended time, and is situated immediately next to the installation Technochory by Bryn Oh and Sina Souza (about which I've written here).

08 December 2013

Hesperia of Templemore

I occasionally poke around in the Second Life Destination Guide, and today I chanced upon the city of Hesperia of Templemore, designed and owned by Luis Lockjaw. Intended primarily as a venue for live music, the sim features a number of stages and performance locations, but it's far more than that, with some picturesque areas that are worth exploring. I did find that being forced to roam by foot (no flying allowed, and I tend to fly more than I walk) was a bit cumbersome, but double-clicking to teleport provided a good workaround.

The venues were quiet during my visits—you can track performances on the sim's Facebook page—but the sim was inviting, in particular the urban setting on the eastern half, shown here in three photos. Probably the most visually memorable feature of the sim is the group of eight large MadPea balloons floating overhead (barely visible in the lower photo), flanking one of the main stages. If the sim suffers from anything, it's probably the tendency (which I seem to see frequently these days) of trying to throw everything into a build, at the risk of creating a bit of a jumble in places—I'm not convinced here by the juxtaposition of Cory Edo's Trompe Loeil Autumn Cottage with Marcus Inkpen's TLG Dark Tower, but it's still worth a visit.