01 December 2013


Now open at LEA21 and continuing through the month of December is a full-sim installation by Takni entitled Plankton. It's a difficult place to convey through images, as almost everything about the space is interactive, and there's no common "look" to the build itself. Structurally, Plankton consists of 29 floors that ascend about 500 meters into the sky, some large spheres and some simple platforms, each of which has a name—for example, dragon tears, everywhere, fire (middle photo, with Takni), Isaac's tree, misio trees, pentabarf and so on. (Quite a few friends and colleagues of Tanki's, by the way, contributed to these various places, but I'd rather not list them for fear of accidentally omitting someone.) If you want to fully explore it and make sense of it, be prepared to spend some time—at first glance the elements you see might seem frivolous and disconnected, like a sim full of gadgets.

But there's a lot in Plankton that is connected, and is actually about connectedness—the connections between people, between ideas and between bodies of knowledge. For starters there's the way in which the various floors are connected: by taxi, by "sliders" between the floors and by local teleports, so that the more we travel about the more we have the impression that Takni is trying to literally draw lines between things. We're also invited to teleport to the locations of other avatars in the sim. And on the various floors, we learn—at some more than others—how the science, technology, culture and knowledge of previous civilizations connect directly to ourselves and our own experiences. "There is a continuity," Takni said to me. "In astronomy there is an unbroken tradition." You can discover more on that subject in the three planetariums (the largest of which is pictured at top (and one of which focuses on Second Life's night sky)). The most complex build is on the ground level (lower image), where elements are constantly changing, interacting with people and sometimes with themselves.

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