Monday, June 22, 2009

Helen Keller day sculpture

I was asked to make a sculpture for Helen Keller day in second life and was given a nice permanent plot of land at Pomponio Volcano by Pathfinder Linden. The challenge was to make a sculpture that can be enjoyed by both blind and deaf people. I did my best and while it doesn't fully succeed its still fairly entertaining I hope. Please come if you can, its on Saturday all day.

Below is the official press release which does a better job explaining it then I can.

What if there were interesting places that everyone could go to, interesting activities that everyone could participate in . . . everyone but you? How would you feel?

People with disabilities find interesting ways to do things to overcome obstacles just getting through every day. You may not be aware of it, but if you’re active in Second Life (SL), chances are you interact with someone with a disability:

People with disabilities make up approximately 20 percent of the SL population. For many people with disabilities, SL is about as “barrier-free” an environment as it gets - People who cannot walk in real life can fly and teleport here in SL. Some, however, are not as fortunate: Deaf and hearing impaired people can be unwittingly excluded from voice chats, and people who are blind or visually impaired still face massive challenges in being able to use the highly visual 3D environment at all – Which is why Helen Keller Day is coming to Second Life, Saturday, June 27th. It’s a day that is set aside for 24 solid hours of information, education, exploration of employment opportunities, arts and entertainment, and social engagement, at the four The Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire islands. There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and mainly… fun.

Throughout all that, Helen Keller Day is about consciousness raising. It’s a movement in the 60s tradition, in a sense - It’s about raising our level of awareness for our brothers and sisters who have disabilities. It’s about learning that everyone can participate, and it’s about becoming knowledgeable about how to do a small but important kindness by being sensitive, and knowing how to include everyone in activities and interactions.
At some time in our lives, we’ve all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make everyone feel welcome, is an important social skill, and sometimes can be just that small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from.

So we’re reaching out and asking you all to join us. Participants will meet make new friends, learn things, and be entertained for their efforts. And, just maybe, you’ll be fortunate to learn to “see” in a spiritual sense, as a blind person "sees" or hear what a deaf person “hears” with all existing senses.

You’ll hear great speakers, including Helen Keller’s great grandniece, Keller Johnson Thompson, and Linden Labs Education and Healthcare Developer, Pathfinder Linden. There will be panels on virtual education programs, accessible virtual teaching, and employment in virtual worlds, information about online degrees in digital media... even a goldmine!

You’ll get freebies and learn about amazing innovations like Max, the VHH Virtual Guide Dog, who was developed IN Second Life, BY Second Life participants, to help make SL accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. You’ll see building contests featuring skilled builders doing accessible builds before your eyes. You’ll experience things to spark your imagination and “see” and "hear" the world in new and thought-provoking ways.

This is a day to meet people, make contacts, learn, and share the experience of taking the first steps into a bigger, kinder, more inclusive world.

Please come and share this experience with us. We’ll all be there – we hope that you will be, too.

Press Release
PRESS RELEASE: Hellen Keller Day in Second Life
Contact person: Saxet Uralia

The 24-hour event PDT will be held all day Saturday, June 27 at the four The Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire sims. ((

Linden Lab is collaborating with and assisting Virtual Helping Hands and a coalition of community volunteers who are proud to announce Helen Keller Day in Second Life. Helen Keller Day is a community-event exploring how and why to employ, educate, entertain, and engage everyone through virtual worlds.

Helen Keller Day is a day that is set aside for information acquisition, education, exploration of employment opportunities, social engagement, and enjoyment of arts and entertainment… There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and pure, unbridled fun.

It’s a day dedicated to raising our level of awareness for our fellow Second Life residents who cope with disabilities. At some time in our lives, we’ve all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make them feel welcome, is an important social skill, and a small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from and feel good about.

Participants will meet people learn things, get freebies, and be entertained for their efforts.

You will hear keynote speakers Keller Johnson Thompson, the great grandniece of Helen herself and Linden Labs Education and Healthcare Developer, John Lester, aka Pathfinder Linden. You will hear from experts in the fields of virtual education, employment, social engagement and entertainment. There will be building contests featuring skilled builders doing accessible builds before our virtual eyes. There will be a world premier “movie” featuring “Max,” the virtual guide dog developed in Second Life for SL users who are blind or sight impaired. Also featured will be an exhibition of Max's abilities, a fashion show, chess, a Braille chat display, dancing, singing quests and storytelling... even a virtual goldmine!

There will be experiences designed to spark the imagination and “see” and “hear” the world with all the senses in new and thought provoking ways. Join the pioneers in virtual worlds who are inspired by the spirit of Helen Keller to explore ways in which everyone can participate…and create a world that richer for all.

Please come and learn, connect, explore, be entertained, and pick up freebies while sharing this positive and uplifting experience with us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I was speaking to millay Freschi from Amnesty International in second life today who happened to come to Immersiva. I knew I would like her because she went right to the tower for the Daughter of Gears story and very stubbornly wanted to climb it. I mentioned that it was set to no fly there and it was hard to climb but she welcomed the challenge. Impressed I popped over to the Amnesty International site and was please to see a bunch of SL stuff there. And through this unlikely chain of events I found a video which reinforced my view that the art concept of Immersiva will be the future. I think I have mentioned before the idea of coming home from a terrible day at work and being able to plug into a customized world for oneself. A place to forget about everything and be at peace. Think of where you would love to be right now, be it either a sandy beach or fighting with King Arthur in some mystical battle. Imagine having your fantasy date there as well, fully customized to that which you find irresistible. Imagine having something to block out the real world so that you forget it even exists. Something to cover your eyes and ears so that the suspension of disbelief will not be broken.
Now this will be both good and bad technology and will tragically destroy many lives. It will be the strongest drug ever created. I imagine it could affect entire economies of countries due to its adverse effects on some people. We already have people addicted to Second Life and Second Life is merely the crude beginnings to what will come. But it will also create some of the greatest art mankind will ever know. Milo could be the prototype of your customized companion. But there would also be the Angelina Jolie for the men or perhaps the vampire Edward from the Twilight Saga for the ladies. It might be all cloud talk but humour me for a bit. This video is ridiculously advanced and exciting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hyperformalists

I was invited to an art event by the Pirats art network on Sunday. It is entitled The Museum of Hyperformalism. I am not sure if its a permanent museum to Hyperformalism but would be interesting if it were. I am fond of artists who have a distinct idea as to what they wish to achieve and isms often help that pursuit. There are many real life movements, styles and schools of thought that pop up over the ages. Personally I like the Ashcan school, Giacometti and the Existential artists, Calder and the Kinetic artists but there are many others I could mention as well. Then there are the big ones we have all heard of such as Cubism, Surrealism or Pop Art. Myself, I work in what I call Immersiva which you already know if you read this blog. Some others have begun to notice this as well such as Alpha Auer in NPIRL and here on Second Thoughts. in both cases they are recognizing the style.
We have in second life a new world which is beginning to have its own movements step forward. Movements which are unique to the medium. I am not talking about putting a jpeg of your painting on a prim and selling it. I am talking about the artists who look at what second life is and see what its unique building characteristics allow us to create. To see the things that separate Second Life from other mediums. Right now we are in a very crude form of metaverse art and the metaverse artist now struggles with a great deal of limitations ranging from scripting to basic building tools, but that's the fun in being on the frontier. We are not following anyone.
What is also very appealing to me is that most of the artists I know, the committed ones, don't see themselves as artists at all. They have a drive to create knowing the rewards will not be monetary in most cases, but rather its from an excitement at discovering breakthroughs, new ideas and concepts which drive them.
When I go to an art show I like to pick a personal favorite. Its more fun that way. In this show we have three talented artists. Comet Morigi, the rapidly improving Oberon Onmura and the the talented Selavy Oh. The winner for me was Selavy Oh's Frozen Moment. When you touch the block it breaks into tiny cubes and through scripting each part moves out like an explosion. Shortly after they begin their trajectory a second part to the script activates which freezes them again. In the video the space between the explosion and the freezing I believe was shortened by Selavy. I swear the first time I saw it yesterday they exploded quite a bit further outwards. This may have been changed for lag reasons or maybe because the cubes were leaving the sim... not sure why or maybe its just my imagination. Anyway, this is the SLurl to Pirats

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

26 Tines

I have a variety of machine poems I have written for Immersiva and I am slowly making films for them. This one is called 26 Tines and is of two robots who come together at night to find comfort with each other.

The laboratory is silent
The scientists gone
We have seven hours
Before the dawn

Come to me through the half-light
To my jar by the rack
Surrender your cord
To the adaptor on my back

26 tines
At the end of your cable
Connect you to me
So that we are able

To feel emotions drawn
Through the cables caress
And forget 'till the dawn
Our lonliness