Friday, December 31, 2010

some thoughts and ramblings

 Philip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life, had come back on a temporary basis after Mark Kingdom had stepped down as CEO of the company.  He was essentially looking for a new leader while steering the damaged ship.  Linden Labs in june had laid off 30% of their workforce, viewer 2 came out and bombed somewhat and land discounts to universities and non profits were eliminated.  On the positive side mesh imports are coming along, the company stood up and punished Emerald viewer (which I loved) for essentially using our computers as a tool to punish someone they didn't like.  They used our computers, without us knowing, to attack a website.  Emerald learned that despite their massive popularity they were not untouchable and everyone can be replaced.  Hello Phoenix. And the Second Life economy is somehow still strong despite spending years in this recession as a non essential form of entertainment.  Things are tight everywhere yet the virtual economy is still strong which is interesting. 
     So just last week Rod Humble, a former Electronic Arts executive, arrived.  And for me it shed some light on a few things here and there.  Mr Humble is a really accomplished person responsible for hundreds of popular games including the biggest of all time... the Sims.  I used to play the first sims a bit and for those of you unfamiliar with it,  you pretty much build a life and try to keep yourself happy.  It was addictive.  You would get a home, then furniture, eat, sleep, date, and find ways to become popular or not.  I used to put out an aquarium on the sidewalk outside my house to catch the people walking by.  I think I had a pinball machine outs there too.  I am not going to get too much into what that game was about but it is not too far removed from Second Life.  In SL people buy houses, then furnish, they go shopping for clothes, they date, explore, and sometimes work in SL. A little while ago LL gave each premium membership account a free house. I think LL have been watching and analyzing successful models like the sims and the thought was that by giving the user a house it begins the process of furnishing it, creating a community etc much like the Sims game.  However, SL is not a game.  But is it time to bring in game elements to SL for its survival?
     It seems everything out there right now revolves around a "rewards" model.  There are air miles for credit cards, Pepsi points and so on.  In games there are experience points for fantasy characters (Prior to working at Electronic Arts, Humble served as VP of Product Development for the MMO EverQuest), most facebook games work off the reward addiction too.  Even on many discussion forums everyone is given a title of newbie and the more you post the higher your title climbs to things like adept, master etc.  We pretty much just have the title of Noob in SL.  A very old resident from say 2002 is indistinguishable from everyone else unless you perv their profile.  Would these things help?  I have no idea.
   I did a post a while back when there were the rumours of Microsoft buying Second Life.  I got all excitable about making part of SL a place for online gamers to hang out before they start playing their games.  Have SL pre installed on an Xbox.  Then when someone wants to play against other people online from their living room, rather than finding a place to play by reading text about a game on the tv, you would instead log into the virtual world, hang out with friends in a home or something and then from there you would go join a game for say Halo 2.  You could play the game and then when you are done playing you might decide to go to a club in sl with those same friends or whatever.  Right now you turn on your Xbox, you go online and shoot people then when you are satiated you turn off your Xbox.  It could be better to turn on your Xbox, then enter a virtual world with an open ended, endless social platform which would be a middle area or staging point before you then proceed to play a game with friends.  From this point the possibilities would then become endless provided prim allotment for sims was increased to 45 000 and each sim could hold double the amount of avatars that we currently can.  Why do we need more prims? well if we want people buying things for their homes they should have an endless amount of space to furnish.  I don't think about the amount of prims I use when i work.  That is not how you create.  You build until you are done your creation then you check to see how many prims you needed to get there.  My work ranges from 100 prims to 1500 prims usually, with environmental builds like Standby being 14, 988 prims.  Right now a person rents an apartment in SL and gets say a 60 prim allotment.  Its pointless for them to buy my work and that is essentially why only art collectors and sim owners own my pieces.
   I want SL to succeed naturally, and while I wouldn't want SL to be a game, I have no problem with it evolving into a product with game elements.  Bloodlines is a vampire game in SL and its pretty big, but if you are not a player then generally are you even aware it exists?  As long as the professional side of SL remains and can be kept separate then by all means double the population of SL by combining it with Xbox users or whatever.  The purists will disagree with this no doubt, but the way I see it is that on the day Second Life shuts down operation, that is the day we cease to exist.  Some might say we could migrate to Open Sim and things like that, but the reality is they suck.  They really do.  I have taken projects on other grids before and its a nightmare because they are like SL only a buggier version of 3 years ago.  If they were identical to SL then that would be another story but they are not.  If you just work in non scripted prims then they are ok.  They have 45 000 prims and have cheap land which is awsome but I am here for creating and that has to be top notch in all areas.  If I were painting and someone took away my paint brush and said "I am afraid you will now have to paint with this here basketball" then that would be difficult to accept.  "Go on dear, dip the basketball in the paint, and rub it on the canvas its almost the same as a paint brush!"  In my mind that was said with a British accent which is much funnier.

I am going to start my top ten favorite builds from last year soon.  Here is a reminder of the elevensies from last year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Black Box Gallery


So this slurl won't seem to work for whatever reason. 

To find the gallery do a search for the avatar named Therese Carfago in Second Life.  In her picks at the top is BlackBox Gallery.  Just click that and you are there.

I have always been a bit resistant to 2D galleries in Second Life. The main reason is because I see virtual worlds as an art medium or tool which need not follow the "rules" of real life. For example, in Second Life we can fly. Why on earth do we create houses with stairs then? Stairs are something needed in RL due to gravity. We have no real gravity in sl. The reason why many of us follow the rules of real life in a virtual world is because it is how we attach meaning to the experience. For new people it might even be essential to create a sense of psychological comfort in the virtual environment in order to make the innitial experience less daunting.

It allows us to go within a comfort zone we can understand and recognize. If, for example, you meet a new avatar who has piercings, tatoos and a mohawk you take this visual stimulus and create a personality profile for them. They are the clues which help us understand who we are interacting with. It is what we do as humans in RL, and we take the same methods of interpretation into this virtual realm.
considering that about 50% of the people I know in SL are actually the opposite gender in SL to their RL, it seems this RL approach might be faulty. I know quite a few prominent "male" artists in SL who are actually female in RL. What you see in SL is often miles away from the person in RL. And that is exactly how it should be. When I first came to SL I created an avatar that looked like me in RL. It was the novelty of seeing myself as a cartoon character. It didn't take long for me to think what a complete and utter waste it was to be myself in a virtual world that allows for so much more. So I then became a great big white moth and eventually how I am seen now.

Back to the gallery. So I have always resisted traditional gallery compositions in SL because traditional galleries in RL suck donkey balls and its really not necessary to mimic that conservative way in which things are displayed. I have a much stronger dislike for showing paintings in SL because they lose so very much when exhibited in a virtual world. The rich colours, the texture and brush stroke... all gone. It would be like a musician composing a work, then channeling it though the speaker of one of those novelty musical gift cards that play when you open them. I don't mind paintings as additions to things, I mean I put my own paintings in many of my builds, but they are just background with the prim build being the main focus.
The Black box gallery is the creation of Therese Carfago and really is just her collection of art she likes in SL. Its been around a while and she has never told anyone it existed. Traffic is 0. It is one of the rare examples of a 2d based gallery in a traditional format which I like. Why? because the artwork she has chosen suits the virtual world. They are pieces created in Second Life and worked on in photoshop and gimp. They don't lose anything by being imported as a jpeg. She has also placed prim art here as well, which creates for a nice balance. We are seeing them as they are meant to be seen not as a watered down product that is far inferior to what we can find in RL. There are a few RL artworks as well but they also seem to work nicely due to the manner in which they were created in RL. For example, four Yip has one of her classic paintings there and due to her smooth brush strokes and blending it seems to translate better here. There are a few rare rl works by AM Radio as well. Anyway have a look if you wish to see a nice subtle gallery whose dark design really allows the artwork to stand out.

This below is how Therese describes her gallery.

"This is my new gallery dedicated to the artists I love the most. There is a permanent collection with works by AM Radio, Berta Liliehook, Bryn Oh, CapCat Ragu, Cestra Segall, ColeMarie Soleil, Del May, Four Yip, Glyph Graves, Haust, Kean Kelly, Keiko Morigi, Marie Lauridsen, Nevery Lorakeet, Sledge Roffo, Suzanne Graves, Thea Denja and Veronika Obviate. The main part of the gallery has rotating exhibitions, and right now you can see "Piano & Pearls" by Eva Grimes."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bob Barker and abandoned houses.

I think i mentioned a few months ago that I was going on vacation to work on Standby.
My brother gave me his time share which he wasn't going to use and so I decided to go to a ski resort called Blue Mountain ... without the snow. A ski resort with no snow is a very quiet place. They would have buffet breakfasts in the morning essentially for me, because I would be the only person there. It felt very decadent.
I think I may have also mentioned that I used to be involved with this Urban explorers group some years ago which involved getting into places you are not supposed to go to. Mostly abandoned spots that are interesting such as the Whitby psychiatric hospital (which is now demolished sadly) or closed subway stations you have to run down tracks to get to. All kinds of stuff. As a result I can't seem to drive past an abandoned building without trying to get inside to explore. What is even more fun is to drag my friends to these places and watch them get freaked out.
So I happened to have my video camera on me and filmed this abandoned house I found. I explored a second one too while i was there but forgot my camera that time.

One thing I would like from Linden Labs for Christmas...

Linden Labs are testing out a way for people outside SL (without Second Life being installed on their computer)to come in world to experience it. Currently they can do so with great results graphically, but can only stay for one hour and can only visit a few select sims. What I need is to be able to send out invitations via email to various people with a link they can click to come to my specific location in second life where I may have an exhibit. It would be an extremely easy way to bring people outside sl to see my work without requiring them to download and install the client, come inworld learn how to bugger about then eventually make their way to see my work. For example, suppose I were to apply for a grant for my SL artwork. Explaining SL and the virtual space is a real pain and time consuming, but if I were to be able to just supply a link or something similar, then they could easily just arrive and experience immediately. Direct to sl. It would also be nice if i could customize their viewer with sky settings and perhaps customize their avatar ahead of time as well... but perhaps I am asking too much for that.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bunch of topics


Chantal Harvey is well known for her machinima skill as well as her ability to organize large events such as the MMIF which last year was shown in a variety of locations to great success in both SL and in Amsterdam on a movie theater screen.  Grace is a beloved songstress who was also a mastermind behind Mummersion which was a unique musical performance whereby the audience was transported through different scenes during her performance.  Link here to see that.  Salome Strangelove wrote the lyrics to the song.

Chantal filmed the machinima in Standby and I think she did a wonderful job.

I was speaking to someone the other day and we were lamenting the problem with SL being a "closed garden".  I have heard this term in the past and adopted it along with everyone else.  A closed garden, for those of you outside SL and unfamiliar with the term, suggests that due to the problem with people having to download the software to enter second life, combined with work created in SL being difficult to showcase to the "outside" world, then we tend to not get attention for all the great stuff we are achieving.
This really is a new frontier in art and damn if only we could show people what we are doing.  But then I started thinking back to 2010 as we approach 2011.  I think the garden walls are coming down slowly.

For example Chantal, as I mentioned above, had a movie theater outside sl showing work we created here.  Tons of people and lots of attention.  Last year Caerleon art collective had a show in Boston at a gallery where myself and others were able to showcase our work.  There was the World Expo in Shanghai organized by the Spanish curator Cristina García-Lasuén.  That event at the Spanish pavilion highlighted our work to literally millions of guests.  I had machinima in Nuit Blanche as well as renowned director Peter Greenaway showcased our work in Warsaw, Poland earlier this month  and it appears Big Bang may become a traveling art show.  My work was shown in a variety of RL publications and we were covered by ART 21.  Oh and there was a machinima exhibit for Queensland University of Technology (images above) where Evo Szuyuan showed her machinima of 4Jetpacks4 a build I created a few years ago with Glyph Graves and Nonnatus Korhonnen.  And yes that is me on the cover of the catalogue and postcards.  What else?  Earlier this week was the Italian conference on Digital Innovation.  These are just things off the top of my head but across SL there are many stories like this I am sure.

Now combine this with the ability for guests to come into SL without having to download the client and the walled garden may be a thing of the past in a few years. If I now have a RL show with Bryn Oh then I will need a way for people to come see it without having to download SL. Not for the people who come to the RL gallery because really opening night numbers are fairly insignificant. A good opening for an artist is generally 40-80 people coming and god forbid you have a tornado on the night of your opening as I did last year, and the year before that? a snow storm. A gallery doesn't care if your big opening night was ruined by these types of things, they wont actually even remember. It comes down to sales, you have an opening night where you hope people buy, then after opening you have a trickle of people over the course of the month you show, with hopefully a few more sales. Then once your show is down it's another year of trickle sales until your next show. In one day on this blog alone I get more people than a typical gallery opening (depending on the gallery). They are not restricted to being locals, and generally are genuinely interested in ones work unlike the Thursday night gallery hop to get drunk of free red wine (which is fun btw). Things are changing with traditional news media slowly dying and being replaced by legions of information wizards using blogs, facebook, twitters and so on. They are average people who generally focus on things they understand and are interested in.

Before the car peoples lives were spent in a tiny radius. Driving an hour on the highway to visit family was probably out of the question for a horse and carriage. 120 kilometeres is about an hour which is not going to happen for walking or riding a horse. Bicycle, car, plane, jet and now internet. It's not so much physical travel anymore but mind travel. And I think this type of mind travel will supplant most things.

Next time someone starts bemoaning the walled garden I think I might be done agreeing.

There is also some other news I just worked out today.  I met the director of the gallery which represents me, and after a long talk we might be removing me the RL painter from the gallery and adding Bryn Oh to take my place.  I have long said that eventually my goal was to have Bryn Oh be represented by a RL gallery as herself.. a digital character.  As far as I know the only virtual world artist represented by a RL gallery.  The gallery will have its traditional stock of flesh and blood artists and one cartoon with no connection to a rl person.  I just find that fascinating I don't know why.  It naturally sucks to have me in RL removed from the gallery as I need that financially, but hopefully I will find another gallery to show my work.  The thing is that Bryn Oh must remain anonymous and so that's how it has to be.

So hopefully sometime next year Bryn will have a show at the gallery and it will be a combination of my machinima, maybe projectors allowing the viewers to go through my SL builds and I will also put in my encaustic music box insects which you can see here...

So I can't really commit to Bryn Oh more than that :)  It's either a catastrophic mistake to remove me in RL and switch to Bryn or it might get Bryn closer still to being in art history books because she will now be officially represented in RL (provided I can work out a good way to exhibit with her).  And wouldn't that be cool. I already know students study bryn in art schools somewhere because the students often come up to me in SL and say they just did a class on Bryn.   Another good thing is that I can now sell my paintings privately without giving half to the gallery.  So if you are looking for a painting ....

Anyway that was my day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Digital Cafe on RAI - conference on digital innovation

I spoke to Christina Cilli, an Italian theoretician and curator of VR art, and she asked to interview me on an Italian tv channel named RAI.  Starting from December 5th they are going to have a yearly conference on digital innovation and I get to be on the inaugural one.  They will do a 20 min segment on Bryn Oh and it will be held at my new build Standby on IBM.  It will start at 5pm Italian time... which is 11 am for me.. and 8am SL time.
     So this is how it works if I understand correctly, if you are outside Italy you can go to the website of RAI and watch it there.  Here is the link... Digital Cafe
   If you find yourself with nothing to do tomorrow then that is an option.  It is a 2 hour show and should be quite interesting.  I really wish that I spoke Italian because I am a wee bit confused,  but if you do miss it then I imagine I can post the interview here in a few days. 

Here is the google translation from the website.

 I am hand soap wearing Second Life stink punch.  Artists jumping fly dragon love.  Woot event we all happy run run.  Bryn Oh cartoon IBM oven set on high!Flying machine gun angry rabbit :(

 Ha just kidding.  SL translators are so crap but this one below seems to be ok.

Sunday, Dec. 5 hours17.00 Virtual Worlds: the new avant-garde art and cultureSpeakers: Francesca Marinetti Barbi, Marco Cadioli, Franco Fabbri, Maryva Mayo, Mayo Merlin, Federico Mollicone, Bryn Oh, Patrizia Nofi. Coordinators: Marina Bellini, Christina Cilli Posted by: Bellini M.
Virtual worlds, particularly Second Life, now offer a large range of communication and dissemination, as well as new spaces for art installations, immersive experience. Some of the players of Second Life will show the details and trends that are revolutionizing the field of art, but also through the dissemination of scientific and cultural conferences in 3D - MiC - Museums in Rome Capital City "- the shows turned into real installations virtual. - The premonitions of Technology Futurist: it speaks the nephew of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. - Marco Manray: from Second Life at MACRO - Burn, Pirats, Carleon: the great collective events of international art - Storytelling and poetry in the facilities of Bryn Oh - I "Science Café" Thales Flanagan)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Mayfly" at Split-Screen installation space

Today Dividni opens his new installation space called Split-Screen. It is a space that will be available to artist for exhibition opportunities and quite possibly accompanied by his personal interpretation of the works. Dividni is an investigative reporter of the highest caliber as can be seen by this article here
I am just teasing but I really do enjoy his interpretations of SL art.

So in a time of diminishing art spaces its nice to see a new one opening dedicated to showcasing the arts. This is Dividnis post on Split-Screen with info should you like to contact him with a proposal to exhibit there.

My build is called Mayfly and is shown in the machinima above.. I would encourage you to put in the sky setting as I find it loses alot in midday sky. But pretty much try all the skies you like as it holds up quite well under most. This build for me was a desire to create something windlight friendly. I have in the past created builds with specific sky settings that blend colours to how i want them, but I have found that many don't put them in or the build doesn't hold up well if not viewed in the specific sky i build it in. So this one is versatile.

The build was inspired by my fascination with the poetic life of the Mayfly. Living in the mud for years but transforming into a winged entity, reborn without even a mouth to feed, and lives for just one day or even just hours with the ability to fly. Its beautiful really. Here is my poem for her.

The Mayfly lives under rock and stone
or dying plants left in decay
born an orphan she lives alone
from the mud she rarely strays

She lives this life for several years
In water dark 'till fully grown
one day her body disappears
reborn, her mouth's both closed and sewn

On her back she sprouts some wings
in ecstasy flies to the sky
for just one day she spends with Kings
for night demands that she must die.

The second portion to split screen hosts a build by the talented Miso Susanowa.  Misos work often reflects on earlier stages of computer or internet history.  Ranging from the time of LPMUDs, DikuMUDs, MUSHes, LAMDAMoo's and so on to the current stage we are at in Second Life.  Miso is quite an entertaining person to speak with and has many a good story to tell so I would encourage you to speak with her about it.

Split-Screen will also have a small shop which allows the artists to sell the odd thing with no commission.  It's always nice to eat food so that will be a welcome addition.

I am going to add the SLURL here in a few hours.
and here it is...   Mayfly

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Big Bang" with Peter Greenaway

A few months ago I spoke to Rose Borchovski about a large project involving the European director Peter Greenaway.
A very talented man who has created iconic movies such as The Cook, the thief, his wife and her lover, Drowning by Numbers, the Pillow Book winner of awards at Cannes and so on. A really great man who says exactly what he thinks. I mean, at a recent machinima event where he gave out awards in SL, he started off by saying he was disappointed in most of the submissions. It wasn't said with a mean spirit but rather just his honest reaction. And he then went on to say why. I loved it. This project is called "Big Bang" and was shown last week. click the link to the website and you will see the Daughter of Gears and the Rabbicorn with Susa Bubble on the main page. Furthermore, if you navigate the website you will see many SL artworks combined with the RL performers in the Gallery section.
My personal contribution was to build a set for the creation myth of Pan Gu. The bones in this video for Soleil show part of the set. Other than that just supplying a variety of sculptures for filming. Other contributors from Second Life ranged from Machinima for use in the film to artwork and were BobE Schism, Toxic Menges, Mescaline Tammas, Saskia Boddeke aka Rose Borchovski, soror Nishi, Elif Ayiter, Alpha Tribe, four Yip, Kriss Lehmann, Madcow Cosmos, Oriolus Oliva, Steff Ling, Werner Kurosawa and Amael Juran.
It was a huge undertaking by all with Rose Borchovski being the driving force behind the entire project. Rose is a very accomplished person in RL, and without her involvement Second Life, and all the artwork involved, would not have been in the project. It was similar with Aino Baar / Cristina García-Lasuén and the World Expo machinima I posted about over the last 6 months. Without Aino securing our involvement in RL, there would have been no machinima at the Spanish pavilion.
I don't know if I can explain what happened in the RL event. It involved a combination of dancers and cinema projected on a massive wall in Warsaw, Poland. Actually, I am going to post the notecard Rose gave me.


The story of the beginning of the Universe, the triumph of the human mind and the search for answers.

A multimedia crossover project to celebrate the opening of the Science Museum: Centrum Nauki Kopernik, on the 5th- 6th and 7th of November in Warsaw.
We make a 45-minute journey backwards from now: 2010 - to the start of the Universe – to the initial Big Bang… The beginnings.

Man has arrived at the time he can make his own man-made Big Bang – which could be of the greatest value to Mankind as the ultimate energy source or it could be the ultimate destruction of Mankind in self-made-annihilation. In the pursuit of this objective – ultimate survival or ultimate destruction - with all the relevant physical and all the relevant moral problems – mankind has educated himself to try to understand how the Universe started and how Life began. The current thinking is with The Big Bang. Indeed, the pursuit of the Micro-Big-Bang has educated us how to understand the Macro-Big-Bang.

This “Travel Backwards” will be a 45-minute after-dark light and projection show with live music, live performance and the cinema arts, using the facades of the new Kopernik Building.

It is a search of Susa Bubble (an animated androgynous Second-life character) to answer the questions: -Why are we here? -What is it all about? -Where are we going?
But what puzzles her most is: -Why is there something? -Why is there not nothing?

To find an answer to Susa’s soul-searching questions we travel
through 7 world mythic accounts of creation. Mythologies from China, New Zealand, Mayan, African ,Greek and Israel. We end with our most recent “myth” -The Big Bang.
These myths will be represented by the animation of Second life and
Real life footage, music and poetry related to their respective backgrounds.
We choose strongly to connect to a new media like Second life because Second Life is like a new universe created on the web.

After the final Big Bang has been accomplished on all the screens after the 45 minute program - there is a live finale with projections representing a CELEBRATION OF MANKIND – We show a compilation of what we call the faces of the world ( stills and moving images) and after that we connect it strongly to the Kopernik Museum and its purposes.

There will be a large choreographed dance of white costumed performers who will appear from behind the audience; they carry 50 different sized white balloons (illuminated from inside) with them. The dancers will converge choreographically through the audience towards the museum accompanied by the live music and the faces of the world.

For the complete credits of the project please visit the website:

Images of the set up on location:


I was going to post a reference letter that Mr. Greenaway wrote for me because well.... a reference letter from Peter Greenaway is pretty cool, and he said some really nice things about the importance of Bryn Oh. But i asked some friends if that would be wrong to do and they seemed to think it might be considered conceited to post something like that. So naturally I ignored them and asked some other friends in the hope that they would have the opposite opinion thus encouraging me to post it. Sadly they didn't. So I won't post it.
Instead I think I will embarrass BobE Schism with a story he told me. BobE filmed a great deal of the machinima for the event including my spot. He gave the editor 300 gigs of footage if I remember correctly.

So Mescaline and BobE stayed with Rose for a bit while working on this project and one day he met Mr Greenaway. Now little did he know, but Mr Greenaway was off galavanting somewhere and fell fracturing his arm. Before Mr Greenaway went to the doctor he came to the house and came across a very excited BobE who proceeded to take his fractured arm and shake it vigorously for an extended period. This is generally known as a handshake unless you have a fractured arm in which case it is then known as torture. I love stories where people do things which mortify them. I think that is because I regularly do them myself and it sets my mind at ease to know that I am not the only social tornado on the planet.

The last thing I did similar to that was when I was setting up my artwork at a gallery with the director. There was another artist showing with me who worked in very detailed glass sculpture. I had to place one of my paintings in the front window, walking past the area he was setting up and wouldn't you know it but I stepped on one of his fine glass sculptures and crushed it. I will never forget the crunching sound and the very still silence afterwords as everyone stared at me. The sculpture was worth $4000. I later gave him a card I made up which said he had one free keying (scratching with a car key) of any artwork of mine whenever he chose to do so. He has not used the card yet.

Anyway, I digress, so this was the Big Bang event and there is potential good news as it may become a traveling art performance. It was intended to be a one time show but there has been great interest so hopefully that all works out. Unfortunately, if it becomes a traveling show I wont be able to post the video of the event here for a while but when I can I will.

Below is the video showing some of the Pan Gu sim I built for it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Machinima by Cole


ColeMarie Soleil is one of the top machinima artists in virtual worlds. She is constantly being commissioned to make a variety of videos for clients and almost never listens to their direction. There is a great strength in those with the ability to turn down paying jobs if the subject or direction is not to their liking, not to mention if its a client with an attitude. In our first life the client is always right, or so we are told. The client would argue that they are paying and therefore have all the say. In first life business and social interaction to business have been analyzed to the extent that it reflects closer to a conveyor belt mentality than the exchange of ideas.
For example earlier today I heard an interview on CBC where the interviewer asked a question which I now forget. The person being interviewed first said "what a great question!" before going into his response. I have heard this "what a great question" comment many many times over the last few years which makes me think someone with a psychology degree has determined that by validating a question before you answer it either makes the interviewer more apt to work with you during the interview, or perhaps it encourages the listener to think the response is particularly important or rare because the interviewer did a good job in asking something astute. It doesn't necessarily mean the question was "great", it just means the person being interviewed wants to place more emphasis on the importance of their response and that they know and like the response they plan on giving. What becomes kind of weird is that they both must understand the game they are playing while doing the interview.
I recall a few months back both Cole and I being asked to do an interview on the history of machinima for something. I remember thinking the questions were kind of bad, but I tried to answer them anyway. One question asked me what I thought were my own "masterpieces" and why. I responded by saying I didn't really feel comfortable calling anything a masterpiece and that I would likely look pretty conceited if I answered the question as they posed it, and would they mind if I skpped that one. I told Cole this and she sent me her response to the same questions. It went something like this... "I am not answering this question because it is stupid". "This question is silly as you clearly have done no work in learning the history of machinima up to this point, do some research." It went on like this for a bit then she eventually said that she didn't want to be one of the "experts" in their interview. Its the volatile nature of ColeMarie and I love it.

I actually just wanted to show a machinima Cole just made of my build at IBM, but got a bit sidetracked.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was going to write a post on a Peter Greenaway project I am involved with this week but something more important has come up. It's actually pretty cool and I will blog it in the next week or so.

Tezcatlipoca Bisani is a much loved purple wolf in Second Life. He is an incredibly intelligent and funny person who has achieved amazing things in his life yet is the type to never speak of them, as he is too modest. A few years ago Tez went to Puerto Rico to work in shelters. There he found a street dog whom he fell in love with. Her name is Marisol and Tez brought her home to Boston with him when he came back.
On November 2nd a dog walker took Marisol along with four other dogs to Middlesex Fells reservation in Boston where a Pit Bull attacked her. Another dog stepped in to help Marisol and was savagely mauled and is now in the hospital. Marisol fled and has not been seen since.

This is a link to a map with info on where Marisol has been spotted.
Middlesex Fells

And this is a site that has been put up to help find Marisol.

Tez has been searching for Mari and has even hired a bloodhound to try to track her but to no avail. I had a pet dog who disappeared one day and I know the terrible feeling that brings. If anyone can think of some way to help Tez find Marisol, either by donating to rent the bloodhound again or if you are in the area and wish to have a walk about looking then please do so. I really wish I could do more to help.

Tez is the purple wolf in this machinima I made a few years ago.

hahah none of them knew why I was filming them. I am so evil.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Standby is now open at IBM Exhibit A

Standby is now open at IBM exhibit A.

Standby is the third and final part to the Rabbicorn story. I strongly suggest you watch these two machinima if you are unfamiliar with the story. Better yet would be to go through the builds themself.

I have put both the Rabbicorn story and the Daughter of Gears physical builds on Immersiva.

I have also written up both on my blog where you can watch the machinima if you prefer to do it that way.

The post on the Daughter of Gears

The post on the Rabbicorn story

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Standby opening November 1st at IBM exhibit A

The third and final part to the Rabbicorn story entitled "Standby" will open at IBM Exhibit A starting November 1st. There will be a performance by the band Soleil to open the event. Join my inworld group Immersiva for more info on times etc but I will also add them here in a few days.

If you know of any groups or such which might be interested in this then please post the info with them or embed the trailer above or whatever you like. If you would like a media package then contact me in world and i can send you one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Soleil and Skye


 One of the great things about Second Life is its ability to connect people with similar tastes from all parts of the world.  In some cases these connections can turn into collaborations.  One such collaboration is between two great musical talents.  One is Colemarie Soleil who is a type of modern Renaissance man .. so I guess Renaissance woman.  She works in everything from machinima, fashion and particles to music.  She can often be found performing in her group Cole's Corner.  Tasuku Ghost previously lead a band named Grass Ark Parade and recently the two combined to make a supergroup called Soleil.  I created the machinima above to showcase one of their original songs.  So without SL we can safely say they likely would never have connected, seeing as Cole is from the USA and Tasuku is from Japan.  What I also find fascination is that SL as a tool allowed them to meet yet also communicate using a translator.  Originally they could barely communicate with one another and the music came out as the language.  They both are making great strides to learn each others language but I just really like the unique way SL has allowed them to work together.
     There really is a great deal of musical talent in Second Life and one recent example was for the Live4Pakistan benefit where Skye Galaxy called in to play a song.  The event had a bunch of musicians performing but at one point Imogen Heap was unable to play as she was caught in a hurricane.  This was a bit catastrophic for the host Ze Frank who put out a call out to the listeners to come forward and play.  I mean you can imagine how risky that could have been, imagine if I called in and sang?  it would have been like someone let a donkey loose in the room.  Below is the live recording of what happened when Skye offered to sing.  He blew the host away not to mention everyone who was listening.  Apparently everyone was twittering "who is Sean Ryan?"

I am going on vacation for a week this sunday, so if anyone needs to contact me please leave a notecard in world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Too much coffee

So this is my second post in one day which means I really have had too much coffee.  Anyway straight to the point.  I read an interesting article on Dusan Writers blog about why he believed LL isn't about to sell.  One of the rumours floating about lately has been that Microsoft have been making overtures into buying Second Life.  Dusan said something that got my mind going though.  He spoke about investors or buyers potentially having a user base of their own to combine with SL.  Here is what I wrote on Dusans blog...

"Really interesting post Dusan and something you said made me start thinking. I will preface a bit, many of my friends play video games regularly and most do so online. They play against people from around the world and often use voice. But there is no real social environment for this. I also read a while back that the video game market has surpassed Hollywood in revenue. I remember reading that in one month World of Warcraft made more than the entire run of the first Iron Man movie. So when you mentioned Microsoft as a partner who could bring in existing users to SL as a product, then it made me think of XBOX live. This might be fantasy daydreaming but imagine taking online gaming to the next level where you don’t just go online when you want to play, but rather live in a social environment like SL and combine that with the opportunity to play while there. Combine the social aspects that SL has mastered with the massive appeal of online gaming. I could almost envision my groups of friends horsing around in the virtual environment for hours before deciding to play XBOX games or whatever. I don’t know if I am explaining myself very well, but rather than separating being online only when you want to play a game, to being online regularly in a virtual world built to accomodate the successful elements that already exist in sl, (relationships, user creativity etc) with the mass appeal of social online gaming that currently has no real social atmosphere to hang out in. Anyway just a thought."

Then I began daydreaming a bit more and started to see some more connections.  So here are a few more things.  When my friends play games the games themself often have elements where you bling up your character.  So for example in Tiger Woods golf they buy new shirts and shoes and stuff.  In other games they unlock logos or emblems to put on their character.  I asked once whats the big deal in unlocking those logos and they told me they do nothing at all they are just cosmetic things.  So that means players just like to dress up their characters.  SL lets you dress up too in a big way.  I could see people going shopping with friends or alone more like RL for these same additions but in the Second Life economy rather than by the game itself.  Another thing is that with mesh it would not be too difficult to use our SL avatars in any game the Xbox makes.  It would just be sticking the golf swing animations into our avatars instead and letting us upload them to the game.  Not rocket science.
     If you go to the video game store near to you then you will see that PC games are relegated to a tiny sliver of space now with Playstation, Wii and Xbox ruling.  Makes no sense because none of them can compete with the raw computing power or graphics of a good PC.  What is killing PC games slowly is that they are solitary.  You play alone at  your PC where the other consoles are social.  There are up to four players unless you link up more and then you are all in the same room or you can use the internet to link up.  So I think the social aspect is extremely strong and will trump pure graphics and quality.  SL is if anything a social platform.
     Another thing is that apparently gamers are not kids.  They are adults with money with a huge chunk in the range of 30-40 year olds.  SL already is mostly adults and business, educators etc, so combining a new user group that already has money to a functioning economy sounds like a good idea to me.
If the future of humanity is going to include a virtual world which is an integral part to everyday life, then I could totally see combining these two things right now.

Here are a few things Dusan said that I have taken from his blog....

- There are two things that will drive the valuation of Second Life. First, it’s a social media platform. It connects people. Key to this is that when it connects people, it does so at a level of engagement that can’t be matched.
- Second, it has the largest virtual goods market in the world. Virtual goods are the future and we see it with Zynga and we see it in the fact that the market has grown to exceed a billion dollars.
- As a social media platform with a large virtual goods market, we’re sitting on gold. The problem is, we need more users. And in order to get more users, we need to get more people in and we need to make that fast and easy to do.

Another thing I have often wondered is when the first video game star would arrive.  Right now people watch the worlds top athletes perform on TV.  We cant really associate with them because we are average human beings with normal genetics.  They are separate from us in that they are generally way out of our league in ability.  We can't really associate with them.  But in the video game world I think we could all be a bit closer in skill, which then should make it more appealing.  Training involves buying the game and playing it. When someone beats you in a game you can appreciate their skill on a first hand basis because you understand the skills needed to succeed.  Its no longer abstract and unattainable.  But how could someone become a video game superstar? first you would need a venue with enough users to hype the results worldwide.  That's what SL could be.  It has around 1 million users log in each month and if you combined those users with the online video game population you suddenly have a market where video game sport could thrive.  To be a recognizable star in video games you need to stand out with a character that is distinguishable from all the other competitors.  The nature of SL as a creative economy allows for just that, and if you cant buy the look you want then make it yourself or commission it.  Ok I can't blog all day.  I am actually going to see Ronnie Burkett tonight who is a brilliant Marionettist? puppeteer?   Look him up and go see him if you ever have the chance he is amazing.


 I was hoping to write about Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield's build "Ripple" a few months ago, but got bogged down in a variety of things which kept delaying it.  Fortunately I am not a blogger who is expected to post  the story as it happens.  I sometimes post well after it has happened and people are on the verge of forgetting about it, they say "WTF you are so way behind strange person! now we must fight to the death!".  A kind of second wave reminder blogging.  A very crappy form of twitter, but with videos!
Blitter or Twogger.  I made up the part about fighting to the death btw.  Oh here is a tidbit of info about me which is mildly interesting.  I have a black belt in Shotokan karate.  My parents put me in karate at a young age and well speaking of fighting to the death reminded me that I like to punch people in the guts sometimes.
I am in a fairly random mood today much like a flock of startled pigeons, so I will get back to Ripple.
Vaneeesa Blaylock wrote a great article about them on her blog I Rez, Therefore I Am.  So I won't expand on this teams  history building together in Second Life, but yes they have worked together for years now and this is merely their latest work in a line of compelling builds.

Ripple fits in a bit with the post I did a little while back about Thoth Janzen's Simplexity.  It has that borderline connection to Demoscene without being intentionally connected to it.  Rather they could step over the line into making demoscene work if it were something they were interested in.


What I particularly like about Ripple is the scripting.  When you touch somewhere on the wall it will trigger an outward ripple effect from that point, with each layer of prims hosting video on them to change and twirl depending on how you have set them up to react.  Its great scripting work and the entire build revolves around that effect.  The way I almost see Ripple is as a demonstration of technology they as a team have created.  Where they essentially say that this is a taste of what you can do now take it and fill a sim.  Make a flock of birds like this or use it for business.  Its the type of wow factor that would be perfect to impress non slers who come into sl for business meetings.  Too many companies that come here recreate their office building with that large boring meeting room avec glass table.  If a person comes into SL to meet with someone from another city to speak on a future project, its true they have saved on plane fare and hotel accommodations, but they have not really progressed to a better tool than video conferencing.  I think part of the strength of sl for business is of course the 3D environment but also the ability to conduct business where once that other person logs off their head is spinning a bit from being in a completely foreign environment than what they are used to.  Make them step back into reality and realize that the company they just dealt with just blew them away with something completely new to their senses.  Naturally you would have to balance between distracting the person from what you are saying, but that is all about building composition within the experience.  Peter Greenaway said something I found interesting the other day while he spoke here in SL.  He started off by saying that Cinema is dead and that he was disappointed in the machinima he came to see, I absolutely loved his non pandering style. But what he said that I found interesting was that artists often work around 2-3 main ideas over their entire life and that the vast majority of people have no ideas at all.  Look at the businesses in SL who have come from RL and you will see that most really don't have any creativity.  They come to SL and build garbage then look at what they have created and base the possibilities of SL off of their own trash.  Pay the experts to build your product in this virtual world, people like Desdemona and Douglas and many many others.

Its the change of seasons that makes me hyper I think, also a giant coffee.  I am going to stop typing now because I was just about to start chatting on my caterpillar who I filmed over the last few weeks turning into a monarch butterfly.    I think I need to run around for a bit.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Part three - Standby

Below is the trailer for the final chapter of the Rabbicorn story which will open at IBM on November 1st.

It is bittersweet for me to finish the story of the Rabbicorn. I have been working on it for the last few years and really almost everything I do in Second Life is connected to it in some way. I will continue to elaborate on some of the secondary stories tied to it with the main one being where Mr Lightbulb and Zinger the rocket dog fit into the story. This will take me another year or so, but Standby will be the last to directly talk about the Rabbicorn and Daughter of Gears. Its been therapeutic for me as well as a pleasure to see how many of you love the Rabbicorn and Daughter the same as I do. I really hope you like the final chapter and I will do a post at the end of the month with more info on landmark etc.

Trindolyn Beck made this tribute to the Rabbicorn recently and I wanted to show it here.  Kind of reminds me of a character from that movie 9.  He also made one of my avatar once and it was weirdly cool.  It was like a human version of Bryn.  Trindolyn is a very talented artist and does commission portrait work if you ever wanted to see your avatar built like this.  He did a great job of ColeMarie Soleil too I recall.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Part two - The Rabbicorn

Just over a year ago I created the second part to the Rabbicorn story for IBM. The idea was to introduce the Rabbicorn and midway through the narrative show that she lives in the same world as my other creations, most importantly the Daughter of Gears. All the narratives on Immersiva are tied together. From Lady Carmagnolle, Angler Girl, Mr Lightbulb, Zinger the rocket dog to Willow. Condos in Heaven, Vessel's Dream and 26 tines. Some have been introduced while others like Mr Lightbulb and Zinger have a whole story yet to do. Each fits along a timeline. For example, the Daughter of Gears story happens 100 years before the Rabbicorn story.

The second part to the story goes like this. A scientist works within the government creating machines of war. Each day he tried to find new weapons and programs each for hunting and killing. When alone at home he begins to build a robot companion for himself. One which can love and think, something unique and unnecessary in the realm of war. He creates the Rabbicorn. Part Rabbit part unicorn. Something both living and extinct or perhaps a myth.

Once the Rabbicorn was completed and he saw what was created, he realized that if the Government ever discovered her she would be removed to be studied or taken apart. They would see her as property with an interesting ability to love. They would dispassionately study her like they would a bug under a microscope. So the Scientist takes a great gamble and gives her to a man who in passing mentions it is his sons birthday. The man gladly accepts and doesn't realize what the Rabbbicorn is, he sees her as a big toy robot. This is the first separation for the Rabbicorn, and her heart, which is the music box on her back, slows and ceases to turn.

She is brought to the mans home and placed in a wrapped giftbox. In the morning the boy finds her and the Rabbicorn imprints on the boy. They become great friends and the gentle Rabbicorn will do anything for him except fight, she understands the concept yet it is not in her programming.

For 90 years they were together, with the Rabbicorn never changing while the boy aged to an old man. One day Scientists arrive at their door hearing rumours of the fabled Rabbicorn. When they see her enter the room one tags her with a GPS gun. The old boy pushes them aside and tells his Rabbicorn to flee and never come back. The Rabbicorn does and easily escapes all the guards into a world she knows nothing about, and again her heart stops its turning as she leaves the only life she knew.

After a few days she comes to a large abandoned tower, and at the top she finds the Daughter of Gears shutdown and in standby for a hundred years. The Rabbicorn connects to the Daughter of Gears with a cable and joins her in the white of her dreams. Again her heart begins to turn as she finds a companion who doesn't age and who also has the capacity to love. An outcast like her who doesn't fit inside this world they are forced to live in.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rabbicorn story part one - The Daughter of Gears

For the next few weeks I am going to recap the Rabbicorn story for those of you who are unfamiliar or unaware of it.  As I reflect on my time in Second Life I believe this to be my favorite work.
     The Daughter of Gears was a narrative I thought up after being asked to build something for Rezzable's Black Swan sim.  Black Swan was a wonderful sim filled with the creations of Light Waves / Starax who was a pioneering artist in Second Life.  Sadly much of his work is slowly fading from the Grid but there are some dedicated art collectors who possess pretty much everything he made.
    So when I was asked to build something for Black Swan in December of 2008, it was very flattering for me as I didn't think it was even possible to have something other than a Light Waves sculpture there.  I saw him as the greatest artist in Second Life and I was terrified of ruining his sim.  At that time myself and four Yip were being hyped like mad everywhere and there was a sense of pressure to constantly improve over every build. I sat down and spent a great deal of time watching the sim to determine what might fit.  Black Swan itself was full of traps and obstacles.  It felt like there could be a story there, but it had none.  Why are there traps here? who are they trying to keep out? there was no narrative so I devised one.
    Soon the narrative began to morph into a story about myself.  A loose diary hidden behind the veil of robots.  A reflection on melancholy and dreams, hopes and fears.  With Second Life being my own personal Standby.   Anyway, I know many of you have English as a second language, so its difficult enough without me having composed the whole story as a poem.  Right now I will just tell the story without all the poems.

There once was a young girl who was very sick.  She grew progressively worse as her mother helplessly watched.  The idea of losing her daughter drove her to a drastic experiment.  As her daughter lay dying she transferred her soul into a vessel to create a now living machine.  A machine with the scared mind of a young child.  What she had done could not remain a secret, and there were many who felt the Daughter was an abomination.  A slight against nature.  Fearing the worst, the mother creates a land of traps and obstacles to protect them, and brings her Daughter of Gears to the top of a tower.  A mob builds and in their perceived righteousness they come to the tower to take the Daughter.
     They eventually reach the top to find the mother waiting.  She will never let them take her Daughter and fights them with a great fury.  She defeats them all, but is wounded mortally in doing so.  As she lay dying she looks to her Daughter and realizes that she will now live alone in this tower.  A child robot who doesn't age, therefore living eternally in loneliness.   An outcast who can not fit in.  After her mother dies the Daughter goes into Standby mode much like a computer does.  In her Standby she relives all the memories of her mother and dreams new ones.  One hundred years go by as she stands rooted to the top of the tower.  Vines grow around her feet while the tower slowly deteriorates, but she hides within her standby and dreams.

They call her obscene
They call her a blight A mob slowly builds
In the dark of the night

My daughter of gears
Transistors and moss
She resembles to all
The one that I lost

They come to the tower

To take her from me
Our bond if from love
But that they can't see
My knees shake and tremble  
Awaiting the worst
But to get to my daughter

They must get by me first

Poem two

Eyes of cerulean mirrored by mine
To my daughter I hide my grieving

Behind me the vessel chimes
Knowing that she will soon be leaving

Shallow breaths quiet sighs

Tesla cracks nascent mother
The vessel slowly opens her eyes

Across the room my reborn daughter

Poem three

Fluttering Heart
Nervous start

I know not what to do

Skin like lace

A child's face
Eyes of cerulean blue

Your whisper of gears

Bring out my tears

From the shattering of a dream

The confused eyes

Of my love who died

Whom I bound to a machine

Poem four (from the daughter of gears)

When you pulled the cables away
And I looked deep in your eyes
That was my first day
But you did not realize
That you were imprinted on my heart

Zeroes and ones in digital blue

And when you finally did part

I would stay and think of you

You fought them like a spark

But on that day you did die

And when you went into the dark
I put myself on stand-by

So I could dream of how
Your love kept them from me  
But I am alone now
For eternity

Poem five (in stand-by)

Inside here
They won't find
The memories
Stored in my mind

Inside here
Just me and you

A love so pure
And always new

Inside here
A reality I've prepared
For you to hold my hand
When I am feeling scared

Final poem by the window in stand-by

Outside is a breeze
And a swaying of trees

The curtain blows
In and out my window
I remember the breaking of glass
From far in the past
The mob found what they sought

You squeezed my hand then you fought

Your last day

Now faded away
Just my memories and me
And the swaying of trees
If you wish to experience the Daughter of Gears story  I have placed it on my world expo sim Utopia one - no love .  Its pretty difficult and I would suggest you do it with a friend so that if you fall you can be tp'd back.  The idea was for the participant to slowly unravel the narrative by finding these poems as they climbed the tower, and once they reach the top to realize that they are one of the mob.  Next week I will talk about the second part - The Rabbicorn.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

World Expo - No Light

This was a bit fortunate.  I was approached by the great machinimatographer Bobe Schism over a month ago to build a set for the Chinese creation myth of Pan Gu for a Peter Greenaway project.  I wanted a large area to build this and so decided to delete the fifth island for the World Expo and build there.  I deleted the island and built the bones of a large sprawling dead dragon.  Shortly afterwords I sat down to think of what blog posts I had to do in the future and realized that one of them was the fifth island for the world expo which I had just removed.  Gah!  Sadly this isn't terribly uncommon for me but the next part was.  You see I had taken footage of the build months ago! yes I had planned ahead and then forgotten I had planned ahead.  So I have taken all those raw files and made this machinima for the island and hope you like it.

I am going to do a post about the upcoming project with Mr Greenaway, but its full of wonderful SL talent.  If you would like to see the sim created for this project then here is the SLURL

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pop Art Lab - Art Breaker

There is a really great event coming up this saturday which is called Art Breaker and was set up by Pop Art Lab.  PAL is perhaps the premier music venue in Second Life whose intent is not only to showcase both indie and established musicians but to also foster different connections within the community of Second Life.  Art Breaker is a means for music and visual art to combine in the same venue.  On the music side it has great musicians such as Skye Galaxy and Tasuku Ghost but also combines some bands I am unfamiliar with such as The Dead Heathers and Engrama who I am really looking forward to hearing.  The virtual art side is similar in that I know the work of Miso Susanowa and Misprint Thursday yet am looking forward to seeing some artists whose work I don't know  so well such as Abstract Baroque and Sunn Thunders.  Its the perfect event for me personally as I get to see and hear work from artists I know and love as well as getting to learn about new ones.  Below is the press realease created by the very hard working ClausUriza.  He has worked extremely hard on this project and if you have the means please help him promote with a twitter or blogpost or whatever.  He would really appreciate that I imagine.

Media contacts:
Claus Frisenberg Povlsen
Pop Art Lab
Phone 0045 2616 2550

Pop Art Lab - Virtual Art & Music Venue in Second Life

For immediate release

On Sept. 4th 2010, Pop Art Lab, a virtual music venue in Second Life, will open Art Breaker, a two month exhibition of interactive digital artwork by eight of the most famous and prolific Second Life artists. The opening event will mix speakers, artists introduction and live music, in a world class, not-to-be-missed event.
The event and exhibition is a partnership between the Nordic Virtual Worlds Network (NWVN), Treet.TV and Pop Art Lab.

Art Breaker: Two month exhibition of interactive digital art - An established music venue in Second Life, Pop Art Lab will host a major event starting on the 4th of September, 2010. This event, titled "Art Breaker", is a collaboration of eight major Second Life artists. They have been challenged to set up an exhibition made of visual and sound art, aimed at being interactive and reactive to the visitor. The artists are (Second Life names): Bryn Oh, Abstract Baroque, Sunn Thunders, Miso Susanowa, Misprint Thursday, Sabrinaa Nightfire, Binary Quandry, Sledge Roffo. This collaboration will take place over a full sim (virtual piece of land of 65000 sqm). The artists have been allotted a parcel each and been given free hands to their creativity. The result is a wide variety of ideas, atmospheres, and interactions.

Art Breaker: A celebration - To celebrate the beginning of this major exhibition, and also remembering that this date is the anniversary of its creation, Pop Art Lab will organize on the 4th of September, 2010 a worldwide event. Along with famous speakers, the artists will have the opportunity to speak of their creations and to interact with the audience. And not to forget music, a selection of the finest Second Life musicians - some of whom having a successful real life career as well - will play music live. As Second life is a worldwide environment, the event will span a 12 hour period to allow people in Europe, the Americas, and Asia to participate in their respective timezones. The event will also be partly recorded and broadcast by Treet TV, a Second Life specific television network.

Second Life introduction - Second Life is the most famous and successful virtual world, with its 1 million regular visitors and its total of 20 million sign-ups in its seven year existence.

Pop Art Lab introduction - Present in Second Life since Sept. 2008, Pop Art Lab is a virtual music venue, aiming at bringing real life music industry into Second Life thanks to three major actions:
1. Promoting music by broadcasting brand new music in-world. Four full CDs are constantly played inside the venue and are changed on a bi weekly basis. This allows visitors to listen to the latest releases, sometimes even before they are actually available in their countries and stay tuned to music industry news.
2. Supporting singers and musicians who want to break into Second Life by organizing concerts and TV shows. Pop Art Lab regularly hosts in-world concerts, inviting performers to play in front of a virtual audience. Pop Art Lab also hosts TV shows, where musicians are interviewed before playing their songs. This show is made in partnership with Treet TV and has included artists like Greg Hawkes (The Cars) and Max Morgan
3. Pioneering the collaboration between real world major music companies and Second Life activities.

Pop Art Lab also sets standards in virtual venues design, giving its visitors a unique experience. Taking advantage of Second Life technical abilities, the place has nothing in common with real life - being there is being in your fantasy land!

Speakers: Robin Teigland (NVWN), Doug Thomsen (Remedy), Ryan R. Rasmussen (Zucalo Group), Claus F. Povlsen (Pop Art Lab)
Live music: The Dead Heathers, Craig Lyons, Engrama, Tasuku Ghost, MommaLuv Skytower and more.

September 4th, 12pm - 12am PST

12:00 Meet & greet
12:15 Artists presents installations
01:00 Speakers: Binary Quandry (Art Breaker), Claus Uriza (PAL)
02:00 MommaLuv Skytower (US)
03:00 CraigLyons Writer (US)
04:00 DJ TBA
04:30 Live music: Engrama (Arg/Esp)
06:00 Live music: The Dead Heathers (UK/Aus/US)
07:00 ART BREAK! – Tours at Installations
08:00 Meet & greet
08:15 Artists presents installations
09:00 Speakers: Dusan Writer (Remedy), Austin Ellison (Zocalo Group/PAL), Robin Teigland (NVWN)
10:00 Live music: Tasuku Ghost (Jap)
11:30 Live music: Skye Galaxy (US)
12:30 End

Attendance: Second Life account or live at

Pop Art Lab -

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There is a method where a builder can place video over every object in a sim which uses the same texture (provided they have media access under the land tools). So essentially if you put a jpeg of a donkey over half the prims on your land, then tell the land to play a specific video for everything using that donkey texture then you will have streaming media all playing the same video over many surfaces. Its pretty neat and I've actually used the same method to put video over the actual ground textures with the intention of using this as an addition to fog. So the actual land you are standing on can also play video, imagine a combination of a movie of swaying grass combined with swaying prim grass. There are only so many hours in the day unfortunately.
I don't know of a great many artists who use this technique, Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield come to mind and Tuna Oddfellow has had a popular event for years called the Oddball which also does this. I can remember Thoth Janzen using this technique ever since I met him when I was a Caerleon artist a few years ago. I think I bump into him once a year or so, and this time it was at NMC Campus West -- The Aho Museum for a new build of his called Simplexity. Its a really dynamic build which is part kaleidoscope and part dance party. A really interesting connection though is that each of the several videos he used in the build come from the demoscene. The demoscene appeared on the Commodore 64 computer ages ago and grew with the appearance of the Amiga and Atari. When software was "cracked" the teams who did it would often leave a type of tag or cracktro at the start letting everyone know it was them who pirated it. They would try to make the cracktros look impressive by manipulating the graphic capabilities of those computers.
These old computers all apparently worked off of very similar code which the average user could get a hold of. People would create graphics and compose music to go with their creations. Each artist trying to outdo the other with awesome videos while also attempting to show superiority of one computer over another. It seems there was a huge loyalty to ones commodore or amiga, similar to the one sided rivalry between Apple computers and PC's. I don't know how many times I have been told by an Apple user that my computer sucks, but it shows the depth of loyalty marketing and a good product can create.
Second Life is an open source medium, so doesn't really need to be cracked (however I think some of Thoths demoscene videos are on megaprims which is a form of software crack)and it contains the ability to quickly create great fractals using alpha textures rotating over distorted sculpties or prims. I could really see a new demoscene being born in Second Life with competition against other platforms ranging from Open Sim to world of warcraft. People creating real time video compositions for bragging rights. Second Life would naturally kick everyone else's ass, but imagine 45 000 prims with video on Open Sim compared to the 15 000 SL offeres builders. Using a combination of machinima and fractals alone could create some really amazing musical works.

When you go see Thoths work be sure to sit on some of the chairs he has set up as they give you a variety of perspectives with which to view the work.

Come see Thoths work Simplexity here

Also I came across not so much a tiny but rather a micro avatar built by Lomgren Smalls. I nearly stepped on him. I put him at the end of the video below.

Simplexity from Bryn Oh on Vimeo.

Save Space from SaveMe Oh on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


     I had a strangely comforting email last week from the Intellectual property team.   In it they informed me I had content that was perhaps copybotted or in some way illegal.  I think that is what they are saying anyway.  Seems a strange thing to be encouraged about, but somehow knowing that they had a way to seek out and remove what I guess is stolen content suggests to me that Linden Labs is indeed taking IP rights seriously.
     For those of you unfamiliar with Second Life, each avatar has an inventory where we build up ridiculous amounts of garbage.  Inventories are like that Doctor Who spaceship which looks like a police phone box but is massive on the inside.   My inventory has something like 24 000 objects in it and I am not a shopper.  So these dances at some point came to my inventory, I don't generally buy dances so my guess is someone gave me a folder of them at some point.  Possibly years ago I just don't know.  The point is that they were able to search the entire SL population and remove the content.  While it's a bit creepy to know someones been looking through your underwear drawer, it's also very important for content creators to know that there is a recourse should your work be stolen and distributed.

In other news I just found out that in a short time we will have the option to use "nicknames" for our avatars.  For a long time SL users have wanted to assign their own first life names to their avatars for business reasons.  So it sounds like we will each have our embedded sl name such as Bryn Oh but we will have the opportunity to change our name to something like Bitey McPinchpunch or Phillip Linden.  I am curious as to whether the nickname will be attributed to content created or if it will revert to the original name.  Also would someone be able to have the nickname of  Bryn Oh and make content under that name?  If I change my name to Phillip Linden and go on a griefer spree will people be able to quickly determine I was not in fact Phillip?  How often can you change your name and will it affect the entire database of objects in Second Life when you do so? I am thinking I might want to create a symbol for my name like ¥ and be the artist formerly known as Bryn Oh.  If I do so will all the artwork I have created in the past now reflect the creator as ¥?

Anyway, below is my letter from the IP team.

Hi Bryn Oh,
We are writing to let you know that we removed some content you had in Second Life under our Intellectual Property Policy. For a list of the specific content we removed, please see the "IP Complaint Details" below at the bottom of this email.
When we receive an intellectual property complaint, we investigate it and look for copies of the content identified in the complaint. Our investigation found that you had some of this content. We replaced the content with generic placeholder item(s), as described in our FAQs on our Intellectual Property Complaint Process.
If you weren't aware of an intellectual property issue, don't panic or take it personally! Just take steps to avoid content that may have intellectual property issues. Here are some tips to protect yourself and keep your inworld shopping safe and fun.
Many thanks for your interest in Second Life.
-- The IP Team at Linden Lab

Content Removed:
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 14" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 10" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 7" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 11" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 17" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 16" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 5" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 12" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 1" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 6" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 8" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 3" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 18" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 9" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 13" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 2" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 4" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 15" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "Touch Me - Abranimations" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
*If animations were removed, the replacement animation may be in your HUD or animation override (AO).