Tuesday, June 14, 2011
#3 AM Radio
It was with sadness that I heard the majority of AM Radio's sims would be taken down in 5 months from now. They have, up until now, been supported by IDIA Lab at Ball State University. They deserve a great deal of credit for recognizing the arts in Second Life and supporting AM monetarily for so long. When we look back at societies over the centuries many are defined by their art. Ancient Greece, the Empire of Rome to the more modern Italian Renaissance masters. France with their Salons and America in the 50's onward. It is not always the case yet in many ways a society in their peak produces great art. Yet what happens when a society is in decline? are the arts the first to go?
I don't think the United States of America is in decline. They are definitely struggling yet so is much of the world. However, not long ago I read that Gov. Sam Brownback had completely eliminated funding for the Arts in the state of Kansas. The rationale was that in times of struggle they must essentially tighten their belts and remove the things which were not considered essential. If the health of the arts do define a society then the first sign of decay in the USA would be Kansas. It may be a blip or perhaps signs of things to come.
Second Life is also a society, yet more difficult to encapsulate. Its citizens are made up of people from around the world. Its users are from both strong nations and weaker. But it is a community and I believe it may eventually be defined by its arts. It could be argued that Second Life is a type of country. It has a population, an economy and virtual land. It also has to deal with the worlds recession. AM's work is some of the most beautiful and important in Second Life, it's loss will not just diminish Second Life aesthetically, it will also mark the departure of one of its great innovators. If you look around at many of the sims in Second Life today, if you look with a builders eye, you will see that many of them are directly influenced by AM's work.
This post is part of my top ten favorite builds from last year, and normally I would speak on the reasons for this, the techniques used etc, instead I would like to focus on one solution to my fears of decay. About a year ago I was approached by Pathfinder Linden to see if I would be interested in placing some of my work on Linden land. I agreed and went to see the parcel. It is called Pomponio Volcano and it's in Davenport. I imagine it was terraformed in 2003 when they wished to create mountains and forests etc to provide an environment for their new virtual world. It was a sensible idea yet as time passes we can see that a sim of a simple volcano does not really amount to much. I understand the reasoning and I would have initially believed the same thing I expect, yet in hindsight simple terraformed land would be better used as art destinations. Using barren linden land for art would keep works like AM's in world and preserved and would create destinations for new users while populating deserted regions. Anyway, it seems like a good idea to me. I know its likely much more complicated, for example just finding all the empty plots of linden land would be a time consuming chore in itself. Determining who gets to be preserved on these lands and who doesn't would be a nightmare for someone as they would become a target for the angry rejected artists. It wouldn't be easy but its something to think about.