Sunday, January 29, 2012

Immersiva

  First of all I would like to thank everyone for the incredible support shown for the crowd funder to keep Immersiva online.  When I was in high school I was convinced to be in a fund raiser where I was auctioned off on a stage in front of the whole school.  The idea was you would be someones slave for a week carrying their books and walking them home or whatever they wanted.  Fortunately and unfortunately I worked out in advance with a friend to buy me if nobody else bid.  I said I would pay half.  It was a good idea I did that because it was uncomfortably silent when I came on the stage.  Someone did bid for me and my damn friend kept outbidding them with my money!
      When someone suggested I try a crowd funder I kept thinking about being on that silent stage in front of a few thousand students.  What if nobody donated?  It makes you a bit anxious.  I set up the crowd funder to last 60 days which I figured should be enough time to get at least some of the money and so I was shocked and touched when the total was reached in one day.  So I am happy to say that Immersiva will be back.. in fact it is already back but will be used for a date perk by one of the donators.  The crowd funder has to run the full duration so I will not be sent the donations until it closes but it is safe to say that Immersiva will be around for a while yet.  On the 1st it will open with Standby the third and final part of the Rabbicorn story.  That will be up a month or two while I film.
  I did an analogy in a post a few weeks ago where I suggested the roots of the Linden tree were made up of old time Lindens who knew the community, and as each was let go by the Lab those roots were severed thus weakening the tree.  I have come to realize after this experience that those roots are actually made up of the residents of this virtual world and the majority of Lindens really only ever were the initial seed that took root.

  I wouldn't say Linden Labs screwed up everything as the image above might suggest, in fact I think they have done many great things but the picture is funny and I wanted to use it.   I do however think something very important needs to be publicly stated by them.   They need to tell us that should Second Life ever come to an end they will allow the users to go to another grid with all their possessions.  That they will allow us to download an OAR file to our computer with all our stuff on it or all that is legally ours to take.  As a creator this experience has shown me that my work can easily cease to exist so what needs to be done is to have it exist simultaneously on a variety of grids so it wont be lost.  On other grids users are able to have control of their own work and can move it from grid to grid or throughout the hypergrid.  Linden Labs should consider making Second Life the entertainment and economy grid with other grids hosting the community where land is around $20 a month compared to $295 and people can spend freely.  Linden Labs can create transfer fees or charge for OAR files to try to make up for what they would lose in land rental but I really don't see the current pricing system lasting.  I am not going to pretend to know the finances of LL and this is all merely speculation but it seems to me that something needs to be done.  A new creative approach that may hurt in the short term but will ensure long term success.
   Anyway, thank you everyone for the support it really means more to me than I can properly express.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Immersiva crowd funder

     I had said that there was some good news coming up and there is!  Cannes winning director Peter Greenaway has very generously offered to pay six months of tier for Immersiva.  I have tried to think of a way to express just how much this means to me but I lack the words.  It was just very unexpected and rewarding to know that he appreciates my work and would take steps to help.
     Numerous people have asked how they could help bring Immersiva back and up until now I have really just hoped Linden Labs would come up with something.  They didn't and I can't honestly blame them as it would have set a precident that could well have come back to haunt them.  I don't deserve a free sim more than any other artist using this virtual world as a medium, but having said that I would have also loved to see them break their own rules and set that new pecident... then deal with it.  Change the whole way they do business.  It was worth a try even if the chances of success were low.
     I have spoken to a variety of people and after some thought have decided to try a crowd funder to see what happens.  If you click the banner below it will take you there or you can click here.

     It will run for 60 days and one unique part of this website is that it allows for people who donate to recieve "perks".  You can see all the perks on the right side of the page if you go there.  But for example with some donations I will do original pen and ink drawings or oil paintings as perks.  But let me stress that you should only donate if you can afford to do so.  I don't want anyone to put themselves in a bad position over this.

     The money raised will be used to bring back Immersiva for a year and a half which would let me fulfill obligations for my Government grant.  I will also be able to work on a new project called "Virginia Alone" which you can read about in an interview I did for a newish SL magazine called Rez.   They have a website here but their main focus is in creating prim in world magazines.  The interview questions were great and in the first question I explain Virginia Alone.  I will send it out again in my in world group Immersiva or you can just ask Jami Mills for a copy.  It is actually a two part interview that continues next month. 

     The first thing that would happen would be rebuilding Standby which is the third and final part to the Rabbicorn story then I would film it.  Essentially I will just keep doing what I have been for the last four years or so.  I guess it is closer to five years now but yes I would continue creating Immersive environments and narratives and try to see if Bryn can continue to make her mark both inside our virtual world and outside amongst the flesh and blood ones.
     I would like to say that the crowd funder has only been up one day so far and it is just wonderful to see the support already.  I really do appreciate all the kind words and encouragement.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Update to Immersiva


      Kiana Writer (Madpea) and I wrote a joint proposal (which you can read below) in an attempt to get Linden Labs to help us keep our projects within Second Life.  We were hoping that Linden Labs would see us as worth supporting considering that it would only cost them the unmarked-up expenditure of a region which for them is next to nothing.   And Second Life is littered with unused Linden Land.  To actually pay us for what we do would be considerably more.  We felt it was a long shot but figured that there was no harm in trying, and we might be pleasantly surprised.  Unfortunately Linden Labs declined.
     I have always tried to see things from both sides over the years and, if possible, balance the slagging of Linden Labs with some positive things.  So in their defense I will say that they may have feared setting a precedence by giving land free to us.  
     It is hard to explain how I feel about their rejection.  I think somewhere inside I had hoped they were aware of what the residents did, but watched from afar.  I am a bit naive.  There actually were Lindens who did know the community at one time like Pathfinder Linden, Blue Linden, Teagan Linden and so on but they are now long gone.  With each turnover of a long term Linden a root of the Linden tree was severed.  As more and more go there are less deep roots to keep the tree grounded.  To me it feels like our Linden tree is now only held down by noob Lindens whose roots don't go deep enough, and one day a strong wind will come to topple that tree.  I think what has changed for me recently is that I no longer am loyal to the one large tree but rather to the growing forest around it.

 All is not bad though and I hope to relay some good news very soon.


January 1st, 2012

Recently the estates of Dusan Writer were closed down.  Two of the projects that were supported by Dusan as a patron were a region called Immersiva an ever changing narrative created by Bryn Oh and another region hosting Madpea a successful games oriented experience headed by Kiana Writer.
Unfortunately neither Bryn nor Kiana are financially able to afford to maintain a region in Second Life and have relied on the generosity of Dusan as a patron.
     Bryn Oh has been creating in Second Life for four years bringing engaging content to the residents in the virtual world as well as garnering positive media coverage of the platform outside the "walled garden".   Bryn is an active member of the art community working as a member of the LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) to encourage artists to make use of this medium.   Example 1 (the path) 2 (the avatar games)
Bryn Oh is the ghost artist of a Toronto oil painter.  Bryn's interest in virtual worlds began as an attempt to create an artist unaligned with a RL identity. The idea was to see if a pixel character could become successful and accepted as an artist in first life alongside flesh and blood ones. I see what we do in virtual worlds as the frontier to a new medium with the capability to create unique forms of art.

So far Bryn's work has been shown at
Nuit Blanche, the World Expo in Shanghai (Madrid Pavilion), with IBM, in movies such as "My avatar and me" or in projects with people such as Cannes winning director Peter Greenaway (Big Bang) and artist Stelarc.   A Web3D Conference presenter in Paris, France as well as profiled on RAI TV in Italy and Art21. Bryn exhibits in various Universities worldwide and is also on the syllabus of many. Currently Bryn is the subject of three Thesis works and has just received a New Media grant from the Canadian Government.   The government grant is to produce a 30 minute machinima (Bryn Oh is even mentioned in this wikipedia definition under sound) and an exhibit in a museum or gallery which would incorporate Second Life using virtual reality headsets and incorporating scent and wind for an narrative created on Immersiva.  In September Bryn was written about in Vogue magazine (Italy) and exhibited at a museum in Rome(RL -Museo in Commune) of Second Life work.  Over the years Bryn has created positive media coverage for Second Life as an artists medium and has created quality content for the residents of this virtual world as seen by the numerous destination guide entries you, Linden Labs, have posted.  I have included a reference from director Peter Greenaway.

       Kiana Writer is a Finnish storywriter, who started MadPea in 2008 completely from scratch. She could see the potential SL offered to make her stories become a reality. Facing serious difficulties in her rl, she escaped to SL to share her experiences and guidance to a small group of people at first. Introducing different topics of life in her games and making people unite and solve problems together got people interested straight away. MadPea’s potential was immediatelly noticed by Orange, who became sponsors,  giving MadPea the space to create.  After Orange’s departure, Dusan Writer generously wanted to take over the sponsorship, so that MadPea would have a home.
MadPea has been providing high-quality entertainment, immersive and interactive stories and adventures for tens of thousands of residents and have been collaborating with hundreds of SL landowners with grid-wide hunts to help boost their traffic and raise awareness of their businesses. The following MadPea games and attractions have been featured in the Destination Guide:  Firefly (made for Orange),  The Kaaos Effect (made for Orange) , MadPea HQ on Orange, Reaction (made for Sigma-Aldrich), Notes from the Voyage (made for MacMillan Publishers), MadPea Circus (in collaboration with Dusan Writer), Devil's Labyrinth, Hoshi Island, MadPea Base, Virtual Medical Doctor, Dead Man's Hand Hunt,  Lost Souls Hunt, Peaster's Castle, Peatonville Asylum, MadPea Social Area and  MadPea Winterland.
     The MadPea creations have been blogged, photographed and filmed in numerous places.  MadPea Crew consists of several talented artists, scripters and community managers from all over the world. The plan for the MadPea Island was to collaborate with artists such as Bryn Oh, Madcow Cosmos, Eolene Uralia, Photon Pink and Scottius Polke to create a fresh new approach into community living inside a world of quests.
     MadPea is not only about games, our active community is one of the biggest ones in Second Life. We have nearly 4000 members and the numbers keep rising. We have help available to players 24/7 and offer support to those who are new to SL. We arrange events daily allowing people to communicate with each other and meet like-minded people.
What we are asking is for Linden Labs to provide both of us our regions at no cost for a year’s duration to continue our work here in Second Life which benefits both of us as creators and Linden Labs who will benefit from high caliber content created for its users.  After a one year duration the opportunity to be considered for ongoing support upon review of our achievements over the supported period.   It is our hope that Linden Labs will recognize our contribution to the health of Second Life and will see this proposal as an investment in its own future.

Bryn Oh
Kiana Writer