Monday, July 25, 2011

#2 Madpea - Kaaos Effect

The machinima gives a hint about how the build works but unfortunately it was done at a time when my computer and internet connection was struggling so it's a bit choppy.

     Madpea is a Second Life company which produces a range of what you might call "games".   Some are quite obviously games while others are more narrative mysteries.  Their focus is in creating a sense of deep interaction.  This post comes at an interesting time for me as, just recently, I have been disagreeing with a few artists about what is art in Second Life.  They both laughed at the notion of Sextan Shepherds work "Nemo" being considered art.  They didn't say it was not their favorite type of art (which would have been fine with me)  but instead claimed it was not art at all.  And it was that statement that I found to be an embarrassing show of elitism and ignorance of this medium. Madpea would fall into the same category for these artists so lets just have a quick look at the mentality involved.

     Part of their argument was that Nemo is based off of Jules Verne's book "20,000 Leagues under the sea".  That it is not his own idea, but that of another.  This is strange because they would then likely say "The garden of earthly delights" by Hieronymus Bosch would be exempt despite coming from he Bible.  (Bosch's work was said not to be art originally.  It was considered titillating trash for the masses).  Or perhaps William Blake's work based off of Dantes Inferno, or the Lord of the Rings movies based off of Tolkien.  I am not going to get into the vast array of artists who were inspired by something when creating their artworks.  Sextan was inspired by a novel and created everything in his build, Nemo, from within his own mind.  He "created" the build using his imagination.  Furthermore he did it with a great deal of technical skill, not just in building but in texturing, scripting, the use of sound and composition.  One of the artists in the dispute claimed that technical skill was irrelevant.  And that, sadly,  is a very post Duchamp mentality.
     Originally artists spent entire lives learning technique.  I would argue that today we have few if any artists who can paint like Leonardo Da Vinci or Caravaggio.  One reason for this is because of Marcel Duchamp and his work "Fountain".  Duchamp put forth a standard porcelain mens urinal in a Salon exhibit.  His thoughts were that he wanted people to attempt to look at the urinal without being influenced by its function, and to rather see it as a sculptural work.   Was its shape beautiful? was it aesthetic and if so does that not make it art?  Did its function prevent it from being considered art?  Duchamp was all about rethinking standards and causing a stir.  And he did exactly that with his "fountain".  However, a enduring result is that virtually everything is now considered art and in many cases technique has fallen to the wayside.  An elephant at my zoo is given a paint brush and is trained to smear paint on a canvas.  Those paintings sell as "art", yet the advanced skill of Sextan Shepherd in creating textures by hand, in scripting, in creating an immersive environment, in pure building skill and efficiency not to mention the composition of the entire environment are not grounds to even be called art?
     I am frustrated by people (especially artists) not having the ability to recognize that the virtual world will create new and initially non recognizable or quantifiable art forms.  For gods sake don't look at an artwork in Second Life then try to find a reference point in real life to justify it.  I am not declaring Nemo to be the greatest work in second life art, and in fact I would like to see it advance further, but I am not so blind as to say it's not art.   I believe that the art which will be remembered from this medium, will be of an immersive variety that allows the viewer to forget for a time their first life surroundings.  Unlike a 2D painting which you stand and observe or a film which you passively watch while being told a story, the art we create here will be more akin to a painting that you enter and explore.  Something you interact with and almost believe yourself to be a part of.  We are at the initial stages of this and works like Nemo recognize the technique in creating an immersive environment.  It is what makes this medium unique, the avatar in a virtual space with others from around the world experiencing something which transports their awareness into a virtual space, and does so far more effectively than mediums of the past have been able to.  Anyway.  That is my perspective. 
     Madpea sits at two for me because they have taken the notion of creating an immersive environment for the viewer, and have used advanced techniques to achieve that immersion.  Is it art? who cares? the term art is a shadow of of what it once meant.  What Madpea does is to attempt to harness some of the unique elements that will, in my mind, define this medium in the future. 

This is the SLURL to Madpea but its not the main hub.  You will have to explore from there to find the games and things.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Avatar Games

 First I would like to say that Relay for Life just finished today and they have achieved what is likely a virtual world record for raising $370 000 us dollars for Cancer research this weekend.  A very inspiring accomplishment so congratulations to the organizers who have set a gold standard for organization and implementation.

I filmed the Games the other day and put it to this rocking song by the Noisettes.    The event is becoming quite popular so if you would like to sign up do so below...

Sign up here!

And if you want to be part of the audience I would suggest coming 15 min early, as the sim fills up quite fast now.

Every so often I will post a machinima of the games because they are pretty fun to film.  If you also film one then let me know and I will post it too.

If you are unfamiliar with the games this is how it works.  Each Monday at 4pm sl time we have 4 or 5 contestants run the course.  They have already signed up at the link above (and been contacted by Galea Steinbeck or Taralyn Gravois).  They relax in an elevator listening to elevator Muzak (as you can see at the beginning of the machinima).  One at a time they are brought down to the course and individually run it, trying to get as fast a time as they possibly can (at the end of the season the people with the top times will compete for some type of prize).  The audience all have "The Grand Walloper" which is a gun that slows down the contestants as they run the course.  The audience gleefully shoot at the runners while Crap Mariner and Honour McMillan do the colour commentary.  If you listen closely you can hear the clink of ice as Crap drinks what I believe to be a bucket full of Vodka mixed with Canadian Club Whiskey.  That might just be my imagination though.
     After the contestants have run the course once, they get a second try then when that is all done they do a "group run" which you can see in the machinima as well.  They all run and jostle each other while we shoot them.  It's very therapeutic for the audience and as a bonus the top "shooters" are shown on a scoreboard for bragging rights.  I am still trying to have a Linden day which I predict would be very popular for the audience.

And here are the current fastest avatars. 

Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 71, hugues Haiku
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 82, Myndi Meredith
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 96, quentinrez Resident
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 100, Opensource Obscure
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 111, Urban Steampunk
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 113, Jeni Beresford
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 116, GAbriele Cyberstar
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 116, Clovis Luik
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 116, Aleeah Resident
Seasons fastest avatars: Seconds: 117, Zev Titanium

The runners do enjoy a massive level of SLebrity if they finish in the top ten.  Ok well i have not actually heard anyone congratulate them yet, nor seen them on SLorts Illustrated but I am sure their IM's are full of fans asking for an autograph on a notecard.  I am pretty sure I saw Honour throw some prim panties to Opensource Obscure, but again that might have also been my imagination.

A fun one by Paulina60 Loon

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Relay For Life

A few years ago I supplied some work to Tezcatlipoca Bisani for a RFL event.  PatriciaAnne Daviau, Tez and Madcow Cosmos were to build a themed work based on "Heroes".   The hero picked was Roald Dahl, and builds included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the giant peach.  It was very wacky and fun.  This year I was asked to be involved and had to create a season build for spring.  I put down a variation of a build called Mayfly for the runners to go through.

If you are unfamiliar with RFL then this is essentially how it works.  You walk around a large track, 45 sims or so, and if you choose to you can donate / buy a bag or many bags on the side of the road which then lists your name as a donator.  You can buy my road bags here ..

 Below is the schedule and below that is some information on the history of RFL within Second Life.  They are a truly wonderful organization of volunteers who have raised over one million dollars for Cancer research.

July 15-16th.
10am - 11am  - Opening Ceremonies

11am - 12:30pm - CELEBRATE - Survivor/Caregiver Honor Walk  - Survivors Are the "Spirit Of Relay" They Are the Promise Of Hope! Please Line the Track and Celebrate Our Heroes, Our Friends who have heard the words "You Have Cancer"

The Caregivers are the Backbone of the Fight. They hold the hands, they care for and support their loved ones as they walk their cancer journey. Once again Line the Track and Support the Ones who give so much to help our Survivors Fight Cancer!

12:30pm - 2pm - Team Spirit Lap - Teams R Us!  Team Shirts and banners. Walk the track with pride for all you have done to help find a cure for cancer.

2pm - 3pm  - Purrfect Pets - Sponsored by KittyCats - Wear animal print, neko ears, tails or even be an animal or furry avatar! Dress as your favorite pet or animal!

3pm - 4pm -  I Cannot Believe I'm Wearing This! - Wear something you normally wouldn't  wear in SL. Would never admit to being a Furry? Don a furry avatar. Wouldn't wear latex *ever*? Bring it on! Wouldn't be caught out in curlers and slippers? Wear it!  Not a girly girl? Wear frills!  Not a surfer dude? Put on that long blonde hair and swim trunks!

4pm - 5pm - Ride Your Favorite Horse - Sponsored by Amaretto - Ride your favorite horse, wear your horse avatar or bring on the stick ponies.  We're riding for Relay!

5pm - 6pm - Beach Party (Summer) - Bring out your beach clothes, go barefoot, don’t forget those water bottles and sunscreen.

6pm - 7pm - Fall Fashion (Fall)  - Wear those autumn colors or that Halloween costume.  You could even be a Thanksgiving Turkey!

7pm - 8pm - Winter Nights (Winter) - Dress for those cold winter nights, don’t forget the hot chocolate with marshmallows

8pm - 9pm - Spring Fling (Spring)- the season for flowers, new beginnings, and proms.

9pm - 10pm - REMEMBER - Luminaria Ceremony -  ( quiet reflection with readings and inspirational music; sims are darkened for reflection and remembrance of those and their loved ones who have lost their battles to cancer or are still battling it; all are invited to participate) Walk the track in silence.

10pm - 11pm - The Power of Purple - wear as much purple as you can., hair, eyes, clothing, .. just bring on the purple!

11pm - 12am - Favorite Sport -  football, baseball, rugby, hockey, swimming, cheerleading.. just  any sports attire.  Don your favorite jersey or uniform and bring that Relay spirit.

12am- 1am - Midnight Masquerade - Wear a Masque and costume and join the  carnival like festivity hour.

1am - 2am - Silly Hats -- The name says it all

2am - 3am - Appearance Slider Outfits - Wear only looks you make yourself in appearance. 

3am - 4am - Favorite Decade - Did you love the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's or maybe way back to the 40's or  the flappers or the roaring 20s?   Dress in your favorite decade outfit and show it on the track

4am - 5am - Health Matters - Maybe you are a banana, or an orange, or a carrot? Or simply dress in a healthy food color. Eating right, being active, and maintaining a healthy weight are important ways to reduce your risk of cancer.

5am - 6am - Up All Night - Curlers, Coffee, PJ's & Slippers - time to wake up and smell the coffee

6am - 7am - FIGHT BACK - Fight Back Ceremony - (Pick up your specially made RFL HOPE Cape and Fight Back Flags - available at the Relay Stations,  and join us as we make our fight back pledges to save a life this year -your own, a friends, a family member, or someone you don't even know yet.  Together we all can FIGHT BACK.

7am - 8am - Fantasy Themed - Fantasy Characters - Dragons, Pirates, Star Trek,          Fairies, Elves...  Fantasy themed avatars, Medieval, Tinies, Mermaids & Mermen, Wings

8am - 9am - International Lap - Wear your countries flag.. (provided by the International Committee or outfits that represent your country.

9am - 10am - Formal Hour - Wear your best as  you walk the final lap before Closing Ceremonies.  Formal attire.  Try to keep prims to a minimum, please.

10am-11am - Closing Ceremony

  • 2004 the first volunteer driven fundraiser for the American Cancer Society ever in Second Life
    • Avatars: 99
    • Total raised: US$2,000
  • 2005 The first Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28, 2005. It started at 5pm SL time. It was the brainchild of Jade Lily (who in real life was an airman called Keith Morris) and was reported in the The New York Times in an article called 'Letting your fingers do the running'.
    • Total raised: US$5,000
    • Avatars: 315
    • Laps: 817
    • Sims: 6
    • Course Length: 2,500 meters
    • Distance Walked: 2,042,500 meters
  • 2006 The second Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, July 22 through Sunday, July 23. It started on Saturday at 5pm SL time. It was again organized by Jade Lily, and the track was laid out over 12 sims representing the different countries of the world.
    • Total raised: US$41,000
    • Avatars: 1570
    • Sims: 12
    • Laps Walked: 2,047
    • Course Length: 4,065 meters
    • Distance Walked: 8,321,055 meters
  • 2007 The third Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, July 21 through Sunday, July 22, 2007. The Event Chair was Fayandria Foley.
    • Theme: Quest for a Cure
    • Total raised: US$118,500
    • Avatars: 1831
    • Sims: 32
    • Laps Walked: 1,519
    • Course Length: 12,140 meters
    • Distance Walked: 18,432,891 meters
  • 2008 The fourth Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, July 19 through Sunday, July 20, 2008. It took place over 33 sims laid out in the shape of an 'H'. The Event Chair was Fayandria Foley and the Event Co-Chair was David Jacobs.
    • Theme: Heroes
    • Total raised: US$215,000
    • Avatars: 2230
    • Sims: 35
    • Laps Walked: 3,441
    • Course Length: 8,379 meters
    • Distance Walked: 28,826,107 meters
  • 2009 The fifth Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, July 18 through Sunday, July 19, 2009. The Event Chair was Fayandria Foley, and there were four co-Chairs: Tayzia Abattoir, Nuala Maracas, Stella Costello, who was succeeded halfway by Charlene Trudeau, and Belle Loll.
    • Theme: One World, One Hope
    • Total raised: US$274,000 (corrected figure)
    • Avatars: 1913
    • Sims: 36
    • Laps Walked: 2,155
    • Course Length: 11,907 meters
    • Distance Walked: 25,650,536 meters
  • 2010 The sixth Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, July 17 through Sunday, July 19, 2010. The Event Chair was Tayzia Abattoir and the Event Co-Chairs were Nuala Maracas and MamaP Beerbaum.
    • Theme: Wishing on a Cure
    • Total raised: US$222,804
    • Avatars: 1579
    • Sims: 36
    • Laps Walked: 2,676
    • Teams: 139

Saturday, July 2, 2011

BOX machinima

This is a machinima I created for my build BOX at MetaLES.  Slurl  .  The build is based around creating a non representational environment for the avatar to interact with as they explore an artwork.  One of the unique traits of using a virtual world as a medium is that the viewer can be part of the artwork rather than a passive observer as is the case in a traditional gallery setting.  It becomes an artwork when people are interacting with it.  That is, in a way, the artwork itself.  It's composition is the silence of an empty sim combined with periods where avatars explore it.  The random nature of the interaction of the avatars within the build is mirrored by the music.  The music used for BOX is made up of four short samples done by Tama Ahn.  One is a drum loop, one Xylophone, the other a harp and finally a harmonica.  I put each short loop into a random timed player which allowed for self composition of the music.  The song constantly changes and its really quite fascinating to listen to, the samples seem to always blend together seamlessly.  The first half of the machinima is taken directly from the build itself and shows how it randomly seems to work together.  The final half I composed myself because... well no particular reason I just wanted to try composing it.  The machinima can be shown in HD if you like.  If you wish to explore the build as seen in the machinima below then use my sky preset called Bryn Oh's Bluniverse.  If you use Phoenix or Firestorm its in their drop down windlight list.  The build itself has a different sky than this one I used, you can find it in the bee at the start where you arrive.

I am sorry but I forget the names of the people shown in the video other than Merlino Mayo and Xaan Allen who were the little robot girl and the lady with 3D glasses on.  The build is up until July 7th then will make space for a new artist to show there.  The builds last a month but due to absentmindedness I forgot to let anyone know this was up.  Might put it up somewhere else another time though.