The Drax Files: World Makers Episode 32 – Jayjay Zifanwe From The University of Western Australia

University Of Western Australia

With Machinima, you are getting a glimpse into the soul of the artist, they are not making this film so they can sell tickets at the movies.  They are making this to show you who they are.

That’s the introduction from Jayjay Zifanwe of The University of Western Australia for the latest edition of the Drax Files World Makers series, which is sponsored by Linden Lab. Whereas Jayay is in the main subject of this episode we also see other machinima makers, who have been inspired by the projects the University of Western Australia run and who have gone on to other things in some cases due to that inspiration. At this point I should point out that Second Life, Linden Lab and The University of Western Australia have a lot to answer for, but I’ll come to that later.

Jayjay makes a good point about machinima, it’s a diverse industry because people are diverse and people make machinima. In some ways it could be argued that machinima is diverse because it’s more of an indie scene than mainstream cinema, therefore people will make machinima about subjects that backers would shy away from. There’s a power from an editiorial perspective that machinima can be relatively cheap to make. However, as machinima makers get more talented, get more ambitious and invest in more expensive machinima making techniques, their artistic freedom is likely to be challenged. However machinima is undoubtedly a diverse sphere at this moment in time.

Jayjay informs us that he has a budget with prize pool of over five hundred thousand Linden dollars, that’s around US$2,000. We can see an example of how this prize fund is used in the shape and form of UWA’s Pursue Impossible, which has prizes for artists and machinima makers :

The theme is “PURSUE IMPOSSIBLE.” Artists & filmmakers can interpret the theme as they see fit. What is your impossible? What is the impossible goal you have conquered, or that you have seen your loved ones or your heroes conquer? What are the things you once thought were impossible, but now are able to overcome? How do virtual worlds help you to visualize, create, and push the boundaries of possibility? What are the things which seem impossible now, which you think you will attempt to hunt down? What are the impossibilities of the mind? of the heart? of the soul? Is it the pursuit of the impossible that takes precedence? Or defeating it? You the artist… You the machinimatographer…You decide.

Pursue Impossible is still open, entries close at midnight SLT on October 31st, so if you’re interested you still have time to put something together.

More Art

Another project that UWA have been involved with was the Freedom Project, this was a project aimed at people who self identified as having a disability or chronic illness who were the challenged to exemplify how virtual worlds create freedom for people that they may not otherwise encounter in the physical world. This was supported by ventures such as Virtual Ability, who do some fantastic work in virtual worlds.

This episode also introduces us, as I mentioned earlier, to other machinima makers and they have some interesting stories to share.

We are introduced to a Second Life machinima maker known as Rysan Fall. Rysan took his machinima making skills to a job outside the virtual world, but he used those skills and his work to demonstrate what he could do, which he admits helped him to get the job with ….. ok ok reader discretion is required here, I am going to type a couple of words that when combined may make people come out in a cold sweat … Rysan Fall ultimately got a job with ….. Fox News! (Play dramatic music, check for reports of hell freezing over, but not on Fox News!).

Inara Pey has more about the work of Rysan Fall in her excellent post about this episode of The Drax Files, and that’s well worth reading, Rysan Fall has done some damn impressive work with machinima.

Art

Ok everyone still with me? We will continue shortly, after I compose myself again. There are other machinima makers, I’m not going to detail everything that was said, you can see and hear that in the video, but the other machinima makers share experiences of working independently and the power that brings, working collaboratively with people who live in other parts of the world whom you’ve never met in the physical world and being able to publish using a pseudonym. These are some of the advantages of virtual worlds, they enable people to be able to cross borders and network globally and this really is powerfully exemplified in this episode.

Linden Lab’s blog post on this episode also provides some additional information :

JayJay Zifanwe and the University of Western Australia in Second Life encourage people to express themselves through their stories via art and machinima created in Second Life. Recently, WAtoday wrote an article about JayJay’s incredible Second Life re-creation of the UWA’s Crawley physical campus – showing how this virtual space created a ripple effect – impacting the lives of people who could otherwise only dream of visiting such a place. The UWA in SL serves as the home base for artists and others to come together and participate in many projects.

Creator Challenge

The episode is around five minutes long and yet it manages to pack such a lot in. This is the beauty of The Drax Files series, so much gets packed in to such a short time frame, it’s well worth watching.

I’ll finish this post, by embedding the video from this episode and links to UWA inworld and on the web.

SLURL To UWA : http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/University%20of%20WA/72/226/25

UWA In Second Life Website : http://uwainsl.blogspot.com.au/

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