The Art of Second Life Brings Better News

Hotel Chelsea

Second Life in the media is a strange beast. When it comes to technology sites people talk about “Second Life, is that still around?” and people talk about how Second Life was a thing, but no longer is, even though it is still very much around.

When it comes to what people do in Second Life, especially in the arts, it’s a different story. These articles talk about Second Life as a thing and don’t talk about how there’s nothing to do there.

News and Taxis

These differences came to my mind as I was reading an article by Kembrew Mcleod over at Prairie Pop : Bibbe Hansen’s rebellious history and dynamic legacy.

The article is about Bibbe Hansen, mother of Beck and Channing Hansen but it’s in the final, almost throwaway paragraph, that we read about Second Life :

Nowadays Bibbe Hansen is a member of Second Life, a performance art group that exists in the online world of Second Life. There, her avatar Bibbe Oh can be seen playing virtual sound collage concerts culled from Fluxus audio sources (though she also does live performances, most recently with Lydia Lunch in New York City).

Which causes me to have a “Wait … what?” moment. However it’s the way that there’s no negative comments about Second Life in the article that really stands out.

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Of Mice, Men and Ready Player One

The Alexandrian Free Library in Second Life have a couple of literary book discussion events scheduled over the next fortnight. The books involved will be Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Below are details of the events.

Sunday, 15 January, 2017

WELLINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Wellington Cultural Society Monthly Discussion
When: 1:00pm – 2:00pm SLT
Where: Wellington County Library, Polkadot
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Polkadot/162/193/97

Wellington Public Library_001

Description: This month we discuss “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck (originally published in 1937)

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream–a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films. (Goodreads summary).

Join us for a relaxing hour.
Available in a variety of formats.

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Art, Physics And Cloudy Avatars in Second Life and Beyond

Changing Statue

Art has quite a good following in Second Life, Draxtor Despres covered the work of Rose Borchovski in episode 14 of The Drax Files : World Makers. There’s the Linden Endowment for the Arts. The Second Life destination guide has an arts category and bloggers such as Inara Pey regularly cover the arts, a recent post appeared on Inara’s blog regarding Dathúil: visions of desire in Second Life.

The mixture of arts and technology also sees Second Life turning up in articles about artists who have gone beyond Second Life, or have exhibitions inworld and outside. Second Life of course does not have a monopoly on creativity in virtual spaces and we see this exemplified in an article over at The Huffington Post : What Can Virtual Reality Bring To Art?

The article covers the work of Adham Faramawy and Jessy Jetpacks for an already sold out show by the Royal Academy of the Arts : Virtually Real. The technology being used here includes HTC Vive which might indicate a bright VR future for art, but the Huffington Post article also sees Adham Faramawy mention Second Life and physics :

I was never a gamer but this was always my problem with Second Life. So many people wanted to replicate something that already exists, when actually these technologies can be quite useful speculative tools. Even though the way platforms are designed guides how you use them, they can still be used to visualise a variety of possibilities. And what’s wrong with imagining new ways to be situated in the world?

Indeed, virtual worlds and spaces do not have to be inhibited by the physics that apply to the physical world and we see this sort of issue raised again in an article by Christian Petersen over at Art Slant :Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Martina Menegon. Martina, it’s fair to say, is a lot more enthusiastic about Second Life, even though she doesn’t login much these days, partially due to a cloudy avatar but I’ll come to that later.

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A Visit To Fogs End In Second Life

Entrance

Vampires, Demons, Undead, Humans, Magic users make up the races in the roleplaying community of Fogs End in Second Life. This is a mature roleplaying region and it should be pointed out that child avatars are not allowed. This is made clear at the entrance.

Steam Train

Whilst at the entrance you will be able to pick up an out of character (OOC) tag but you should also take time to read the rules of roleplay etiquette that the region embraces if you want to go beyond OOC.

News

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Florida State University Have Been Educating In Second Life

CNDG Balloon

Sometimes I come across an article and I wonder how current the article actually is, or whether some sort of blip has caused an old article to hit current searches.

This question struck me as I read an article by Susan Hansen, with a timestamp of 3rd January 2017 : Virtual science classes revolutionizing teaching methodology at FSU.

The article opens by telling us :

Imagine exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an environmental science class or investigating a real-life crime for your introductory chemistry course.

That’s the vision two Florida State University professors had when they created new virtual life classrooms for their students that allow them to learn essentially by playing in a 3-D virtual world.

William Landing, professor of environmental and marine chemistry in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, and Stephanie Dillon, director of freshman laboratories in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, have designed courses using the program Second Life, through CNDG, a provider of virtual world-based solutions.

This sounds optimistic, it doesn’t sound exactly new but new or old, the article raises some great points about virtual worlds, distance learning and the power of community.

CNDG Snacks

CNDG are Chant Newall Development Group, LLC and are providers of virtual world based solutions for business and education. The images in this post are from the CNDG Campus in Second Life, which still has some life but little information.  Florida State University used the CNDG campus for their courses I believe.

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