Friday, September 30, 2011

Starting From the End at Burn2 in Second Life - The Temple

Burn2 2011 Temple by Damanios Thetan

I want you to imagine for a moment that you have walked onto the playa at Black Rock City in Nevada during the Burning Man festival.  It's large and it's full of people and builds and camps but there are two iconic structures there on the desert floor.  A giant Man and a Temple.  Both of these structures are consumed by flames at the end of the week; the Man on Saturday night and, as the climax to the annual celebration, the Temple on Sunday.

The Temple is the spiritual centre of the festival without being religious.  For the full week of Burning Man people in that city bring messages to this structure.  The messages are for loved ones or for themselves.  Often the messages are for those they have lost through death or estrangement.

Burn2 2011 Temple by Damanios Thetan

The messages are written on pieces of paper or on the walls.  Sometimes they bring momentos or items they've created as tokens.  I've seen narratives describing individuals leaving the ashes of a loved one at the Temple.

The emotions accompanying the messages range from love to anger, despair, sadness and hope.  After a week of thousands and thousands of messages the Temple is infused with emotion and the messages form part of the structure.

When the flames consume the structure they take with them all of the joy and pain and memories that have been left on and in the building.  It has meaning to each of the individuals who have visited.

Burn2 2011 Temple by Damanios Thetan

Every year Burners anticipate the unveiling of the Man and the Temple with impatience and those who go to Burn2 are no exception because there is one of each of these amazing builds on the virtual playa. This year's Temple by Damanios Thetan is extraordinary. People are left speechless when they first see it and I was no exception.

The Burn2 version provides a similar focus and function as that on the Black Rock Desert floor.  If you approach the pool of gold in the centre you can leave your own message in the Temple.

On Sunday October 9, as people gather to watch the finale to week's festival, the Temple will "read out" the messages collected during the week.  Then we will all watch the flames celebrate both the structure and the emotional gifts left there.

Burn2 2011 Temple by Damanios Thetan

I hope you have a chance to visit Burn2 this coming week because you will see great builds, wonderful art and share music and dance.  But most of all I hope you go visit the Temple.  It's the emotional center of the playa and my favourite part of the festival.

I will have some exciting news to share tomorrow but I wanted to start with this post to give you a chance to get there and leave your own personal message.  Burn2 opens October 1 at noon.  I hope to see you on the playa.

PS.  I'll give you the slurl to the Temple tomorrow as well. :)

Burn2 2011 Temple by Damanios Thetan

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Burn2 2011 is coming to Second Life

I'm not going to moan about not being around and not blogging.  What I will do though is say Burn2 is so far exhilarating, exhausting and occasionally maddening but it's an awful lot of fun.  I think you'll have a very good time.  I will solemnly swear to post something very cool later this week and share some exciting news.  In the meantime, watch the latest promo video (by Bubblepop Unplugged & Catzi Pearl) and if  you wish to attend the Press Day see Ches' and Uccie's posts and come on down. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wherein the Intrepid Explorer (and Friend) Goes Mesh in Second Life

Mesh Honour

This is just a quick update - I'm buried in Burn2 lists at the moment.  I will get out later this week and bring you some fabulous locations though.

This morning Diana Renoir and I put on our new mesh avatars and I had to show you! Each has an arc of 33 - amazing.  She is wearing something not only adorable but it appears soft and squishy just as it should.

I can't get over how easily they rez and how crisp the textures are.  This is fun but I thought I should show you what we look like in case I encounter somebody without mesh enabled. Note I kept my view distance down so I'm not giving advance glimpses of the Burn2 builds. :)

Mesh Di

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Copybotting Steampunk in Second Life?

Neverland Back in Time (moderate)

I'm no expert, and I'm certainly not qualified to be an investigative journalist, but when I saw this series of photos on Koinup (showing one creator's claims of copybotting)  I thought I'd check out the sim.

I also don't have a photographic memory so I don't remember every steampunk creation I've seen.  This is a gorgeous build but one of the first things I encountered did look familiar and Jenne Dibou is definitely not the creator's name when you inspect the above objects, which is odd. (note: that arrow is part of the installation, I didn't add it)  If you look at the next photo from Forgotten City she's definitely the one given credit.

If I were a steampunk builder I'd go wander around Neverland Back in Time just to see what I could find.

Forgotten City (general)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Breaking News! Tortoise-deniers Murder Innocent Blogger in Second Life

New Jessie  (general)

I tried.  I really did.  On behalf of you, Dear Readers, I will face my fears and venture into regions known to embody all the things on that long list of activities that terrify me.  Being a true coward they are not hard to find.  But I have limits and once that threshold is met I retreat - no grace or nobility involved.  Viewed from any distance I will look like the craven, whimpering wuss I am. 

Today I went to visit New Jessie.  I knew in advance it was a combat sim and expected (well hoped) to be able to wear a Visitor tag while I explored.  There wasn't one.  My fallback wish was that people would be so busy with each other that I could just slip in, take some photos and escape before they knew I was there.  You can guess what happened.

New Jessie  (general)

The landing spot for this combat sim provides a helpful globe showing the related regions around the grid where you can engage in the "fun" of killing each other.  I should have been less willing to venture into the main build "The Glorious Socialist Workers' City of Stalingrad" because that globe is, of course, a lie.  The grid is actually flat and moves through the metaverse on the back of a giant turtle. Tortoise-deniers can't be trusted to honour the neutrality of innocent bloggers.  The little brats.

New Jessie has a tricky teleporter down to the main city - it's random.  I usually try and tp to an area devoid of combatants but that wasn't in my power today.  For those of you new to my adventures I have a rule.  Kill me three times and I give up.   sigh  I managed to get one photograph in the main area before my third death and it's not a very good shot.  It's up to you to try and see the rest of this build.  Next time I'll go find a place with pretty flowers and pixies.  They're not as homicidal.

New Jessie  (general)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Castle Hath a Pleasant Seat? in Second Life

This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself  Unto our gentle senses.
-- William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Macbeth -- Act i, Sc. 6

King Duncan's comment is a fine example of irony - and the tendency we all have to not look below the surface. He may have thought he was going for a nice getaway in the country but Lady Macbeth had other plans.

Magnolioideae Palace had the same effect on me.  I saw this wonderful landscape and prepared to stroll casually about enjoying the scenery .... until I got a little closer.

Magnolioideae Palace  (moderate)

Based on the vehicles parked outside I think the German High Command has assumed control of this region.  I decided not to venture indoors - we've established already that I'm a coward and I can live with that.

I found evidence in the woods that there's a contingent of resistance fighters in the area.  I think I'll just avoid all of them and try to appreciate the view.  :)

Magnolioideae Palace  (moderate)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wherein the Intrepid Explorer Learns that Patience is a Virtue in Second Life

Velbert  (moderate)

I was surfing the map this morning and saw an island named Velbert - which seemed like a cool name so I teleported there.  My first reaction was disappointment, because I seemed to have landed in a mall and they don't interest me, so I went into some other windows looking for likely exploration targets.

When I got back to my viewer window the textures had rezzed.  And this is what I saw in front of me.

Velbert  (moderate)

The lights and the colours and the movement match the music that is coming from the club up stairs which, the sign says, carry you to a strip club.  It's definitely the seedier side of a futuristic downtown area.  Lots of little places offering tasteful nudes or fun showgirls, a pachinko-like palace and theatres.

One of my pet peeves in locations such as this is that they are usually so clean - think Star Trek vs Firefly - but this one has litter.  It also has some of the most bizarre ingredients I've ever seen added to any techno location.

Velbert  (moderate)

Just down the street from this theatre you walk through an "honour guard" of elephants.  When I passed through the door at the end of the street I found myself in a metal hallway - someday I'll have to figure out where that goes.

The Club up the stairs was full of dancing bodies - friendly people who invited me to join them.  However I was on a mission and declined but if you like trance/techno music you should try this place out.

Velbert  (moderate)

In the heart of the City (which acts as the lobby for the Club) you'll find a teleporter.  I thought I'd try a couple of the locations and was surprised all over again.  There is a volcano, a meditation area in the sky, both underwater and space-based racing tracks for free motorcycles and even more I didn't try.  All appeared really well done and landscaped.

Velbert is one of the most jam-packed locations I've ever visited.  The colour and the lights and the music and even the unexpected elements work together and it has a lot of positive energy.  Do be patient - there are hundreds of textures and they'll take a while to load.  Well worth the wait though - I got lucky that I saw this.  Next time I might remember that a little patience could pay off.  :)

Velbert  (moderate)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Up in the Air with Art & Cuckoos in Second Life

Aire Ville Spatiale (general)

I love the art you can find in Second Life.  I love the fact that, unlike many of us who resort to drama or emo hissy fits, artists channel their "crazy" into something often amazing and give the rest of us a journey to experience.  What my two readers have learned though is that I'm not knowledgeable about "art" and its metaphors or symbolism.  In other words - I can't explain it, I can just point you towards what I've found and suggest you go visit.  Today is a very good example.  :)

There is a new group of exhibits at Aire Ville Spaciale by Oberon Onmura, Marc Moana (his rl avatar is Marc Blieux) and Marc in collaboration with Maya Paris & Typote Beck. When you land at the main landing spot you'll see an installation by Yona Friedman and receive a notecard with teleport locations for the newer works.

Aire Ville Spatiale (general)

As a photographer I'm very slow - I have no future capturing "action" shots because by the time I have all the sliders and settings where I want them the image is long gone.  That weakness was brought home to me while I visited SynchroniCity because it keeps changing dammit!  I'd see this fabulous construct and work to try and get what might be a reasonable photo only to have it vanish before I could click on the camera.

There's a giant planet and then there isn't.  There's a phenomenally large tower and it disappears to be gradually replaced by a variety of cool builds (that's technical art terminology, really!) and then they vanish.

Aire Ville Spatiale (general)

I admit I got confused about where I was and in which exhibit at some points.  Figuring out what to look at and when made me feel like I was always a step behind where I was meant to be but, and it's a big but, I loved it.

I can't sound like I know what I'm talking about when I describe the art, because I don't.  However, I have travelled a lot in this fair world and there are many places which don't make me feel like I want to stay and see everything and experience all that I can.  The works I found on Aire Ville Spatiale captured my attention completely - trying to see everything was somehow absurd but compelling.

Aire Ville Spatiale (general)

Having said all of this I did have a favourite exhibit.  Marc's Cuckoo (which is actually built in The Aviary by Dekka Raymaker) is magical and The Aviary itself is fabulous (and I reached this conclusion before I discovered a free gift avatar by alpha.tribe!). 

There's a lot to see and absorb.  I did a great deal of the former and I'm still working on the latter.  I recommend that you go visit these exhibits - I'm not bad a finding things but I'll leave it to you to grasp their meaning. :)

By the time I found myself reclining on top of a giant bird's perch I was exhausted.  Go forth and see what you can discover at Aire Ville Spatiale.

Aire Ville Spatiale (general)