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Angry Gods Updates

As explained in a previous post from last September, I plan to create a mixed-reality art book using digital images of scenes composed in Second Life which will then be manipulated and printed in real life using updated traditional printmaking processes.

I’ve been working on the first installment of Angry Gods on a LEA sim since 1 January. The sim is open to the public and anyone is welcome to visit, with certain caveats:

SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA17/245/11/26 The installations are photographic scenery, which means they are out of context and are lacking characters who will be in the actual photos. However, there are a number of scripted and interactive elements to make it more interesting for visitors. However, due to the possibility of disruption of exhibits on neighboring sims (boom!) the most dramatic effect is limited to times when I can be there and when there are no visitors on adjacent sims. You can check the . . . → Read More: Angry Gods Updates

Rebuilding Winthrop Hall

When JayJay first opened up UWA in SL, it was primarily intended to be a virtual replica of the actual campus in Perth. Having spent a few months there I can tell you they did a remarkably good job. Many of the campus buildings were reproduced using (then) Google’s 3D modeling software called Sketchup. These models were then incorporated into Google Earth as part of an international virtual campus program by Google, for which UWA’s team won a top prize. One of their team then developed an interface tool called SketchLife that could import Sketchup models into Second Life linksets, complete with texturing. This was at a time when the maximum prim size was 10 meters and before sculpted prims (much less mesh) were commonly used. So most of the builds were created as facades without any consideration for interior space or prim efficiency. So, for example, the iconic Winthrop Hall clocked in at . . . → Read More: Rebuilding Winthrop Hall

The Project

In June of 2011 I had been the curator at UWA for just over 6 months and LEA wasn’t even a thing yet. Some months earlier the UWA Virlantis sim, which had been used for language teaching in a program that was no longer happening, was relegated to monthly full-sim installations by select artists. Before LEA, this was a nearly unheard of opportunity for single artists to go crazy with virtually unlimited resources. I lusted after the sim as much as anyone, but felt it was inappropriate as curator at UWA to just take a month if another artist could use it. But there was a vacancy for June and when no one jumped at it, I asked JayJay to let me have it. The result was my simulated journey into the afterlife called Angry Gods. It was an inspirational and obsessive creative process for me at the time, and it’s been something I’ve been . . . → Read More: The Project

Cross World Art Creation: Silas Merlin

I met French pastel artist Silas Merlin (RL: Jean-François Le Saint) several years ago through my friend Zephyr Zabelin, who then owned the artists’ community sim called Artemisia where I was a resident. When Zep left SL I acquired the sim and sought to populate it with the work of both residents and other interesting artists. I offered Silas a small space and I was happy to have a selection of his beautiful pastels on display.

Silas and his doppelganger

Silas has been in and out of SL over the years, but has recently come back stronger than ever. Most recently, he has been working on rendering some of his 2D pastel work into 3D digital sculptures, which he has imported into SL and has also had RL 3D printed editions made. This afternoon was the opening of an exhibition of his new work at the MBK Gallery, curated by Asmita Duranjaya (SLURL below).

Realities . . . → Read More: Cross World Art Creation: Silas Merlin

Lingua Ignota (an unknown language)

Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179) was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Among her many works is reference to a lingua ignota, or unknown language, that she apparently invented for her own mystical purposes. What survives in writing is an alternative alphabet, a couple of partial glossaries, and sporadic use of isolated words within otherwise normal Latin text. Apparently Hildegard’s community was aware of her secret language, but it’s not clear how it was used or that anyone other than Hildegard herself ever used it.

I have been an admirer of Hildegard’s music, her visionary art, and her interesting story for many years. I recently happened across the information about her lingua ignota and an image of her alternative alphabet glyphs. Coincidentally, I also became aware of a free online service called MyScriptFont.com that provides a TrueType font created from your own handwriting. On a whim and . . . → Read More: Lingua Ignota (an unknown language)

Tuscania Gallery Exhibition Catalog

I’ve been banging to get some projects completed before heading home from Australia. This is an exhibition catalog from a show in 2012-13 at Tuscania gallery on my old Artemisia sim. All work by others that I had collected over the years. I was especially careful to keep separate the work that has been given to me to be displayed as part of a show, either at my sim or UWA. There are a lot of pieces here that did appear in shows I curated, but I specifically got copies from the artists for my personal collection, either as gifts or by purchase. Anyway, I have a remarkable and diverse collection and just wanted to share it.

Get a degree in SL in 6 months

The ineffable Vanessa Blaylock does it again with a fascinating new project for her LEA sim beginning 1 January. She has announced the creation of Medici University, a virtual campus where you can go and be a teacher or a student, takes classes, and even earn a degree. All for free! Yayz!.. So what classes are they offering? Depends on what people want to teach. What are the requirements for a degree? You decide. Then if you finish your own program they give you your degree (explicitly non-accredited by anyone). This is a great experiment that demonstrates that bricks and mortar universities will likely have a harder and harder time competing with rapidly deploying online alternatives.

Interestingly, this idea is remarkably similar to the rl program that I was in for my undergraduate degree. I went to New College in Sarasota, Florida. Begun in the 60s, it was and is a radical approach to learning . . . → Read More: Get a degree in SL in 6 months

Why HiFi?

Second Life creator Philip Rosedale and partners are working on a new VR platform called High Fidelity. It’s still in very alpha state, but they are occasionally releasing little samples of their progress. What I’ve seen until now has been less than impressive, but I was pretty amazed at this latest demo. The characters look very cartoon-ish, but what you need to understand is that the gestures and facial expressions are all being generated in real time based on the actual expressions of the users. Eye movement, raised eyebrows, the guitar strums… A top priority of the project is near zero latency, which would open the doors to the Internet being more widely used for real time music collaboration, among other benefits.

I have questions about the point of all this, e.g., at what point is it no different from Skype? The advantage to Second Life is that you can present yourself as you . . . → Read More: Why HiFi?

The Caged Mind

John Cage

I have owned three books by the late composer John Cage for many years. The most recent was published in 1972. On very rare occasions, probably less than once every few years on average, I pick up one of these books and, in appropriately stochastic fashion, read something at random. Without exception this exercise proves to be at least interesting, often humorous, or even more often astounding. Last night as I was heading for bed I snatched my copy of A Year From Monday and began reading the introduction.

This book, published in 1967, begins by referring back to Silence, his previous book published in 1961 and arguably the most influential of his literary works (which includes the text of his narrative piece “Indeterminacy” and manifestos on new music), noting that the current book includes writing and lectures from the intervening years. What made me stop in my tracks was the text . . . → Read More: The Caged Mind

How much is that doggie in the window?

The song made famous by Patti Page in 1953 asks a simple question that serves as an interesting model for describing problems in artificial intelligence. In essence, it is a query about the price of a dog. But how we get there is surprisingly complex. Let us parse…

QUERY: HOW MUCH? How much what? How much does it weigh? How much does it fear cats? The construct “how much is” is accepted as a variant of the more grammatical “what is the price of.” It is further understood that the query is likely thinking in terms of monetary exchange — a number in local currency to be given as fair market value for the pooch. She likely has a price range in mind, or at least has a sense of what price would be unreasonably high.

SUBJECT: THAT DOGGIE Clearly referring to a specific canine animal, apart from any other dog or thing. “Doggie” is . . . → Read More: How much is that doggie in the window?

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