Monday, July 28, 2008

Brief Encounter x 2

Jonathan Kazan-Scientific artist or Artistic Scientist?
Hello Dear Reader and welcome back to my blogspot...
This has been an exciting week- so much is going on it
can make your head spin- and I'm just talking about Second Life.

A while back, I was visiting Squirrel Island at the behest of my
new friend Rye Checchinato, and noticed as I walked around, some
very interesting art installations. Environmental art has always been
a passion of mine, so I went over to investigate...

And found out that they were interactive..another passionate interest!

Well of course, that led to some more exploration and I found these-
"Color Reeds" writhing and wiggling in the water...

So, of course I had to meet the artist who made them...

Meet Jonathan Kazan- Molecular Biologist in RL/ Environmental interactive sculptor in SL. He started with this as a way of exploring the creation of artificial life
and well, you know how it goes...our creations have a way of owning part of us.

I traveled over to his current exhibit... to meet him and check it all out...

And he showed me some of the many and varied pieces he has installed there...

Each on offers a different way to interact, and makes the observer into a creator too.

I especially enjoyed this one- they are sculpties each made from snapshots taken in SL, and the noise that they generate is also derived from the image- in some ways, kind of what goes on in my brain ;-)..,
But these are best seen in motion- Pach Voom has made a nice short vid about Jonathan, and you can catch it here...

Jonathan's exhibit is at Artractus 233,109,22

Avatrian takes the challenge of RMB City...This is just the beginning...
Now I want to let you listen in on a chat I had with Chenin Anabuki- founder and principle of Avatrian. They have won the commission to build China Tracy's RMB City, a build that can only be described with adjectives like massive, stunning, complex, witty and timely. China Tracy is know as Cao Fei in RL. Avatrian got the call a few months ago, and was presented with this video.

Only the Preview Center is accessible to the general public at the moment...but let's listen in as I talk to Chenin (Note: I have edited this somewhat for clarity)

[19:00] Chenin Anabuki: But it opens up on October.
[19:11] Annabelle Fanshaw: so how long so you think this will take to build?
[19:11] Chenin Anabuki: It is actually a 2 year long project and social experiment.
[19:11] Chenin Anabuki: But, most of the city structures will be here by September/October.
[19:11] Chenin Anabuki: But, we will be adding custom avatars for visitors too...and vehicles.
[19:12] Chenin Anabuki: Plus several collectors and art institutions will be holding their own events here.
[19:11] Annabelle Fanshaw: what do you mean by social experiment?
[19:12] Chenin Anabuki: Social Experiment,
[19:12] Chenin Anabuki: because the artist sees this as a project to learn more about the metaverse and how it affects RL behaviours and decisions.
[19:13]Chenin Anabuki: Cao Fei is really interested in the evolution of the city, not just in the final end product.

[[19:14]Chenin Anabuki: They do the launches of the venues here in RMB City along side gallery exhibits in RL.
[19:14] Chenin Anabuki: Last week was the UCCA in Beijing and the Serpentine in London.[19:14] Chenin Anabuki: In September, it will be a gallery in Yokohama
[19:14] Annabelle Fanshaw: yes, I saw that

[19:15] Annabelle Fanshaw: and who is going to do all of those objects that make up the city?
[19:15] Annabelle Fanshaw: your group? or many model makers?
[19:15] Chenin Anabuki: Avatrian
[19:16] Annabelle Fanshaw: you guys will be busy!
[19:16] Chenin Anabuki: We're pretty much doing all of it.
[19:16] Chenin Anabuki: Yes, but busy in a very good way.

[19:16] Chenin Anabuki: All the existing elements here right now are Avatrian creations.
[19:16] Annabelle Fanshaw: i see
[19:16] Chenin Anabuki: We whipped it out in two weeks.
[19:17] Chenin Anabuki: But, we have more time for the rest of the buildings and other objects.
[19:17] Annabelle Fanshaw: and there will be residences?
[19:17] Chenin Anabuki: I think so.
[19:17] Chenin Anabuki: But the first ones here will probably be art institutions and collectors.

[19:18] Annabelle Fanshaw: ah, I see
[19:18] Annabelle Fanshaw: I want to ride the aerial bus
[19:18] Annabelle Fanshaw: and go to the forbidden city on the top
[19:18] Chenin Anabuki: That will be here eventually.
[19:18] Chenin Anabuki: So are the jets and boats
[19:18] Chenin Anabuki: I will build the forbidden city myself.
[19:18] Chenin Anabuki: :)
[19:19] Annabelle Fanshaw: good!

[19:19] Chenin Anabuki: It will be amazing once all the elements are in place.
[19:19] Annabelle Fanshaw: well, it sure looks great
[19:19] Annabelle Fanshaw: in the vid
[19:19] Chenin Anabuki: We are attempting to capture the feel from the video.
[19:20] Chenin Anabuki: But, there will probably even more elements in the RMB City here in SL.

[19:22] Annabelle Fanshaw: you are getting quite a crowd
[19:22] Annabelle Fanshaw: that is great
[19:22] Chenin Anabuki: Seems like people are slowly finding the place.
[19:23] Chenin Anabuki: That is good.
[19:23] Annabelle Fanshaw: yes
[19:23] Annabelle Fanshaw: build the buzz

[19:24] Annabelle Fanshaw: so what would you call the style of architecture in the city?
[19:24] Chenin Anabuki: Oh gosh, that's a good question.
[19:24] Annabelle Fanshaw: you can get back to me on it
[19:24] Chenin Anabuki: I have to think about that.
[19:24] Chenin Anabuki: yes, will do.
[19:24] Annabelle Fanshaw: will there be retail too?
[19:25] Chenin Anabuki: Yes, some spaces will be for shops and commercial endeavors.
[19:25] Chenin Anabuki: There will be a marketplace in the city.
[19:25] Annabelle Fanshaw: great!
[19:26] Chenin Anabuki: Imagine how bustling this will be when all the other spaces become open.
[19:26] Annabelle Fanshaw: yes, one hopes to see that
[19:26] Annabelle Fanshaw: and hopes it lasts
[19:26] Chenin Anabuki: It's a worthwhile goal.
[19:26] Annabelle Fanshaw: yes
[19:27] Annabelle Fanshaw: you have to give them a reason to return again and again[19:27] Annabelle Fanshaw: events and shops do that
[19:27] Annabelle Fanshaw: as well as residences
[19:27] Chenin Anabuki: Those are in the plan.
[19:27] Chenin Anabuki: Making my head swim now with all the todo things for the future.

So there, Dear Reader, that is what kept me busy this week- Many thanks to Chenin Anabuki of Avatrian for the preview, and to Jonathan Kazan for his time and especially to
Rodion Resistance and Lovelette Yifu of Avatrian for patiently answering all my questions while I took picures of the build in progress.

Until next week- Have fun- Annabelle

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Are we there yet? Traveling to other worlds through the OS Grid

Hello Dear Reader, and welcome to another episode of "Av in the City"...
well, not quite, I have journeyed to the Flatiron district in New York City to attend a Metaverse Meetup- officially titled "OpenSim and virtual worlds interoperability".

Think anyone has noticed that I have a suit on today?

At the meeting (left to right in the picture) was Adam Frisby (Adam Zaius in SL) from DeepThink Labs, David Levine (Zha Ewry in SL) from IBM Research, and moderating was Tish Shute who writes about OpenSim on her blog-

In a very small nutshell, OpenSim is the very beginnings of a network or system that will interconnect all the virtual worlds- Imagine- to paraphrase David Levine- going on a quest in WOW, cutting off the dragons head, taking that head over to your favorite bar in Second Life to show your friends, and having a victory dance. The problems, legal and technical, involved in making this data transfer happen, are numerous and complicated- but these guys, and others
have taken on the challenge. And with the Lindens have set up a portal that the folks in Second Life can get too. For details on how to set up your own entrance to the OpenSim go here-

Here is Adam watching someone port into Wright Plaza, one of the entry points in the burgeoning collection of worlds here.

And here I am, just ported in. Note to visiting fashionistas-
you don't get to bring your attachments,
just the basic hair and clothes will appear.

They provide instructions for getting around.

And sandboxes for the building types.

And interesting movie kiosks- nicely done!

It's a whole 'nother universe- and it's just starting to open-
go visit!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Harsh Beauty of Skjern

Greetings Dear Reader-
The post this week is decidedly adult, and probably not for everyone. This week, I had the privilege to interview Poseidon Dagostino, one of the premiere designers of Gorean Sims. These sims are for serious role play, and as such make some extraordinary demands on the designers... Imagine if someone handed you the complete works of Charles Dickens, or the Odyssey, or for that matter, the Nancy Drew series, and told you to make it into a world where avs could inhabit the roles in the book. John Norman has written 26 novels of Gor, and these are the basis for this RP world.

As the designer and associate designer of 7 sims so far, Poseidon and his design firm- the Trident Group- have a lot to consider. The culture of these novels is similar to that of our world's, as inhabitants were actually transplanted from Earth. Skjern is modeled in part on the Vikings life circa 1000AD, with a farming, fishing and mining based economy that intertrades among the better than 20 plus sims that make up the Gorean presence in SL. When he designs a sim, Poseidon also has to consider the "playability" of the environs.

So let's visit, shall we?

First stop, we disembark from a "serpent" one of the longboats of Gor.

Very nicely organized with common spaces as well as homes for rental...

These fellows are Bosks, big, shaggy, and not too talkative...

Baked goods! Who knew? Bosk pie anyone?

The Village Smithy- very important guy in the Iron Age...

Here is the Great Hall, for the feasting and general celebration..

And of course, the kitchen behind it where the meals are prepared...

The Scribery is next- where the note keepers and map makers work.

Now matter where you go- there you are- Great maps!

Next, down in to the salt mines- a labyrinth under the village..

And from there you can get to the Arena, where contests and tournaments are held,
warriors come from all over to compete-kind of like Yankee Stadium...

And this nasty place is the jail or dungeon if you will..

And once they let you out, you can clean up in the baths...quite civilized in my opinion..

And don't forget the beehives, need that for the mead making..

From Skern, we traveled to the Vosk River Outpost- home of outlaws, and the notorious Panther Girls- women who have rebelled against the male domination of Gor and left the society to form their own village..

Complete with a sunken villa- Well Done, Poseidon!

The visual serenity belies the rather fierce rp fighting that goes on here...

And finally, the Panther Girls outpost...a whole other world, aerial and interconnected, with rope swings that take you across the chasms.

As you can see, Poseidon makes a complex design look easy, like it has always been there...

Well, Dear Reader, that is a peek behind the veils of 2 of the Gorean sims- as I said these are mature rp areas and not for everyone, and as such I shall let you seek
out the landmarks if you want to join them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hey, get that horse off my lawn! Secret places to ride in Second Life

Greetings Dear Reader, and welcome back!
Today's post is a joint effort between woman and horse-
Chip poured through the Search so he could showcase
some of the exciting places to ride in SL-
(just between you and me, I think he did it extricate me
from the workshop and out for some more rides)

So, in no particular order are some of his favorite places...

Ah, the lovely harshness of the Forest of Kahruvel
(in the Rodeo Sim (97,127,58)
A fair amount of high range riding here, be prepared to do some flying too.
One of my personal faves- the canyon land under Grendles
Avaria Kro (36,196,61)
There be dragons here, and the occasional space ship ;-)

Here in Ilanril, *AE Industries* has set it all up for horseback riding-
it's just lovely! Ilandril (149,239,78)

Ok, now for those of you who really like to travel...
On the ground at Planet Mongo- Red Randt and Lumiere Noir are
terraforming a new place that should offer some very interesting riding-
while you look for the ruins of the Mongo Empire...
And as pretty as any Monet painting- be sure and visit Provence- if
you don't have a horse, you can also take a carriage ride here. Just lovely,
don't you think? Ville Est,Provence Coeur (130,206,33)
And finally- for those who want to do a little exhibit viewing while they ride-
Science Friday has some wide open land, which abuts the NASA exhibit, and
and Space Island (See the Leviathan!) Science Friday (53,157,34), and Leviathan
on Space Island (128,15,33)
All of these places get 4 hoof stamps of approval from you know who-
Until next week, dear reader, Happy trails!
Annabelle (and Chip, of course)