Blurring the Divide

After glancing at Mashable’s slideshow on the latest and greatest social networks to watch, I am knocked over by how much these apps provide much of the same functionality we find and enjoy inworld. 

9 Hot Social Networks to Watch

Many of them “gather information nearby about events, friends in the area, people in the area…” 

If that’s not an atomic version of SL maps, minimaps, friends lists, I’m not sure what would be.  Seems something rather LARGE is going on with all of this but I’m unable to articulate the significance of all of these changes that we’re all observing and participating in.  Maybe it’s as simple as asking:  is the divide between atomic and inworld really all that vast any more?  Obviously both worlds have their distinct characteristics, but when fashion and activism, community and status, personalities and relationships, arts and expression, and now inworld tools and atomic world apps flow so effortlessly in both directions…it seems to beg the question or beg that the question be examined again.  Or that the question be reframed.  To what, I don’t yet know.  Do you?  If so please share! But I do wonder where all of this is leading.  To some kind of even deeper convergence between inworld and atomic worlds?  And what will that look like and be like, I wonder?  Seriously.

Bridging the Divide

I came across this wonderful RSA video on the brain, as discussed in a lecture given by renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist.  In his talk, he describes how brain functions once thought to be in separate hemispheres (i.e., the view that emotions and rationality are in separate and distinct places) actually use both hemispheres, and how our ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society.  McGilchrist shares several fascinating, interesting bits in this lecture.  I found very interesting his discussion about how as humans we require a “necessary distance” even in the midst of immersion in order to see the forest for the trees.  Also his assertion that our brain-environmental development increasingly focuses on what we know (a kind of self-perpetuating reinforcement), instead of seeking out that which we don’t know.

The video is a fast and fascinating 11 or so minutes.

360 Moments in Freeze Frame

Okay…editorial correction.  “360” should be “365.”  The “360” subliminal typo could be a reflection of how fast everything is now that somehow the days in the year feel shorter, or it could be “360” as in full circle.

I came across a 360-day photo project, only this one happened in the atomic world.   Jonathan Harris started this project on his 30th birthday and celebrated that milestone year with a photo a day along with a twitter-esque character-count story for each photo.  Here’s his website.  Here’s his video of the final product.  I’m not wild about the music he chose, but his photos are beautiful, some provoke a stronger reaction than others.  And his reflection on the project and experience is insightful and telling (presented by way of my interpretation of his words):  Lasting memory.  To make a mark in the moment and beyond.  To not be forgotten.  Immersion.  To really notice and live into the fullness of the day.  Creative pressures.  Reflection.  Being.  The realization that the more you think you know, the less you really do know.

His video is 8 minutes or so in length…overall, I’d say that’s a pretty rapid year.   One that serves as an inspiration for all of us to think about journaling life in this type of way.  A photo a day.

Art Box

The other day, very wonderful good friend Dale and I visited a fantastic interactive (or perhaps immersive is a better word) art installation in SL called Art Box.  I wish I could remember the names of the creators.  They happened to be there when we were there, and they were as friendly and as engaging as could be.  The next time I’m inworld, I’ll find their names and update this entry, but in the meantime, I came across their web page:  http://www.advancedvirtual.com/artbox/ (cursor over each image to see the effect).  As you’ll see from their webpage and from the photos below, what they’ve created so very cleverly is an experience where visitors can insert themselves into some widely-recognized images:

Dale, Ringo, Michele, and George - Abbey Road
The "Original Beatles": Dale, Ringo, Michele, and George on Abbey Road
Apparently, John and Paul didn’t fully understand the concept behind the Abbey Road photo shoot, so in the spirit of “find a little help from your friends,” Dale and I stepped in to demonstrate.

 

When you land at Art Box, you’ll find yourself on the second floor gallery where a series of about, oh, 20-30 posters of masterworks line the room.  Make your selection by clicking on the poster of choice, and suddenly, you’re teleported to the first floor of the build where a stage rezzes (complete with pose balls) to hold a 3D replica of the masterwork.  Hop on a pose ball, change your appearance, play with the lighting and the camera and not only are you *in* the creation you selected, but you are, by virtual extension, a contributing artist.

Here’s Dale, as always statuesque and completely stunning, and in this photo, posing in the latest addition to the Art Box gallery:

Dale demonstrating that it's wholly unwise to mess with anyone wearing a system skirt
Dale demonstrating that it's wholly unwise to mess with anyone wearing a system skirt

Yes.  Anyone who has ever put on a system skirt *knows*  “it just ain’t easy” to wear.  Probably worse than a corset.  But the creators were clever enough to provide clothes and props if you choose not to use your own.  The gorgeous gown comes from Dale’s inventory, but check out that truck (a prop from the build) in Dale’s hand.  I snapped this photo (below) of Dale on the beam with the construction crew before Dale had a chance to detach the truck.  The prop for this image is a sandwich, which is in Dale’s other hand. 

Iconic Image
the highest heights

 

Art Box is a great concept and a great deal of fun.  It’s been around for about four months and is growing rapidly.  They add new images and 3D reproductions (again with poseballs and props) each week and have plans for a third floor to hold the additional works. 

Shake a tail feather down to Art Box
Shake a tail feather down to Art Box
Here’s a picture of the creators, who thought up, designed, and continually update this wonderful experience:
Art Box creators
Art Box creators

I have no doubt that those who visit Art Box enjoy the experience so much that they return again to try out the rest of the masterworks, along with the new ones that are added each week.  Well, why not…afterall, it’s just too fun!

A quick update to this entry: I just saw Dale’s wonderful weblog entry on Art Box, where he also clearly remembers the creators’ names and lists them:  Frankie Rockett and Violet Sweetwater! 

(Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dale! 🙂 )

Pre Un-Rezzable

Like probably everyone, a couple of days ago, I heard news that Rezzable is leaving SL.  Unlike probably everyone, I had not yet made my way beyond Crimson Shadow to two other popular Rezzable builds:  The Carnival of Doom and the Greenies.  

While I have heard of Rezzable a great deal in SL, I was never entirely clear what Rezzable was.  I always thought Rezzable was made up of a variety of artists who collaborated together…and I suppose one could still think of them that way, although I’ve since learned that Rezzable is a company.   I learned this from my very wonderful friend Dale and perhaps I should have realized it while at The Carnival of Doom “novelties” stand where one can buy various things (clothing, skins, avatars).

A quick aside: today’s (Thursday) Rezzable website announces a 50L sale at Crimson Shadow and The Carnival of Doom through July 15th, the last day that those builds – along with The Tunnel of Light (which I did have an opportunity to see) – will appear in SL.

Collaborative artists or creative enterprise, let me just say that The Carnival of Doom is *really* creepy.  I mean in a Stephen King “It” kind of way creepy.  The fairgrounds “greet” you with giant and menacing rides (perfectly reflecting the danger in the name “The Carnival of Doom”). 

Rezzable's Carnival of Doom
Rezzable's Carnival of Doom
Rezzable's Carnival of Doom
Rezzable's Carnival of Doom

The creepiest of creepy Stephen King “It” clowns may (or may not) suddenly appear, one of which may (or may not) pedal a  unicycle in bee-line fashion only to stop abruptly nearby and hang in the air like a really bad stench.  This clown doesn’t need to say anything to be creepy. 

Rezzable "Clowns"
Rezzable "Clowns"

His entire persona – down to his “Cannibal” tag – is enough to cause your hair to stand on end.  When the build somehow sends in more clowns, well, you… just… kinda… feel… your… skin… crawl. 

Rezzable "Clowns"
Rezzable "Clowns"

And then you remember, as the health HUD clearly reminds all visitors, one can be injured or even “die” at The Carnival of Doom. 

The Greenies wasn’t nearly as creepy (except for some very huge buggy leggy nom-nomming things).

A Greenie
At The Greenies
At The Greenies...Large Kitty Kitty!
At The Greenies...Large Kitty Kitty!

But what it shared with The Carnival of Doom was Rezzable’s imaginative marketing:  themed immersive entertainment or role playing merged with shopping.   I’m not sure that I would call it RP, because it’s more like stumbling into the themed reality, rather than choosing to create a persona first before engaging.  (But I haven’t done RP so maybe that is how RP is done…I really don’t know.)  Either way, Rezzable’s immersive aspect is powerfully effective.  But, isn’t that really the case with all of SL?  Aside from the novel approach of turning immersion up another notch, I’m not clear how this could give Rezzable a competitive advantage (particularly sustained over time).  But, marketing in SL is a pretty fascinating and complex undertaking. 

Either way, there’s undoubtably a ton of creativity in these builds.  They are truly worth visiting in the next very few days before they disappear entirely from SL…even if, in hindsight, they really appear to be massively themed shopping malls.  You won’t notice that initially if for a while…