Friday, February 29, 2008

Fibreculture Journal critiques DanCoyote Antonelli's 'Art and (Second) Life'

Jo-Anne Green, co-director of New Radio and Performing Arts - Turbulence, has alerted me to a just-issued and noteworthy paper on art in Second Life.

Malia Ventura (aka Caroline McCaw) is a senior lecturer and academic leader in communication design at Otago Polytechnic, in Dunedin, New Zealand. She has just published the paper Art and (Second) Life in Fibreculture Journal, an Australia-based peer-reviewed international journal that "encourages critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning information and communication technologies and their policy frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical invention and sustainability."

Mostly, she explores two running themes: the Hyperformalist art of NPIRLer DanCoyote Antonelli (aka DC Spensley), his philosophy and accomplishments, and the context in which his art is produced and read, while addressing the environmental metaphors of Second Life. In the second thread, she also draws parallels between his art and the settler culture of New Zealand, "to consider the role of art in new environments."

Notably, Ms. McCaw's paper is derived from interviews conducted with DC during August of 2006, which preceded his Full Immersion Hyperformalism installation, and the second ZeroG SkyDancers Dancing with Angels , as well as the latest and current ZeroG SkyDancers event.

Gary Hazlitt's trailer is the next-best way for those not using Second Life to get a sense of what transpires during Second Spring: ZeroG SkyDancers, which is in the final stretch of its three month run and expected to close at the end of March.

You can see a higher resolution version of this here.

I contacted DC to get his impressions on Fibreculture Journal's piece:

DanCoyote Antonelli: I am very proud to be written about by such a scholarly person as Caroline McCaw. Her critical credentials are impeccable, and in the short time we had to speak with each other, she has gleaned more about my project in Second Life than most. It is often said that art in Second Life is without critical intervention. For the most part this is true. However, this work of Ms. McCaw's is as good as it gets and I am delighted beyond words that my work in virtual worlds is the subject of her paper.

This has been a good month for DC, insofar as Real Media exposure is concerned. He is also featured in the print edition of the March/April 2008 issue of Step Inside Design - along with artist Sabine Stonebender.

Great finds: Don't mess with the drill bit robot

Onakagoo Dibou's manga Drill Robo avatar (Doriru Robo) has its own dedicated space in a retail district on the Shimokitazawa region.

Occupying the entire center floor of the outlet, Drill Robo's arm has vanquished its first enemy... the roof!

Teleport directly from here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Catastrophe! - Space junk falls from the sky and wipes out the dinosaurs!

I was sipping my tea and struggling in-world with Second Life's crise du jour, when RightasRain Rimbaud's panicky IM came in. "There've been multiple UFO sightings! The dinosaurs are restless!" Of course, I set my cup down and made a mad dash for Rezzable to see what was up.

Indeed, chunks of UFO's were falling from the sky and demolishing Madcow Cosmos' dinosaurs. Oh dear.

I regret to inform you that all efforts to save them, heroic ones at that - in particular by one Kool-Aid pitcher that attempted to extinguish the flames by hurling himself at them - were for naught.

Dinosaurs demise

Syncretia - A fictional world in subtle hues that throbs with the narrative

I am tired of constraints imposed by time zones. I crave hours with the creator of a microcosm that exists only in Second Life.

Alpha Auer's (aka Elif Ayiter) stand-out world at Syncretia (teleport directly from here) is ghostly and architectural. Seeping through its monochromatic palette are moments of tension or humor or serenity, but the predominant take-away is that this is a place where many layers of civilization co-exist, making room for or overlapping each other in an orderly way, until (sh*t)/Life happens... disrupting the harmony... and all those carefully laid-out designs and plans are faced with discordant elements. Nothing is as it would be in Real Life, but this space and its existence feel tangible.

Syncretia - branches and plane

Alpha's range of colors is purposefully narrow, but not bleak. It is a temptation in Windlight, which I succumbed to.


Alpha's human, Elif Ayiter, is a Turkish artist, designer and educator specialising in the development of hybrid educational methodologies between art & design and computer science. Her Flickr stream further explains the evolution of this quiet masterpiece.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuna's trippy textures

"trippin'! It's when everything is the most important thing in the world"

Bostonian Tuna Oddfellow (rez: 8/15/2005) is a magician in Real Life, and a really pleasant fellow, too. Known as "Fish the Magish," he has performed at all manner of events for the past 30 years, and is the recipient of the "Best of Boston" award by the Society of American Magicians.

In Second Life, his biggest claim to fame is that he was the winner of last June's $3,750 US prize (then $1 million Lindens) for his participation in NBC’s "America’s Got Talent" in-world contest.

Tuna Oddfellow, working a screenfull of HUDs.

Shava Nerad, his Real Life fiance and Second Life wife - their February 9th wedding was featured in last week's online edition of Businessweek - handles his bookings and public relations in both worlds. She also works as a consultant and does avatar makeovers.

Shava's butterfly outfit was a knockout, especially in the setting.

So, why am I telling you all this? The textures, man. Tuna's textures. A couple of days ago Impossible IRL'er Truthseeker Young TP'ed me to a location in the sky that took forever to rez, but when it did, the only word I could utter was "whoa!"

I was inside a hypercube that was pulsing with the most insanely beautiful - and busy - textures, and in the company of many friendly but extra exotic and strange avatars. It was Tuna who was responsible for this.

magic touch event planners 2
A harlequin'ed megaprim, spooling out some wicked effects.

Tuna Oddfellow: I really feel like we're doing something native to Second Life and groundbreaking, just with immersion... and I like playing with the art, and widgets!

Bettina Tizzy: In what way do you think it is ground breaking?

Tuna Oddfellow: The megaprims are loaded into a wearable Hypercube. I layer them, I use transparency and partial transparency and glow to produce layered effects. I basically torture the prims! ;) It's like a fully surrounding kaleidoscope.

tuna oddfellow

Tuna Oddfellow: Shava turned to me one day when I was playing with stuff, and she said, "OMG, we've got something here, this is giving me vertigo." And that was last year sometime, maybe fall. Since then we've been working to make the show more and more *effecting*.

Thanks for the tp, Truthseeker!
Thanks for that TP, Truthseeker!

Tuna Oddfellow: People come and they forget they are in a chair behind a computer. They forget the boundaries. We destroy the "fourth wall" of the computer screen and pull people into the reality. To me this is what virtual reality is supposed to be like, right? Not a chat client with graphics, but something that makes you *feel* different. People don't just get dizzy, they get happy. They feel stoned. They are exhilarated.

Bettina Tizzy: The textures are gorgeous. Are they very high resolution?

Tuna Oddfellow: I love fractals. And I love playing with the GIMP to mashup images. They are generally between 512 and 1024, and then seamlessly tiled.

Bettina Tizzy: So you are wearing this hypercube?

Tuna Oddfellow: When I'm on my own land, yes, like last night, I leave the cube on the floor, as it were. But when people hire me to do a show at a sim, I can either set it up there, or it's all set up to be wearable. Like a one-man band! My screen is completely covered by HUDs.

The funky music was streamed from a radio station in Louisiana.
Tuna Oddfellow's show

Tuna does a weekly party on Monday nights from 7pm to 9pm SLT on his own land (teleport directly from here.) Occasionally he'll do a Saturday event for the European time-zone-challenged crowd. You can check out his upcoming gigs here.

Tuna Oddfellow's hypercube - B&W

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Get de-noobed via one easy volume

I spend nearly all my time in our pixelated world trying to understand what happened, what makes things work, and who is behind it. Every day feels epic. Often times the information is so tangled that I cannot even being to unravel it. Multiply one day of discovered and extrapolated facts by five years and imagine that in an intelligent volume you can hold and read over a weekend.

HarperCollins has just published Hamlet Au's (aka Wagner James Au) The Making of Second Life, and Lainy Voom, whose machinima I delight in, has teased just some of the stories from that book, in this entertaining promo piece.

The Making of Second Life from TheMakingOfSecondLife on Vimeo.

For those of us who read his blogged column daily, Hamlet/James' grasp of our world comes as no surprise, nor do the facts that he was the first embedded journalist and historian in the metaverse or that he majored in philosophy. Take this gem from the preface:

"The physical world of Second Life... is a kind of 3-D palette for the avatars within it. Standing on a hill like a demi-urge, a Resident can wave her hand and cause the ground to swell, expand, or even collapse into the sea. Moving her palm above the ground, she can make wooden shapes emerge from thin air (there is a deep rumble as these objects take on substance), and once there, her hands can mold and transmute their shape, even their substance - stretching a cube into a flat sheet, twirling a sphere into a torus made of shimmering silver..."

It's prose like this that makes reading The Making of Second Life effortless - a factor to consider since so many of us now prefer to expose ourselves to new information in 3D real time - and while I'm just about half way through, I've already experienced an Olympic leap of understanding.

Contemplating virtual worlds: Dusan Writer nails it

Like Hamlet Au and his omnipresent and indispensable reviews and reporting on the metaverse via New World Notes, and his new book The Making of Second Life - which I am devouring, by the way - blogger and specialist in vertical integration of media content and experiences, Dusan Writer has become a touchstone and a muse for me... Someone who takes the time to rephrase raw data, reflect upon it, and then present his take on virtual worlds and those who people them so coherently, so eloquently, that after reading his analyses, the rest of my day is forever changed. Dusan was especially profound and silver-tongued in this post, called "Leaving Second Life." Here is but a paragraph of what I consider to be one of the best internal conversations I've come across on any topic:

"But for now, a few pathfinders will live in that space of tension. The tension between dreams and reality. Between on the one hand the hope of translating the impossible into new languages and ways of living, and on the other despair at its erosion in the face of bad policy, code or a cool indifferent world."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

More Chouchou - Making music from somewhere far, far away

Ever since Thursday when Evo Szuyuan TP'ed me to a snow-globe jewel in the sky, I have longed to know more about that space... more about the musical group Chouchou - that exists only in Second Life - and more about their incredibly haunting song and music video "coma," which was shot in part, at that location.

"coma" Music Video - Chouchou

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I touched base with juliet Heberle (rez: 4/17/2007) yesterday and discovered that she is Japanese, but has been living in Manhattan for the past ten years, while her partner, arabesque Choche (4/8/2007), lives in Tokyo and is half-Japanese/half Central European.

juliet Heberle: Our group name is Chouchou, and the sky place you visited is "Islamey," created for our live concerts (teleport from here, and then walk through the tunnel and touch the crystal ball to teleport up).

Chouchou came into existence in July of 2007.

Bettina Tizzy: What is "coma" about? It seems so ardent.

juliet Heberle: "coma" is sung in a language from nowhere. I created the lyrics, imagining words from somewhere very, very far. Yes, people really like the song, even if they don't know the meaning of the words.

Her almost child-like, completely unforgettable voice, whispers in our ears while we are regaled with imagery that transports us to another mindset. Juliet shared that so far she sings in "Japanese, English and a language out of nowhere."

Bettina Tizzy: Did you and arabesque meet in Second Life? And who did the Machinima?

juliet Heberle: No, we've known each other for a long time, and have met in Real Life, but we can hardly meet each other. It's too far! arabesque made our official videos "coma" and "Islamey." The location, Islamey, opened last fall and changed to a winter version now.

Bettina Tizzy: Who built Islamey?

juliet Heberle: I had those images for the space first, and I collected all the things I needed to assemble it. I then turned to Yuki Aabye - one of a great creators in Second Life, and he helped me to transform my images into shapes.

The icy floral space is delicate and finespun like the most exquisite snowflake, and includes winter trees by Julia Hathor , owner and creator of the four sim Creative Fantasy Home & Garden (teleport directly from here).

Bettina Tizzy: The recordings... done in real life?

juliet Heberle: arabesque first composes the music and sends the data to me through the Internet. I listen to it, and write the lyrics and sing. Then, I send that data back to arabesque, again via the Internet, and he mixes it. We're working on new songs right now, but in the near future, we want to make more videos for our songs.

Photograph courtesy of Chouchou

Bettina Tizzy: Did one of you convince the other to come in-world?

juliet Heberle: I think arabesque told me about Second Life first, and we decided to start together.

You can purchase their music in-world (teleport directly from here), and also pick up a free Radio Box, from which you can stream Juliet's weekly radio program (lasting between one to two hours) on Saturdays at 6am SLT, "Little Tiara."

Haute on the grid... Being dOts

At Juria Yoshikawa's seeing spOts, being dOts performance last week, participants weren't just taking part in the show. They were the art, and also spontaneous interpreters of it. Meanwhile, a Real Life audience in Berlin looked on, as part of the Directors Lounge Festival.

Seeing Spots, Being Dots

The show was curated both in Second Life and Real Life by Olga Wunderlich, and featured Nnoiz Papps's original composition and musical performance - in addition to Juria's kaleidoscopic and kinetic environments.

One participant reported that the outrageously dotty moment felt like "freedom in full color." Each was given a "dot costume," as well as several numbered kinetic sculptures to wear. Juria would call out a number, and everyone would don that specific sculpture, using animations of their choosing from their own inventories. The only real rule... "stay below 700 meters."

Machinimator and artist Evo Szuyuan captured the experience on video, and added her own twist.

Seeing as the event took place on a weekday and at 9:15am SLT, most Americans were unable to attend, and many were quite disappointed. But something curious and infective is happening. People who participated in the event are sharing the full perm kinetic sculptures with others... in sandboxes and on their own land... and now this new collective "dancing" - to their own music - appears to be in vogue.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Navigating impossible objects via Echochrome

Just learned that M. C. Escher was not the father of impossible objects. Rather, it was Oscar Reutersvärd who was the first to create the impossible triangle upon which our group logo by Seifert Surface is based.

Speaking of impossible objects... Sony's downloadable Echochrome for PS3 looks rather fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Space Colony Necronom - A dark role-playing extravaganza

I do not condone rape or violence, especially of the non-consentual variety. Ultimately, I do not care as long as the participants are willing. My interest in Space Colony Necronom is in its content as a fantasy build, but the creator's motivation and goals are intriguing, nevertheless.

Oni Horan (rez: 8/7/2007) got busy in September of 2007, whipping together a sci-fi fantasy build that - until that time - existed only in his dreams. Sorely limited by a parcel allocation of 3,000 prims, he toiled away until October, when he flung open the doors of Space Colony Necronom VI (teleport directly from here), an "interactive adult roleplaying environment."

Apparently believing that oft-quoted cinematic line "If you build it, they will come," he did little to promote it... but it worked. Yesterday's traffic numbers were 22,826, which I contributed to, I might add. (Mom, if you are reading this, I only went to check out the build!)

Oni says that the Space Colony was "formerly known as Colony Necronom VI, but today this place is abandoned, overtaken by alien lifeforms that have used the colonists for breeding. The only thing that can be found there today is madness and death."

Interestingly, Oni has not created any role-playing rules or grounds for banishment, other than that he does not allow "full functionality of weapons."

Bettina Tizzy: Tell me a little about your decision to make it hardcore. Did that decision come first or later? (Space Colony Necronom describes itself as a place for rape, monsters, BDSM, and then some).

Oni Horan: You mean sexual? It is said that two things are needed to sell a medium: violence and sex. Now if you look at the gaming industry of today, it is clear which path has been chosen to follow. While I certainly won't argue about the aesthetic value that violence can have, I find it deeply regrettable that this new medium has chosen such a destructive path almost exclusively.

Careful what you touch here!

Oni Horan: Themes of love and sexuality have no place in this industry and in the few rare instances where that is different, it always leads to a scandal of gigantic proportions, that warns everyone in the US not to pursue that path any further. Everyone knows the relation that Americans have towards sexuality, so as a European I say let them take care of violence and hatred, while we explore the other path, just like it has always been in every medium.

Touch at your own risk

Bettina Tizzy: Are you a 3D artist in Real Life?

Oni Horan: No, but I'm experienced with the medium. I study something like game design. Usually, I make music or draw comics, but in Second Life I can move within all mediums that I know: audio, video, graphics... it all comes together.

Self portrait by Oni Haran

Oni Horan: Second Life is ultimately the most complex virtual enviroment for open thoughts and ideas. Be it politically, socially, or even sexually, people have a chance to express themselves in a very sophisticated way. For that, however, the proper enviroments need to be in place.

Hibernation pods at Space Colony Necronom

Oni Horan: For example, there is a very rich variety of fantasy locations throughout Second Life, which in turn has brought forth a multitude of things to do, thousands of outfits, philosophies and people to explore.

Oni Horan: Basically, any idea can be expressed within a fantasy context, while science fiction, a genre that from the very first day has always primarly served to express novel thoughts and ideas, seems to be quite lacking.

Oni Horan: There are a good number of incredible sci-fi enviroments in Second Life. However, there just is not enough space for many individuals to exist within, so I do hope to add a part to that.

Oni Horan: Every time someone shows me an avatar he himself created just to exist within the context of the station... every time someone wrote themselves their own background... I feel that my goal has been accomplished. I hope that in this way, I have added my own two bits of variety to a world that is still so new and unexplored."

... and indeed, a number of Space Colony Necronom residents have adapted their look to their storyline. "You never know what to expect," said Oni

Avatars are disproportionately bizarre and unusual here, as compared to other regions in Second Life

Oni Horan: There are a million ideas left to be built. I do all this to show that Second Life has got a lot more creative potential than is usually seen. I support many creators that otherwise wouldn't have a chance for exposure. They create things for the station and they can sell their products within the brand I have created. It's still a pretty early phase.

Chouchou "Islamey" - a club (and a video) that define Cloud Nine

Update: Landmark given has changed! Please teleport from here, and then walk through the tunnel and touch the crystal ball.

I'm not much of a clubber. It's not that I don't enjoy music and dancing... but I'm generally too caught up with visiting builds and builders. This morning, though, Machinimator and artist Evo Szuyuan alerted me to the handsomest little club in the sky, called Chouchou "Islamey" (teleport directly from here, and then walk through the tunnel and touch the crystal ball). It's not a new build, but I am so glad to know it and take pleasure in sharing it with you.

This Japanese jewel box in the sky was assembled with several of NPIRLer Julia Hathor's delicate winter trees (teleport directly from here), as well as textures by yuki aabye. Julia's four sims, by the way, are devoted to her remarkable store called Creative Fantasy Home & Garden , which is brimming with so many beautiful things! More on that soon...

Chouchou is also a musical group which exists only in Second Life, with band members juliet Heberle and arabesque Choche. Here is their newest music video, shot on location, featuring the dreamy, magical piece "coma."

"coma" Music Video - Chouchou

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

TracyLynne Carpenter's whimsical steampunk world

TracyLynne Carpenter (rez: 7/31/2006) collects art, lives in a castle (complete with cannons), makes handsome cabs and a luxury yacht for which she is greatly admired, and listens to bossa nova.

But there is another side to TracyLynne that is fanciful and, well... playful.

Take her latest creation, a hummingbird sipping from a flower.

Touch the bird's head and... whoa! What's that in there?

Touch the bird's chest and you get to look at what makes it tick.

The deeper I go into TracyLynne's world, the more charming things I discover. Like the "Shoe House," complete with a sky observation deck.

There Was An Old Woman
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread.
She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Also available in girly pink

... and the steampunk wheel chair, with all those gears turning and kickin' out smoke.

The bonus, though, is her Crabcakes and Escargot train, complete with butter and olive oil cars and trailed by a flying head of garlic, but that is too large to capture well in one or two photographs, so you will just have to go see it yourself (teleport directly from here).

Thanks to Naydee McGettigan, owner of the legendary Blue Note (teleport directly from here), for tipping us off to TracyLynne.

"Shattered Sword" by Cheen Pitney

Cheen Pitney captured a frozen moment in time with his monolithic... and shattered white marble sword.

"Back in September of 2006, and while I was going through my Rubber Period, I became intrigued with the possibilities of creating something NPIRL (Not Possible in Real Life), so I made that piece."

"Rubber Period?" I asked.

"Yes, I had just seen some of Starax's shiny rubber work. I like the fact that it usually rezzes first," said Cheen. "At least for my 'puter."

You can see the white marble version of the sword - as well as several of his newer pieces - at Cheen's studio (teleport directly from here). Alternatively, you can view two variations of it at Jurin Juran's Blackwater Gallery (teleport directly from here). The sword is rather large - 18 meters in height - and is 85 prims.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flea Bussy - Makin' stuff for the love of orks 'n goblins

Flea Bussy: Orks. I adore em. We have funny, clumpy, rough, mean orks. Nobody buys em, and they are dirt cheap for what you get: sounds, AO, tons of parts of armor... 'n they happen to be an older av, though... but they don't sell well. And goblins... um... We're going to be redoing them a ton better now, but we never expect them to do well anyway.

This was Flea Bussy telling me about a newer line of avatars he and the staff have been making since I blogged about him and his much-celebrated Grendel's Children store (teleport directly from here).

There's the Fae Lawyer, available in spring, summer, fall and winter versions...

Open the Fae Lawyer's portfolio and glimpse at the briefs

Flea Bussy: I dunno. I got to thinking that there's a lot of folklore 'n stuff people don't know much about. Everyone knows about the two 'common' dragon looks... the western ones 'n easterns... and Anubis, and so on... So for fun, me 'n the staff been thinking there's so much other lore that isn't touched on.

Bato has an AO that enables you to hang upside down. Ears stand up pertly (as shown) or flop down or sideways, if you prefer

Flea Bussy: Baba Yaga is one I remember from my childhood, hee. I noticed... 'gee, everyone wants to be mages 'n wizards... where's the old style toxicky goopy witch?' I am a bit of a silly one though. I feel bad for everyone who makes those kinds of things, like Baba Yaga or witches as... well... ugly. So I decided to make em look fancy for a change.

Since all the avatars at Grendel's Children are fully modifiable, I wore my own shape, skin and hair with this Baba Yaga avatar

Flea Bussy: Avs have their fads that come 'n go. We ignore most of it 'n do what we like, which is what I think people like about us. We're not, indeed, cashing in on Superman 'n Spiderman and Final Fantasy, etc...

Both Baba Yaga (above) and Murkwitch have AOs that enable all sorts of particle and AO effects

The huds at Grendel's Children just keep getting better and better... and note the super sculpty hat!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jaymin Carthage's fast-propagating "Branch" - Scripting in the service of bodacious virtual nature

Not so long ago, there was a freakish bit of "News of the Weird" about a tree that tried to eat cows... and then there's the Royal Empress tree that can grow up to 25 feet in three years... but nothing in Real Life can compare with Jaymin Carthage's "Branch."

Acting on Tezcatlipoca Bisiani's hot tip, I wrote to Jaymin - an IBM software architect and active Second Lifer - to learn more about his "Branch."

I was at my home in Chakryn Forest on Friday evening, conversing with Morris Vig, founder and owner of Second Life's much-esteemed Oyster Bay Gallery, and learning the sad news that he is closing its doors, when Jaymin sent me a "Branch" of my own. Not thinking, I rezzed the one-prim-wonder in front of me and continued chatting with Morris.

In under five minutes - and much to our astonishment - the branch had gone bananas (actually, in this case apples) and was growing this way and that, spewing apples and particle effects and what not, until finally it stopped when it had filled the parcel's remaining allotment of just over 500 prims.

Jaymin explains that his supernatural self-growing fractal tree is "(very) loosely based on the description I heard of a tree at Burning Man made of welded brass tubing that shot out flames at night and a cooling mist by day."

Instructions for the organic plant-and-grow system are simple but think twice where you do this! Rez the root branch and click on it once.

To give you a demonstration, I textured the root branch and touched it, and within one minute it had already become a strong little sapling.

According to Jaymin, "It will then start to grow taller, sprout branches, and eventually spout flame or mist and drop apples. After about an hour it will be full size and consume, roughly 1000 prims at default setting."

Within 15 minutes, the tree had outgrown the black shadow box I had rezzed it in for photographic ease.

While the "Branch" is freeware, and you can copy, modify, and even resell it, Jaymin asks that - if you are so inclined to compensate him for it - you make a contribution to Heifer International via AM Radio's celebrated wheat field, "The Far Away," which is currently running a creative writing and photography competition.

Furthermore, you can "prune" the growing branches, turn the whole shebang off by touching the root prim once again, and when you move the trunk, the rest of the tree will slowly follow.

Twenty five minutes after rezzing the root prim, or "branch," my tree is fully grown.

In the accompanying notecard, Jaymin explains how it works:

"As a fractal, branch works through self replication. Real trees work similarly, and that's why there is a resemblance. Other than fruit, there is only one prim, and one script. Each branch or limb is a repeat of the same thing. It rezzes a copy of itself as each limb that grows.

When a child branch is created, it is passed a generation number through the start parameter. This is used, at a base level, for scoping, so that it does not grow indefinitely. By default it is restricted to 8 generations.

Each child is also passed the identity of the parent that it came from. This is important for positioning. A child takes its position cues from the parent. So as the parent grows, the child adjusts itself. This makes the whole tree grow organically.

Lastly the child prim gets passed a sort of "serial number". The root has a serial number of "T". Each of its limbs has a number of "T0", "T1", "T2", etc. "T0"'s children are "T00", "T01", "T02", etc. This is used to facilitate preferential killing. Essentially when you prune a limb, it announces this with its serial number. Any limb that also begins with the same serial number, suicides.

The tones used for the collision sounds on the branches and fruit are cello plucks taken from a mediawiki site. Taking inspiration from the orchestral crescendo of "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles, they are all steps in the chord of A major. Each higher order branch is tuned to a note further up the arpeggio... so when they sound together it is melodious and not discordant."

Oyster Bay Sculpture Garden to shutter its doors

Sad news for Second Life's art world...

As art venues go, Oyster Bay, which celebrated its first year in existence this past January 11th - a major milestone in itself, considering that the average length of time people own a specific property in Second Life is two months - has been simply first rate. It was here that I discovered many artists, including Starax Statosky, Cheen Pitney, and elros Tuominen.

Its founder and owner, Morris Vig, has maintained a lively environment in celebration of the arts, including the much acclaimed "ArtTalks," vibrant gallery concerts, and a Balloon Festival, as well as dedicated shows of pivotal importance, such as "Hidden Starax!,” “14 Days, 14 Sculptures,” and the “Black Tie and Blues” Machinima premiere.

Morris made the announcement on his Second Arts blog just now, stating that "It is with no small degree of sadness that I am announcing the forthcoming closing of Oyster Bay Sculpture Garden and Aquarium." He went on to explain that "I haven't been able to give it the attention it deserves," given the time he has had to allocate to his Real Life position which he assumed in August of last year.

Morris will continue to blog and is considering a number of ideas for what to do with the half-sim estate he owns and that the Gallery now sits on. While we are breathing a sigh of relief to learn that Morris will continue finding and sharing the best of the arts in our metaverse with us, we cannot but join the many artists who will surely morn this important loss to our community.

Creators of 99rooms: Virtual worlds await you

A little over two weeks ago, the Not Possible in Real Life (NPIRL) group in Second Life began an initiative to identify and extend invitations to people whom we believe would derive pleasure in discovering the creation tools available to them in this environment. There is certainly a very appreciative - and growing - audience waiting for them here. It is our hope that they will take us up on our shout out and make the pilgrimage to check it out. Today, I welcome this introduction to the creators of by guest blogger and NPIRLer Amalthea Blanc. Amalthea has often reviewed the arts in Second Life, and it was through her that I discovered such notables as Keystone Bouchard and DanCoyote Antonelli.

By Amalthea Blanc

Back in 2004, a handful of very talented artists got together and created, an On-line interactive experience that is still considered innovative and groundbreaking four years after its launch. is a type of new age, Renaissance project that blends together visual art with brilliant sound design and on top of all that, adds a third dimension of interactivity through meaningful flash animation. The result is an emotionally compelling world that keeps you at the edge of your seat and may occasionally give you goosebumps.

The 99 rooms are individual experiences, through which you may pass only after clicking various elements until you "unlock" the puzzle and proceed to another location. The element of game play engages what would otherwise be a typical passer-by into becoming involved in the sequence of rooms. With every page you explore, you head deeper into the strange environment and are curious to learn more.

Words can only go so far in explaining the kind of immersion one can achieve, especially since our vision is now affected by all the 3D possibilites of Second Life. Still, 99rooms is one of the projects that demonstrate how a powerful mix of pixels and technology can prompt people to perceive a new and exciting universe.

Per their website: 99rooms stemmed from the mystical, often apolocalyptically charming pictures created by Berlin artist Kim Köster within the countless vacated premises of East Berlin‘s industrial sector. Photos of these paintings were initially produced in digital form and then animated through a cooperative effort between Richard Schumann & Stephan Schulz and then subsequently complemented through a personal sound design from Johannes Buenemann. The final product of this year long effort is a scintillating intermediary world which invites the observer into an journey through its morbidly-beautiful rooms.