Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Via Second Life® forums (interesting thread initiated by Dnali Anabuki going on there on U.S. copyright law and Machinima, by the way), Bel Yawn's YouTube stream, and finally, Stanford Law School's "The Center for Internet and Society," comes this informative parody on copyright principles, created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University.

Eshi's flower gets a permanent home

Eshi Otawara had been building a new sim every day, and then wiping that slate clean to start anew, day after day. It was all part of what she called her One Hour Sim Project, facilitated by one willing Dirk Talamasca who handed the keys of his sim over to her. When asked about it, she referred to the mandala, and how these creations were not about permanence or material holdings. Rather, the entire exercise was a meditation of sorts for her, and we were just bystanders. To that end, she had no intention of keeping these works in inventory.

But then she made that towering flower with clusters of the most exuberant white petals tinged with pink...

...the closest thing to a sacred place I have ever come across in pixelated form, and literally hundreds of Second Life®'s residents cried out and begged her not to destroy it.

So powerful is the effect of this build that I perceive it to be almost fragrant. It gives me serenity and excites my creativity all at once. It is a dream I didn't know I longed for, but once found, want to hold close

In my short virtual life, I have only seen that level of excitement over the discovery of Light Waves' Black Swan sim, and AM Radio's The Far Away, but then we weren't fearing for that content's ongoing existence.

And then... that scribe and thinking man's thinker, Dusan Writer stepped in, and persuaded Eshi to sell him this masterpiece.

He wrote me a simple note this morning that made my heart glad, "I have placed Eshi's flower on Remedy. There is a sign at the landing point where you can teleport into the flower."

Dusan... thank you.

Teleport to Eshi's flower directly from here.

The month we won't forget
The month of July has been extraordinary where Eshi is concerned. She helped inaugurate CodeBastard Redgrave's larger-than-life Rouge sim, which she created. She built a private space for me at Chakryn Forest. By my count, she completely built out a new sim every day for twelve days! She created customized, signature clothing for the Black Swan sim, put together one of my favorite outfits ever in Second Life, "Chocolat"... and then that amazing girl auctioned off her celebrated Fishook dress to benefit the Relay for Life fundraiser, and pulled in $460,000L, or approximately $1,700US for one outfit, thanks to a bidding war that ensued between two friends and business partners.

See also:
* Eshi's Desperado
* #9
* Eshi Otawara's one hour sim project is blossoming
* Eshi's One Hour Sim Project Flick Pool

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zonja gives water a work-out for her videos, and she teaches us how

A few days ago, my good friend Sennaspirit Coronet expressed amazement when he learned that I was not familiar with Zonja Capalini's sparkling Flickr stream. While her super spirited and effervescent videos may be Possible IRL (PIRL), she is ultra generous with her tips on how to accomplish all the effects, as can be seen here and here (dynamic water preset) and here.

Music: Torley: Too Many Cliches

The combination of inexpensive video capturing apps, such as FRAPS, and the new super-gliding 3D mouse - Spacenavigator - have made film making accessible even to me, so now I'm all caught up in learning more.

I'm using Windows Movie Maker to edit, but really need to step that up (I can't even edit audio with that!). I see that Zonja is using Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum, but am still investigating which apps give the biggest bang for the buck and are easiest to use.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inspire Space Park - A Second Life classic

Fifty years ago today, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into existence. This landmark act led to the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA. Now France is urging the EU to expand its own space exploration program, with possible missions to the Moon and Mars.

While we can't compete with Wired's fascinating and/or hilarious compilation this week of science and NASA-related news items, or Popular Mechanics' look at the future of space, the occasion invites a celebration of our own... a tribute, if you will, to one of the best loved spots on the grid, and the most cosmic one I can think of, Inspire Space Park.

We've only mentioned it once before here, so caught up are we with new things. In fact, it was the third post ever on this blog, back when Not Possible IRL was nothing more than a repository for in-world notices.

That notice read, simply, "So there you are, on a date in-world with your hunny... you are sitting in a convertible muscle car on the beach, watching a dubbed Japanese sci-fi flick.... hmm, nothing too unreal here...

...but what's that up there in the sky? TP up for an out-of-world experience... not even the astronauts could lay claim to this sorta thing."

That's me as Marie Antoinette, in orbit

And yes, it is still possible to sit in a convertible Impala at Inspire Beach's drive-in, watching 1950s sci-fi movies where people are still polite with each other while the world is coming to an end.

Inspire Space Park - just 200 meters up - is a place many of us choose to teleport to when we need to relax. Their traffic yesterday was 35,490, and while it is still wildly popular with the newish "I'm a club VIP" types sporting the tags of their first in-world groups, it is a frequent stomping ground for oldbies dating back to 2004 and 2005, and that's saying a lot. Surprisingly, even when dozens of avatars are present, it doesn't feel crowded.

Inspire is so much more than just a cosmic space station where the creators have rezzed some vivid planets and meteors and brilliant asteroid belts, and tossed in a chill music stream.

Earth Primbee (rez: 6/20/2006) and his partners, Grafx Newbold (rez: 7/10/2006), and Raphael Cremorne (rez: 10/28/2006), have thoughtfully created spaces and rezzed items for people to share quiet IMed conversations, or interact with each other in a serene and peaceful way. Couples can even orbit together in a gentle embrace.

There are always several people practicing Tai Chi together

Or you can simply take in the view, quietly, along with several others.

Nearby, the newer Inspire Dance Planet hosts concerts with musicians such as Voicedude Renoir (see Earth Primbee's vid on Massively), Nuvolino Roffo, and someone I like especially, Cypress Rosewood, as seen in this Machinima by Earth Primbee.

Earth's Machinima have been featured on Wired online, NASA WATCH, and the International Spaceflight Museum blog, to mention a few websites, including this blog

Speaking for myself, a visit to Inspire Space Park always makes me think about space exploration and wonder what the future holds.

See also:
* Hamlet Au at New World Notes got super inspired and did a sweet feature story on Inspire Space Park, in which he reveals how the Inspire Parks came to be.

* Megaprims for Science

Inspire Beach (teleport directly from here)
Inspire Space Park (teleport directly from here)

Michel Tcherevkoff would have us all wearing a floral bouquet on our feet

Blessed are those who think NPIRL, and not all of them inhabit virtual worlds.

A little over a year ago, professional photographer Michael Tcherevkoff had just completed a photograph of a leaf for a cosmetic client when it occured to him that it looked like a shoe. He manipulated the image on his computer and was so pleased with the result that he began to frequent the wholesale flower market just four blocks away from his home in New York City. He then twisted and bent and cut each flower into a fantastical shape, photographed it, and edited the image... to breathtaking effect.

Michel crafts each shoe from a single variety of flower or plant. In fact, every time he sees a flower, he thinks of a shoe. “Taking pictures of something that just exists was never interesting to me,” he says. “I’ve always gravitated to photography that’s more illustrative in nature, where I can create my own reality — with a twist.”


This fresh work first came to my attention when Tezcatlipoca Bisiani shared the Virtual Shoe Museum with me. Created by Liza Snook, that website is pure ambrosia for anyone who embraces NPIRL thinking and merits serious browsing.


For those of you who live in Paris, Michel's collection “Shoe Fleur, A Footwear Fantasy” will be on display at Le Bon Marché through August of this year.


Michel's Shoe Fleur book was first published in English with texts by Myrna Kresh as "Shoe Fleur: A Footwear Fantasy" in September of 2007 by Welcome Books, a division of Random House Publishing. The French translation is called "Bouquets de Souliers" with texts by Anne Chabrol was published by Chène. The English version of the book is available worldwide through Hi-Res images of the book covers are available through either publisher. You can view the English version online .

All concepts and photography by Michel Tcherevkoff. Many thanks for allowing us to republish them here.

Crap Mariner's marathon video session - Thirty one videos in one day as his Angel of Death visits Bryn Oh's steampunk alphabet

Those of us who inhabit Second Life® are fortunate to count humorist Crap Mariner in our midst. If you follow his activities as I do, you will enjoy an ongoing, hardly perfect, but always off-beat chronicle of his adventures and reviews of the people and places he encounters. He is also one of the most prolific machinimators on the grid... case in point, yesterday he produced 31 (THIRTY ONE!) videos centered around the 26 letters in the alphabet featured in Bryn Oh's Gashlycrumb Tinies (by Edward Gorey) exhibit at arcspace (teleport directly from here). One video for each of the letters, two introductions, an interlude, a finale, and a gimme take on one of Bryn's steampunk bugs. For the series, he elected to appear as a cigar-smoking Angel of Death who won't apologize to the Tinies for his second-hand smoke.

All of his videos open with "Another stupid video by Crap Mariner," and nearly always include his signature phrase, "that's disgusting."

Photograph of Crap Mariner by... Crap Mariner!

Monday, July 28, 2008

NPIRL fashion: What the heck is it?

I just launched a new Flickr group for Not Possible in Real Life (NPIRL) fashion: NPIRL Fashion - Not Possible in Real Life, and I'm realizing that describing this genre is not so easy, so I made a little video.

It's about fashion that clothes the avatar's body and...
* Defies the laws of gravity and physics in general
* Exposes the avatar's body to extreme heat or cold or exploding particles or sharp things
* Features rotating textures, electrified elements that a human could not withstand
* Multitasks and that, in addition to clothing the avatar, can do strange and wonderful things
* Includes elements (such as clouds or snakes or sunshine, for instance) that could never be used in Real Life

Video locations
Cologne Cathedral
artoo Magneto's AnyMotion sim
Designer Dingson's Concept Build
Chouchou island

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Inflatable women, Happy Missiles and other necessary accoutrements for a properly accessorized Second Life

I have always been fascinated by ultra accessorized avatars who are in the know when it comes to the coolest purveyors offering an array of goods with which to manifest their particular styles, ranging from the "everything but the kitchen sink" belts and boots sporting Swiss knives, flasks and cigarette packs (and the occasional teddy bear), to tellement détaillés military dandies, ninjas and soldiers of fortune dealing with imaginary villains in their camouflage uniforms, cyber-prostheses, and well-appointed helmets and katanas.

I snapped this pic of a customer at artoo Magneto's Trash Palace ages ago and have longed to find that hair ever since. Alas, no such luck

Among the fashiontribes I most admire are the impeccably attired Steampunk peeps. All those exposed gears and bolts, coupled with bowler hats and Victorian touches convey an appealing gentrified eccentricity and frankly, I find it all rather elegant, in a metallic sort of way.

There was a good read in the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month by Damon Poeter, in which he points out that "Steampunk originated in the 1990s to describe science fiction that was an offshoot of the cyberpunk genre, but has since gained a real-world footing in fashion and design that evokes the Victorian era. Now a full-fledged subculture, Steampunk is increasingly visible at gatherings such as Burning Man and Goth "Convergence" festivals." Well Damon, it is also a much celebrated phenomenon in the virtual world of Second Life®, as can be seen in such charming apparatuses and whirling gizmos, doodads and creatures created by TracyLynne Carpenter and Ordinal Malaprop, and of course, Bryn Oh.

Anyhow, I have no idea how I managed to get so sidetracked when what I really intended to tell you is that I had the pleasure of running into the very delightful Pandora Wrigglesworth yesterday afternoon. We spent a pleasant hour at my lush new Chakryn Forest (teleport directly from here) catching up on things and, as it turns out, she's been busy researching and developing advanced Steampunk-ish gadgetry and unusual innovations (some do call it "misapplied technology").

I was reminded that I never did manage to share the news with you about her Extendo-Leg Shoes - as shown here in a photograph of hers - when she demonstrated a variation on that theme that's especially appropriate for very short but fashionable women who want to give the appearance of being considerably taller: the Uber Platform Boots.

But the real surprise came when - in a true departure from the style I've come to know Pandora for - she donned her latest: the Inflatable Woman avatar, complete with that zippy sound of vinyl rubbing against vinyl when she walks.

When you hug the Inflatable Woman, she blows up like a balloon

Another recent innovation is her Camera Hat, which lifts off your head and flits about as it tracks your client camera.

The Camera Hat should not be confused with Pandora's Topter Hat - the ultimate flight assist - that opens its doors to deploy working propellers when the wearer is in flight

But my favorite, just for sheer fun, has to be the Happy Missile Silo.

That's me (in Tooter Claxton's Brunhilde avatar) on the top and Pandora to one side. Pandora also develops all the superb poses.

Pandora describes it as follows:

"So your neighbors have a Super Fun Cannon, do they? (Another Pandora Wrigglesworth product) When it comes to household armament, you can’t afford to fall behind. If you love your children and want them to grow up happy, it’s time to invest in a Happy Missile. You do love your children, don’t you? Don’t you? Install this Happy Missile Silo and you will have an endless supply of Happy Missiles. When properly calibrated, each missile is guaranteed to fire straight up and explode to the delight of the entire neighborhood.

Seats Up To Fourteen! Tiny Compatible! Silo Is Just 8 Prims! 20% Chance of Kittens with Parachutes! Beware low ceilings. Not recommended for indoor use.

Notably, all proceeds from the sale of her items benefit her Global Domination Fund. You can pick up any of these items at Pandora's shop, Curio Obscura, by teleporting directly from here.

See also: Fashion that would make any engineer proud

Photographs of the Extendo-Leg-Shoes, the Uber Platform Boots, the Topter Hat, and the Camera Hat by Pandora Wrigglesworth.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Edward Gorey's alphabet gets Steampunk'd

A few weeks ago, architect and publisher KK Jewell (aka Kirsten Kiser) and her arcspace were in the middle of sponsoring an international competition within Second Life® for the design of an eco-friendly community, together with, and in collaboration with the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR). Then the May 12 Sichuan earthquake in China struck, killing over 69,000 people and forcing the re-prioritization of resources and time for millions.

While there will be a greater need than ever before for the bamboo structures that the competition is striving to foster, the project is on hold now until China can come to grips with its situation. KK began looking for a good project to take on in the meantime.

Not too long before that, I kept finding five or six extraordinary shadow boxes at a time by Bryn Oh at the IBM and Rezzable sandboxes, featuring her take on Edward Gorey's alphabet, or as it is officially known: The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

These rhyming and macabre couplets, accompanied by outrageous - and hilarious - illustrations of children being killed in a myriad of ways (as many as there are letters in the alphabet) were seriously controversial at the time of their publication, but children the world over clamor for Gorey's works today.

H is for Hector done in by a thug

Amy Benfer at aptly described Gorey in a spicey and fun-to-read article, saying, "no one sheds light on darkness from quite the same perspective as this Cape Cod specialist in morbid, fine-lined jocularity."

M is for Maud who was swept out to sea

But now we have Bryn to make us grin sheepishly over such notions as "L is for Leo who swallowed some tacks," rendered in her signature Steampunk style, and thanks to KK Jewell and arcspace, we can see all twenty-six of the shadowboxes rezzed together in one place at an arcspace show that opened today. And what an assembly it is!

This clever spiral layout combines terraforming with train tracks, and yes, I am still playing with Torley's Windlight presets (they are addictive!)

Says Bryn, a professional oil-painter from Toronto, Canada, "Its actually quite fun to try and create a sound compostion in a 3D environment where everything can be viewed from every angle. How to lead the viewer around the composition and how to discourage focus on certain areas are both challenges not found to the same degree in a relatively flat oil painting which is generally viewed from one angle."

Teleport directly from here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's hip (this week) to be square-ish

In Real Life, a monolithic cube might make you think of the Kaaba in Mecca.

This photograph by Muhammad Mahdi Karim

In Second Life®, especially if it has some special physics feature, it makes me think of conceptual artist and scripter Selavy Oh. As art professor Amy Freelunch pointed out, Selavy has carved a niche for herself with pieces that almost always feature a cube or cubes falling, pushing or floating, such as some of her Tectonics series, and her Architectural Intervention piece.

Much of art in Second Life® requires some degree of technical/scripting skill to produce. This week, the theme seems to be physics... and cubes.

Those of us who spend even a wee bit of time at performance space and presentation/sandbox Brooklyn is Watching (BiW), have been aware for some time now that Selavy has been planning the opening of her "Nested Cubes" installation to the public today, at 4:30pm SLT (teleport directly from here)...

Selavy's Nested Cubes isn't really orange... I've been playing some more with Torley's Windlight presets it came as quite a surprise yesterday when I discovered this piece by Hyperformalist DanCoyote Antonelli (aka DC Spensley) at about 1,200m above the Brooklyn is Watching space (teleport directly from here and take one of the chair tours he offers there).

Subtractive Reactive Social Sculpture by DanCoyote Antonelli

Notably, I inspected it and it was created July 22, 2008. Yesterday.

I immediately sent DanCoyote an IM that read simply, "rascal." He was busy working but his brief reply read... "I am a coyote." I have not yet been able to confirm that he understood why I was calling him names, and if his response addressed my implied charge or, shall we say... question. I hope to learn more.

Higher resolution version here
Music: "Neurofunk," composed by Michael Genato, ASCAP; published by Mike Genato Music, ASCAP and Freeplaynjj, ASCAP
Video: Bettina Tizzy

At any rate, I visited Nested Cubes recently with postdoctoral mathematician Seifert Surface (aka Henry Segerman), who's astonishing Noobility installation, created in collaboration with his brother, Art Laxness (aka Will Segerman), is now wowing the crowds over at Rezzable Productions' Black Swan (teleport directly from here). Seifert was my companion of choice for this expedition because of his knowledge of physics, especially as they are related to virtual art. As I expected, upon rezzing he was examining the piece with care. I hope he won't mind my sharing his comments as we reviewed it.

Seifert Surface: I checked to see if the things that fall are the same objects as the things you fly into. Not always the case... there might have been a switcheroo.

To mix it up?
Seifert Surface: For some reason or other. Eg, it could have been done so that the things you fly through go invisible and at the same time rez a physical cube in the same place... so it looks like you fly through the thing and it falls, when in fact the original cube is still there, just invisible. Then you bring back the original cube at a later date. That isn't what's going on here, though. The original cube is falling... invisiprims, and some sort of pusher. These are all good things to be experimenting with.

I later contacted Selavy to ask if she had used Keystone Bouchard's (aka Jon Brouchard) marvelous Reflexive Architecture scripts, but she clarified that all the scripts are her own. I also learned that Nested Cubes re-rezzes itself after a ten minute absence of avatars. "The viewer is an important part of this work, as in any work," she said.


Aha! Just as I was preparing to publish this piece, an email came in from DanCoyote Antonelli:

"Sel is a friend and I think a very big talent in Second Life... a rising star and diehard Hyperformalist.

My installation of the RSSS (Reactive Subtractive Social Sculpture) at BiW was in response to her cubic arrays in BiW and at Design Island. This is an example of similar morphology (cubic array) and completely different conceptual behavior. The demonstration of this fact accounts for my timing.

The piece I have at BiW was pioneered in late 2006 and is a well documented and coherent approach implicating the viewer into a sculptural relationship with the work. In fact, I contend that it implicates two viewers since the active viewer who is in the piece cannot see the length and breadth of the metamorphosis of the piece, so it takes at least two.

You know what they say... "The simpler the art, the more complex the explanation..."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Noob Games ;-)

Starring role and scripting: Seifert Surface
Noobs: Created by Art Laxness
Location: Suffugium, by Lex Neva/The Squidsoft Collective
Music: "Shopping Spree," composed by Peter Calandra, BMI and Scott P Schreer, BMI
Video: Bettina Tizzy

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eshi Otawara's one-hour sim project is blossoming

July 22 - 1:47am UPDATE: The flower will stay for a bit longer. Eshi would have to eject people from the sim otherwise! I look at what is there and wonder... how can people who aren't in Second Life® look at this and not want to dive in immediately?

Can you smell the Night Jasmine? Eshi's tux dress against Eshi's flower

1:40pm UPDATE: Dusan Writer has just acquired this installation... thank heavens! Eshi has not been saving any of her sim-wide creations for this project, but this one just couldn't disappear. It just couldn't!

Also, I should mention that I took all of these photographs using Torley's special Windlight presets.


These are just a few of the dozens of photographs I took at Eshi Otawara's latest in her ongoing one-hour sim project... a towering flower. I didn't retouch them.

Just go... Teleport directly from here. It will poof by midnite tonite SLT.

Chouchou's latest video: Cocoon

Here it is... the newest video featuring Chouchou's music: Cocoon - this time a solo piano piece - in a non-Second Life® video created by Masami Kuramoto (rez: 1/22/2007).

Unless you have been living under a rock, then you know that juliet Heberle and arabesque Choche have taken virtual worlds by storm with their Chouchou, the musical group that exists only in Second Life.

Masami, who hails from Düsseldorf, Germany, is working closely with Chouchou these days. This is his first non-machinima video and moving forward, he plans to concentrate on making more films to showcase this phenomenal band's music.

cocoon - Chouchou from Masami Kuramoto on Vimeo.
Concept art by Juliet Heberle
CG production by Masami Kuramoto, using software provided by the Blender Foundation
Official blog in English and in Japanese

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grab your recycled shopping bag and head over to Sabine Stonebender's temporary store

October 6, 2008 update: Sabine has been hard at work rebuilding Zero Point. Her permanent store is now open for business (teleport directly from here).

On Thursday, Sabine Stonebender woke up to some dreadful news. Due to a billing error bug, her Zero Point, certainly one of the most admired and NPIRL sites on the grid, had vanished into some database limbo and gone from this...

... to this...

The situation has not yet been resolved. This is particularly painful because Zero Point, which housed her store and an important source of income for Sabine, is also gone. Effective immediately, Sabine has a temporary store and you are cordially invited to shop.

You might pick up an elegant Radiant Nebulae Chamber...

... and by all means, get yourself a proper telehub!

If dancing is your thing, you'll be needing a glamorous floor...

The Psycho Vinyl Dance Floor changes colors

For black tie dancing, I recommend this one prim marvel that brings the universe into your living room

Her lastest release is both a sculpture and a toy

He goes boom

Her dragon sculptures are considered the finest in Second Life®

And here's a sneak peak at something coming down the pipeline...

BIG guns... and if you are in the mood, the whole thing blows to pieces (literally)

Sabine's textures (I own a bunch!) are jewels in the hands of any builder, and there are numerous sculptures, skins, particle effects, vehicles and all sorts of toys, too.

Show the love, why don't you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Roald Dahl feast at Relay for Life

Combine two of our best loved stories for children (and grown-ups, too!) by Roald Dahl with some of Second Life's® most accomplished content creators, and you have magic.

Orchestrated by PatriciaAnne Daviau, two stories unfold: James and the Giant Peach, with little boy James, trees and a big juicy peach by brilliant 3D modeler Colin Fizgig, fantastical insects by Madcow Cosmos, Cloud Insoo's perfect seagulls, and LittleToe Bartlett's fanciful textures...

... and a Willy Wonka factory by Tezcatlipoca Bisiani, complete with a candy cane forest by PatriciaAnne Daviau, strange plants by Tezcatlipoca and robotic creatures by Bryn Oh.

There is so much to see and do this weekend at the Second Life® Relay for Life (RFL) event. More than 80 teams have come together to create an experience with the goal of raising $125,000 US.

Teleport directly from here.