Friday, March 13, 2009

The Patron Saints of Poetik and what they have wrought + Interview with Hern Worsley, it's creator

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

You may wish to listen to the music that is played at Poetik while you read this.

Oh, to be cherished by Nur Moo and JuJu Dollinger (aka Ju)! To be housed and given unfettered artistic freedoms by the new Medici of the Second Life® grid!

Nur is an esteemed fellow-Flickrite with a photo style somewhat reminiscent of Tamara de Lempicka that I am fond of, but I'm only just now realizing the degree to which she - together with Ju - has mutated into a bona fide patron of the arts. Months of assembling, fostering and cross-pollinating an electrifying cross-section of artists and musicians will finally come together full force tomorrow, Saturday, March 14 with a party that is expected to run 24 hours.

Event poster featuring the Patron Saints of Poetik

The duo began their curatorial work back in March, 2008 on the mixed-use sim Sintetika, even before they took ownership of it, but what they are best known for are their branded parties: Poetik. I've never been to one but as I understand it, they expose people to new ideas and environments, and then encourage them to be disruptive and create. Hmmm. Sounds like a good workplace tactic, doesn't it? In their case, it's about parties: art parties, concept sound and light reveries.

A few months ago, Nur (a graphic and fashion designer in Parma, Italy) and Ju (a French artist in Real Life) boosted the pace and snapped up a pair of sims because, "...using Second Life network possibilities to share Art, we are trying to create a different visual / sound experience that goes further than what is possible in Real Life." They'll get no arguments from me on that count.

"I was always surprised, from the beginning of my second virtual life, by how much people try to copy reality and don't try to be more creative," said Nur. "That's why I look for the most visionary people on the grid and (then) try to support them. (We try to make) Poetik this total experience; every month a different artist creates a different installation and every week there is a music event there."

"Different, but always experimental, is our project with the first sim [formes nocturnes]. We call this sim "our art playground," and invite the artists we like the most in the virtual world to play here with 15,000 prims... so it will be really an unique experience. Selavy Oh is the first artist to build at [formes nocturnes]," said Nur.

Selavy Oh's hallmark is the studied application of physics to prims

Nur added, "With time, the Poetik party has grown. We needed a new place, a whole new sim, and we decided to share this new 'work' with Hern Worsley, an open-minded artist and one of best builders in Second Life with whom we share a creative vision for what the metaverse should be like."

Speaking for myself and given my schedule, wild horses couldn't make me blog these days, but I'm not completely crazy. One teleport to the new Poetik Velvets sim where Hern Worsley has been ensconced and Kung Fu'ing prims for three months, and I was tossing my busy calendar aside.

Poetik love by Hern Worsley

You remember Hern, don't you? Owner of Avz and hairdresser of my dreams? Creator of the cyberpunk specs worn by that chimp that left me frothing with curiosity?

Hern Worsely at Poetik

Turns out that Hern is about way more - eons and tons more - than fantastic avatar adornments. To begin with, I'm a sucker for black and white striped ticking, and a whole sim ground textured with it strikes me as elegant and completely chic. Then consider the environment it is all situated in... Why, it's an endless aurora borealis!

This photo was taken using the Funky Funky Windlight setting, which Hern recommends at Poetik

Then... take a good look at this edifice on its own merit. It is, at once, industrial and organic.

The moment I saw it, I was reminded of a certain chair...

The Wassily Chair was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-26 while he was the head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus

I had a chat with Hern to learn more.

There are some of us who are convinced that you are actually a master architect, here to let loose some creative juices.

Hern: It's just about nice lines and pleasing shapes that flow. I think stuff should just speak for itself really, and everyone can interpret it how they like. I've been doing Audio and Visual stuff in my own time in Real Life but it has never been my profession. It is now, though... apparently. I've learned everything in Second Life, to be honest. Without Second Life, I'm prolly not much use to anyone as far as creatively goes. ;) For me, it is a perfect medium to work in. I just hope it carries on and develops. I think it is possible... the next 5 years, once all the hype is over, and all the inflated expectations and misunderstandings, etc. Now that we're just coming out of that phase, I hope we'll move into a more steady growth phase where people who really "get it" are coming in and working.

How'd this come together?

Hern: Nur has been a good supporter of my store for a while now. She'd commission custom work from me a lot, so we've kinda developed a relationship via this around work. So yea, she just mentioned to me that she was looking to get a new SIM and would I build it? I knew I'd get freedom so I was pretty much up for it from the start.

What were her stated objectives?

Hern: She didnt really have 100% solid ideas. I had to talk with Nur the whole way to solidify what she wanted, etc. I'm not sure I'd do this without freedom, basically. She's a dreamer, really, but it's great. Wouldn't have it any other way. I see it as her showcasing the artists she likes. We both want to show that Second Life can be a lot more than just orgy rooms and shopping malls. Come try this... It's fun. Follow me, plz princess.

He then weaved his way (he uses an endearing kinda tipsy walking animation) over to one side of the building and invited me to sit on a sphere.

Sit on one of these for a bouncy ride to the ground level

Hern: For me, the time is always "now." I love what is new. I don't like looking back all the time. I'm excited by technology. We should be celebrating Second Life and virtual worlds and all the new possibilities they bring us, not building toy towns, and little versions of Real Life: cars, houses with kitchens...

Hern: I have this idea. How often do you zoom right out from a SIM, like to see it all? When I was doing this I thought people should be able to zoom out and then the surfaces of the SIM can have buttons and hold info, like a giant 3D website, basically. That would make it really elegant. If you go back to the scale of an avatar, all these surfaces are also really nice spaces for your avatar to be in... getting that connection in scales could be interesting.

By the way, to fully experience Poetik Velvets, you simply must, must, must disable camera constraints. Only in this way will you be able to free your camera and zoom way back to view the sim from above and all sides. This is something everyone in Second Life should learn how to do.

Thank you, Torley, for your smart and fun tutorials!

If there aren't too many people on the sim, please increase your draw distance so that items will render for you at greater distances.

Increase your Draw Distance
> Edit
> Preferences
> Graphics
> Check the "Custom" box if hasn't been already
> Use the slider to go to 512m (the higher, the laggier, but it's worth it unless you are in a laggy situation)
> Hit the OK button and close
IMPORTANT: Many people forget to set the Draw Distance lower after they've been maxing it out. I keep it at about 200m most times these days, and increase it when needed.

Music to work by is of critical importantance to Hern, and he shared the stream that he used throughout the three months of creation:, which I thought was mighty generous of him, since most people keep their stream sources private like a great hand of cards.

Hern: It would be pretty selfish of me to keep them all to myself. This radio station was a huge influence on my work. They were in Second Life a while ago but not anymore. I may try to coax them back soon though. This station makes me more intelligent, lol. I don't really have words for what I make, but music does a great job of explaining things I think.

The Moo Gallery

Was there an "aha" moment?

Hern: Yea, the "aha" moment was about 5 evolutions ago, though, lol.

Hern created about 90% of the textures he used. He has just gotten started on Flickr. You can access his stream here.

How did you alter the water surfaces?

Hern: Mega prim, double layer. Secret recipe ;)

Are the shapes for this silvery wheat-like growth on the sim inspired by kitchen utensils a little bit? (Silly question, I know, but I cook so maybe not so silly). Musical chords?

Hern: I guess I see 'em as kinda receptors or circuitry, but then I see a lot of correlations with nature and technology anyway. Art nouveau and art deco styles definitely reflect that, too.

Hern lives in a British town but has big plans for the not-too-distant-future.

Hern: You know what I'm gonna do :) I'm taking a laptop and going off to Asia, and I'll be working in Second Life from all over the world soon, I hope, via wifi.

Ah, sounds like an adventure and good economy!

Hern: Yea, like my ideal... live in a treehouse and work in a virtual world. I think I can see a way to like travel and earn money from my work in Second Life, which means I don't have to ever stress about work or running out. I don't see it as a holiday, I see it as a lifestyle. I'm treating it like a mission. I'm gonna take a lot of tech with me. I've found a way to run a laptop with solar power.

Theft is an important hindrance. And in the world economy that we are entering now, it is a primary consideration.

Hern: To be honest, what I earn here in Second Life is more than most people earn in many countries in Asia, but I want to get away from the west and its values and priorities. You can't let fear rule you or you'll never do anything. I am of the belief that 90% of human beings are very nice people, and I expect I'll find out I'm right when I travel, too. But yea, I will be equipped up and as secure as I can be for my tech stuff.

Last question. What did you learn from making Poetik that you are taking with you to future creations?

Hern: A lot. Well, for one, I learned I can do it. Also, it has engaged me a lot more closely with the "art" scene in Second Life, something I'd not really been into a great deal before. My first attempt at here... I was very serious and planny, but it didn't work or help anything. Just killed it. I threw that away and just went for it, and it worked out anyway. You have to give yourself time to play, and if your lucky like me, (you'll) have a client who will let you do that. They are rare. Either there's total trust and good communication or it won't work. If it's a build for someone else, it's important if they have specific ideas that you get them out of them, or it will just cause probs later.


Unlike most builds that I admire, the strong vibrations I'm feeling at Poetik Velvets aren't just about prims and sculpts, or the people who created this place, but also the folks who will inhabit it, as you will appreciate in Lyric Lundquist's - my new obsession and a favorite machinimator's - vid.

poetik velvets from lyric_lundquist on Vimeo.

The parties are slated to start tomorrow at 8am SLT when the sim will be opened to the public and run for 24 hours. Hern will be DJ'ing, too.

8am SLT - Bibdui Babenco
10am SLT - Hern Worsley
12pm SLT - Luigy Balhaus
2pm SLT - Andy Seiling
4pm SLT - Radi Roffo
6pm SLT - Juju Dollinger
8pm SLT - Damon Dollinger
10pm SLT - Dane Koba
12am SLT - TBA
2am SLT - Mr Widget

Slurl effective March 14th at 8am SLT: Teleport here.

The sim will feature the works of Hotel Dare artists (curated by the founder of that concept, Gattina Dumpling), including soror Nishi and artoo Magneto, as well as Alpha Auer, four Yip, Pixel Price, and several others. I'll be telling you more about them over the course of the coming days.

Gattina Dumpling has been hush hush about which artists she will end up featuring at the new Hotel Dare location. We'll have to get it out of her


Andy said...

Just Amazing!

Always love to work with you...

Andy Seiling

Jenn Forager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn Forager said...

Now I know why I have come to Second Life. I have never been more grateful to have familiarity with the tools and settings of a program than I was as I toured Poetik. This is art, which grabs you and takes you elsewhere and experiencing it here, in this environment is compelling and transformative. I salute the creators and builders, it is exquisite.