Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Minecraft? For real?

Frankly I don't get Minecraft, why would you go in to a world like this when you can go in to Second Life, with less restrictions and more options?

There is almost something nightmarish to the idea that the post-singularity above could become, from processing power, our future over the world below:

I am actually depressed by Minecraft, this ugly block world has replaced a real effort to make something lovely.  It seems all the attention given to Second Life 7 years ago is now being flooded on silly little block world Minecraft, why?

I just don't get it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Coursera class on Online Games relationship to literature

Sunday, 8 September 2013


Deadpool sort of sums up everything wrong with Second Life.  You TP in, zombies see you and form and come and bight you.  The zombies looks cool and the technology to make them emerge and find you is interesting.  Then you TP somewhere else.

Spaces are unconnected, experiences are strange but mostly meaningless.

Looks cool

Zwicked Textures, this is a store.  Why most people have left those makers who remain have crated an interesting looking space, but its still a bit isolating.

Maker Madness

I don't suspect this is going to make me very popular, but I think that it is time to talk about what I call Maker Madness in Second Life.  Makers are the new cool, and there is no question that we need a culture of more makers and less takers (i.e. bankers).

The problem in Second Life is that people's making is starting to be an obsession.  Second Life is full of cool things and cool places, but visiting it is more and more like visiting a centre of autistic idiot savants.  There are wonderful little pieces everywhere but not idea how they fit together.  

In Second Life you can buy cool devices to fly, but you have no where to fly and no one to fly with most of the time.  You can buy an amazing new identity and go to a dream like place but nothing is happening.  Its all getting so autistic.

The universe inside of Linden Lab's computers has drifted from a community to a closet, a world made of unloved toys that used to be more fun.  Our strange relationship with toys and things, with making and falling out of love becomes an real place.  A crazy place. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Nomads and Second Life

You many not connect the Internet with the Mongol Empire, but perhaps you should.  I was thinking while exploring the excellent SIM Karekorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire.  Perhaps the SIM seems so right because so much of the Mongol way of life matches our lives in the web.  Mongols were nomadic people, establishing new relationships between vast ranges of what happen been before open space.

Much has been made of the Web creating a new generation of technological nomads, and if it is true perhaps on a spiritual level we new nomads should take the time to connect with our larger human heritage.  The Mongols in Central Asia have produced a culture which had a Nomadic core.

But along with motion or stillness, the Mongols had a great respect for diversity, their ancient Capitals had embassies, Buddhist, Taoist, Confusion, Christian and Muslim houses of worship.  The Khans of Mongolian valued their status on how many cultures could fit in their cities.

The Mongols also were great samplers of cultures, in the west they became Muslims mixing with the ancient culture of Persia, in the East they became the Yuan Dynasty, they established the Dali Lama and built the first palace of Beijing.

The Mongols connected spaces and cultures that had been long isolated.  Their reputation as nothing more than destroyers is utterly unjust, given the cultures of the time.  

Probably of any event in history the Mongol sudden explosion on the world stage can provide a kind of myth for the new nomadic web generation.  Not fixed to a location but fixed to motion, open to new ideas and new cultures, embracing small scale mobile high technology.  The Mongols great symbol is a palace tent on wheels, what could be a better icon for an Age of mobile Tablets?

Multi-cultural Second Life, body of the network

Arab Avatar is an interesting mix of the old and new.  Actually in reality I did swim in a pool that overlooked the Pyramids.  But having these major features of Islamic culture on a Beach is the most Second Life of things.

On the other hand a place like Kiz Kules seems only to be Turkish because the people they chat in Turkish and there are a few Turkish flags, though the wooden houses might pass for old nice places in Istanbul

Portugal Center is one of the best executes SIMs I have ever seen, it really feels like a down town of a small city and it would be niece to see it at a crowded time.

Gopi Desert is popular with Koreans, one thing to note about Second Life is that different culture may use virtual space in different ways.  For many Latin Americans I notice beaches and clubs are popular, while Koreans and Japanese like more complex RP environments.  Germans I have noticed often execute very realistic and excellent look sims.

These are all off the cuff generalisations but I doubt any long term resident of Second Life would disagree that SIM take on a lot of baggage from the cultures that make them.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Race posing in Second Life

Well I finally found people playing black avs in Second Life.  The problem is they are playing Miley Cyrus concepts of blacks.

This place was actually a top destination in Second Life.  At first I figured it was kind of cool to see black music and culture being mimicked like this.  But after a few minutes Soul Vibrations Dance club looked like a collect sambo minstrel show, a sad parody of black culture.  But then again maybe this is what empowering looks like.  As a white academic who has studies in Chicago and London I have prejudices about the liberated ancestors of slaves.  Perhaps my desire for serious Malcomn X figures is itself a kind of racism.

Second Life, as it matures and becomes kind of sick actually gets a bit more interesting all the time.  

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Yamoto Memorial in Second Life, ideal for history nuts

Yamato memorial in Second Life allows you to see large reconstructions of Japan's once glorious and powerful naval might.  These reproductions are truly excellent and worth visiting even if you are not a regular Second Life user.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Are SIMs art or buildings?

One of the great things about a virtual space is that you can merge artistic expression and architecture in a way that is only possible in places like Los Vegas or Disneyland.  One of the terrible things about Second Life is you get Los Vegas or Disneyland without rides, games or cheap booze. 

A space may be nice to look at but hard to navigate and use.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Fallini in Second Life

IMPARAFACILE ISLAND exhibition on the amazing Fallini, who needs no introduction.  If ever there was a film maker show should be inspiring Second Life art it is Fallini.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Second Art and Second Life

Spencer Museum of Art, Spencer Art Museum is an amazing experience to explore.  But like most works of art it is not a living site, but is kind of an isolated experience.

Its an amazing thing to look at but would probably not be a great place to have a meeting.  But the role of art in our society is to stand out against a society and hold a mirror up to it, the question is what is the society of Second Life that Second Life art is reacting to.

So what is this artistic use of space telling up about virtual culture?  Well partly that space and technology are becoming more organic, that virtual technology can move beyond the linear bounds of steam engine technology.  But just like my study of identity on Second Life, just because radical art can see it does it mean it is happening in Second Life?

The reality of Second Life is not technology becoming more organic, far from it, from trees to animals the organic is re-imagined as a hyper technical with a repetition and mathematic precision not possible in any real world industrial process.  The Second Life art seems more to be rejecting what is happening in Second Life than showing what is possible.

When a space is use by a range of people a general post-modern nightmare of random senseless linear geometry.  And inorganic chaos which is both meaningless and ordered at the same time.  Kind of like TV, but immersive.

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