Tag Archives: Linden Endowment for the Arts

A walk through SL’s history on the way to the future

Open now through until the end of July 2014 at LEA23 is Sniper Siemens’ brilliant installation Second Life History, a glorious walk through the platform’s past, marvellously presented in a series of visual vignettes which recapture events which are bound to be both familiar and new to Second Life residents.

From the landing point, one is invited to tread a watery path through a partially submerged park, only the trees, lamp posts and railings visible, the route leading the way from the gates and 2001, through successive years charting the highs and lows of Second Life’s past and present, before climbing a set of stairs towards the open door of the future, and the promise of the Lab’s “next generation” platform.

Second Life History: the arrival of new primitive shapes (2004)

Second Life History: the arrival of new primitive shapes (2004)

Along the way you can meet a Primitar (looking rather broken and forlorn, lying in the water) and various characters who point the way to different events and occurrences represented by information boards and self-contained scenes which evoke those moments of history and / or the emotions to which they gave rise.

So it is you can learn about (or recall, if you’ve been around long enough) such events as the initial Second Life closed beta in 2002, the opening of the gates to all in 2003, the tax revolt later that year, the arrival of the Linden dollar as a virtual currency and the advent of free accounts, Black September (2006), the banking shutdown of 2007, the Lab’s withdrawal from paying VAT on behalf of users in the European Union, and so on.

Second Life History: marking the arrival of the Teen Grid

Second Life History: marking the arrival of the Teen Grid (2005)

Technical innovations are also marked, both by overhead SL version numbers, and by their own little vignettes – LindenWorld, the first viewer, the arrival of the famous blue UI, prims, pay-to-TP teleport hubs, streaming media, open-sourcing the viewer, voice, windlight, viewer 2.0, it’s all here, as well as all the more recent technical innovations on the platform.

To call the installation a delight is an understatment; if you have any interest at all in SL’s history, it is guaranteed to stir memories, raise a smile, and more. There are a lot of cheeky little touches, and one or two personal pieces; one little vignette marks the rezday of sniper’s first avatar incarnation, while further around the installation is a wonderful little poke at Philip Rosedale’s stepping-down as CEO. Similarly, the arrival of viewer 2.0 is announced by the appropriately named (given users’ reaction to the viewer’s arrival) Curveball Resident.

Second Life History: a whimsical look at Philip Rosedale vacating the CEO's chair

Second Life History: a whimsical look at Philip Rosedale vacating the CEO’s chair (2008)

While exploring the build, don’t miss the web icons; clicking these will take you the official blog posts on the subject being displayed / discussed. These include the very first official blog post from Philip Rosedale in 2004.

This really is a marvellous installation, and shame on me for not having found the time to write about it any sooner. If you’ve not already dropped-in, I really do urge you to do so before the end of July; I seriously doubt you’ll be disappointed!

Given the subject matter, it seems only appropriate that I close with yet another look back at LindenWorld from August 2001.

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Curious about art and the LEA? Why not pop along to their first Office Hours?

The first Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) Office Hours will take place on Friday July 25th, between 10:30-11:30 SLT.

LEA committee member Solo Mornington will be hosting the event, which will take place at the LEA Gateway.

The meeting is open to all (subject to region limits!), and those interested in art in SL, the work / purpose / structure of the LEA, etc., are invited to bring their questions.

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LEA announce AIR 7 selection

LEA_square_logo_60On Sunday July 20th, the Linden Endowment for the Arts announced the successful applicants for the 7th round of the LEA’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programme.

They are: Ais Aeon, BabypeaVonPhoenix Bikergrrl, Ellie Brewster, Uan Ceriaptrix, Giovanna Cerise, Peli Dieterle, Mac Kanashimi, Neeks Karu, Frankx Lefavre, Sowa Mai, Lor Pevensey, KatanaBlender Resident, MarioZecca Resident, FirleFanz Roxley, Sarby, Pixels Sideways, Mandel Solano, Betty Tureaud, Octagons Yazimoto and Kimika Ying.

Solkide Auer's The Timewalkers, LEA15. from AIR Round 6

Solkide Auer’s The Timewalkers, LEA AIR Round 6

The LEA received over 30 applications, and those selected were viewed as presenting “truly outstanding proposals that represent a diverse range of virtual art.”

The successful applicants will each be allocated a full region within the LEA for a 6-month period. They have up to four months to prepare their projects, which range from full-sim immersions, to innovative builds geared specifically for multimedia works such as sound and machinima. Each installation must be open for a minimum of two months of the 6-month allocation, and it is expected that some will be open in advance of the four-month build deadline. All exhibits must be open to the public by the end of October 2014 at the latest.

Xineohp Guisse’s The {Lost} Garden of Sundarya Lahari - LEA AIR Round 6

Xineohp Guisse’s The {Lost} Garden of Sundarya Lahari – LEA AIR Round 6

All openings will be announced in the LEA blog.


Insidious: the Spread of Ideas

Frankx Lefavre’s latest installation at LEA18 may have been put together at relatively short notice after the intended artist had presumably dropped out of the current round of the LEA’s Artist In Residence grants, but it is nevertheless a fascinating piece offering a wonderful breadth and depth of interpretation.

Insidious: The Spread of Ideas presents the visitor with a very alien environment. Around you is a strange, faceted green sky, while the ground beyond the very human-looking walled terrace on which you land is a vivid blue-green, suggestive of a sea frozen in time, waves caught mid-swell. Scattered across it are other indications of former civilisation: collapsed walls, a meandering footpath, and a huge, crystalline form carved into the likeness of a human head.

Across this landscape spreads a strange tangle of organic-looking growths, reaching outwards from the great monolith and curving around the landscape as if to enfold into slowly spreading arms. Nor is this all, as ranged between these tangled arms, stand creatures for whom the term alien is entirely appropriate.

Whether the landscape is that of Earth in the far-flung future, or another world elsewhere in the cosmos in unimportant; all that matters is that it had once been the home to humans. For a time it had been theirs, but that time has long passed. Whether civilisation here had faltered and failed or moved to other stars and other planets, makes no difference. All that remains are their ideas; stored for the ages to come within a great monolith, carved in their likeness, awaiting others…

And others have come. So much like us in their curiosity to explore the cosmos around them, yet so unalike in look and form. Perhaps they sought to study the strange monolith; or perhaps it was simply the passage of time and the weakening of age. Whatever the reason, the human ideas have escaped their confines, and now they spread across this otherworldly landscape, growing, spreading like tangled vines. They call to those who have come, drawing them to the monolith; infecting their thoughts, reshaping their ideals and goals, supplanting them. Like a contagion, human ideas will survive; they are insidious.

Is the crystalline head, in which the ideas can be seen shifting, writhing, turning, growing, through the magic of ribbon particles, a honey trap? Did it lure these creatures to it and encourage them to build their stairways up to it and breach its walls to give the ideas within freedom? Or is their presence purely happenstance, the spread of ideas as organic forms already having begun long before their arrival? You decide.

That ideas can seem like an infection invading us, is not so strange; when struck by an idea, we can react in an excited almost feverish manner.  Thus this installation has something of a resonance for us on a purely natural level. But there is also a lot more here as well; the hint of racial immortality, that in the distant future humankind might outlive its own extinction by infecting other races with its thoughts, ideas, desires, emotions. This brings with it shades of the age-old debate on whether or not humans are planetary parasites, adding a whole new twist to such ideas.

Beyond offering multiple interpretations (which tend to grow the longer you explore – just like the ideas within the build are intended to be growing), this piece is fascinating for its use of mesh  – Frankx tells me some 90% of the installation is mesh – to create a very organic look to the environment and the aliens themselves. Ribbon particle effects are also put to good use here as well, as mentioned above, so it is worthwhile taking a little time in explorations to discover them; those not wishing to walk can ride on buglike buggies. Do keep an eye out for the fish as well…

An absorbing installation which will be open through until the end of July as a part of the current round of LEA grants.

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