Closing reflections on my sacred space

Multlcolor Twist by Morris VigOf all of the artistic efforts I’ve actually created on my own in Second Life (as opposed to the many that I’ve marketed, promoted and hosted), there are two that really stand out in my mind. The first is the Multicolor Twist (left), my first (and arguably my best) SL sculpture. Three prims of smooth, shiny symmetry that really seem to have spoken to people and demonstrated that you can think up something truly special and not have to bust through prim limits to make it. If anything stands out in my portfolio as a signature piece, it’s this.

The other is Reflections on Sacred Space, my somewhat personal investigation into the notion of spirituality in the virtual world…and whether being in a virtual world can offer a means to further one’s spirituality. Think about it – we can’t see God in real life, but can we create his(?) image in Second Life? Can we interact with that image? Does the image have to reflect Judeo-Christian iconography? Or can we create a representation of the sacred that is so wonderful that we cannot help but feel closer to God? I tried to provide myself with some of these answers in Reflections on Sacred Space.

I started with a cathedral-like build yet kept the entire build shiny and white, allowing for the many lighting options presented in the Second Life WindLight settings to take a role in helping the visitor along. I also rezzed all of my SL sculptures but changed them all to white as well. Lastly, I put elros Tuinomen’s “Future Visions” sculpture in the middle as a focal point. This white-hot ball of kinetics is just incredible…it took the notion of a God in a toga and long white hair and beard (not to mention God had to be a white man…I mean, that’s a given, right?) and flipped the whole concept on its ear. God, in this imagery, is not a person but instead an idea – an energy.

In that space, that sacred space, I honestly felt like I connected to my spiritual self in a way that I had not done before. Thirty-plus years of Roman Catholic mass and something like seven or eight years of Catholic education, and it took a bunch of prims in a virtual world to help me contextualize the pure wonder of God. I took a few snapshots to get my mind around the concepts presented in this post, and I’ve put them in a slideshow after the fold. (Note to the prudish: The slideshow investigates mature themes in a mature way.)

Pardon the self-indulgence (especially ironic, knowing that pride is one of the seven deadly sins), but I wonder if my little build, in a small way, may have helped steer artistic curiosity in a new direction on The Grid. I was always a bit saddened that I never saw SL-generated artwork that stepped past the religious iconography and into a deeper meaning of religion while managing Oyster Bay Sculpture Garden. Since I opened Reflections on Sacred Space, however, Bettina Tizzy and (cough) Rezzable teamed up on a build project that plays with the concepts behind Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, with its competing notions of Heaven and Hell. I gather that a number of SL sculptor artists – a number of my friends included – are getting involved in that project; I look forward to seeing the results.

Artistic urges lead me in different directions, however, and it’s time for me to close this special build and perhaps build my mansion – the build that instead found me building Reflections on Sacred Space. I’ve taken to machinima in a big way if you can’t tell, and I want to continue on that path. So I’m going to grab some footage of Reflections on Sacred Space and then take it down. Maybe that mansion will have a movie theater!

Anyway, I hope you liked the build. It’ll be up for a couple more days, as I do need to grab that footage before deleting it. Please stop by and draw your own conclusions.

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Phil Rosedale is one fascinating character

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to start a company and then decide you don’t like managing people.

As nervous as any Linden Lab employee would likely be with the installation of a new boss at Second Life Central, I can’t help but think that Rosedale’s open hostility toward working with people (I’m still blown away that he said that in public) probably is making Team Linden think that some needed fresh air is about to blow through the office.

Stuff like this makes me more and more convinced that Second Life has succeeded not because of the genius of Rosedale (but surely he would dispute this, seeing as he’s a freakin’ visionary and all) but instead because of the resilience of the 10-ish percent of the user base that sticks around after giving Second Life a try.

Please, Kingdon, keep Rosedale in some closet where he can “think” and “be visionary.” You have a company to fix.

Some hope at the top of Linden Lab

Linden Lab hired a new Chief Executive Officer, and I’ve been unimpressed with what I’ve read. But what I’ve read has been new (somewhat) Top Dog Mark Kingdon spouting the talking points of a company in transition.

I just found a more in-depth interview with him, and you can read all about it here, courtesy of MIT’s Technology Review. In the interview, Kingdon says amongst all of the corporate-speak:

[MK:]  It’s just mind-blowing that this is all user-generated content. I haven’t yet created anything myself other than clothing, but I think that’s the next step for me because I like to make things.

TR: Creating things seems like a Second Life rite of passage.

MK: That’s definitely the story of Second Life. Once you cross that magical “Aha!” place, it becomes very compelling.

This is good. Respect the creative power that comes from the Second Life tools, and you’ll have a better understanding of what makes it great. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for an easier user experience and reeling in the corporate customers (yeah, I’m being pragmatic)…but you have to give people a REASON to come to Second Life. That reason, in part, is the creativity that it spawns.

Make lots of things, Mr. Kingdon. If you need some inspiration or tips, I know a few people who can give you some insights.

Machinima: Cheen Pitney’s “Sin of Commission” show

Tayzia Abattoir is one fortunate lady, hosting a collection of Cheen’s private commissioned sculptures at her Crescent Moon Museum.  Some incredible works in this show, many of which I’ve never seen before.  I got almost every piece in this machinima:

Really, though, you need to check it out yourself.  The show won’t be up long – go see it today!

Random thoughts on a Sunday NetVibes scan…

  • I probably ought to read The Making of Second Life, but I’m not sure I can stomach another fanboy piece. We get enough of that on some of the more “popular” SL blogs.
  • The Lindens released a “clarification” (my term, not theirs) on their new trademark lockdown rules. Within 24 hours, a wildcat user group called DiSSENTiON released this video warning to Linden Lab, calling them out on their bass-ackwards trademark stance as well as their intents to wall off the grid for corporate customers. Lest you think that these guys are jokers, they did some (un)healthy damage at the opening of the I-World sim. I wouldn’t mess with them, especially as they’re threatening to release the CopyBot to the public. Oh, wait, the Lindens don’t care about content theft
  • Charlot Dickins is one amazing SL sculptor. And she even made sculptie feet!
  • Hyper-interactive modern art garden? Ummm…..ok….
  • I’m not a woman, nor are any of my avatars, but they would shop at PixelDolls if they were. Consistently wonderful designs that appear to execute well in Second Life.
  • Speaking of consistency, the SL Fashion Diva blog is the place I go when I want to see fantastic SL photography, guaranteed. These ladies have made WindLight their own.
  • Lastly, a bit of a funny (At least I think it’s funny) – I was looking at blog traffic, and it seems that while the blog is called Second Arts and dedicated to Second Life-generated artwork, blog readership spikes whenever I write about something NOT related to Secodn Life art!  Sigh…

Drama Libre’s Cirque du Soleil night

Another great build and drama-free dance party from Xer, Peachy & Co. And, of course, I grabbed some footage and ran it through Roxio’s CineMagic

Music is actually by Cirque du Soleil; I used “Oscillum” from the Varekai show CD, which is probably my favorite Cirque soundtrack. Buy it!


[UPDATE: At Peachy’s request, I uploaded the machinima to YouTube.  You can watch it here.]

That’s right. Spot on!

That Isolde’s at it again…

Spot On!  AvaStar 2008-04-18

That’s right, pixel peeps. Totally hot. Take notes.

</me can’t stop laughing…>