Farewell, Manzanillo Artist Enclave…what does this tell us?

Manzanillo Artist Enclave - in partial disassembly

Manzanillo Artist Enclave - in partial disassembly

Upon returning home from a brief holiday trip, I saw this notecard:

For the new year, Mark and I have made a few resolutions and will be starting anew on several levels including SL. Unfortunately, this extends to Manzi which we will begin tearing down immediately. If you have the opportunity to collect your items, please do or we can start returning them to you after the 1st.

We want you to know that you are what made Manzi what we envisioned and loved having your art around to selfishly enjoy for ourselves. It was certainly our pleasure to provide all of you with a place to hang your art and hopefully gave you an opportunity to show to others in SL!

I would also like for all of you to know that what I believe the best part of SL for me has been meeting all of you, the friendship, the conversations, all I’ve learned from you, and the laughs. I’m not leaving SL permanently but I won’t be around very often. I’ve missed being more involved with Manzi and putting on shows for you and I’m going to miss everything it has brought to my life and that includes you. Thank you for hanging around here and your constant support which I truly appreciate and value.

Much Love,
Michelle Babii
Mark Athens

I didn’t make a big deal of it (largely because I’m not much of an artist), but I was part of Manzi and am proud to have had the opportunity to be associated with Michelle, Mark and the many other artists and personalities that made up the “Artist Enclave”.  It was a pleasure to have a unique little gallery space of my own – a room, that’s all, but it was enough.

Reading between the lines and knowing a little of their personal situation, let me summarize my perspective on this development with some first-person perspective: It is very hard to run a successful Second Life community hub. Manzi served this purpose for a few months, and it does not surprise me that Michelle and Mark chose to take their lives in other directions.

At the same time, their withdrawal does not suggest that Second Life and its many communities (including artists) does not need places like Manzi (or Oyster Bay, for that matter).  It most certainly does.  I hope that some other venue owner picks up the mantle and strives to become the hub for activity in the artistic world of the grid.  Xander Ruttan’s Cetus district does a strong job at this.

The other big lesson I’m taking from Manzi’s exit is that for a hub concept to work, it requires either slavish devotion to the property and its goings-on by the owner or the active involvement/participation of many leaders.  Simply put, many hands make light work.  The challenge I see is that SL’s artist community as individuals are loathe to devote themselves to a single property or location unless it is their private gallery.  Some do, to be certain, but most are working to have their works shown in as many locations as possible.  This may be good for the artist, but it does nothing to sustain the venue owner who needs active participation for a facilty to survive.  Had Michelle and Mark been able to count upon some help in managing Manzi, perhaps it may have survived (longer).  Perhaps not.  We’ll never know.

Anyway, it’s a shame when such a great duo has to move on.  That’s the transitory nature of Second Life, and it’s also a main reason why places like Tayzia Abbatoir’s Crescent Moon Museum are so fantastic.  Resilience has a place up there with uniqueness and distinction, at least on the grid.

Here’s to Michelle and Mark.  They tried where others didn’t.  That is worthy of commendation.  I hope they do indeed stick around the grid – we need more people like them!

Machinima: Christmas 2007 at Oyster Bay

Rummaging through my old machinima footage, I saw that I recorded Madcow Cosmos’ incredible Christmas tree at Oyster Bay (links here and here).  A little video editing later, and we have my Christmas gift to you!  It’s not the greatest footage ever shot, but hopefully it brings back warm memories.

Note the Viggy “Christmas card” on the dock of Oyster Bay at the end of the piece…what a monstrosity!  No wonder this year’s piece was so tame.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Transformative changes

Change is always difficult; I remember how I agonized when my change in RL circumstances forced me to close Oyster Bay and radically downshift my “second life.”  

Well, it’s gonna happen again.

I’m being forced to contemplate a couple tremendous changes in my RL…more on them as I choose to share.  Suffice to say that I have absolutely no idea what they will do to my lives – first or second.  Fortunately, I’ve kept my SL® existence pretty low-key recently, so I won’t have to force an unpleasant change of circumstances on those who I really do care about like I did last time.  

To my friends: Bear with me…I’m just surfing on top of the waves as they come crashing in…

Happy 2nd Rez Day, Sunn Thunders!

One of the all-time great guys on the Second Life grid, Sunn Thunders, is celebrating his 2nd Rez Day today. You might know him as an accomplished SL sculptor (and one of the earlier Oyster Bay artisans – the first to conduct an Oyster Bay ArtTalk and inspiration for the legendary Oyster Bay Balloon Festival); an inworld instructor who taught many, many avis how to make their way in the metaverse or just a good friend. Regardless, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better person than Sunn.

I asked Sunn for a favorite photo of some of his SL artwork, and he sent along “Celebrate Earth Ice”:

If you want to see some incredible SL sculpture art and more, all with a distinctive American west/southwest flair, swing by his SunnTee Arts.

Happy Rez Day, Sunn!

My Oyster Bay book arrived today!

I’ll post some photos soon, but my Oyster Bay book arrived in hardbound, slip-jacketed format.  200 pages, around 700 or so pictures, all virtuality, all Oyster Bay.  What a wonderful nostalgia piece representing a magical time in the evolution of virtual worlds!

I’m not making a dime off of this, so I’ll spare the bashful stuff:  At less than US$30 for a paperback copy, anyone who is REALLY interested in the Second Arts – the artwork that is created using the tools of the Second Life environment – should buy this book.

It’s here!  It’s HERE!!  IT’S HERE!!!

The first Oyster Bay book has arrived

Former Oyster Bay manager Isolde Flamand received her copy of the Oyster Bay book this past week.  She remarked that it covered a LOT of ground and brought back many, many memories.  Comments like that do a guy’s heart good.

If UPS is correct, mine should arrive this week.  CAN’T WAIT!

I won’t make the NY Times best-seller list…

…but I’m surprised and pleased that five copies of the Oyster Bay book have been sold (not including my copy). 4 softcover and 1 hardcover.

5 copies. All in 1 week. Who knew?

/me smiles