Thursday, 14 December 2006

Coming soon - Library of Congress American Memory exhibition

I'm pleased to announce that the Library of Congress have allowed me to host a small exhibition of work from the WPA Posters collection, part of the now very substantial American Memory collection.

The exhibition will run for 4 weeks from Thursday January 4th 2007.

I'm very grateful to the Library of Congress, particularly Caroline Arms and Phil Michel, for their support in arranging this at very short notice. I hope we will all learn something useful from it about how best to use SL to host this kind of work.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

OpenStudio exhibition - 2 Dec until 23 Dec

I'm very pleased to announce the first full exhibition in ArtsPlace SL, a small selection of work from the MIT OpenStudio project. The exhibition is upstairs at ArtsPlace SL and will run between 2 December and 23 December.
OpenStudio is web + art + community + economics. It is an open ended experiment that couples a very simple drawing tool with an economy of artists, curators, collectors, dealers and viewers. Members can create and modify drawings, set prices and licenses, exchange and exhibit work, view financial records, and commission one another. Because OpenStudio is experimental, we continually add features and take others away. We know that the system is not perfect, but it was never meant to be. Please enjoy it as it is with its quirks.

The exhibition features nine works, selected purely according to my personal taste, but taken together these nine work well as an introduction to what can be found elsewhere in OpenStudio.

Please feel free to pay ArtsPlace SL a visit and see for yourself...

The builders have moved out...

I've pretty much finished with all the major building work and now have a rather nice area of 'gallery' space spread over two floors, three entrances, a teleport between floors and an upstairs outside seating area (currently sans seats!).

I originally built a third floor, but hit my parcel prim limit (essentially I'd used all my available building blocks). So I removed the third floor and have decided to stick at two. To be honest, the building looks much better balanced at two floors rather than three.

The prim limit took me slightly by surprise - I hadn't done my homework properly. But I suppose it helps to keep the money rolling in to Linden Labs.

So with the basic space finished, I now need to populate it with exhibits - the lack of prims might be a limiting factor here I guess. My current plan is to use the downstairs area for stuff that I develop - though I'm open to offers - and the upstairs area for exhibitions of other people's work. I'm planning on making each exhibition last three or four weeks. News about the first exhibition will follow in the next post.

Well see how things work out...

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Presenting in [Teen] Second Life

Global Kids have released a very useful PDF document describing various approaches to giving a presentation in Teen Second Life - though I assume that everything they say applies to Second Life as well.

The document covers six approaches to presenting, from the basic use of live video streams thru to highly-innovative 'physics-free presentations'.

It would be very nice if there was a companion technical how-to document, that covered the gory details of how to set up each of these approaches from a technical point of view. But as a general overview of available approaches this is a great start...

Monday, 27 November 2006

Imitating RL

I've noticed a tendency for creations in SL to mimic their RL counterparts. Obvious examples include people's avatars, which I suspect often are designed to be similar to the RL owner (albeit sometimes portraying a view of the owner thru rose-tinted spectacles). Clearly, I'm ignoring a significant leaning towards wings and furries by some residents which I presume aren't matched in RL!

Buildings also tend to take on a RL form more often than not. Why have a roof when it never rains, a bed when you never sleep or chairs when you never need to rest your legs? I guess these things make us feel more comfortable in some way? And, to a large extent, I designed ArtsPlace SL with a physical building very much in mind.

Similarly, many buildings tend to look as though they are constrained by the forces in RL - though there are significant exceptions. In my Eduserv role, I've just built a clear spherical meeting room that I call the MeetingPod, floating somewhere over CybraryCity. It doesn't need anything to hold it up, but the walls are helpful in preventing people falling off (though Silversprite Helsinki will know that there are some teething problems in that area).

On geography

It strikes me that the geography of SL can be quite disorientating. In RL we are used to geography being one of the things that defines what is and isn't possible - where you can easily get to on foot, and where you have to take a car, train or flight for example. In SL, everything is a search and a teleport away - co-location means relatively little.

While the teleport experience is quite liberating, it also means it is very difficult to get a sense of the overall layout of things.

I'm not complaining you understand. Just noting!

There are still occasions when I walk or fly somewhere - but often it is only because the teleport sub-system doesn't always seem to function 100% at the moment.

I'm partly thinking about this because I've built ArtsPlace SL on my own land, well away from its arguably more natural home on a sim like InfoIsland - and I'm wondering how much that matters. Clearly, there are issues with who your neighbors are in terms of what you look out over - but in terms of where you are, I'm not sure how important it is. At the moment I'm assuming that passing traffic is an irrelevance compared to getting good visibility is SL search engine results?

Saturday, 25 November 2006


Hi, and welcome to the ArtsPlace SL blog. This is primarily where I'll post news and updates about ArtsPlace SL, my home in Second Life (SL), but I'll also use it to share my experiences of SL more generally.

Who am I? My name is Art Fossett and I've been a resident in SL for a couple of weeks. Not long... but long enough that I know I like it. And long enough the begin building stuff. Stuff like ArtsPlace SL, a space in SL intended to allow libraries, museums, archives and galleries to come together with artists and like-minded people in building innovative digital creations.

I've no idea how or whether this is going to work out... it may all come to nothing. But it seems to me that there is a potential in this pace for interesting things to happen.

In RL my name is Andy Powell. I work for Eduserv, a UK not-for-profit charity that works to support the effective use of ICT in education. I'm Head of Development for the Eduserv Foundation, a role that is largely about providing advice to the education community about the use of ICT and about providing some funding to support that where we can. In RL, I blog at eFoundations. To be honest, I'm not yet sure how my RL role and my ArtsPlace SL role are going to intersect.

Anyway, that's enough for now... I'll try and keep posting here regularly, as my experience of second life grows.