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Second Front watches “Strange Culture”

This week we were invited to attend the premiere of “Strange Culture“, an independent film by Lynn Hershman which discusses the infamous case of the arrest and pending trial of Steve Kurtz from the Critical Art Ensemble. The film will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival this week and has the distinction of being the first-ever feature film shown in Second Life.

It seemed altogether appropriate to have the first-ever performance art group in Second Life present at opening night (afternoon). We decided to don hazmat suits and gas masks to show our support for the defense in the ongoing Kurtz case. Second Front was unusually subdued in its urge to create a large-scale performance. We sat quietly and watched the film. The only sound besides the movie soundtrack was the constant clicking of the Second Life cameras as we documented this historic event.

Watching a movie in Second Life was totally weird. When you get to the movie theater, you hit the play movie control on your SL window. We’re all watching the same film, but a different times! That seems like the most significant difference from a traditional cinema. Continue reading Hazardous: Second Front watches “Strange Culture” by Great Escape, Second Front. Continue reading

Jan 31, 13:00
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The Girlfriend Experience


Multi-Player Game with Avatars of Flesh and Blood

The Girlfriend Experience: Multi-player game with avatars of flesh and blood 26 :: Jan 07-9 Mar :: Opening: Friday 26 January at 20:00 :: Mediamatic: Oosterdokskade 5, Amsterdam :: T 020 638 9901.

Martin Butler presents four human avatars to play with. Log in at home with your character of choice. Direct the avatar, explore the space and challenge him or her. The avatars can also be observed live in their Analog Villa. The avatars of The Girlfriend Experience will be available every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 20:00- 23:00. They can also be observed live in the Analog Villa, the Mediamatic Exhibition space.

The rampant growth of online avatar communities such as Second Life and World of Warcraft has enabled the creation of a personal online social and economic existence. Simultaneously this triggers inherent questions about this existence, as it questions what the consequences will be for first life, or reality. Continue reading

Jan 26, 11:32
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Border Art


Imaging Place SL: U.S./Mexico Border

This article will attempt to filter (interpret?) for you a performance and installation in Second Life. The event was ‘a realtime interpretive and site-specific performance’ based on and for the opening of JC Fremont’s installation on borders: ‘Imaging Place SL: U.S./Mexico Border’. Second Front conceived and performed a wild experience on Friday 5th Jan at Ars Virtua (Gallery 2)…

…As I have considered before, art in SL and a virtual world cannot be executed or experienced in the same manner as our first life. An example of the discontinuity (or emergence of a new form of experience) is the avatar representation of ourselves in the art space. When in a gallery or at a performance purely in our first life, we can have some control over our expression. Our body expresses how we are feeling or what we are thinking. In a virtual world we have to script that expression. But when experiencing a piece of art we are usually quite immersed, putting all our concentration into that experience. To script a reaction feels like a performance. Indeed, I’m not saying that people who experience art in real life do not perform their experience of it, but what I find interesting in pieces of artwork like Fremont’s, is that I immediately feel terribly over-dressed and that I am acting inappropriately. For instance, this image is of a grandmother crying because she is seeing her grand-daughter for the first time through the border fence. And there I am (Lythe is), suddenly present in their world thanks to Fremont’s 360 nodes, with my bling and pretty smile…” From Border Art by Lythe Witte.

Jan 23, 15:12
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Second Life Left Unity


Real Life Fascist Group Recruiting Inworld

“While [Second Life Left Unity] SLLU welcomes the decision of the [Front National] FN to move from Porcupine, this has been to the detriment of the residents of Axel (another PG area). It has broken their peace and tranquility. This fascist group – one so abhorrent that the mainstream conservative party in France urged its supporters to vote socialist in order to ensure the FN didn’t reach any where near to victory in their last elections – has set up recruiting in world. This group is a RL fascist group with links to the very founders of fascism.

SLLU, also condemn this racist party for using SL as a place to recruit – the dissemination of discrimatory racist hate propaganda should be viewed as a violation of SL’s community standards’ We call on Axel residents to complain about this cabal and their sullying of the tranquil and beautiful area that was once Axel, and join our campaign to rid SL of racism. SLLU support residents in their wish to rid themselves of this group and the protests that have followed. SLLU can promise residents that our organization has no want to stay in Axel any longer than it takes to rid residents of the FN (who are at present trying to buy more Axel land). We reiterate our call on the Lindens to ban this group from PG areas.” [via SLLU]

Jan 18, 16:22
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Interactive Sound Installation in Second Life

Second Life, one of the most populated MMORPG, is an important watching point to verify how the borderline between real and virtual tends to become more and more ephemeral. In the last months Second Life has seen many famous names and brands of the real world coming into its virtual spaces. The Reuters news agency has opened a virtual editorial office, IBM decided to test here its v-business (virtual business) idea. Many other events as lectures, talks (Lawrence Lessig), concerts (Suzanne Vega) has packed the SL dwellers agenda. So an interactive audio installation couldn’t be missed. A certain Robbie Dingo (this is the name of the homonymous British sound designer avatar) programmed his WhisperBox (a 21st Century Folk Song).

The installation, hosted by the SL Phoenicia Center for Contemporary Art, captures words and pieces of the conversations that happens amongs the avatars inside its space (a circular space marked off by seven speakers) and translate these pieces in sounds. Tones and rhythms are directly influenced by the conversation progress. Furthermore WhisperBox provides also a visualization form of the spoken words, appearing near each avatar in a sort of 3D balloon. The displayed text then is an echo of the previous conversations. Clicking on different avatars with active balloons, their spoken words are played as music, and the previous conversations are immortalized, in a sort of inextricable and synaesthetic loop, made out of real and virtual, present and past, expression and representation.” Vito Campanelli, Neural.

Jan 16, 10:15
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Second Life Sketches:


Two Worlds – Fame and Infamy

“…Ailin Graef operates in-world as Anshe Chung, the oft-touted first paper millionaire produced by Second Life. She’s a SL property magnate, and has recently begun tasting real-world fame, cover-featured on magazines and the like. It plays into Perception One, that new entrepreneurial ground has been broken and Second Life is the new field of 21st century capitalist enterprise.

It’s a good story, and the notion of presenting a digital avatar as a business celebrity has an appealing frisson of The Future to many. Recently, she agreed to an in-world interview with a CNET journalist. The interview was broken up by a group who caused a rain of giant penises to plunge down on the stage, helpfully recording their stunt in screenshots and video for the “Second Life Safari” section of the website Something Awful. The Second Life Safari team come from Perception Two, and they see something worth mocking in a publicity-conscious magnate who controls land parcels where people pretend to have illicit sex…” From Second Life Sketches: Two Worlds – Fame and Infamy by Warren Ellis, Reuters SL. Video.

Jan 5, 13:57
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“Visiting the ‘Second Life’ World: Virtual Hype?”

I made a brief appearance on yesterday’s “All Things Considered” from National Public Radio, in a story appropriately titled: “Visiting the ‘Second Life’ World: Virtual Hype?” (Yes, NPR has joined that particular debate, following Clay Shirky in casting deep skepticism on the “two million Residents” meme that the media is usually complicit in. But not this time.) Nicely reported by Laura Sydell, the segment actually devotes most of its coverage to Judge Posner’s recent in-world appearance, and his Honor himself arrives to offer some trenchant thoughts on the importance of online worlds. Last year’s NWN book club guest Thomas P.M. Barnett also shows up to praise the longtail power of his own appearance in-world. (Forseti Svarog of The Electric Sheep is on hand, too.) Taken together, it almost plays like an audio version of my GigaGamez essay on the hype and hope around Second Life.

Also, the raccoon. Fittingly, the raccoon lawyer shows up first. Listen to it all here. [blogged by W. James Au on New World Notes]

Dec 29, 11:28
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New World Notes


Gwyneth Llewelyn and the Kuurian Expedition

“…The analogy of “TV vs. theater” was thrown in for discussion— WoW and Everquest are more like TV, where the content is fed to the consumers. Second Life is more like a theatre, especially the ones presenting “interactive performances” where actors meet the public and there is a thin line separating both. Poinky comments: “It’s a lot easier to watch TV thanto go a theatre.” This would explain the incredible commercial successes of WoW or EQ.

Interestingly enough, they tend to agree that you need some creativity to be able to enjoy SL.

Grace: “If you are not open to thinking creatively, SL might not be for you.” Frank and Poinky: “What I believe [is]we should define what is creative and what is naive creativity… Here everyone makes different fashions or architectures, by just right-clicking on the target, [hitting] a few buttons, and then move on, but it does not mean they are all interesting because they are original.” …” From Gwyneth Llewelyn and the Kuurian Expedition by W. James Au.

Dec 22, 18:45
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Second Life


Clay Calls “Bullshit” on Second Life

Clay Shirky demands to see Second Life’s hand in a recent article on Valleywag that calls bullshit on the virtual environment’s numbers – and the crazy press coverage it’s been getting lately.

I’ve always said there was something over the top about the whole Second life thing. I know it’s a media darling right now, but how many people actually play it? And for how long?

When Clay writes, “I have been watching the press reaction to Second Life with increasing confusion” he mirrors my reaction. With every huge article in Businessweek the hype tree grew taller and bore ever more verdant leaves, seeding other articles in other publications. (I don’t mean to call out Businessweek except that they published the most outrageous “Virtual Millionaire” article recently.) And while, yes, money in virtual economies is real, as Julian and Ted Catronova have shown (among others), how real is the money in a good if you hold all the goods yourself? It’s only worth as much as others will pay for it and frankly, I’m just not sure that a userbase exists that *will* pay, collectively, a million bucks for virtual real estate.

I respect what Second Life is, and I think some of the press is well-deserved. It is a concrete way to imagine what we used to call cyber-space. I just don’t think there’s anything close to a mass movement represented by its users – just really interesting new ideas. [posted by Jane on Game Girl Advance]

Dec 14, 10:54
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Second Life


First Annual SL Literary Festival

First Annual SL Literary Festival :: Verum’s Place, Yanguella :: December 16, 2006; 2:00 pm SLT :: Contact Carla Herrera, carla[at] for more information.

Schedule of Events (Tentative/subject to change) :: Throughout the day there will be poetry readings, streaming music, discussions, art display, interactive literature projects, classes and workshops.

TBA: Patrick Lichty / Man Michinaga – Discussion: Digital Narrative and Online Spaces.

2:00 Opening ceremony Greetings & guest speaker on front lawn ::
3:00 Schedule of Workshops and Classes begin Signs and teleporters provided :: Workshops and classes run throughout the day and will conclude at 6:30 for fireworks And storytelling :: 4:00 Tours of the Gothsburg castle begin Tours last 30-45 minutes. :: 3:30 Open mic at Verum’s place Essays & poetry welcome :: 4:00 Poetry Challenge $L100. to the winner :: 5:00 Tramp’s Theatre Troupe Surprise performance :: 6:30 Fireworks By Spider :: 7:00 Storytelling circle on front lawn :: 8:00 Event close/Open chat/discussion. Continue reading

Dec 11, 16:25
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