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July 19, 2006

Second Life Live Concert


Virtual Vega

"Back in the early 90s, an engineer named Karl Brandenburg was wracking his brain for a way to compress music files without losing their quality, when an insistent, dulcet a capella voice came drifting toward him up the hallway of the German Aerospace Center. It was rich and soft but imperfect in a way that made the singer unique, and it gave Brandenburg an instant intuition: if he could digitize it while still retaining the artist's soul, so to speak, he would have his ideal file format. The song was "Tom's Diner", the singer was Suzanne Vega, and it's why the New York musician is sometimes referred to as "the mother of MP3", the file format that made the flowering of music culture across the Internet possible.

So it seems fitting that Suzanne Vega will become the first established musician to have her entire persona uploaded onto the Internet, too. News of her performing a live concert in Second Life has already reached the SL blogosphere (as here), but when I read that news, I wanted to meet Vega's avatar for myself -- and see, so to speak, how well they'd captured her soul...

..."So how will the live show with Suzanne actually go down?" I ask Quirky, skeptical. "Will she control her avatar?"

"Yes, she will, as much as one can while simultaneously playing and singing! But she will inhabit it. She's very excited about that." I ask her if Vega's had an orientation with the complex user interface, and that question comes from personal experience, knowing how difficult it was to manuever a Pentagon advisor and a Stanford professor through the metaverse. "We still have a couple of weeks," Quirky tells me gamely, "and have already discussed that with her and the other guests."

Suzanne Vega's avatar is the work of famed in-world designer Munchflower Zaius, now busy completing the identities of two more Infinite Mind guests who'll appear in Second Life: Internet guru Howard Rheingold, and legendary author Kurt Vonnegut. "How cool is it that the author who first speculated about the relationship between man and technology is coming here in avatar form for a chat and reading?"..." [read complete post at New World Notes]

Posted by jo at July 19, 2006 07:27 PM