Saturday, February 03, 2007

Multimedia and Second Life

Second Life, a virtual world produced by Linden Labs, has been written about in most major press outlets. I've spent a bit of time there over the last month, exploring and trying to get to know the place. My interest is mainly in the artistic and educational opportunites there. For the most part it is a social networking environment with a strong economic focus - most things cost money, and a good builder can can make real dollars there.

At any rate, finding truly interesting art has been a little difficult. The interactive elements take a while to load so many of them appear not to work at first. With a little patience, however, I've begun to discover interactive installation in SL (SL for "Second Life", RL for "Real Life").

One of my favorites is Catana Park:

(from the creators):
Cantata Park is an interactive, spatialised sound sculpture built in the virtual world Second Life. The sculpture is made from 256 individual nodes in a 16 x 16 grid. Each node is embedded with a single word, triggered by a participant’s movement through the work. Each participant creates a random narrative, assembled on-the-fly, and in real-time.

Cantata Park explores the notion of a “cut-up narrative”. By disassembling and reassembling a passage of text, the participant is free to extract unseen meaning from an existing text. The cut-up technique was popularised by Beat poets in the 1950’s-70’s as a method to “break the linearity” of written language, with William S. Burroughs using it extensively in his works. Burroughs believed non-pictorial languages contained a virus. By using non-linear writing techniques he believed the true meaning of language could be exposed, and the spoken word used as a weapon.

Cantata Park uses a passage of 256 words from Burroughs’ The Electronic Revolution (1971) and transfers the cut-up technique into a real-time 3D environment.

The work explores the possibilities of metaverse art, limitations of Second Life’s construction tools and scripting language, and the ability to appreciate conceptual art by proxy of an avatar.

Cantata Park was produced in December 2006 by Christopher Dodds and Adam Nash, members of the Metamatic Collective.

For those with a SL account, check it out at:

Mashup , Marni (199, 53, 26)

Oh, and my SL name is Kristian Lacava. Stop in and say "hi" if you'd like.


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