Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gene Ware's artist talk on NEWare ISLAND...

Here I am at the official opening event for Gene Ware's L2 Complex and there she was in "person". I was able to recognize her avatar after seeing her on the large(r) screen ;-) At this point, I sat myself down and checked out the movie presentation... Here is the 12+ minute video clip with audio:

If you do not see the above video, click here.

This video is 12 minutes because I also tagged on some Q&A footage where you get to watch and hear Gene Ware answer my questions directly. My questions for Gene were based on an interview I gave with her in our 1st Lives in around the year 1998. I asked her to recall her Frankenstein/Biotech analogy and wondered if she still makes this analogy almost a decade later and whether or not this applied to avatar worlds such as Second Life as well as the emerging Biotech world. For me, avatar worlds address Utopian concerns and the tale of Frankenstein always conjured more pessimistic associations. Well, if you can watch the above video, you will be able to hear her thoughts on this question.

Generally speaking, I think if you watch this embedded video before reading more text below, it will be easier to absorb the full implications of this event but I must say that Posthumanism and other such topics were referenced.

Here is another pic this time with Ware's on-screen avatar turning her back to the voyeuristic audience. I recognize this corridor as belonging to the 2nd Dante Hotel...

I recognized this corridor because the L2 archivist and curator, Lys Ware (seen directly behind me) gave me a guided tour a few days ago.

I wish to take the opportunity now to thank Gene and Lys for adding my blog to their event's wiki.

Also, check out their official snapshots. I am only in the third pic from the top though as I had to leave to edit and render the video clip.

Scroll down this blog to read more about my guided tour...

The half-hour before Gene Ware's lecture at L2...

Here I am with about 30 minutes to spare before Gene Ware's lecture at the L2 complex on Stanford University's NEWare Island.

Man Michinaga was originally going to have me appear for this class that he teaches in his 1st Life in Chicago but I guess that never materialized so I had some virtual time to kill. At least I had a good view of some embedded rap videos just to my right. I also got to relax in this luxury shogunate(?) style chair...very kewl!

...and here is a close up of what one of the embedded rap videos looked like...I must say the resolution for embedded videos in Second Life can be quite decent!

Ok, this takes the cake! A cruci-fiction scene with virtual mannequins? Whoa! I tried to take a snapshot of the blood that was spraying jetstreams of red particles. I was at least trying to find a goblet in my inventory so I could collect some of the bloody squirts and sell the holy relic later for at least a few hundred L$ donation ;-) I still cannot get over the fact that these biblical mannequins were placed within a very close proximity of the rap videos(!) I guess only God can judge them now.

Hovering not too far above the cruci-fiction scene is a floating bill board of Steve Nicks juxtaposed with the more modestly budgeted display advertising Mr. Lee's Greater Hong previous landlord in my 1st Life was named Mr. Lee and I must say that this Metaverse version has a very familiar ring to it....hmmmm... ;-) Oh wait a minute! Is that the Eye of Horus almost directly below me? I MUST check that out...

Sure enough, it is indeed the Eye of Horus! Here I am bathing next to Anubis the Jackal which seemed to be a sculptural object and not an avatar...sigh!

..and finally, here I am directly underneath the eye-stream which is rather fitting as I need to clean off all my virtual dirt and get my pixellated soul lightened up so I can pass the weighing test on those scales not shown in this pic ;-) Beside me is Horus himself (well, the decorative version of him anyways). You are probably noting that one is never too far away from the cruci-fiction scene...very surreal indeed!

Ok, those are my somewhat detailed and contemplative reflections on the half-hour before heading off to Gene Ware's lecture. Check out the posting above this one to read all about that fact, if that posting exists now, you have already read it and are scrolling backwards through the scroll of linear about that for virtuality?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hours after Second Front's 1st Performance...

Left to right: Wirxli Flimflam, Man Michinaga and Tea Chenille.
All the pix in this posting were taken just hours after Second Front's very first performance-artwork which took place in the Reuters newswire complex. The archives for this pioneering performance are available on Second Front's official blog. For my own personal blog however, I have decided to post pix of the hours following that performance as I was still on a virtual high of sorts and wanted to maintain the momentum. So, Tea Chenille met up with me and Man Michinaga back in the Reuters complex to celebrate Second Front's new beginning and also to explore the Reuters region some more for future performances in our "Breaking News" series. Tran Spire was the 3rd person who performed in this first performance. Tea could not make it because she had to finish designing her special zebra avatar and Alise-Iborg is still maintaining a curatorial and PR role until she can get Second Life access in the New Year of 2007...
...after hanging out in the Reuters auditorium for a bit (pic not documented by me), Mr. Michinaga decided to venture off to the NBC HQ to watch the Virtual Christmas Lights display...I promised to follow him in there after Tea did some promo shots - I wanted to keep her company.

So, we loitered for a bit in the gorgeous Reuters courtyard...what a nice clock they have and what luck weather-wise with the sunset and all that...

On the left, you will notice this brand light-brown virtual sculpture on the floor...we did not make that but Tea made one very similar to that when we followed Man Michinaga into NBC's NYC...more on that later...I just wanted to mention that now because one of the ideas for Second Front is to collaborate on some massive real-time based virtual sculpture...

Speaking of "time-based sculpture", here I am killing sculptural time by making a phone call while Tea Chenille takes some close-up promo pix of herself to post on the Second Front blog and eventually her own blog. I tried to contact some of the high-ranking Lindens but they were unlisted.

Well, Man Michinaga tried to send me several teleport requests but I guess the Second Life grid was still not up to its usual strength because none of the teleports worked. So I had to find MM the hard way and ended up at NBC 7 (instead of NBC HQ where MM was located). So, here I am posing with the snowmen in NBC 7's plaza. Yes, it certainly looked like NYC to me!, I wandered down some of the streets around this virtual NBC-esque NYC and ran into this smashing artiste-style avatar named Zermit the Black Magick Woman. She had the caveat "Don't you turn your back on me" and I guess she put a hex on me because I certainly had my back turned to her while taking this photo..I had my eye on her though.

She told me that she was planning to visit some Vampyre Empyre but ended up stranded in NBC's NYC. She said she was from NYC and so she verified that the simulation looked very similar to NYC in her 1st Life. She also said that occasionally she practices performance art in Second Life so I asked her if she heard of Franklin Furnace and she said that it did not ring a bell..I then asked if there was a Macy's big-box store nearby but she was not sure about that either.

Here I am having a coffee break at some Aztec themed cafe (still owned by NBC) that is near one of the main ice-skating rinks. I wonder if this cafe will be franchised in 2012?

Ok, finally I made it to NBC's NYC HQ but Man Michinaga had already fled to his 1st life bed so it was just me dreaming of all my heroes.

The slogan "some people are made for something more" really resonates with me for some reason ;-) Also, it seems like having events on Cyber-mondays is getting increasingly popular, eh?

Just by chance I managed to arrange a last minute meeting with Rubaiyat Shatner who is the Director/Curator of Ars Virtua. This was the very first time I have met him and what a pleasure it was to finally meet him. He said he liked my avatar which is fantastic that a curator would take notice of how attractive I look for a change! If Documenta was held in Austria rather than Germany, he would probably be the featured curator (a compliment). is a slightly different pose from the curator...

A furry named Iexo (yes, with an "i" and not an "l") joined us and Rubaiyat said that Iexo made his own sim...very kewl indeed! I asked them both if there was a Wal-Mart nearby and Rubaiyat noted that there is a Wall-Mart in Second Life which is similar but not the same thing. Iexo was friendly and chatted for a few minutes and then took off.

..and here is Iexco taking off to meet other furries, I guess. I spoke with Rubaiyat for another few minutes and then we called it a night...

...just before I packed it in for the night, I had a quick peek at a "rave" at the Pink Panther Club. It looked more like a rock club to me but at least I got a free bottle of virtual Jack Daniels Whiskey for making the effort to visit. I tried to return the favour by attempting to joyride their parked vehicles (cars and helicoptors) outside but I guess they had their locks on securely...

Now I must nap to refresh myself for tomorrow's SL events.
Please scoll down to see more screenshots and embedded videos....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006



The avatar performance art collective that I am a co-founder for, "Second Front" has finally opened its official blog!

Please check out this blog for updates for our upcoming performances. The first performance series by Second Front will be taking place in the Reuters Office in Second Life.

Other confirmed core members of Second Front are:

Tran Spire
Tea Chenille
Alise Iborg
Man Michinaga


Wirxli Flimflam

Monday, November 27, 2006

Official meeting with Lys Ware on NEWare Island

Hey bloggers! Here I am with Lys Ware (aka. Henrik Bennetsen) on the NEWare Island which is the residency complex for the artist Lynn Hershman. Check out the embedded low-rez (very low-rez) video of my tour with Lys Ware and the other screenshots...I have added some captions detailing my guided tour below...


If you do not see this video above, please click this link here.
Yes, this video is very pixellated and low-rez. This was because Second Life was having grid problems at the time and my recording software would only accept a low-resolution to capture its glitchy frame-rate. This might be the lowest-rez video of Second Life! Anyway, it is better to have some documentation of the tour than none at all! Here are some more screenshots which I will explain in more detail below...

This pic shows the two of us standing on top of the 2D floor plan schematics for the Dante Hotel which was an installation piece originally conceived by Lynn Hershman in 1974 (as old as my 1st Life!)

To the optically spoiled citizens of Second Life, this "bedroom" might appear to be completely unrendered. However, the look is an intentional design choice. I guess I should confess here that as much as I would have liked to have claimed that my low-rez video was also a "design choice", it actually was the result of a careless mistake...sigh! Regardless of intentions, the "furniture" (coloured geometrical polygons) in the room can be arranged by speaking to a chatterbot designed by Lynn called Agent Ruby. Also, zoom in on this pic by clicking on it and you will notice just above the motley pair of dayglo green cube-boxes, there is a miniscule brown coloured shard of virtual rock. Upon clicking on this shard, your virtual DNA's code is mapped and moulded into the shard's new shape. So, the tiny shard you see has taken the form of my virtual DNA. I did not realize I was descended from a shard. Well, I guess a rock-shard does resemble the structure of a pixel and art of course has been rumoured to have been descended from virtual rock caves so......hmmmm... What would the furniture look like if it has mapped my virtual memes?
Here are some archives of Lynn's installation work (probably Dante's Hotel) in embedded screenshot format. The archives look dry when presented as a screenshot but being in-world with Lys there really gave these archives a much needed Second Life!

Here is another angle of this same archive room. Lynn seemed to like corridors as much as Bruce Nauman! This inspired Lys to mention that they have been experimenting with "phantom" surfaces on NEWare Island. There was this one very trippy example where one could walk right through a photo of a corridor into a genuine virtual corridor! Here is the video I took of this example in a more normal resolution:

If you cannot see the video above, click on the direct link here.

Well, you had to be there but the combination of "illusionism" versus (virtual) "reality" was very inspiring. I will suggest the installation of a similar effect for the performance art group, Second Front. Yes, I must go back and make a video of what I am trying to articulate here...Practice sometimes is much better than theory...sigh!

>...and here we are sitting down together in the home-theatre room. We are watching a 4 minute embedded video/movie loop with audio narrated by Lynn herself. I have another screenshot of this event that is nearly optically identical to this blogged pose here so I decided to only post of these theatre pix. I learned from Lys that there does not appear to be a limit on the duration of video that can be embedded into a virtual wall. This definitely opens up possibilities for our performance art ideas. It also allows the audience to take either a passive and/or active role in how they choose to interact (or not) with the artwork.

...and here we are flying around looking down onto the sculptural aerial view (the outline) of the Dante Hotel. I am glad Lys advised me of some hotkey shortcuts for flying and landing because it took me many seconds to recover based on the way I used to land prior to this guided tour ;-) I was getting a little spatially disoriented but I do not recall the 2D schematic version and the 3D sculptural version being that close together in terms of virtual proximity...I will have to revisit this Island to confirm how all these sculptural and archtectural motifs directly relate to each other.

Ok finally here we are at in the reasonable facsimile of the Dante Hotel itself. Lys instructs me to request a key from the guestbook and sure enough, I managed to register my stay at the hotel for three consecutive times (but not 3 consecutive nights). Lys informs me that this may be a design glitch at the structural level.

Speaking of design glitches or "undersights"...Here I am unable to fit through the door to my room. I am too tall for the door frame and I am also far too clumsy and lanky to do the virtual limbo and duck into this magic room (where Lynn originally resided at room #47) the easy way. Lys realizes that not all art audiences are composed of vertically challenged people so perhaps he will upgrade this beta version to allow for a taller door-entrance...I literally had to fly through the ceiling and make several painstaking attempts to land right back into the middle of my newly assigned bedroom...sigh!

..after my 7th attempt at using the mini-map as a navigational tool, I finally figured out the coordination to land directly into the middle of my new bedroom (which came with a great bathroom and I also neglected to document)! Lys was re-arranging the room's furniture for me but I guess I did not have the rights and privileges to move these very same objects. We got talking about where such places might exist where I could freely toss around virtual objects (including readymades) and he suggested a region of Second Life called "The Linden Sandboxes". I am guessing this is where the performance art group Second Life will need to practice some of their very first performances. On another tangent, I have never slept on an embedded jpeg before, have you? ;-)

Here is a pic of Lys getting comfy on the embedded screenshot ;-) I almost forgot to mention that the orange chair was the one that Lys seemed most fixated on moving around.

I just took this pic so I could get a better look at Lys' profile. He is quite the professional looking avatar, eh?

Here we are faffing around while I set up the camera to record our promo video-documentation (yes, the one that turned out low-rez). If I had figured out the video capture settings properly, the video would have had the exact same resolution as this pic...sigh! Anyway, here is where you can have a glimpse of that virtual flight sculpture in much more detail than was shown on the video.

Ok and for the last pic of this posting, we are showing a behind-the-scenes moment of our official promo photo together. You will notice that Lys is insecure about his height and requires this plinth to elevate his stature. is a solid case where Lys is using blatant augmentation to enhance the illusion of full personality immersion ;-)

Thanks for checking out all these screenshots and I must definitely thank you all for enduring the agony of being compelled to watch a Second Life video with the lowest resolution ever published online thus far....heh heh.
Please scroll down for more screenshots and yet another embedded video with slightly higher resolution...

Dancing to DJ Widget at Musik Haus

Here I am checking out the Badlands for the first time trying to find a good place to test shooting some video-documentation for my upcoming performances with the Second Front performance art ensemble...I decided to find a dance club instead so I just checked the Second Life events listings and sure enough...
...I found this kewl electroclash and pop club called Musik Haus. I was lucky enough to dance right beside the DJ who was playing at the time, Mr. Widget. He seemed friendly with me right from the get-go and was indeed a multitasker as he was DJ-ing his electro-pop club beats, dancing and chatting with the dancers all at the same time! He was the only one who addressed me by name so I figured he was a kewl is a a glitchy video taken of the event...

..if you cannot see the above video, click here. Yeah, the audio skips alot and it is not because of your video card, it is because of mine...sigh! My laptop's ATI card apparently is not officially good enough to run Second Life so although I am able to visit and perform my art in-world, my video-documents might look a little clumsy and shoddy. I recorded multiple takes of this dance party. The other takes were way better (music, avatars and dancing was more interesting) but there was a bug in Second Life that did not allow me to save those videos to my desktop so I guess those documents no longer exist...sigh! At any rate, it was still a great party and I was able to document about a 1/4 of the magic by showing you this video and the screenshots below:
I wonder who that beastie was up there dancing on the ceiling? That one is definitely a hardcore clubber!Quite the 3D light-show at Musik Haus, eh?

...yes, you guessed correctly! DJ Widget is the guy with the blue mohawk, kewl shades and the banner around his abdomen that says "censored" are some more pix of the dancefloor...

I got some great snaps of the ceiling-beastie who has now leveled off on the ground plane dance floor...You know dancing corrupts the youth when there is solid evidence indicating you are dancing with Baphomet or a reasonable fafnir-facsimile ;-)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Waiting for Second Front...

Here I am taking a quick vacation while waiting for other co-members of the new Performance Art group, "Second Front" to materialize in Second Life. I guess I can hang out on this hammock until the New Year although I will probably get bored too is hard to relax when the creative muse whispers in your ear. In the meantime, I guess I will focus on solo-performances. I have one reading called "Second Livre" that has been scheduled for the Kootenay School of Writing's W Magazine. I also have an upcoming appointment in SL this Monday (tomorrow) with Lys Ware of Stanford (RL).


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yard Sale Shopping with Tea Chenille...

Here I am on the couch of this Yard Sale with my RL and SL GF, Tea Chenille.
We had a great time shopping around! I am not sure about some of the artwork in the sale but it was certainly a pleasure sifting through all the cyberknickknacks!
Here are some more pix from the event...

Here we are shopping for some shoes for Tea. Tea really has a shoe-buying addiction!
Maybe she will purchase a pair later but she decided not to do so this afternoon.

Here is another angle of our detailed shoe-gazing.

I decided to buy Tea a ring from the Yard Sale. In this pic, Tea is looking carefully at all the rings. I bought her a ring that only cost 25$L. What a bargain!
We also scored a whole bunch of freebies in this area such as some vehicles (I have not checked them out yet), rings, Xmas Decorations and even a pair of wings! As you will see in the next pic, we met the ring-vendor (and also possibly the designer), Rudy.

Here I am posing in front of the assembled gaggle of Yard Sale Vendors. The female in the brown dress is Rudy who helped arrange the ring purchase and transaction. Have you noticed that Yard Sales take forever to render? Sigh!

Tea likes to take her time shopping...Just like in our 1st Real Life (RL), I tend to wait for her while she goes about her business faffing around looking for new fancy items to buy...sigh!

Rudy suddenly decided to ride one of the moving trains around the Yard Sale complex. You can see her in the background on the train with some other vendor fellow who looked like a Count with his cape.

Rudy offered me a ride on her train and there was a spare seat in the caboose so I took up her offer. The three of us (Rudy, Count Anonymous and myself) went for a ride but my caboose detached from the train and they sped off with my caboose dumped on the rails...sigh! I wonder if it was some sort of practical joke. I did tell them I was a nOOb (Newbie) after all..sigh! I must have been feeling a bit dizzy after my caboose disconnected from the train because some of the billboards still look un-rendered and blurry... When bored, try and say the words "cabOOse nOOb nOOse" as fast as you virtually can! That will make you feel just as dizzy!

OK bloggers! Scroll down to check out more pix...