Monday, November 26, 2007

The Blog That Time Forgot...

The author of this blog (me aka. Wirxli Flimflam) is 88% confident that the esteemed Sci-Fi Author and Media Philosopher, Paul Levinson thought of the title for his new sci-book precisely at the moment this picture was taken. He is shown here viewing the inspire-some (is that a word? If not, it is now) wallpaper sketches of my fellow artist colleague-in-crime, Juria Yoshikawa.

Hey there Dark Aged Avatars, Levinson Levitators and Beauty Pageant Tyrants...

Ok, this blog posting will be relatively short in length because I am way behind the times when it comes to keeping my blog up to date. I just noticed earlier this evening that I totally forgot to blog about the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse's gig awhile back at the Metaverse 2007 Conference hosted by The Avastar.

In addition to the lagging back(b)log of postable content, I also have to begin compiling the various documentation from the Orchestra's megalithic blockbuster gig at Wien Modern in Vienna (where my new composition Riesenrad was premiered) that took place on Saturday. On that same day, I also did an interview for Krystal Epic where I was nominated for being the "Best Performing Artist" in Second Life so I guess I will have to blog that too sooner than later...sigh!

Well, enough about that! I am now going to chat about my 2nd in-world meeting with Paul Levinson thus far since it has come to my attention via Paul's own blog that a meeting I had with him and a couple of my friends such as(Aurel Miles and ByrneDarkly Cazalet) directly inspired a title for his new novel.

I actually remember the exact moment well where he first brought up "The Time that Light Forgot" and I also recall that it was me (for the record, Paul - tee hee) who actually made a pun on his title by calling it "The Light That Time Forgot" and I made the correlation between this new title and the Dark Ages. Well, it does not really matter who came up with the title. I do not need to see the chat history or anything to prove this matter as that would be petty anyways.

At any rate, I am pleased that Paul came up with a new and kewl title for an upcoming book and am flattered that he mentioned me as a source of inspiration. It is ultimately his concept and idea. At the time of writing, Paul has not yet figured out what kind of book he could write that would suit the title....He did mention time travel as a theme which would be great and I also think that Paul should deeply consider the fact that more novels also need to be written about Metaverse culture since there are only really the novels Neuromancer and Snow Crash out there in the classic print-media galaxy that have directly influenced the culture of Second Life - maybe it is Paul's turn to add to this genre? I am sure he could write a brilliant book about it as it is a hot topic these days.

Hmmmm...this reminds me that I am currently reading over a treatment for a film called VolaVola by the Italian film-maker avatar, Finally Outlander (Berardo Carboni in SL) which is all about how the Metaverse culture is gradually being exported from the in-world scene to the status quo of mainstream cultural and fashion worlds in RL (among other things).

I guess I should summarize this posting so I can then finish reading the second half of the treatment for this film since I might be starring a cameo role in it and maybe even writing some of the soundtrack for this film that will begin production in 2008. I had a meeting today with Finally Outlander earlier today about exactly these prospects. So much to do and so little time left to blog out the light with more text-pixels...sigh!

Oh geez, I am cluttering my 2-bit thug life (and mind) with non-linear blog-narratives at the moment so I should resume my "professional" writing style and get back to the meeting with Paul....

Ok....Paul.... Hmmmm... Well, I have known Paul virtually for quite awhile, actually.
I interviewed him for Intelligent Agent Magazine in 1999 but I guess I have not "seen" a kinetic virtual (and visual) version of his avatar until his recent interview with Kenny Hubble in SL a short awhile ago.

I guess that interview session drew him in hook line and sinker to the immersive world of Second Life and so now I am expecting to see him in there on a fairly regular basis - I mean, he even has a bookstore in there now :-)

It probably also helps that his new hostesses are keeping him cozy in their swanky pad.
Couch surfing never felt so comfy! :-D

Ok, I think it is time I left this blog posting alone now and continue reading the film treatment for VolaVola before my biological self packs it in for the night.

Stay tuned for upcoming blog postings about:

1) The AOM at Metaverse 2007

2) The AOM at Wien Modern

3) My interview along side Fau Ferdinand with Sunnie Beaumont about our SLart nominations (Man Michinaga was there too).

Friday, November 23, 2007

From the recent archives vault #2 - Second Front at PERFORMA 07 (NYC)...

Photo by Tran Spire. SECOND FRONT from left-right: Tran Spire, Man Michinaga, AliseIborg Zhaoying, Fau Ferdinand, Gazira Babeli (King Kong), Wirxli Flimflam (me), Tea Chenille, Lizsolo Mathilde and Great Escape. Here is Second Front's official group photo for the Wrath of Kong (original title was "Konkey Bong") performance created for the PERFORMA 07Festival in New York. This performance was curated by Defne Ayas and Esa Nickle and took place on November 03, 2007.

Hey there PERFORMA pariahs, Big Apple belchers and donkey-eared King Ding-Dongs,

Phew! Finally, I have had enough spare time to post my basic reflections about Second Front's epic performance for the PERFORMA festival in New York!!!

My colleague in Second Front, AliseIborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne) has already written an official posting on our group blog here.

In addition to this blog posting, Second Front co-member Great Escape also has posted some hi-rez pictures from this performance.

I also know that Tran Spire (another Second Front co-member) recorded some video of our performance so I cannot wait to see it on our group blog!

In the meantime, please check out the only pictures I personally took of this performance session. Well, the first pic is not mine but the rest are...

Before we formally commenced our performance, we spent some quality time ensuring that Sircus Tilling (the in-world correspondent for Art in America magazine) could keep us posed in group-formation long enough to take some decent photos for publication. Second Front is very excited at the prospect of appearing in Art in America in RL. If you look at the bottom of this pic, you will see Esther Decuir in a brown biplane. She has become our embedded journalist for the news network, SLNN. She has been embedded into many of our performances lately which has helped her cover the Breaking News more accurately.

It took us awhile to leave the photo-shoot and progress towards our roles as performers. I mean, what is a successful performance without ample documentation? Sigh!

Here I am posing next to an (even more) two-dimensional simulacrum of the famous NYC sculptor, Richard Serra. For those who are generally attuned to more than one dimension in the artworld, the appearance of Serra at this level of the building (and the game, for that matter) might give you a case of deja vu as Serra makes a similar appearance in a parallel side of the metaverse.

Here is the first snapshot of me reaching the top of the Empire State Building. I am so high up, I am even slightly above the Super Mario Clouds region.

Here are most of Second Front at the very top of the Empire State Building. We managed to ascend several stories above the aforementioned archangelic clouds.

In this pic you can see that Kong's gravity was severely being tested. I managed to hammer Kong's foot while Tran's and Great Escape's biplanes had managed to disorient the mutated monkey and throw him/her (Kong's gender was never pre-determined) off balance.

Here is a good pic of King (Gaz) Kong barely hanging onto the top of the Empire State Building. This was perhaps the foreshadowing moment during the performance where the audience may have figured out that the end is nigh for the ape standing his/her ground in the sky. It was immediately after this point, that I rezzed my own biplane and took to the skies for the final battle!

After some reckless yet coldly calculating attack sorties, I eventually realized my biplane was running out of gas so I knew I had to crash land somewhere so what better place to go out with a ceremonial bang than crashing directly into members of the in-world audience? Heheheheheheh....

GAME OVER! Here is a scene from our Gameover Victory Dance! Lizsolo Mathilde had officially announced the completion of all the levels, King (Gaz) Kong has been defeated, the flying team under the leadership of Fau Ferdinand had completed all the necessary sorties, all the Princess Peaches (Man, Tea and Alise) have been rescued and so this was the perfect opportunity for the rest of us to climb onto Kong's lifeless avatar body and beat him/her while he/she was down. I knew my mallet would come in handy after awhile...I did not just want it to be a performance prop! STOP! HAMMER TIME! It's Clobberin' time!!!


Here are some Second Front members congregating at the performance space in Gazira's Locusolus property just in time to begin preparations for our dress rehearsal.

As you can see, accidents can happen during the rehearsal. Here is a pic of me and my bi-plane designed by Cubey Terra. It looks like I (un)successfully ran out of gas and therefore crash-landed my plane right into the Empire State Building... Oh wait, maybe that was actually an intentional strategy! ;-) I knew that when it came to performance time, I would target the in-world audience instead rather than the heart of the Empire...

Here I am in full Mario and Wario mode posing for the camera...At the point this pic was taken, I was practicing my gradual ascending and descending routines up and down the ramp system of the Empire State Building. I believe this pic was taken before I finally got ahold of a barrel launcher :-)


Here is photo-documentation from our very first meeting with the PERFORMA curator(s) known as Performa Kamachi. At this time, Esa Nickle was behind the avatar in RL but her co-curator Defne Ayas has also been known to possess the avatar from time to time. This meeting occurred sometime in the late summer and it was at that time that we had just found out that PERFORMA had spent the a few weeks prior trying to locate us in-world so they could formally invite us to perform for the festival on November 03, 2007.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

From the recent archives vault #1 - Second Front at LIVE2007...

Here I am arriving on the scene just in time to switch from my curatorial role at the LIVE Biennial to that of an avatar performance artist... This performance was a direct cross between Hermann Nitsch's Orgies and Mysteries Theatre (including Hermann's organ soundtrack) combined with well...ummmm...Second Front's own retrospective legacy of mutual pan-narcissism ;-) For your info, the foxxy lady in the foreground is the Western Front's camera avatar, Westernfront Obscure.

Hey there LIVEly art-historians and pixel-dust collecting choreographers,

First of all, I would like to announce that yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of my blog (well, my very first posting was actually on November 20th, 2006 but there was no picture in that entry).

Ok, lets fast-forward to the present-day....

Some of you blog-readers may have attended two of Second Front's recent performances within the past month or two and might be wondering where all our recent archives are, right? Well, we have been too busy focusing on the next performance that is always looming in the near future to really reflect properly on our classic performances from the recent past.

For better of for worse, Second Life works on an extremely fast time scale and it can be exhausting to try and keep up with all the bloggings and such especially when one has a real life to maintain behind the scenes.

I actually have hardly any time to even blog these relatively moldy old performances tonight because quite frankly, I am premiering my new music composition "Riesenrad" with the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse for the Wien Modern Festival in Vienna this saturday and then on December 6th, I have to perform with Second Front yet again for the Art Basel Miami festival in Miami Beach - coordinated as part of the TELECULTURE festival via the Pace Digital Gallery. Oh, and I did mention that the Canadian representatives of Second Front just presented last week at the Interactive Futures Conference in Victoria, B.C. (my RL hometown)?

How can one be grounded in the "now" when the future is always in your face?

Anyways, Second Front are still in the process of digitizing some archived video-documentation and figuring out what to write. I should mention that I was also curating some performances for the LIVE Biennial (also known as the LIVE "Biennale" because I guess no one can agree on how to spell the festival's name) and only a few have been digitized so far because Tea Chenille's (my RL Wife) computer for editing video has stopped working (that is a long story in itself)...SIGH! I know... This is starting to sound like the classic "Dog Ate my Homework" excuse.

Ok, no more excuses, here is some (virtually) tangible evidence for you that Second Front did indeed perform for the LIVE 2007 Biennial of Performance Art in Vancouver. The date for this was October 20th, 2007. We projected our performance into the Western Front building in Vancouver. Our performance, "Theatre of the Subliminal Front" was co-curated by Rubaiyat Shatner (James Morgan) from Ars Virtua and former Second Front member, Loveless Finsbury (Natalie Loveless) as part of the Participatory Dissent event.

Some raw footage is available online at Google Video (as you will see below) and also, my Second Front colleague, AliseIborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne) has posted some official reflections on our group's blog.

Below are 2 more measly pictures I took of us performing which are not really that exciting to look at because obviously, I was too busy performing to take quality photographs....sigh!

Here you can see some more of the stage and you can also see some additional members of Second Front (there are 9 of us in total).

In this picture, you can see more audience members arriving including such luminaries as Bibbe Oh and the Italian film director Finally Outlander.

Some friends of mine have submitted additional photos but I will have to go through them to make sure I have the photo-credits and hyperlinks assembled properly for a proper posting session.

In the meantime, here is a sneak preview of the raw video footage that I will be cross-blogging very shortly...

Here is another video from this performance that was documented by Maxxo Klaar. He recorded this footage during the time when Second Front crashed the entire sim (virtual property).... How about this for a piece of Film Noir, eh?

Find more videos like this on Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance

... stay tuned for blogged archives of Second Front's gig at PERFORMA in NYC ...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Metaverse Meetup at Stanford...

Here I am waiting for the live video from the RL conference in Stanford to begin... I made sure I spared no expense and dutifully dressed for the occasion since I figured the lobby of the International Spaceflight Museum might look somewhat Posh-ish and plush.


Tara5 Oh has just mentioned this blog posting in her massive blog posting :-)
Please click this link and scroll down about half-way down to read all about it.

Hey there Metaverse Minglers and Stanford and Sons,

Earlier this evening and on (calculated) impulse, I attended Stanford University's Metaverse Meetup session featuring an industry talk by Mike Liebhold from the Institute for the Future.

Here is Liebhold's official bio:

"Mike Liebhold is a Senior Researcher for the Institute for the Future, IFTF, focusing on the mobile and abundant computation, immersive media and geospatial web foundations for context-aware and ubiquitous computing. Previously, Mike has worked for an impressive array of companies including Intel Labs, Netscape Communications & Apple Computer..."

And here was what he discussed:

"Abstract 3D data, maps, and software will change the way we compute and interact with spatial services. Moving beyond simple texture mapped terrain and boxes, new 3D mapping frameworks are rapidly evolving into platforms for real world virtual world media, interaction, commerce, and science. In this talk I'll review work of various groups who are building different components of a 3D Geoweb. I will first describe how their 3D data and software will work as a platform for a 3D real world virtual world, and then, what kinds of new applications and user experiences might be developed on these platforms, and then finish with a brief discussion of prospects and mechanisms for data interoperability allowing users to create, discover, use, and exchange 3D data across platforms."

At any rate, I figured it was worth attending because I really enjoy the networking sessions before and after such events (for example, I made a new connection with Tara5 Oh from Ugotrade) and I sure learned alot from previous Stanford events hosted by Lys Ware (Henrik Bennetsen in RL)... But more importantly, who could resist a representative from an Institute from the Future...

Ok, Liebhold is officially billed as being from the Institute FOR the Future but really, if you really know that much about the future and represent it, you gotta also be FROM the future right? Am I the only person who did not catch onto this conspiracy theory? As a result of this insider knowledge, I was a bit disppapointed when he did not give me the exact date when virtual and actual worlds would meld into the ultimate augmented-reality convergence/singularity scenario since he obviously knows when it is all going to happen. I was hoping he would be honest and just mention December 21, 2012 since we all know that is the date for all of this future-stuff anyway ;-)

I think he may have willingly been keeping the exact date classified since there was something eerie about him... At times, he actually appeared to me as the quantum-based shapeshifter he really is and this means that he definitely is some sort of entity from the far future...This is waaaaaaaay cooler than all the hype about David Icke and the Reptoids from Mars (no, not the name of a punk rock band)! Please check out some of the pix below to see what I mean...

Ok, this specific pic does not show any evidence to support my pet conspiracy theory but what it does show is that I managed to invite my performance art colleague Blued Food to the event :-)

I guess this pic does not show you what I mean either...Hmmm...Am I good at setting up suspense or what? Heheheheheh... Well, at least the video-stream started and you can see Henrik Bennetsen in RL introducing our otherwordly guest speaker from the future. Also, you can see that I also managed to invite my SLNN correspondent contact, Esther DeCuir to cover this event - I am sure she will have much more intelligent and objective things to say about this highly academic and corporate Stanford event than I do.

Finally, here is the beginning of Mike's lecture where he tried his best to retain his early 21st century humanoid form. But as you will soon see, our present paradigm for what constitutes "humanity" will soon evolve into something much more "virtual" and "augmented".... Even at this point, you can see Mike's aura begin to flee his contemporary corporeal form...

I think it is pretty clear to you now that Mike Liebhold is not all that he seemed. He is either from some astral dimension or from a far (or perhaps not so far) future time where the virtual and the actual have already blended into some form of etherial post-humanity built for the quantum age....

In this picture, you can see his attempt to feign classical dualism by appearing as both a Humanoid and some form of spectral entity. It looks almost as if he is becoming one with the computer-generated diagram that has been mapped beside him.

Ah-Ha! Mike has become one with his diagram! Eureka! The prophecized union/fusion of virtual and actual realms has come to pass! The future is now!

I was glad that our beloved alien presenter was in his true form long enough for me to invite my artist friend, Netwurker Twin...What better way to generate ideas for performance collaboration(s) than to collectively witness the unveiling of consensual reality! I realized after the fact that I took a snapshot of my private message-exchange with Netwurker along with this viewpoint so I have replaced our private Netwurking conversation with a nice Op-Art graphic for you so the text revealing our classified collaborative performance ideas that we have colluded on together will forever remain bound with the secrets of the future... Only someone with inside-knowledge like Mike Liebhold will ever hold the key to our future proprietary secrets...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Orchestra in Philadelphia...

I arrived just in time in Singapore Harbour for the end of the panel at the iDMAa Annual Conference 2007 (International Digital Media & Arts Association)in Philadelphia. A few co-members at the Avatar Ochestra Metaverse were sitting on the panel alongside the Tokyo-based installation artist Juria Yoshikawa to hype our new music work in Second Life. Late in the morning, we gave a quick demo of Miulew Takahe's composition, Fragula.

Hey there Philadelphian philanthropists and ventriloquists-with-voice-overs,

Well this morning was a bit of a non-starter...I arrived late for the panel and then no one at the conference could hear our audio transmissions...sigh!

This is just a quick blogette today because I really should focus on more pressing blog postings and uploads but here are a few more snapshots all about this morning...

Here is another angle of the panel session. The conference moderator, Pastiche Oh appears to be! Maybe this was foreshadowing for her bandwidth issues later in the conference event.

We then went over to Juria Yoshikawa's and Aldomanutio Abruzzo's sound and vision installation called Liquid Light. Juria gave a quick artist talk about this installation.

Eventually, we made it down to Odyssey's sound house for our newest combo-demo of merging Miulew's Fragula with Gazira Babeli's installation called Come Together. Unfortunately, we realize that Philadelphia could not hear us in RL so we had to stop mid-way through since everyone was talking over our performance...sigh! One of these days, Linden Lab really needs to sort out their technical issues. You will probably noticed that I briefly passed out before we were about to perform. Had I know that the conference would be unable to hear us, I would have stayed down there happily unconscious....sigh!

This pic was taken just before we were about to begin was a good thing green tea was passed around as that gave me something to do since the sound never was transmitted to Phillie...sigh!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Paul Levinson in Second Life!

This pic was taken a few minutes before the lecture was about to start which probably explains why some of the new arrivals were feeling (and looking) a bit gray before realizing that someone would be available to manually hand out the refreshments ;-)

Hey there Global Villagers, C-Theorists, Media Eco-Warriors, Marshall Lawmakers and Straight 'n' Soft-Edged Levinheads!

I just found out about 2 hours before this event that the acclaimed media philosopher and sci-fi writer Paul Levinson (the heir apparent to Canadian Media-Megatron, Marshall McLuhan) was giving a special interview session for Ken Hubble's Media Ecology SL Talk Show series so despite all my backlog of unposted bloggettes left to manifest, I just HAD to attend this one.

As a quick side note, for all those from the LIVE Biennial, I PROMISE to begin digitizing the 6 hours worth of archived performances (that I curated two weeks ago already) tonight...I Promise!

Ok, phew! Now that I have that off my chest, I can now continue blogging about Paul's in-world talk...

I actually interviewed Paul once in Real Life (RL) for Intelligent Agent magazine in New York but is has been almost a decade (ca. 1999) since I last asked him all the hardest and most profound questions he ever had to deal with such as "where are the refreshments at this talk?", "please tell me more about your laggy Postman who was famous for going postal?" and "in what way does Zork III really blow Second Life like, totally out of the water in terms of full spectrum immersion?" ;-)

So anyways, yeah, I interviewed Paul wa y back in 1999...This interview is so moldy-old, I was even paranoid about the Y2K bug-induced doomsday scenario back then...whoa!

Well, enough about my clandestine freelance journalist CV, here are some pictographs to increase your intimate and interactive 2-dimensional experience... Looking at these pix below is almost like being there, eh? ;-)

Gradually, more audience members begin to arrive and it suddenly occurs to us to listen to Paul's voice using the audio stream and not via the embedded voice-chat application...ooops!

Wow! Celeste's Mondrian dress is cool! Hmmm...I have been wondering if the dude named "Mcluhan Allen" could possibly be Marshall's son Eric in RL.

This is almost the same pic except my friends Aurel Miles and Kid Kuhn added themselves to the audience roster :-) Speaking of friends, SLNN correspondent Esther Decuir also managed to attend this event.

I am not sure why I took this extra snapshot now...was it to show some more closted media-theorists arriving fashionably late? hmmmmm.... ;-)

This angle shows you a RL photo of Paul.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

AOM at the Eslöv Biennalen in Sweden...

This is the official logo for the Eslöv Biennalen 2007.

To see Dizzy Banjo's photos from this event, please click here.

Also, Dizzy Banjo blogged this event...

Hey there Ladonians, repetoire requesters and Eslövbirds!

Normally, I would blog in chronological order but at the moment, I am still too blogged down with documentation flooding in from Second front's PERFORMA show in NYC that occurred over the weekend as well as still being totally back-blogged with video footage to digitize from the Second LIVE event in Mid-October.

Regardless of the fact that I have been lagging down from my documentation duties lately, I felt I could at least blog this morning's orchestral performance in Eslöv now since the little documentation that I have is already sufficiently comprehensive and complete.

This Biennial was curated by the Ladonian Minister of Art, Fredrik Axwik and the festival garnered some recent global publicity due to the fact it had banned the controversial Swedish artist and Ladonian Secretary of State, Lars Vilks from even publically attending the event...

Well, enough about politics, here are some more snapshots from the orchestral repetoire...

Here we are at one of our usual rehearsal spaces on Odyssey Island about to play Miulew Takahe's Rue Blanche. Since Miulew is one of the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse's Swedish members, we felt it was best to spotlight his compositions for the performance.

Here is a picture of us playing Maximillian Nakamura's classic composition, Fadheit at an exotic location that looked like some sort of psycho-delic Neo-GOA installation from the prehistoric era (at least relative to SL's existence) known as the RAVE decade (1990s).

Here is a performance of Miulew Takahe's Fragula in an even more exotic location (well ok, I am just saying this to up the hype ante, if you know what I mean)...

Here is another snapshot showing Fragula in action :-)