Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jan. 18, 2009 ... STROLL art project!

I'm kicking off 2009 with an art project near and dear to my heart: STROLL. Conceived as both a Real Life and Second Life work, STROLL brings together participants from all walks of life (pun intended!), all around the world for the simple, single purpose of going for a recreational stroll, just for fun ... and I want everyone to join in this part! THIS MEANS YOU!

Here's how to participate in STROLL:

1. On Jan. 18, at any time of the day or night, go for a stroll! Take your physical body for a walk in real life, or take your avatar out and about in Second Life. Keep in mind the attitude of the Hausmann-era French flaneur: a stroll was pure recreation with a hint of consumerism in it, namely consumerism of the locale itself and the notion of consuming some "leisure time." Your stroll may be from anywhere to anywhere, but the one stipulation is that is must have no purpose other than the act of strolling itself ... no fair strolling down to the grocery store to get milk, for example.

2. Document your stroll! Snap photos, record sounds, or take video along the way, make machinima, create digital or pen-and-paper sketches, pick up "found objects" (RL or SL!), make maps and diagrams, or capture your stroll in poetry, prose, music, or even simple descriptive notes. There are absolutely NO LIMITATIONS and better yet, NO EXPECTATIONS! ANY kind of documentation is 100% acceptable! I'm also interested in any reflections or thoughts you have about the idea of strolling stricktly to "consume" your "leisure time."

3. Talk to me! Email me at asimia.heron@gmail.com to let me know you've taken a stroll, and tell me what sort of documentation you made ... if you're comfortable with it, send your documentation along as an attachment. We'll then talk about what form your documentation can best be presented in.

4. Stay tuned for the exhibit! All our documentation will be collected and coordinated into simultaneous RL and SL gallery exhibitions. You may be listed as a collaborator, or remain annonymous. SL work featuring or credited to avatars will NOT be coordinated with RL names or other RL information, and no RL or SL information will be shared with anyone else for any purpose.

If you have any questions, please email me, or IM me, Asimia Heron, inworld.

Okay, everybody, get out there and STROLL!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Metaverse as Medium

No one is going to argue that Second Life and Real Life are not different, although I've come to the conclusion that SL is different from RL in ways I didn't anticipate, and also similar in ways I didn't anticipate. There is a subtlety to the experience that is hard to describe to anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time in-world; it tends to be "learn as you go."

One thing I've learned recently in SL is that I HATE throwing my own parties.

I have to remind myself of this in RL every couple of years; now I've just had my first reminder in SL. This is odd because I LOVE organizing events for other people. But for myself ... ugh. Not so much.

A second thing that has become painfully obvious is the fact that there just aren't enough hours in the day in either place to maintain a serious work life, an active social life, and a productive art life.

It's my own fault, really. I didn't HAVE to get three jobs in SL (to go with the three jobs I have in RL, I suppose), or hook up with the gorgeous-lovely-adorable-sweet-kind-generous-man-who-says-he's-not-my-boyfriend, whom I simply want to be with as much as possible. And it's not absolutely necessary that I learn to surf or jump warmbloods in SL ... but these are all things I want to do, things that make me happy. Meanwhile, my artistic practice is still undefined here, it seems, and my real place as an SL artist remains unknown, and this makes me a bit uneasy, but really only a bit. I have considered that I may not be here to be an artist after all; I may actually be here to experiment and have fun.

But I am one of those people who likes definition. I put some of my photographic work up for Sunday's get-together, and oddly enough sold one of the pieces to a friend who wants it in RL. I had a related conversation with an RL friend last night that in combination fired off an SL small business idea that could draw upon my interest in prim torture, my photographic art and knowledge, and my still- and video-image editing abilities. So I'm thinking I'll have to build up some experimental inventory, develop a business plan, and try it all out soon with a "test-shop," probably in the marketplace at Lighthouse Landing. And then I'll have four jobs in SL, and I'll still adore and want to be with the wonderful-gorgeous-fabulous-man-who-is-not-my-boyfriend nearly every waking hour I have in the metaverse and I'll maybe have moved outright into surfing and jumping warmbloods for fun or in competition (are there jumping competitions in SL? Veronica?), and my artistic practice may still be undefined.

But maybe, just maybe, my whole Second Life experience IS my artistic practice at this point. Metaverse as medium? The canvas of Self? Well, you get the picture. At least, I think you do. This could really be going somewhere, but as is so often the case in SL, it could be going somewhere I never even imagined.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scaling Back ...

It's been One Of Those Weeks, both in RL and SL, and with so much on my plate I find my party energy waning. So instead of the huge raging art fete I had planned, I am going to postpone that activity and instead make Sunday afternoon a more personal affair, with just some close friends and a few people I'd like to get to know better hanging out for a casual barbeque. We can watch my art videos if anyone feels like it, but right now what I'd like most of all is to have my favorite people around so I can relax and enjoy their company. (But make no mistake, the huge raging art fete will return ... just at a different time when my resources aren't so depleted.)

So, invitations will be coming soon to a number of you. Some noobs will undoubtedly show up, but they're great people and not dickheads so I imagine all will be well. If you've been tracking this blog and planning to come to the party but aren't already a friend, I'm sorry to have to excude you this time, but I promise you most sincerely that Art Party 2.0 will be a bigger, brighter, and much better organized affair, and well worth waiting for!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Be There or BE SQUARE!

(Ok, so that totally dates me...)

Party Details:

When: Sunday, June 22, 2008

What time: 4 pm, SLT (that's also Pacific Standard Time, in case you don't know)until we can't party no more.

Where: Asimia Heron's house and private beach on lovely Harumeku Isle. Follow this SLurl, and if you're already a Second Life member, you'll appear on the beach ready to party! (And if you aren't ... why aren't you? Come on, you're missing all the fun!)

What's up: video art showings, music, dancing on the beach, hot-tubbing, lounging and general recreation and fun. Hope you can all come, noobs welcome!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Busy Bee!

I've been a busy bee the last few days! I'm really excited about the upcoming Art Party (and nervous too ... figures, eh?) and have been making lots of preparations around Cape Hatteras (that's my house) to get ready. One project that's been taking a little bit of time is my Hot Tub Paradise. I knew I just had to turn that nice level roof of mine into living space of some kind, and when the public hot tub grotto was bulldozed over and replaced by little houses, well ... that just seemed like the perfect idea.

I initially wanted to try to build it myself. I have a pretty good handle on prim torture by now, and can easily see in my head how to construct a decent hot tub out of a single prim. But the water--and scripting the water--was another challenge that I wasn't quite ready for. So I dug around in my inventory and what did I find in a giant box from Drucker's Depot but a nice big hottub, with water and bubble jet controls and all that stuff.

It was easy enough to rez the hottub to the roof and get it positioned, but it looked a little bare up there—not to mention a little exposed, because you all know what sometimes happens in hot tubs requires a little privacy (well, for some of us it does, the rest of you all know who you are!).

Since my house faces the ocean, that side's not an issue but there is the nagging problem of the other side, which faces several houses, the Marketplace, and the Jazz Club.

Back to the inventory, and another box from Drucker's ... hey! Lace curtain panels! Perfect!

But it was still looking a little bare, so I pulled out another Drucker's special: a huge "cuddle rug." Ahh, now that's looking like someplace fun to be.

I'm not done yet, of course. The cuddle rug area needs some privacy screening and I want to add some candles and plants and lanterns to make it really lush. I'm probably already a little over my prim limit, and may have to ask my delightful landlords if there's a way to work around that.

But I think I'm well on my way to having a little hot tub paradise, and once I've got the scripting stuff down, I can replace it with one of my own design.

Of course, the sudden desire for a hot tub is motivated in part by the upcoming party, but probably also in part a little bit by ... er ...

this ... uh, I mean, well, okay, I've finally managed to meet a great guy who actually called me later like he said he would. Shocking, that. So we've been on one really wonderful date, and we're going to be, I hope, going on at least a few more and perhaps many more, and suddenly a hottub seemed like more of a necessity than a nicety. But only time will tell.

And in the meantime, DON'T FORGET THE PARTY! Sunday, June 22, I think we'll get started at 4 pm SL time (or Pacific time, if you didn't already know that) and just go until we can't go anymore ... at which point we'll probably decamp to the Jazz Club. Many of you will be getting personal IM invitations with landmark included; for the rest of you, I'll post a SLURL here soon. Art by myself and hopefully a few other artists will be on display, and there will be music and dancing and of course hot-tubbing! So put it on your calendar and I'll see you there!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Party is ON!

Whoo-hoo, I got the media screens working with a selection of several video pieces, so the party is ON! I'll be sending out invitations to all my friends and relevant groups soon, shooting for a time that will be convenient for both West Coast and East Coast SL'ers. For my next trick, I may spray around a few of my RL still images and possibly a few of the "arty-ier" ones I've made in SL, although granted there aren't too many of those.

I also plan to invite a bunch of my RL friends who aren't on SL as yet, so I hope you're not afraid to come to a party with lots of Noobs.

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2008!

We had a great Motown party at the Lighthouse Landing Jazz Club last night, it was great fun and I finally got to tango with someone (thanks, Colton!) The Jazz Club now has it's own blog! It's still in the very early development phases, but you'll definitely want to check it out: Lighthouse Landing Jazz Club Blog. It will definitely feature each week's schedule, and an array of witty and insightful writing by DJ's and other volunteers alike (one of which is probably going to be me, because I really just don't have enough to do already!

Fun stuff!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prim Victory!

Remember that idea I had about creating media screens for my property? Tonight I did something about it. Here's the story in pictures ...

Jazz let me know she had set the parcel media to permit me to edit it. So I re-watched the video tutorial on how to set up streaming YouTube videos on parcel media, and made myself a nice big prim ...

... a nice big nonfunctioning prim, as it were. I couldn't figure out why. I was doing everything right. The parcel was detecting the movie. The default media texture was being used on both the parcel media setting and the prim setting. The movie was playing, apparently, somewhere. But the screen stayed blank and gray.

I experimented with still images, and with my web site. Duh! The screen "saw" those things and presented them. but whenever I went back to the movie, regardless of whether I tried streaming it from YouTube or from my own streaming web server ...

... I once again got only the gray screen. This was most disconcerting. I found it necessary to take a break and do some seriously deep thinking.

I had no revelations during my seriously deep thinking (although I did achieve dramatic improvement in my tan). So I decided to do what all geeks do when faced with this sort of problem. Namely, I rebooted and started over.

This time, I decided to build in my bedroom rather than annoy the neighbor with a huge noisy (potentially) prim next to her house. I followed the same steps, and constructed the same, although significantly smaller, media screen. I repeated the steps for getting the video URL from YouTube, and pasted that setting into the parcel media controls. The same, exact procedure only this time ...

... I got a different result. Now that's interesting. Not precisely what I was after, but much better than the unseeing gray screen. A few tweaks here and there on the prim settings and

Voila! This was even closer to what I was after. A couple of clicks around (I really don't quite remember what I did, to tell you the truth), and suddenly ...

Could it be? There were telltale sounds coming out of the speakers, something different was happening ...

Houston! We have lift-off! Woot!

Of course, all this success--disregarding the fact that I'm not 100% sure how I managed to obtain it--made me wildly confident and greedy for more. Completely disregarding my earlier concern for the neighbor, I decided to make Mr. Media Screen very fat and push him through the wall, so that the video would play both inside the house and outside it.

Voila, again. In the early phases of the video, it looks just like another window with the privacy blinds on. But, give it a few minutes and ...

Oh, now that's nifty.

Flush with success, I pose with my creation. Now what?

First of all, I shut the movie player off and made the screen transparent, so the neighbor won't be besieiged with video and noise until the night I finally have my party ... and hopefully she'll be AT the party and won't care at that point. Additionally, I won't be besieiged with ugliness in my own bedroom--I wound up using a particularly hideous wallpaper texture for the media texture, just in case there was something else somewhere on my parcel that was dutifully playing my video entirely by accident. So this first little foray into the intersection of RL/SL art feels pretty comfy. But if I plan the party right, it will be quite an event and may even be worthy of a little machinima. Oh yeah.