November 3, 2006

Shoshana Epsilon

At first, I thought my friend Dean Terry recreated himself his avatar in Second Life as a cross between Laura Croft and Pamela Anderson.

Funny, conflicted feelings ensued.

Ah.... but then I realised that he is the Pied Piper for his students at UT Dallas (whew):

The First Major University Gallery Opens in Second Life

Want to go to a art opening in an online 3D world? The University of Texas at Dallas Arts & Technology (ATEC) Island in Second Life will host an opening of its new art gallery, The Metaverse Gallery and Performance Space. This is the first major art space developed by a university in Second Life, and it is all designed and built by ATEC and Computer Science graduate students in the Online Worlds Lab. The show features Shoshana Epsilon, an artist who takes photos in Second Life of avatars, 3D representations of people in the game-like world.

For this first show the curator, gallery designer, and UT Dallas graduate student Christi Nielsen chose to focus on an artist who makes her work exclusively within the online world, rather than importing work from outside. "Shoshana in some ways is very traditional: she is a portrait photographer - except she takes portraits of avatars" Nielsen said.

While this first show features still images, future shows will include interactive, participatory projects using a variety of approaches.

"One of the challenges of the emerging metaverse is to figure out just what you can do there, what conventions are emerging, and how much to bring from the physical world to the online world" says Dean Terry, the Online Worlds Lab director. "The focus of The Metaverse Gallery will be to exhibit work that uses the tools and dynamics of the metaverse space itself."

Then, I followed the SLURL in the link and documented my first visit to a virtual online art gallery:

It looks like I arrived too early for the opening.

Technical observations:

1.This whole adventure chewed up two hours this morning but who said a learning curve wouldn't have a price? It is interesting that in this time frame, I created a Second Life account, navigated to the UT Dallas virtual art gallery, checked out the show, documented the visit, added music to the video in iMovie (and opened that program up for the first time), uploaded the Quicktime video onto YouTube and then posted the whole thing on the blog.


2.After playing Counter-Strike so many years ago, Second Life would do better to study the movement, manipulation and communication controls in first person shooter desktop gaming.

3.I've read passing articles about how the nextgeneration web will be three dimensional. If this is true --and why not?-- then Dean's definitely on the right track here.

4. The cowboy twang floating in the druggy background is Brian Eno's "Deep Blue Sea", from the soundtrack in Trainspotting. Overtones of snorkeling. I had shot the video without thinking of the audio aspect , and it became mildly important to fill it in in iMovie by adding the soundtrack (I especially like the reality jolt at the end).

I thought it was multilevel kismet.

Posted by Dennis at November 3, 2006 6:44 AM

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