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cropped-obr2014.pngYou are invited to our special press day on Thursday 13th February.

There will be three sessions where you can talk to organisers of the event and others involved too:
10am
2pm
4pm

Between those times, you will be free to explore the regions and see the art installations.

If you would like to attend the press day, complete this form: http://bit.ly/1gnielw

On February 14, 2013, for 24 hours starting at midnight Pacific Standard Time, Second Life residents will join with activists around the world in a spectacular 24-hour event for ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, a very special day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

The Second Life event will feature a four-region stage where 200 people can dance together, surrounded by an area of art installations, poetry events and informational exhibits. A variety of performers will play and perform over the 24-hour period, enabling people all over the world to attend this virtual event no matter their timezone. The regions will have a General maturity rating to allow all residents an opportunity to participate. Pictures are welcome on the event’s Flickr group.

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2014, men and women in Second Life will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and people across the world to Rise, Dance, and Release as a show of unity, individual strength, and the need for change.

The objective of the event is to raise awareness, not to raise funds; however, information about real-world organisations will be available for those wishing to donate.

One Billion Rising in Second Life is sponsored by: Cheeky Pea; The Domineaux Effect; Dutchie; Flash Dancers; Heart Garden Centre; The Loft; Lyrical B!zarre Templates; MadPea; MANDALA; Maven Homes; MESHWORX; Park Place; Prime; RTeaseCast; Ruca Tease Fashions; Spargel and Shine.

In-kind sponsors are: CaLLie CLine; Fruit Islands; KittyCatS!; Liv-Glam; Style by Kira; Sway’s;and Prim Perfect Publications.

The four regions have been named for the four core elements chosen as the focus of this years global event, One Billion Rising.
OBR Rise
OBR Dance
OBR Release
OBR Justice

You can find them on the map – and even see the work that is going on to build the stage and install the art!

The Singularity of Kumiko (detail). Photo by Rowan Derryth.

The Singularity of Kumiko (detail). Photo by Rowan Derryth.

If there is anything to bring me out of my Second Life hiatus, it is a new exhibit by Bryn Oh.

I’ve got Ziki Questi to thank… she probably doesn’t know that I still follow her blog in my absence, and pop in to see the things she recommends as I can. It was through her blog that I saw a preview of Bryn’s new exhibit The Singularity of Kumiko last week, and like her, I don’t want to give too much away in terms of just what happens. As many will know, all of Bryn’s exhibits at Immersiva are game-like narrative adventures, and posting spoilers is something I refuse to do.

'The Singularity of Kumiko'. Photo by PJ Trenton.

‘The Singularity of Kumiko’. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Suffice it to say, if you loved piecing together the the Rabbicorn/Daughter of Gears exhibits (which came together in her gorgeous machinima Standby), and others like the recent Imogen and the Pigeons, this one will not disappoint. In fact, the Canadian artist/puppetmaster behind Bryn Oh has just received a second award from the Ontario Arts Council to support this new work (the first supported the creation of Standby). Bryn credits the OAC for being forward-thinking in their approach to new media, and while this is certainly true, I also think it she would not find success if the work wasn’t so relevant to contemporary art practice, particularly in that she manages to make the virtual work available to a wider audience through film (machinima).

That said, in my opinion the best experience of the work still exists in the virtual visit, which is still problematic in terms of perceived access. I confess, the recent popularity of new narrative-based games like Gone Home and The Novelist has both excited and frustrated me. While I celebrate this attention to the art/game concept for a more mainstream audience, I also grit my teeth a bit thinking that Bryn (and others like Rose Borchovski and Rebecca Bashly) have been doing this so well in Second Life for years, and few people know. But perhaps that is a rant best left for a different post. Back to the exhibit…

Bryn oh at 'The Singularity of Kumiko'. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Bryn oh at ‘The Singularity of Kumiko’. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Bryn yet again pushes what is technically capable in Second Life, employing innovative use of browser-based lighting controls to create a dramatic and intense visitor experience that is not without some peril (as far as our pixels selves can be in danger, of course). The psychological effect is very real, and certainly fun.

If am to be critical, the very thing that makes this new installation so innovative is also perhaps its one drawback. As Bryn explains on her blog:

This artwork will use some features in a unique way allowing for a quite different experience which, sadly, is fairly demanding on your computer. I have tested extensively and have found that most are able to run, while experiencing minimal lag, the artwork on mid range computers. To help keep lag minimized I will cap the avatar limit on Immersiva to 10-15. As with Imogen and the Pigeons, I am attempting to look at the virtual medium and determine what is unique about it over other mediums such as painting, sculpture and cinema. Then I work towards using those strengths to create an immersive experience that is specific to a multi user environment.

When you land at Immersiva, there are signs that tell you exactly how to set your lighting up according to which browser you are using (I strongly recommend Firestorm). It is a bit fiddly, but the instructions are easy enough. But as Bryn said, you will need to be able to use shadows, etc., which some computers might not manage. The choice to allow only a very small number of avatars at a time might also be frustrating to some… but if people can spend hours trying to get into events like FaMESHed to shop, then certainly being patient to see something so beautiful as this is manageable. And it really does help with the lag, which is important considering the multi-media nature of the work.

'The Singularity of Kumiko'. Photo by PJ Trenton.

‘The Singularity of Kumiko’. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Also, please: REMOVE YOUR FACELIGHTS. Bryn politely asks you to do this at the start of the exhibit, but even walking around last night in a media preview I encountered two people still wearing them to see or take pictures ‘because it was dark.’ It is SUPPOSED TO BE DARK. It’s moody as hell! That is the point, and wearing a facelight deprives you and others of the authentic experience that Bryn intended. Bryn in fact dubbed me the ‘Facelight Police’ when I griped to her about it, and I said ‘You should see me bitch out people using flash/touching the art in actual museums.’ So yes, please, take them off for this. Actually, just take them off period and never put them on again, ok? People everywhere will thank you. /rant

Whew. So, this fantastic new exhibit opens this Friday, 14th February. And it is definitely a fun exhibit to explore with an accomplice, especially as you might need the occasional rescue. But if the low avatar limit makes it hard to visit, simply wait a bit, I’m sure the exhibit will be open for quite a while.

And incidentally, if you’ve never tried Second Life but would like to see the kind of amazing art being made there, this installation would be quite the introduction. Drop me a note or leave a comment if you’d like an intro.

The last episode of this season, that is – for there will be a new series in the Fall!

Waiting to be interviewed

Waiting to be interviewed

Episode 2.6 of The Blackened Mirror goes live at 2pm PST / SLT today, Sunday 9th February (that’s 10pm GMT) and you can watch it in a variety of ways – but one of the most fun is to watch it on a large screen with friends inworld!

There are screens available at The Crescent Theater in Seraph City, the Designing Worlds studio in Garden of Dreams and the Prim Perfect Head Offices in the Seychelles. (The crew tend to head for Seraph City).

In this episode, Decisions, on their mission to rescue Millie, the young Seraph City waitress, our heroic three find themselves prisoners in the steampunk city of New Babbage.

Biggins and Quinn in the prison wagon

Biggins and Quinn in the prison wagon

And Harland Quinn, Alais Alleyn and Mr Biggins also face decisions that will shape their Quest – and their futures!

If you can’t make it inworld, then it will be available on the web at Treet.TV Blackened Mirror Channel, on The Blackened Mirror channel at Aview TV, on The Blackened Mirror YouTube Channel and, of course, on the front page of The Blackened Mirror website.

It will also be on our Facebook page, where our “likes” are steadily growing! Have you “liked” us there yet?

Can Quinn rescue Millie?

Can Quinn rescue Millie?

One Billion Rising Poetry flyer

One Billion Rising Poetry flyer

This year at One Billion Rising for Justice in Second Life, we will be hosting two Poetry events where Second Life poets can come and share their work.

Organised by Jilly Kidd, poets will be able to come together in the special arena for 2D Art on the One Billing Rising regions at 8.00am and 3.00pm SLT.

This is a new addition to the art created by Second Life artists, the music and dance supplied by Second Life musicians and DJs, for the full twenty-four hours of Friday February 14th.

We’ll see you there!

Quinn discovers a secret

Quinn discovers a secret

Well, we always knew that Miss Alleyn had secrets, didn’t we? But even Quinn is surprised when one is revealed in the final episode of this season of The Blackened Mirror!

Prisoners in the steampunk city of New Babbage, Harland Quinn, Alais Alleyn and Mr Biggins also face decisions that will shape their Quest – and their futures!

Watch Episode 2.6 – Decisions today to find out! The episode will be going live at 2pm Pacific time (SLT) and 10pm GMT.

Click to Mix and Solve

Quinn learns a secret

You can see the show on the web on the Treet.TV Blackened Mirror Channel, on The Blackened Mirror channel at Aview TV, on The Blackened Mirror YouTube Channel – and it will be shown on today’s Metaverse Week in Review!

But first do the jigsaw!

This is an old post … but I think it still explains why the residents of Linden Lab are so very passionate.

Wizardhat, photo by Wren Carling
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

RFL 2010, photo by Twisted Lemon
Enwrought with golden and silver light,

Insilico, photo by PJ Trenton
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Second Life Railways, photo by Wildstar Beaumont
Of night and light and the half-light,

Syrah Xue's Linden Home, photo by Raven Halaan
I would spread the cloths under your feet:

inis Caiseal
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

The Merryman Arms in Babbage at RFL 2011. photo by Judith Lefevre
I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Calas Galadhon
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Junkyard Blues, photo by Twisted Lemon

WB Yeats – The Cloths of Heaven

Images used:
Wizardhat, photo by Wren Carling
RFL 2010, photo by Twisted Lemon
Insilico, photo by PJ Trenton
Second Life Railways, photo by Wildstar Beaumont
Syrah Xue’s Linden Home, photo by Raven Halaan
Inis Caiseal, photo by GM Nickolaidis
The Merryman Arms in Babbage at RFL 2011, photo by Judith Lefevre
Calas Galadhon, photo by PJ Trenton
Junkyard Blues, photo by Twisted Lemon

Some of those places have gone now; some were intended for only a brief existence; some have been updated. Perhaps readers of this blog could suggest new locations to illustrate this poem.

OBR in SL Logo 2014

OBR in SL Logo 2014

There is still time to apply to be a volunteer at the One Billion Rising in Second Life event! You can fill in the form here. Volunteers can be any gender.

And there will be training. We are planning a series of training sessions over the next few days. They will be held at the Designing Worlds studio on Garden of Dreams, and should last about an hour each.

The times will be as follows:

10am Friday 7th
2pm Friday 7th
4pm Friday 7th
~~~~~~~~~~~
10am Saturday 8th
2pm Saturday 8th
4pm Saturday 8th
~~~~~~~~~~~~
10am Sunday 9th
4pm Sunday 9th
~~~~~~~~~~~~
10am Monday 10th
2pm Monday 10th
4pm Monday 10th

If you are unsure about applying to be a volunteer but would like to find out what is involved, coming along to one of the sessions and see whether you would enjoy it!

If you would really like to volunteer at this event but can’t make any of these times, please contact Saffia Widdershins.

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