Angela A Thomas

Entries Tagged as 'Second Life'

Robbie Dingo’s “Watch the World” machinima

July 17th, 2007 · No Comments

Wow!  Robbie Dingo created the most amazing 3D version of Van Gogh’s painting, and it is shown in this time lapse machinima.  Robbie’s blog post about here.

Tags: cyberculture · Virtual Worlds · new video · cross-media storytelling · machinima · arts · art · Second Life · youtube · music

dLux Media Second Life Art Tours (aka the Magic Pony Ride!)

July 14th, 2007 · 3 Comments


What fun! I managed to get to some of the special dLux Media rl/sl mixed realities event today that I blogged about here. This is me on my magic pony ride tour of SL art hot spots. In a very clever pop culture / high culture hybridisation, the tour incorporated visits to some wonderful art spaces - entire sims that are works of art, exhibits and all sorts of alternative types of art spaces as well as some traditional ones. The ponies had a follow the leader script so the tour guide could fly us all over Second Life, but there was lots of discussion and all participants had the opportunity to share and comment. Tours are being held weekly.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · arts · Second Life · art

Resonating with Second Life Wind: A wonderful sound installation

July 14th, 2007 · No Comments




Thanks to Prok for showing me this amazing sound installation in Second Life during the week. Here’s the description from the artist:

“Resonating-With-secondlifeWind” by Edo Autopoiesis.

Resonating-With-secondlifeWind is a permanent, large scale, generative sound-installation in Second Life.

One might not immediately be aware of it but everywhere in Second Life there is wind, constantly changing and twisting air streams. Resonating-With-secondlifeWind works and responds to this wind. Above the clouds there are floating 100 windmills, ordered in a grid. Each windmill shows us the direction and speed of the wind at that specific position. Together, they give a visual representation of how the wind behaves on a larger scale, through the whole sim.

Each windmill uses the available wind-energy to lift a red object: More wind and the object is lifted faster. Once the red object is at its top it’s ready to drop down again so it will hit the acoustic resonator at the bottom, and thus making a sound. The red object will only drop down though, when there is another windmill nearby also making a sound. So, the rhythm with which the sound will be played depends on the wind as well as on the sounds from the neighboring windmills. Since the wind in Second Life is always changing and never the same, the musical result will always be different: Infinite variations on rhythm and melody.

Edo Autopoiesis (in rl Edo Paulus) is an Amsterdam based sound-artist who uses generative processes to create sound-compositions. This results mostly in real-life sound-installations and sometimes software based works or performances.
more info:

I loved this - there are so few artists experimenting with sound in SL and yet all the capabilities are there. There is something about floating above the clouds among 100 windmills with bell like sounds echoing all around you that is quite magical.

Location: Harmonia, Harmonia (110, 94, 22)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · arts · Second Life

Nudes Descending- Interactive SL Art

July 12th, 2007 · No Comments


Gaza does it again - you might remember Gaza Stripped, an article from Slatenight magazine (now sadly on hiatus for the time being), where Gaza, pictured below, discussed her philosophy about real/virtual/pop art.

Gaza Stripped - photo by Dell Wilberg

Nude Descending is another play on an artistic icon, in which falling nude art pieces topple down a staircase, and if you want to really interact and become art you allow your naked avatar to topple down too.

This exhibition is being shown at the Odyssey Gallery, and also includes all sorts of other interactive and thought provoking pieces. Just DO NOT say a certain phrase or term, or you will be attacked by a tornado and catapulted across to another sim! (I haven’t seen one person not test this, despite the warnings :)

All art has notecards with commentary and questions for you to ponder about the art work, which helps you understand what intention was had by the artist. How you interpret it though is still dependent upon your own experiences, expectations and belief systems about art and virtuality, so if you visit the exhibition with friends it can raise some very interesting discussions.

Tags: cyberculture · Virtual Worlds · the body · identity · arts · photography · popular culture · Second Life · art

BlogHer 2007 Conference in Second Life

July 9th, 2007 · No Comments

BlogHer '07 I'm Going in Second Life

How wonderful! The 2007 BlogHer conference is being streamed into Second Life!!!

Look at some of the amazing speakers.

… and doesn’t this panel sound fascinating:

Digital Exhibitionists or Chroniclers of their Time: Will Naked Bloggers Make History?

Hopefully I will be able to stay awake into the wee hours for this one :)

I can’t find a SLURL for this yet but you have to register (it is free) and join a group so I guess more information will be forthcoming once you join. What a wonderful opportunity to be part of this conference that I’ve been reading about every year with envy on my US colleague’s blogs.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life · blogging

Mixed Reality SL/RL Media Arts Event

July 8th, 2007 · No Comments

As part of the d/Art/07 festival being run by dLux Media Arts there will be a mixed reality event showcasing the Arts in Second Life. Here are the details:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

1:00 PM

Australian Centre for Photography

257 Oxford Street
Paddington, New South Wales 2021


Some call it a better life while others say ‘Get a life’. Second Life is a 3D social networking site where participants can not only meet with each other but could also contribute to the design, coding and construction of their new world. When the laws of physics have no meaning, when people can fly and when a large number of the women you meet are actually men, it is inevitable that this new world has evolved in …er… unconventional directions that no longer simply mirror real life.

As part of the d/Art/07 festival, d/Lux/MediaArts will present a series of in-world guided tours of Second Life where we will explore the work of artists practising in SL and some of the interesting communities that are emerging there. You can join in the real world at the ACP or online in SL. The tours are free but booking is required for those joining us at the gallery. See our website below for details.


It should be fabulous as Christy Dena has been advising the dLux team about the range of art spaces and practices in SL.

The question is - since the event is about experiencing art in SL, do I actually want to attend in person at the live venue?

Tags: Virtual Worlds · arts · Second Life · art

A Child’s War

July 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Fom my SLED list (Second Life Educators) came this announcement today:

The video “A Child’s War” was the year-end project for the Global Kids youth leaders in Queens, New York who spent the year working in Global Kids’ Virtual Video Project, at the Museum of the Moving Image, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The video is based on research done by the youth about the situation of child soldiers in Uganda and the upcoming trial at the International Criminal Court.

Here is the video, but be warned, it’s pretty horrific:

Read the youth leaders blogs here :

Tags: adolescents · Virtual Worlds · machinima · youtube · Second Life

Teaching Genetics in Second Life

June 23rd, 2007 · No Comments


Today I discovered an amazing teaching sim in Second Life focussing on Genes, Genomes and Genetics. There were not only 3D models of chromosomes and DNA sequences but there were simple experiments set up so that even a beginning learner could see the cross fertilisation outcomes of dominant and recessive genes in flowers.

There were quizzes and prizes at the end if you were successful but I have to confess I did not win my DNA striped t-shirt because I didn’t do all of the necessary tutorials to understand about the proteins :( But the links to notecards, websites, and practical 3D experiments have me totally in awe of this teacher, (SL name: Max Chattnoir), who says she has been working on developing the sim for almost two years.

Here are a few pics - you need to go to the large size to see the details though.


Dominant and Recessive Genes






Tags: Virtual Worlds · Second Life · education

Australasian Second Life Conference

June 21st, 2007 · 1 Comment


Despite jetlag and a bad case of the sniffles I managed to make it yesterday to a great selection of speakers at the Second Life Australasian education conference.

This conference was run by my long time SL friend, Jokay Wollongong, and her colleague Sean Fitzgerald. I had met and heard almost all of the speakers before but the surprise for me was hearing all about the work of NZ educator, Isa Goodman, who is doing just incredible things with groups all over New Zealand.

Jokay and Sean have also put together this fabulous SL newbie tips video:

With so many new and non-gamer users streaming into SL, these tips are invaluable for getting past the culture shock of the somewhat complicated gaming interface.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · academic life · Second Life · education

Second Life Educational Resources - courtesy of Ed Lamoureux

June 20th, 2007 · 3 Comments


If you are an educator in Second Life you simply must join the SLED (Second Life Educators) email list. It is full of incredibly helpful people who have done a lot of hard work compiling guides and lists and links to video tutorials and more. Courtesy of the very kind Ed Lamoureux (isn’t that absolutely the most fantastic surname ever!), here is one such list:

Mark Pepper’s Annotated Bibliography of Second Life Educational Online Resources

Under the grid: excellent technical posts by Tateru Nino

YouTube location of Torley Linden’s instructional videos. Very helpful collection

the _SLED Builders_ mail list.

Second Life: The Educational Possibilities of a Massively Multiplayer Virtual World.

MSN/Encarta Online Degrees:

Mike Pepper SL bib

Angel learning island on SL

SLED Picayne (online and inworld paper)

University of Cincinnati resources for SL educators

SLED list archives…

Basics of Linden Scripting Language.

Second Life: The Official Guide (Paperback)

by Michael Rymaszewski, Wagner James Au, Mark Wallace, Catherine Winters, Cory Ondrejka, Benjamin Batstone-Cunningham

Virtual Reality (MOO & MUD): Second Life (QuickTime Player required)

Second Life: How to build a chair in Second Life

Second Life: How to create an interactive sign in Second Life

Second Life: How to embed an image (texture) onto an object in Second Life

Second Life: How to embed a notecard onto an object in Second Life

Second Life: How to link an object to a webpage in Second Life

Second Life: How to create links within a notecard in Second Life

Second Life: How to create a dropbox in Second Life

Second Life: How to create a teleport link in Second Life

The Unofficial Complete Fool’s Guide to Second Life [summary of machinima about SL] [nmc machinima] [be sure to watch this. it is SO cool]

A lot of the visual guides (screencasts, pdfs) are aggregated here -

Torley Linden has done an excellent video tutorial on how to use the camera controls -

You can also do a keyword search for ’second life’ -

Second Life videos are also starting to be aggregated here –

Making things in the Virtual World: Second Life Primer -

Voice chat just got a lot easier in Second Life.

Managing disabilities in sl:

New land owner questions:

try the archives - -

which can be searched using this -

Tags: Virtual Worlds · Second Life · education

Pleasure, Play, Participation and Promise: the audio to my conference talk

June 9th, 2007 · 5 Comments

Thanks to the wonderful Alan Levine, I now have the audio recording to go with my NMC talk, here:

Alan’s write-up of my talk is on the NMC blog here - thanks so much!

Tags: adolescents · the body · Virtual Worlds · academic life · cyberculture · NMC · visual literacy · digital fiction · nmc2007 · conference talks · new literacies · new video · literacy · presentations · gaming · education · linguistics · feminism · media · video games · Second Life · avatars · machinima · identity · semiotics · youtube · art

Postcards from Second Life

May 31st, 2007 · 1 Comment

south beach strip club in Second Life, originally uploaded by amywilson.

Amy Wilson’s (Freelunch’s) Postcards from Second Life is now available, and there will be a free signing of the book in Second Life on Saturday, June 2nd, 6pm PST at the Pooley Auditorium ( The book, a set of watercolors documenting the travels of the artist inside a virtual world, is currently available at ( for $15 US.

I was sent a link to Amy Wilson’s artworks a couple of weeks ago but have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to blog about it. I find Amy’s work more fascinating the longer I look at it. I love the fact that visual artists are interpreting and expressing their impressions of Second Life through their medium of choice. There are so many people blogging about SL because writing is their mode of choice, and we’re all uploading a ton of photographs to flickr as amateur photographers to capture special and/or memorable moments. But I haven’t seen many people using art as their medium of expression (though I did recently read Sharon’s post about how she has begun drawing avatars in her visual journal).

I think this reinterpration of Amy’s is also very clever because it makes a considered critique of various aspects of SL - covering issues of identity, reality, relationships and business inside the virtual space.  These are issues that we are all quite familiar with, but to see them articulated in a new form holds them up for renewed inspection.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cross-media storytelling · cyberculture · avatars · Second Life · identity · art

I’m Heading Off for June to Speak, Research, Speak, Plan more Research etc etc…

May 31st, 2007 · 1 Comment

The major speaking event I have is the featured session at the NMC Summer Conference. I was specifically invited to speak about a “bit of everything” related to my research, so here’s the slides that accompany the talk. I hope I can arrange an audio stream to support the slides for the near future.

And here is the line-up for our panel session at the ECAR conference:


Tags: cyberculture · academic life · literacy · presentations · machinima · Virtual Worlds · children's literature · cross-media storytelling · digital fiction · visual literacy · NMC · fanfiction · identity · linguistics · gaming · feminism · media · personal · education · popular culture · semiotics · youtube · publications · Second Life · music

Coca-Cola in Second Life

May 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Coca-Cola launched in Second Life with a bang - a competition asking for the creation of a “virtual thirst” vending machine, to dispense the essence of Coca-Cola: refreshment, joy, unity, experience.  Nice branding exercise.  Here’s a sample entry:

I used to have a dismissive attitude towards big corporations coming in to Second Life - until I saw Showtime’s “L Word” community flourishing so well.  The idea of CKin2U’s fragrance being promoted in SL I considered laughable, until I was walking through a department store and actually stopped to smell the real thing out of sheer curiosity (the female fragrance is actually very nice too).   And I did buy Julian Dibbell’s book through Second Life rather than (because I met him in person there!).  It’s quite fascinating to analyse which brands are doing well and why.  I don’t think Coca-Cola will be raking in money from having a virtual presence but like many big brands in SL I guess they think it makes them look hip and edgy and is a good PR venture.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life · media

Youth Online - almost there!

May 22nd, 2007 · 3 Comments


Yay! Here is my final book cover!!!

And here is one of the endorsements:


How lovely of Len Unsworth to write such kind words.

Tags: academic life · Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · literacy · avatars · adolescents · the body · SFL · digital fiction · new literacies · visual literacy · fanfiction · identity · linguistics · gaming · feminism · television · blogging · education · children · semiotics · publications · Second Life · video games · personal

Christy Dena on Multi-Platform Art versus Commodity Intertexts

May 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

I was fortunate enough to listen to Christy Dena today presenting a truly stimulating lecture on Multi-Platform Art versus Commodity Intertexts.  Her point of departure was a quote from Henry Jenkins about transmedia storytelling, which she interrogated by tracing the history of cross-media art forms, from pre-internet media such as Twin Peaks to new forms of 3D animation storytelling/art inside Second Life.  She discussed the relationship and tensions between what is transmedia art and what is marketing, and invoked her own theorisation of the features that genuinely characterise transmedia storytelling.  She raised some really provocative questions about perceptions of what is art, and how some forms are revalued as aesthetic only when somebody renames them as such.  I am guessing Christy will be publishing some of her work so I don’t want to pre-empt that and discuss her theories before she is ready, but you can read more on her blog.  It has certainly helped crystallise some of my own thinking.

Tags: new literacies · digital fiction · cross-media storytelling · Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · gaming · Second Life · arts · television

Linden Lab Press Release: SL graphics to become more realistic

May 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

Linden Lab Shines New Light on Second Life With Acquisition Of Technology From Windward Mark Interactive

Windward Mark Interactive Developers Will Join Linden Labs Growing Boston Presence, WindLight® and NimbleTM Technologies To Be Open Sourced

SAN FRANCISCO & BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, today announced the acquisition of graphics technology from Windward Mark Interactive. Linden Lab will acquire WindLight®, an advanced atmospheric rendering technology; NimbleTM, a realistic 3D cloud simulator; and associated intellectual property and interests. Following this acquisition, Linden Lab will open source Windward Marks leading graphics technology and integrate it into the Second Life Viewer software, bringing striking visual realism to Second Life.

The five founders of Windward Mark Interactive will also join Linden Labs new office in the heart of Bostons tech and academic research communities.

Founded in 2003, Windward Mark Interactive develops video games and advanced graphics technology that brings realistic visuals to real-time simulators. The companys WindLight® technology uses patent-pending algorithms that imitate the ways in which light is affected by real-world atmospheric factors like dust and moisture, enabling the nuances of sunlight, clouds, water and weather to be accurately simulated in real-time. Windward Mark Interactives other real-time visualization product, NimbleTM, uses advanced physics models to realistically simulate clouds.

(full press release here)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life · art

Teaching in Second Life

May 21st, 2007 · No Comments


Terra Nova published an interesting interview with Rebecca Nesson about her experiences teaching in Second Life. There’s a burgeoning interest in SL as an educational platform now though there are still very few Australian educators - I’m not sure why that is. The existing Australian educators have set up a wiki - Australian Second Life Users - which is only just beginning to be established but hopefully will be a useful resource in the future.

Meanwhile, I am preparing my ECAR talk about teaching in SL. It will draw a little from my October article but focus more on my pedagogical approach to teaching in and about Second Life as a political new media space. I am on a panel for this and we had a skype conference call last week in which we agreed not to do death by powerpoint - we will be doing (image only) slideshows, machinima and a lot of discussion.  I’ll post more about it soon!

Tags: Virtual Worlds · Second Life · education

Second Life Art

May 20th, 2007 · 3 Comments

I get hundreds of invitations to Second Life art galleries, and when I manage to get some time I do a gallery hopping tour to check them out. I dabble in mixed media and love doing art, and I love viewing art in “real life” museums. But when I am inside Second Life I don’t want to see art that is merely a replica of anything that can be done offline. I look for a couple of key features:

1) art that utilises the affordances of the Second Life platform - such as the use of prims to make 3D sculptures, or installations which use animation or audio;
2) art that allows interaction, so that it only becomes complete when you participate in some way with it

Here is some amazing art I’ve come across recently.

The first one is an increidble light installation, which involves beams of animated light filling the space and moving around the space. By entering one of the central beams and clicking on it, you become a part of the installation, your avatar transforming with each new beam.



This second one is a social comment by Nebulosus Severine on The Cult(ure) of Television, and to appreciate it best you have to enter and sit on an animation which makes your avatar stare mindlessly at the flickering of a TV screen.



This third one I thought was art, but then I heard a rumour that it was one University’s efforts at making myspace-like pods for student accommodation. I couldn’t find an explanation anywhere, but either way, the build is a fascinating concept.



This fourth gallery space was a loft which featured the work of a multimedia artist from Sweden (Nils), an artist that created pieces you had to click or pose with before the art was complete.



The fifth one has changed since this photo was taken (but I prefer this version) and was a huge animated heart, complete with a beating pulse in the audio stream. The heart was juxtaposed with a holodeck type room and the two pieces together were designed to represent the tensions between real and virtual (artist: Nobody Yap).

Nobody Yap's multimodal art installation at NMC, SL

And finally, the most amazing sculptures I have ever seen in an art style I didn’t know much about before, called steampunk. Each sculpture is designed with around 500 prims and requires a lot of camera work and flying around to appreciate the sheer magnitude of it. (More about Madcow Cosmos, the artist, here)


I’ll be doing some more formal and academic work about digital arts soon, but for now, this is just a small snapshot or two of what I find most fascinating.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life · art

Eduserv’s ‘Virtual Worlds, Real Learning?’ Conference

May 11th, 2007 · 4 Comments


Yesterday I attended the Eduserv Symposium I mentioned previously. Luckily I attended with fellow NMC friends Corwin:


and later CDB:


as one of the advantages of being in Second Life was that we could engage in back channel conversations while the speakers were presenting.

My two favourite sessions were from Professor Gilly Salmon, who spoke about Leicester University’s SEAL project, emphasising the focus on “what’s new?” “what can we learn in SL that we cannot learn offline?”; and Stephen Downes, who was incredibly provocative and raised a lot of questions to pierce through the hype of SL education.


Stephen’s session made me laugh and I think it is very helpful to be critical and to ask questions about the model of pedagogy being used (or replicated exactly) in this new-ish environment. I especially liked the final panel session when people like Gilly interacted with Stephen and this is where the most interesting discussion happened. Unfortunatley this was a bit brief and right at the very end though!

I think there is a long way to go to have a mixed reality event like this - the SL audience were pretty much ignored til the very end. But aside from a few technical issues to begin with, the streaming went very well and it worked. I have seen other models where the speakers come from different audiences (one SL and one in the real venue) and the interaction was much more fluid. But really, I am thankful I can get to attend from the other side of the world at no cost, listening whilst sitting in my lounge room sipping hot chocolate.

Tags: efsym2007 · Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life · education