Angela A Thomas

Entries Tagged as 'Virtual Worlds'

Gilberto Gil on Virtual Worlds and Second Life

September 11th, 2007 · 1 Comment


Brazilian Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, speaking on the possibilities of virtual worlds and Second Life.  Very Cool!  Thanks Prokofy for the link.

Tags: Virtual Worlds

Machinima promoted as potential Oscar nominee

September 10th, 2007 · No Comments

Back in March I blogged about My Second Life, a documentary-fiction style machinima. Episode 1 was quite interesting - some gorgeous visuals, nice editing, and quite good writing though a little cliched. I only mentioned it in passing at the time - I thought it was fun but …

HBO just paid a 6 figure sum for the rights to the series and is promoting it as an Oscar nominee!

So, if you’re like me and just gave it a cursory glance at the time, you’d better go back and have another look!

Tags: new video · new literacies · Virtual Worlds · machinima · tv · Second Life · media

My Digital Fiction Presentation for Futures in Literacy Conference

September 4th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Tags: Virtual Worlds · role-playing · facebook · academic life · fans · presentations · literacy · cyberculture · adolescents · children's literature · conference talks · digital fiction · cross-media storytelling · twitter · new literacies · visual literacy · new video · machinima · ARG · gaming · education · children · linguistics · photography · blogging · media · popular culture · Second Life · identity · fanfiction · avatars · arts · semiotics · publications · youtube · personal

Creativity in Second Life: Educator’s Panel

August 22nd, 2007 · 4 Comments

Educators Panel Closing Plenary

The final panel session for the NMC’s Symposium on Creativity in Second Life was wonderful!  Chaired by Alan Levine (CDB Barkley), it involved a diverse range of educators involved in Second Life, reflecting about the week’s sessions and creativity in SL in general.  Educators included:

  • Lori Bell (aka Lorelei Junot), Alliance Library System
  • Jo Kay (aka Jokay Wollongong), Illawarra Institute TAFE, New South Wales
  • Hilary Mason (aka Ann Enigma), Johnson & Wales University
  • Troy McConaghy (aka Troy McLuhan), ISM Corporation
  • Nick Noakes (aka Corwin Carillon), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
  • Beth Ritter-Guth (aka Desideria Stockton), Lehigh Carbon Community College
  • Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney

Despite issues with sound, we managed to combine both text and sound to do this reflection.  Alan blogged details of the session here, including a podcast and a chat transcript.  I had to do my bit by text instead of voice (luckily I was last so I hastily converted the speaking notes I had into close to proper sentences while other people were talking).  Some of the comments seem to have been truncated in the transcript though, so, for anybody interested, I am including my notes (and they’re a bit messy!) under the fold.
Educators Panel (more…)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · NMC · conference talks · slcreativity · cyberculture · presentations · Second Life · identity · avatars · education

NMC Session: Creative Identity Play

August 20th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Creative Identity Play Session

Yesterday I presented my session about avatars and identity play in Second Life. It was more of a workshop than a presentation, and there were some wonderfully fascinating stories people shared about their avatars: why they created them and crafted them the way they did; what decisions they made about identity markers to include; how other people perceived their avatars; and any identity experiments (gender, fashion, race and so on) that they had explored. I really enjoyed hearing people’s stories, and wish I had had the foresight to log a transcript of the chat!! I managed to crash out 5 times during the session :/ This meant I didn’t have time in the end to really recap some of the central points I wanted to make!! Here are some shots from the session of people sharing and participating:

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play

Creative Identity Play Session

Creative Identity Play

Creative Identity Play

… and a few resources, links, landmarks, copies of slides, free clothes and avatars and so on were given out at the end. If you didn’t get to go to the session (or you missed out because you had to leave early) and would like a gift bag, just send me an im in world!

(My thanks to CDB Barkley, Joanna Trailblazer, Jokay Wollongong, Heidi Trotta, Nick Noakes, Stephanie Misfit, Tasrill Sieyes, Desideria Stockton, Thinkerer Melville, Anne Enigma, Larry Pixel and many many others who contributed in various ways to the session - by sharing stories, posing for photos, letting me use their photos, contributing avatars and giving me freebies to add to the resources kit!)

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · the body · NMC · slcreativity · visual literacy · presentations · avatars · beauty · education · Second Life · fashion · identity · feminism

My NMC Symposium on “Creativity in Second Life” Presentations Next Week

August 9th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Creative Identity Play

Next week the NMC is running an entire weeks symposium on “Creativity in Second Life” There are a number of strands: Machinima, Fashion, Sculpture and Modeling, Virtual Photography, and Teaching Environments, social / arts events, and lots of practical and interactive sessions. I am involved in three sessions, all at (sort of) Australian friendly times. Here are the details of these sessions (in Second Life time):

Fri Aug 17 7pm - Fri Aug 17 8pm

Teaching On the Second Life Stage: Playful Educational Strategies for Serious Purposes


Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney

Kim Flintoff (Kim Pasternak), Edith Cowan University

Theatrical spaces have historically been places used to teach, purge and shape culture. For over a decade, virtual reality has offered a new kind of theatrical space; now, with the rise of social networking spaces, many more people are using the potential of the web to perform, critique and comment on cultural issues. Second Life provides a new and exciting space where students can explore issues that are both personal and global in significance. Teaching strategies which incorporate dramatic and theatrical components are perfectly suited in the Second Life environment for engaging students in playful but meaningful reflection on such issues. This session will involve participants in role-playing, reflection and discussion. Participants will also be encouraged to brainstorm the possibilities of incorporating such strategies into their own educational programs.

Sat Aug 18 4pm - Sat Aug 18 5pm

No More Business Suits Please: Creative Identity Play in SL


Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney, Australia

Second Life offers a unique opportunity to refashion one’s self and to play with fictional identities. Yet many of us who work inside Second Life feel trapped in our offline identity roles and conform to traditional discourses of femininity, masculinity, appearance, beauty and fashion. Professionals wear business suits, educators cry out for more modest clothing, and artists wear funky coloured skins. In some contexts, people who resist these discourses are discriminated against. This session explores how we might be able to leverage one of the greatest affordances of Second Life—the avatar—for personal, community and professional agendas.



Sat Aug 18 5pm - Sat Aug 18 6pm

Panel Session: Reflections on Creativity in Second Life


Moderator: Alan Levine (aka CDB Barkley), The New Media Consortium
Lori Bell (aka Lorelei Junot), Alliance Library System
Jo Kay (aka Jokay Wollongong), Illawarra Institute TAFE, New South Wales
Hilary Mason (aka Ann Enigma), Johnson & Wales University
Troy McConaghy (aka Troy McLuhan), ISM Corporation
Nick Noakes (aka Corwin Carillon), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Beth Ritter-Guth (aka Desideria Stockton), Lehigh Carbon Community College
Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel), University of Sydney


Tags: the body · role-playing · Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · NMC · new literacies · slcreativity · cross-media storytelling · digital fiction · presentations · ARG · beauty · education · gaming · Second Life · fashion · avatars · identity · semiotics · feminism

William Gibson in SL

August 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Tags: Virtual Worlds · cyberculture · Second Life

Voice in Second Life

August 4th, 2007 · 11 Comments

I guess everybody will be blogging about voice in Second Life over the next few weeks. The latest download released has voice fully enabled, and despite my initial experiences with the trial grid being frustrating, I had an amazingly positive experience with the new version.  Last night I tried it out with friends and fellow bloggers Jerry, Sharon and Alja.  I should disclose that I have met Jerry and Sharon in “real life”, they are fellow Australians, and I’ve been enjoying a renewed enthusiasm for Second Life since they joined (I wonder if other people experience peaks and slumps in their enthusiasm?).  I’ve also talked through the live streaming function a number of times for conferences.  So the thought of voice wasn’t in any way intimidating, and didn’t threaten any sort of fictional persona I had going on (I think these are the two main concerns reported to date).

All four of us experienced technical difficulties to begin with, and I have to say getting it working is not for the faint of heart or the (like me) easily-frustrated-when-technology-doesn’t-do-what-you-want.  But after maybe an hour or so, it was all sorted out and we’d launched into a full scale party, with Jerry playing his fiddle (Jerry is an incredible musician!), all of us dancing, and lots and lots of laughter.  Jerry has a photo and a great write-up here. It was lovely to hear Alja’s Slovenian accent and to learn how to pronounce her name properly!  We had a few other people come and go - one guy was practising his English on us - and it was all wonderfully entertaining.  It was fun to share the experience at an entirely new level - so much so that when one of my other friends came along who didn’t have voice enabled, we felt terribly sorry for her because she was missing out on all the hilarities.

I think voice will offer the opportunity for much more full scale immersion, interaction, and engagement. And now that I have such a fantastic experience I can easily see it revolutionising communication.  The only negative thing I have to say about it is that personally, I found it exhausting after a few hours had ticked by - it was quite intense and I couldn’t multitask like I usually do.  Trust me, being chatty and engaging for hours at a time can be draining, especially if you’re more naturally an introvert.  I look forward to seeing how others are experiencing it.

Tags: Virtual Worlds · secondlife · semiotics

The Cross-Media Self

August 3rd, 2007 · 4 Comments


Yesterday when I added Andy Piper as a friend on Facebook, I flippantly said “now we’re friends everywhere” - since I knew him on Second Life, on Facebook, on twitter, on flickr, on his blog, and through his comments on my blog.

He paused for a while, then replied with a wide ASCII grin:

“friends *everywhere*? 8-) see“ 

I clicked the link, and my jaw literally dropped in astonishment at the number of tracks Andy makes across the web.  How the HECK can any one person do so much?!?!

Right now I feel pretty overwhelmed by the number of social media spaces I seem to exist in: 3 blogs, 3 or 4 roleplaying forums, a fan forum, a zine, flickr, linkedin, twitter, facebook, Second Life (plus an alt), 2 youtube accounts, gmail, work mail, skype, google chat. People keep inviting me to new things but I just don’t have the time!  And each one of these has channels or groups or threads - I am in 63 flickr groups, 19 facebook groups, subscribe to numerous blog feeds, several podcasts and a number of youtube channels.  I’m part of 2 high traffic email lists (Association of Internet Researchers and Second Life Education), and about 10 low to medium traffic ones.

My solution at handling them all is to concentrate on two or three at a time.  The amount of reading and writing and uploading and downloading and viewing and clicking I do every day is becoming ridiculous.  I am a terrible commenter on friend’s blogs, I only blog once every day or two, I barely post to email groups, and I only keep up with urgent emails.  If I tried to fully engage in everything I wouldn’t ever get any work done!
Andy wrote a post about his experiences called The Quicksand of Web 2.0, in which he debates some of the pros and cons of different applications and talks about addiction and his “off switch”.

Its all left me wondering about the kind of identity play we engage in across all of these different spaces we inhabit, and the type of narrative constructions other people are making about us as they make connections between our multiple cross-media selves.

And is it possible for people who read your work across these spaces to suddenly get turned off by a bad case of TMI (too much information)?  Or as one of my literary colleagues is wont to say, “that person just has too much narrative going on.”

But not you Andy :)

Tags: facebook · Virtual Worlds · new video · new literacies · cross-media storytelling · twitter · cyberculture · literacy · Second Life · media · youtube · semiotics · identity · blogging

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