On the discouraging front, this past week my husband asked his online group of teachers. (These are all practicing teachers already engaged in teaching our kids) to use a wiki to do some collaborative writing for a group projects. He set up the wiki in the very user-friendly Wikispaces platform. All four of the project groups rebelled. They found using a wiki too complicated and no one had “trained” them on this tool. Sigh. I wondered aloud if they needed someone to train them on the use of a pencil since wiki’s are almost as common a writing tool in our current era.
But that is the dilemma. We have these great tools but only the technologically literate are truly using them. While I intend to write more on this, here’s the information on this Monday’s talk. It’s worth dropping into Second Life for.
Beth Noveck talks about Wiki Government in Second Life on July 20th!
For two years I have been presenting concerts in the virtual world of Second Life developing my series of live concerts at Music Island into one of the virtual worlds’ hot spots and attracting attention of both online and traditional journalists.
Now, having recently stepped down from my position as Executive Director of the Toronto Philharmonia, I would like to find ways to make my avocation part of my vocation. I am actively looking for (preferably Canadian) ensemble(s) or presenters that would be interested in partnering with me for a series of concerts/audience development activities in virtual reality.
I would see this collaboration as involving me in developing a budget and proposal and seeking funding for an artistic project we would jointly develop. I am an experienced proposal and grantwriter. I would also be able to supply the inworld expertise in streaming, coordinating the event and promotion.
One model that has occured to me would be a series of concerts in a Toronto venue that would be streamed into Second Life with streaming video from both worlds. The Toronto live audience would see the virtual performance/audience on big screen and the international virtual audience would see the Toronto audience on an inworld media viewer. There are other ideas that might fit. I see this as being of interest to local ensembles & presenters, individual musicians and also with some appeal to a venue or destination wishing to promote itself to international tourism.
You can contact me via a comment left here, or inside of Second Life by IM’ing Kate Miranda.
(yours truly will be a presenter at the Ohio State University Conference, as detailed below, November 15, 2008)
To be held on Minerva, the teaching and research space in Second Life maintained by The Department of Women’s Studies, Ohio State University.
As teachers, librarians, artists, health care workers, and as volunteers in the many charitable and activist organizations of Second Life, women are a very visible element of our virtual community. The number of women’s groups and community centers is increasing, supported by an informal network of committed individuals. Those who come here out of curiosity often find themselves involved in these community activities, and those who came for professional reasons often find that their interests have widened and diversified as they have come into contact with Second Life society. Is what we do here just relaxation, a metaphor for what we do in real life, or do our Second Life activities have importance for our home communities and for society in general?
Linda Rogers (Second Life: Kate Miranda)
Phylis Johnson, Ph.D. (SL: Sonicity Fitzroy)Associate Professor & Interim Chair, Department of Radio-Television
The Women of Chilbo
Chris Collins (Second Life: Fleep Tuque)Instructional & Research Computing, University of Cincinnati
My presentation will focus on the role of female avatars in racist right-wing groups in Second Life. Why would a right-wing group choose to use Second Life for communication and outreach – and especially in regards to women? Katherine Blee’s Inside Organized Racism (2002) states that women are heavily sought after by American hate groups, making up half of all new recruits. Second Life is ideal for imagining and practicing gender and race, and ultra-conservative groups have found land, groups and events in Second Life that match their needs. There is a clear connection between some white power, nationalist websites and groups in Second Life. Individuals identified in fascist discussion groups and MySpace profiles sometimes post their Second Life avatar names. Portraits of female avatars participating in right-wing groups in SL will be described. Attendees will be given a party favors bag with hyperlinks to important rightwing groups’ websites and SL landmarks to interesting sites. Attendees may wish to be teleported to one particular site to see and discuss the symbolic structures present. In this session, as Ingeborg Reichle wrote in her 2004 essay “Remaking Eden,” (Cyberfeminism. Next Protocols): “the observer is no longer merely an observer, but rather becomes a participant.” The presenter will facilitate a short discussion on the role of gender and race in rightwing groups in Second Life.
ith the creation and dissolution of women’s spaces.
It was my privilege to present to people at the Technology in the Arts conference at the University of Waterloo May 9-10 on the subject of classical music in virtual reality.
But the magic really happened when Alessandro Marangoni, stepped up to the real piano in Italy and the virtual piano as Benito Flores and charmed the participants across oceans and media.
Benito Flores was recently was interviewed and performed on the Second Life cable networks, Music Academy Online program on his life and work as both a real and virtual musician.
Benito also has a blog!
Pictured above, is a “live” concert by British community orchestra Sinfonia Leeds in the virtual world of Second Life. The concert appeared in virtual reality within an open-learning community Cedar Island, where I reside in my Second Life identity as Kate Miranda. Organizing and presenting concerts Music Island is part of my work and play within Second Life.
People unfamiliar with virtual reality usually have a few main questions:
1. How does it work?
2. Why present classical music in Second Life?
3. Who is performing in Second Life and what is there motivation?
How it works:
The performer or ensemble use microphones or instrument pickups to capture a live performance. That performance is encoded as an MP3 stream (usually using one of three popular programs Winamp, Simplecast, or SAM) and uploaded to a ShoutCast server on the Web. Meanwhile in Second Life, a venue owner tunes the media channel the URL to the streamed music.
At the same time the performers are using their computers to position their Second Life avatars to “play” virtual instruments, in fact triggering animations. Performers also can use the stream to introduce their works by speaking into a computer head set microphone or by using their avatars to text introductions.
Why present classical music in Second Life?
Well first let’s deal with the principal objections. The sound is no better than any podcast on the internet and the animations are not really linked with sound production in any way–something some consider a bit of a sham.
The principal reason for presenting classical music in Second Life, for me, revolves around the quality of the audience experience. Listening to a podcast or recording is a solitary experience. By contrast, concerts in Second Life are joyfully social, audience members are joyfully celebratory in their anticipation and appreciation of the music in a way rarely matched in real life orchestras. Unique to the medium, listeners silently text appreciative comments, hurrahs, and questions that they hope someone more informed will be able to answer. Sometimes Second Life avatars even decide to dance to the music in the manner of small children at a summer concert at the park.
Conversations quickly reveal that many of those attending classical concerts in Second Life have little or no experience of live classical music. While classical music series are having trouble attracting new audiences to conventional concert stages, it seems that the internet virtual audience is open to the experience of art music. It seems worth it to step into the virtual world to reach out to this new audience.
The other unique element to the SL live concert experience is the accessibility of artists. Performers can view texted messages and questions. They usually engage the audience before and after concerts and sometimes at breaks in the program. This accessibility is as rewarding to the performer as to the audience.
Not to be minimized is the “fun” factor. Even audience members and performers who are regulars in the real world concert hall are amused, engaged and refreshed by the experience of classical music in the context of virtual reality.
Who is performing in Second Life and what is their motivation?
Classical performers in second life range from competent amateurs, music students, music educators, plus emerging and mid-career professional musicians.
Love of the music and interest in virtual reality is common to everyone performing in second life. You have to think it’s just a gas to be bothered. Those without a sense of humour will not be amused.
Some performers find it is a good way to work up new material and play it before a live audience before facing an audience in the concert hall. For students it is a way to get more live concert experience. For educators, a way to keep performance skills sharp.
Performers are warmed by the appreciation of the audience and the sense that they are reaching new audiences.
While some hope to promote real life careers and boost earnings, this last goal is more difficult. The requirement to have a pseudonym in Second Life hobbles name recognition. As Second Life evolves into a serious platform for art, corporations, and learning, this role-play with fictional names seem more and more out-dated.
On Music Island we have been getting around the name recognition issue with posters, T-shirts and even virtual CD stands with links to performers’ real world websites.
Anyone interested in learning more about classical music in Second Life should join the Classical Group in-world. Please contact me–Kate Miranda–if I can help you or answer your questions.
Very interesting post yesterday about the myths and realities of the virtual reality world, “Second Life”.
As a habitue of Second Life, I agree with the statements. Second Life is fun, it’s growing and there is a lot worth logging on for!
Yeah, it’s not perfect. There’s a lot of commercialism and seedy stuff that I have no use for but there is also the same heady feel of the early days of the internet. I love what people are doing on “Better World Island” a community for peaceniks and environmentalists full of hopeful displays and opportunities to learn about work going on in international development and conservation.
I’ve recently joined an intentional community on Cedar Island dedicated to exploring some of the positive uses of technology for education and social empowerment.
And strange as it seems I also have joined a virtual Quaker Meeting, pictured above at one of our regular Saturday am meetings.