While i was at LABoral visiting the Homo Ludens Ludens exhibition, i got to live the uncanny experience of being bossed around by wooden boxes that deliver Situation(ist) quotes, order me to bring them to their friends (which were also boxy and made of wood), carry them upstairs within 30 seconds, and treat them like princesses. I felt like a puppet in the hands of Objects of Desire, the latest game of Ludic Society. This international association of artists, game practitioners and theorists seek to provoke a new artistic re/search discipline, best addressed as 'ludics' (cf. some of their previous works: Tagged City Play for Real Players in Real Cities and The Pong Dress).
Objects of Desire is a Neo-Situationist's walk in the company of capricious spimes through an invisible city of electromagnetic waves. The play-map constitutes of real names of wireless access points, found during a "WIFI-Sniff" through the city of Gijon. Names of actual urban WIFI zones (my favourite was called Familia Alvarez) are mapped and tagged like street-names in the exhibition space while aether waves with the same subjective names are also superimposed on the arts space, as playground.
Instead of writing down what the game is about, i'll just send you to the video of the game . It clearly explains the developments, mechanics and rules of the game. And because the plot unfolds in sunny Gijon and LABoral, you'll also get an idea of what both the city and the art center are like.
How does the game work technically? Does it use rfid?
Yes, each object is tagged with a RFID tag. Our self-built LS-Gerät can sniff each box and based on the RFID number and cabbalistic numerology rules the object's desire will be appointed.
On the other side, we hide a couple of WIFI network clouds (some openWRT hacked linksys routers) in the exhibition space by which each player is located through the built-in WIFI function of Nintendo DS. The clouds are named and geographically located like access points in Gijon-city.
Basically, it is a very speculative motion tracking, like a triangulation with cell phones, virtual and real. Anyhow we used them as an inverse surveillance for each player. Each move is logged ;)
The Ludic extensions of SM (standard model) game consoles are extremely beautiful. How exactly do you craft them? Does each shape correspond to a particular function?
They were all DIY self-built and designed in our LSCV (Ludic Society Chapter Vienna). The design is conceptually connected to our ideas of a PCB - 'Pata Circuit Boards - which are standing for Imaginary Machines and Devices of Wonder (read more about in issue#1 of LS magazine).
Each LS-Reader is equipped with a voltage booster, a Wunschmaschine, not only referring to our concept but also in Real by literally lifting the supply voltage up from 3 to 5 Volts. Each shape corresponds to a different conceptual starting point. The little tree refreshes the EM (electromagnetic) aether while the "Blitz" refers to our notion of BlitzPlay (Urban Guerrilla Street Play Tactics - TAZ). The circular shaped PCB is a sequel of our LudicWheel, a living machine, built for playing the game- and the reality engine either-way.
What is the story or motivation behind the objects' stories and desires?
Playtarget: inverse surveillance by mobile toy-gadgetry...walks between WIFI and RFID waves-.. the city waves in Gijon - site specific metaphors...
Then about the inverse control of objects by subjects - a domination and surveillance PlaySurVeillance ;) by "Subjectivated" objects... with eeach RFID tag, the internet of
Based on what you could observe while you were in Gijon, how did people react to the uncanny experience of being bossed around by wooden boxes?
It was funny to watch people how exciting they became by obeying some very simple instructions, just for the sake of getting some points on a virtual screen. Some were lying on the floor (even the curator Erich Berger), standing against the wall for a minute or shouting out loud.
But with each game, it depends on the *player's obedience* to the rules.
The readers are new bachelor machines to extend the Standard model game
Originally we (in that case me and 3 more Ludic Society members - PM ONG, Fleshgordo and imonym in conjunction with marguerite charmante) thought about making a game through the whole exhibition- with objects tagged - which have certain behaviours -- the visitors shall bring them to their "natural born home" of the Objects (OOH) which is stored in the RFID tag of the object...), we wanted to further develop Ludic Society's urban games into a white cube test area.
Previous posts about the exhibition in LABoral: Homo Ludens Ludens - Play in contemporary culture and society, the Art of War.
As promised two days ago, here's more details about Homo Ludens Ludens, a new exhibition which reflects on the various roles fulfilled by play in our digital era. Homo Ludens Ludens opened on April 18 at LABoral the Center for Art and Industrial Creation which means that i was back in Gijon, Asturias, land of monster squids, rosy cheeks, deep-fried and vegetable-free diet, gorgeous landscapes and sidra thrown all over your favorite sneakers.
Homo Ludens Ludens is the last episode of a trilogy that LABoral is dedicating to the world of game. Following Gameworld and Playware, HLL explores play as a key element of today' s world, highlighting its necessity for our contemporary societies. There are more than 30 works on show, so you can expect several installments about Homo Ludens Ludens.
The title of the show, Homo Ludens Ludens , alludes to the taxonomy of human evolution. The human being used to be regarded as a Homo faber (man the smith or man the maker in latin) for the control they could exert on the environment through tools.
In 1938, however, Dutch historian Johan Huizinga introduced the idea that man is also an Homo Ludens (a "playing man"), a man for whom amusements, humour and leisure played an important role in both culture and society. Philosopher Vilém Flusser went further. For him, we are living in a society which, instead of working, generates information by playing with a technical apparatus, implying a transition from the myth of the creator towards a player. Playing can therefore be regarded as an act of emancipation.
The exhibition speculates on the emergence of a Homo Ludens Ludens - the contemporary player of games.
Martin teamed up with Viennese artist and researcher Fares Kayali to turn a pinball machine from the '70s into a musical instrument and, as he explained me at the time, The piece is a pinball machine that constructs music. It samples itself and manipulates those samples according to how you play pinball on it. We removed all competitive and all decorative elements of the pinball game and put digital electronics into this analogue electro-mechanical machine. While the gameplay is technically unaltered - all the bumpers and traps are still in place - the effect of playing is a composition instead of a highscore.
The more successfully the player interacts with the machine, the more intense the accompanying soundtrack gets. The piece maintains the roughness of the electromechanical original game, mixing physical sounds happening on the playing field with manipulations of their recordings.
A post written by Nicolas Nova a few days ago brought to my mind what Martin told me in Gijon when i was complaining that that damn pinball was way too difficult to play for me. Apparently the artists had to dumb down the machine. They bought it on eBay, not knowing that the '70s model was manufactured at a time when pinballs were extremely popular and the models issued had thus to be quite high level to keep players interested.
Concrète references musique concrète and bagatelle alludes to the history of pinball games. Bagatelle was an ancestor of modern pinball. Created in France for King louis XVI, it looked like a narrowed billiard table. The aim of the game was to get 9 balls past pins (which act as obstacles) into holes.
Julian Oliver is participating to the show with an improved version of levelHead, the 3D memory game became an instant youtube and blog hit the moment it hit the online turf. The installation which uses physical cubes as its only interface is totally engrossing and nerve-challenging. On screen it appears that each of the cube's faces contains a little room and each of them is logically connected with the others by doors. In one of these rooms there is a character and by tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the way out. Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in. levelHead challenges the player's spatial memory. Each player has 120 seconds to find the exit of each cube and move the character to the next. There are three cubes (levels) in total and, the mnemonic traps become increasingly difficult to avoid as the player progresses.
The game refers to one of the earliest memory systems which consisted in constructing imaginary architectures (memory loci) designed specifically for the purpose of storing information such that it could be retrieved by 'walking through' the building in the mind.
Today, domestic printers, digital tagging systems, address books and journals (on and offline) do the storage and indexing of information in exterior locations like remote databases or local file systems. Similarly, navigating in the real world increasingly tends toward dependence on external media and locative technologies.
With levelHead, moving from one site to another produces an imaginary architecture and positions this memory architecture as the primary means of navigation. Only one side of the cube will reveal a room at any given time and so a memory of the last room - of the positions of entrances and exits, stairs and other features - is necessary to proceed logically to the next movement.
The tangible interface aspect is integral to the function of recall. As the cube is turned by the hands in search of correctly adjoining rooms muscle-memory is engaged and, as such, aids the memory as a felt memory of patterns of turns: "that room is two turns to the left when this room is upside down".
With their Massage me jackets, Hannah Perner-Wilson & Mika Satomi allow massage to enter the video game realm. The jacket is the joystick. By massaging more or less vigourously the back of a volunteer you get to control a fighting avatar. I had fun playing both roles. Being the passive massaged one is extremely relaxing as the designers had spread and repeated the commands all over the back of the jacket, focusing on the areas most likely to beg for a good rub. Now remembering where to massage in order to have your avatar jump or kick requires some practice but playing randomly will not necessarily prevent you from winning the battle.
I'm afraid the best piece of the exhibition for me was William Wegman's Two Dogs and Ball (Dogs Duet). Wegman has always been a favorite of mine (has someone else seen the Deodorant video? It shows him spraying his armpit with an aerosol deodorant until the can is empty, while giving a deadpan testimonial: "It feels real nice going on, and smells good, and keeps me dry all day.")
In Two Dogs and a Ball, Wegman's Weimaraner Man Ray and his companion are mesmerized by a tennis ball which moves off screen. Wegman explained that all he had to do to obtain the comic effect was to move a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention.
During the press conference, Laura Baigorri --one of the curators-- explained that Wegman's video has been selected as an example of how the avant-gardes of the 20th century had introduced an element of play in the artistic practice.
The video is on ubuweb.
Ten days ago i went to the opening of Homo Ludens Ludens the at LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre in Gijon, Spain. Homo Ludens Ludens, the third part of a trilogy the center dedicated to games, explores play as a key element of today' s world.
I'll come back with more details about the exhibition in the next few days but as a smooth prelude to the lengthier coverage, here's a few words about Art of War Parts 4b and 4c , one of the projects i particularly liked.
Art of War features two puzzling video works. Is that a war movie we are watching? A warzone documentary? A news clip? It's also almost impossible to identify the date of the events or to locate the city where the fight takes place. It might be Beirut or Sarajevo.
The warzone was downtown Stokholm. It was a Saturday afternoon, in Spring 2006. It wasn't much of a conflict either, it was a two day army exercise in which lasers were substituted for real bullets and blood and guts are imaginary.
John Paul Bichard (you might remember his beautifully manipulated gamespace interiors) woke up to the sound of heavy machine-gun fire in Stokholm. Armed with a video camera, he recorded the moves of an army whose tanks, troops, APCs and heavy weaponry were simulating a war and using a Saturday afternoon in the city as a battelfield. Right amidst pedestrians, and passing civilian cars and buses...
The video works explore the nature of violence and how violent conflict is contextualised in the digital media age. As 'real' conflict zones become more restrictive, press access more heavily orchestrated, Bichard constructs an intrusive, voyeuristic commentary on the banality of warfare, the fine line that separates authoritarian control from abuse of power and the ease with which society is incorporated into the mechanisms of institutional violence. Uninvited by the authorities and provided only with earplugs, the works document a thrilling encounter with a grim game.
A couple of questions to John-Paul:
You woke up to the sound of heavy machine-gun fire on morning in Stokholm. It was a complete surprise for you. Still, you grabbed a camera and shot what you saw. At which point did you realize that you wanted to use the footage for an artwork? Was it immediate? Or is it the result of a longer process?
I have played video games so much over the years that my life, the games and my art are in a fluid relationship to each other - so the sound of gunfire was literally a trigger for me. I didn't have any solid idea at the time as to what I would finally do with the footage but I had previously been doing some short mobile phone video experiments so the seed was already sown. Much of what I do I either intellectually file away or stick in a folder on one of my highly disorganized hard drives so the footage sat on the drives for some months, then one day I just started to go through it. That's when I rediscovered Edwin's music which had also been sitting around for ages - the video and the musical compositions simply made sense when I started combining them.
Did you feel like a reporter camera in hands or a gamer while you were in the streets with the soldiers?
Well both really, I guess you could say it was like a war correspondent simulation game: a meta-game to the Swedish army's anti-terrorist war game on the streets of Stockholm. When i got to the border of the area, i was greeted by soldiers standing at a table - i was a little nervous thinking I would have to sneak around to get some footage, but they just handed me earplugs and told me to keep away from the tanks (which i didn't and nearly got run over :)). I felt very much like a war cameraman, running from one melee to another. At one point i was shouted at for popping up in the middle of a fire fight - it's hard to explain the feeling of adrenaline when you have a gun pointed at you or you hear a heavy gunfire down the end of a road even if it is just blanks. I still think it's amazing that the exercise was so open to the public, but that is not uncommon for Sweden. I can't imagine the same thing happening in London or Washington DC.
The work is part of your Violencia series, what is its place in the series? How does it differs and / or what are its common points with the other Violencia art pieces?
Well so far there are two works in the series: [art of game] Art of War Parts 1 to 3 which was shot using a high quality 3 chip DVCAM and [art of game] Art of War Parts 4b + 4c which is a double trilogy made from mobile video clips. These works are only the start of the series which follows on from and expands upon the evidencia series. Whilst the evidencia works looks more directly at the metaphors and tropes of videogames, exploring the aesthetics, ethics and power relationships common in violent games,. the violencia series focuses on exploring our need to consume fictionalised violence and our relationship to institutionalised violence. Whilst Parts 1 to 3 has a more documentary feel to it, the work shown at Laboral is more subtle. Mobile video has a very painterly quality to it and by screening the same trilogy on each side of a panel with one work reversed and in colour, the other in black and white, the scenes become very ambiguous. The footage could have come from Warsaw in 1940, the middle east in the 70s, Bosnia in the 90s, it becomes very hard to place and I like that slippage. Whilst both works are fragmentary narratives, playing with documentary, media and cinematographic tropes, 'Parts 4b + 4c' are perhaps a more poignant reminder that whilst a 40million kronor war game was going on in my neighbourhood, not so far away in the world people were waking up to real gunfire on that Saturday morning.
Homo Ludens Ludens runs until 22nd September 2008. If you manage to get to Gijon before May 12, you'll also be able to see the Emergentes exhibition dedicated to media art projects developed by Latin American artists (previous reviews: Life inside bubbles, Emergentes - 10 projects by Latin American artists (part 1), and Part 2.)
Also by John-Paul Bichard: Back Seat Gaming.
Wafaa Bilal grabbed the attention of the media last year with his performance Domestic Tension. Bilal, born in Iraq and currently teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, installed his living quarter at Chicago's Flatfile Gallery. Viewers could peep in on him anonymously 24/7 over a live webcam, chat with him online 24/7 over a live webcam. But the twist was that the camera was affixed to a rifle-sized paintball gun-and online visitors could therefore fire the gun and shoot at the artist, or anything else in his room. 24/7. And according to Newsweek, viewers have shot the gun 40,000 times in the project's first two and a half weeks. The work brought to Chicago the conditions of bombardment felt by citizens of his homeland.
In his latest work Virtual Jihadi, Wafaa Bilal reconfigures the Al Qaeda-produced on-line propaganda video game The Night of Bush Capturing to introduce himself a character in the game, a suicide bomber based on an image of a traditional Arab warrior, and turn it into a rumination on the plight and behavior of civilians caught in a conflict zone.
Bilal's mod and installation is based on a 2003 video game called "Quest for Saddam" that involved players fighting stereotypical Iraqi foes and trying to kill the ex-Iraqi leader. The game in turn inspired an al-Qaida-produced spin-off called The Night of Bush Capturing where the U.S. president is the target. For his piece, Bilal hacked into the al-Qaida game and inserted himself as a suicide bomber who is sent on a mission to kill President Bush.
His work is like one of the missing piece of the puzzle, we get some pieces while watching TV news but the picture is not complete and the media often leaves very little space for dialog anyway. I'll past an extract of the statement from the artist as i think every single word of it is worth reading:
My underlying premise for this piece is that hate is being taught - it's not a natural emotion. And video games are one of the technologies being used to foster and teach hate. I am especially concerned by the ones created by the US military, which are intended to brainwash and influence young minds to become violent. Though Al Qaeda's game where Bush is hunted down and killed generated much international outrage, the U.S. Army's own free on-line game is equal to the Night of Bush Capturing in its propaganda motives. Since I belong to both nations fighting in this current war, and since I am an American, I have the ability and right to question my own government's use of these video games to teach violence and hatred.
Along with shedding light on the power of video games and their manipulative uses by both Al Qaeda and the U.S. military, I want to show how civilians in war zones find themselves switching allegiances as a means of self-preservation as the balance of power shifts. Their cities are turned into battlegrounds, and survival is often a matter of obeying the power that exists at any given time regardless of any ideology.
This dynamic is apparent in various conflicts around the world, and even in any American inner-city where the gang members have more control than police; and civilians recognize this and refuse to cooperate with the police even if they don't intrinsically support the gang members. In Afghanistan, Afghani civilians switch sides depending on who is in power. In Iraq people are constantly switching sides. Most Iraqis who support the insurgency do so not because of ideology, but because of their need for security.
The fighting forces in the Iraq war and most wars do not represent the people of either of the warring nations. It's the fundamentalists - Islamic and evangelical -who fuel this violence, and force civilians to ally with them in order to survive.
So my character in the game will be like any Iraqi civilian on the ground, allying with the power which is dominant at the moment. At the beginning of the game the American soldiers are stronger than Al Qaeda, and I will ally with them, fighting Al Qaeda. But as the game progresses and Al Qaeda becomes more powerful, I will switch sides to fight on behalf of Al Qaeda. That is exactly what is happening in Iraq. The game will culminate with my revenge on the Bush administration for the destruction it has wrought on my country. I will be a suicide bomber who attacks Bush.
Wafaa Bilal's installation re-opened this week at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 Sixth Avenue in Troy. The piece was to be on display through April 4, 2008, as part of a month-long celebration of art, freedom and democracy at the Sanctuary.
Unfortunately, one day after the second opening the City of Troy closed the sanctuary due to "code volition."
Please visit the artist's website and show your support either by writing a letter to Shirley Jackson president of RPI (president at rpi dot edu). Or add your opinion in the chat room. Brian Holmes wrote a clear and well-balanced post about the situation a few days ago. I'd also like to mention an article in The Guardian which discusses the current lack of appetite for films about the war in Iraq.
When i first contacted Wafaa to get a brief email interview last week, i had no idea his work would be censored and his view would be silenced. I must add that his work came to my attention thanks to an email from members of the RPI arts department who are very supportive of Bilal's work. Now for your conversation:
What did your previous project Domestic Tension - Shot in Irak teach you? How did you use what you learned during the performance to develop Virtual Jihad?
WB: It reinforces my notion of the comfort zone versus the conflict zone. Because of image overexposure, we need to come up with smarter tactics and strategies in order to engage people. Otherwise we will continue to exist in the comfort zone while our collective power is taken away by institutions.
In Virtual Jihad, the main character looks like you and carries your name, why do you think it is so important to expose yourself so much personally?
WB: I wanted to place it in the context of reality, the need to reflect life in art. What better way to reflect what Iraqis are going through than a personal tragedy, casting myself as a suicide bomber after the killing of my brother. I represent so many Iraqis who find themselves vulnerable to a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda taking over their homeland. They either become violent because of the pressure or they are forced to join these organizations out of fear or they join because of their outrage at what the U.S. is doing to their homeland.
Why do you use video games as a medium for your interventions? What makes them more powerful or more adapted to the kind of discourse you are engaged in?
WB: Because video games have become the medium of our time, so many people use this popular medium to convey a message. With video games, people are engaged beyond art, their senses are engaged.
Showing your works must be challenging for art venues because all the media attention (and probably mis-understanding) they get. What is the experience you have with exhibition spaces?
WB: We are certainly experiencing the problem of an artist versus the establishment. We are using the power of the internet as an encounter. The internet levels the playing field. Video games are becoming more and more powerful because they bypass the censorship of institutions.
WB: Sometimes the project itself becomes the trigger for the dialog. I'm not necessarily interested in imposing ideas or having a project that is dogmatic. I want the conversation to be carried on outside the gallery walls. The purpose is not art itself but the conversation it triggers
Can you tell us something about your upcoming book? What will it be about?
WB: It is called "Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art, Resistance under the Gun" to be released in Fall 2008 on City Lights Press. It is basically a dual narrative of my Domestic Tension paintball project last Summer and my life in Iraq and the U.S.
However, Wafaa still has one project going on. Online! Run to Dog or Iraqi and cast your vote to decide which one -- a dog named "Buddy," or an Iraqi, himself -- will be waterboarded at an "undisclosed location" in upstate New York. Waterboarding is a form of torture which dates back to the Spanish Inquisition. The person is immobilized on their back with the head inclined downward,, and water is poured over the face and into the breathing passages. Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent. The person would (usually) be "resuscitated" at the last moment
A doctor and a vet will be on hand to minimize the risk of death to the dog or the human being. At the time i spoke with Wafaa, the dog was the clear winner of the contest!
I'll leave you with this video interview of Wafaa commenting on the RPI censorship:
Was taken last week at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California which Kati London and I visited courtesy of Lev Manovich and Jeremy Douglass. The institute was built by architect Louis Kahn as two symmetric concrete buildings with a thin stream of water flowing in the middle of a courtyard that separates the two. Too bad my images don't do justice to this amazing building.
I find it hard to believe that no one has ever shot a movie there. Elio Petri would have done something amazing with this set.
Anyway, any solemn thought and sense of beauty we might have been filled with vanished half an hour after when we met with Mary Flanagan's Giant Joystick which is on view until March 17 in the art gallery in the Calit2 building at UCSD.
Extremely fun and physically exhausting.
More etech08 talks with W. James Au's take onWhy Won't Second Life Just Go Away, Already? Understanding Web 2.0's Most Misunderstood Phenomenon
Throughout 2007, publications like Wired, Forbes, and the LA Times pronounced Second Life over-hyped, while negative press over Ponzi schemes, porn, etc. suggested imminent disaster. Meanwhile, the world's user base tripled (both in terms of monthly active and maximum concurrent users), and continues attracting about a half million new sign-ups a month. How can this possibly be happening?
W. James Au is the author of the recently published The Making of Second Life (amazon usa and uk), online games editor at GigaOM.com, and lives as an embedded journalist inside Second Life on New World Notes. In his blog he takes the position of some kind of archivist conducting ethnographic research of everyday practices and life in this emerging world..
Second Life... "What was it again?" (James Au's PPT slides)
After the year 2006 where SL was on everyone's lips, that was the year i interviewed W. James Au. I actually never really got into SL. I found its aesthetic repulsive but i never stopped finding fascinating pieces of information about what SL was revealing about our society and how it is also contributing to its current shape in James' New World Notes. I was probably not the only person at etech who cultivates some curiosity for the synthetic world. The room was as packed as possible and the doors were left open to allow people crammed in the corridor to listen to the talk.
In Spring 2006, SL made the cover of Business Week. It's Anshe Chung - the "virtual Trump" - who got the cover. The avatar has built a development from nothing and quickly turned it into an operation of 17 people.
A mini dot.com boom followed as many other articles followed Business Week enthusiasm. That's when companies started to knock on the door of Linden Lab with requests to be allowed to get in. Linden Lab resisted for a long time but they changed their policy and allowed companies to buy land like any other user.
These companies would start opening shops to display and sell their stuff to avatar. One of the first company who joined SL was American Apparel. But their efforts were quite useless as the online shops was empty most of the time, most players were just ignoring it. James draw a comparison between this empty shop and the scarcely visited homepage of McDonald's in 1996. The pattern is similar, loads of modern is thrown to join the hype but with very little effect.
James went on by comparing shops selling cars. It appears that a kid who had opened his own shop and made it more appealing with hot babes and rap music was selling way more cars than Nissan who had just opened a shop which didn't looked much more than a giant vending machine.
Anyway, in 2007 the backlash started to hit hard:
The truth lies probably somewhere between the utopia described in the previous paragraphs and the disaster scenarios that would mushroom in 2007.
He was right and soon magazines such as Wired, LA Times, Forbes and many others were reporting failure of commercial ventures in SL.
While backlash stories kept coming in, the active user base has tripled in the space of a year.
TV series like CSI and The Office featured SL in one of their episodes. CSI proposed a feature where the story would continue inside SL. However neither of these TV appearances have contributed much to the overall growth of SL. It's not the media that drives long term activities.
SL keeps on attracting innovation and major companies continue to invest heavily in SL, not just for marketing but also for practical applications:
Interactive demo of the future Cisco Connected Health hospital campus, Palomar West due to open in San Diego, California, in 2011. Video:
IBM uses SL as a platform to design prototypes (3D data center) using OpenSimulator, OS version of SL, reverse engineering project.
Greenies, a '50s style crazy room filled with tiny green aliens attracted the attention of L'Oreal Paris which started to advertise there by placing Copies of their products inside the funhouse. Corporations have learned their lesson and now adjust to what users want.
Corporation presence per se is not as important as one might think. Companies own a total of 2000 islands, that's 15% of the private-owned island which means that corporation presence on the total land mass amounts to less than 5%.
3 principles that make SL keep thriving (so far):
1. Mirrored flourishing - "What you do here should make you better out there"
This principle has been part of the community since its origins
The activities you do in SL can potentially improve your own life. Disabled people who have to stay home use SL to meet other people and get a social life.
SL is a space that creates opportunities. Users own the IP right to the content they create on SL.
2. Bebop Reality - "The virtual world as a 3D jazz combo"
3. Impression society - Whaddya got, and how long are you gonna stick with it?
In SL making an impression is about being cool, compelling, exciting. It is not about money but about how much creativity you can bring to the community.
Impression is also about how long you stay there and provide and that's something that shows by the look of your avatar. A well-dressed avatar for example shows that its user cares for it, has been in the community long enough to polish the appearance of its character. Long-term activity is a prerequisite if you want to be cool in SL.
SL is a very frustrating experience at the beginning. There are neither rules nor guidelines, you have to make them up on your own. According to James Au the result is that SL is an international cutting edge creative space with high barriers to entry.
Kowloon: a Japanese studio 4 made a video game inside SL so that gamers can live inside the game. There's actually a huge amount of content no one knows about. Some of the most active users are from Brazil and Japan.
Steampunks are an active community in SL and a rather large one with 30 to 35 000 active users.
Midian cities, role play inside SL giving its users a "third life". Like a mini-MMO. The users don't chat as much as they write a story collaboratively and on the fly.
My Second Life, The video diaries of Molotov Alva: documentary in SL (coming soon to HBO). There are many Machinima makers but only ten of them can be regarded as top talent as their movies go beyond the usual audience of the SL community. Usually machinima don't, they are for insiders.
Ajax Life, a web-based client for Second Life that does not rely on browser plugins. Made and constantly improved by a 15 year old girl between her classes.
Several versions of SL on the phone.
SL hooked up with a jogging treadmill. Video:
James also mentioned a Danish architecture studio which uses SL to play with SL and tries to figure out what architecture could be like were it not all those regulation rules, they came up with a desing of building that looks like pearls and some Chinese contractors found about it and the building might be realized in China.
No matter if and how SL grows up it has proved itself as a valuable platform for experimentation and prototyping. 300 universities using Sl as a teaching tool.