Tutsy Navarathna’s machinimas never fail to amaze me. The latest, MetaPhore, exceeds any I’ve seen before and received awards at both the University of Western Australia in Second Life’s MachinimUWA VII competition and on the same day, was winner of the SciFi Film Festival’s Screen my Short award.
Like all of Tutsy Navarathna’s machinimas, MetaPhore is filmed exquisitely. You’ll find some still frames from it below. I won’t give away the plot here, but it’s a love story, said to be based on a true story, with a twist that anyone who’s spent any amount of time in virtual worlds will recognize as plausible. If you don’t see it at SL12B, be sure to watch it on Vimeo or YouTube. It’s worth watching.
On Monday February 14, 2011 HBO will present the documentary When Strangers Click: Five Stories from the Internet. It includes machinima segments filmed in Second Life™.
The film features five couples who met over the internet, including one who met in Second Life The film’s website says “Kim packed a wedding gown and flew to Prague to marry a man she had only met online. Dave met scores of women before having to reveal a physical shortcoming. At 30, Beth had given up on love before going online. Ryan Googled “gay” to figure out who he was. And Jonas literally found a new life through his Second Life avatar. When these strangers clicked, their lives changed forever.”
Julie Perkins, who met Jonas in SL, writes about the experience, “My boyfriend and I met in SL in June 2007 and partnered in the game in August 2007. We met in rl in Jan 2010 and are loving every minute we are together. I wrote this for our ‘Soulmate Union’ which I created in SL: A soulmate is not someone you recognize at the beginning of a relationship. It is the reward at the end of the journey. It has to be earned. Worked for. Discovered. We started our journey together in a completely different place than where we are now. Where we were coming from we didn’t recognize each other as soulmates. We have both worked hard at the relationship and are always putting each other first before our own desires and wants. Caring more for the others happiness than our own. Through all of this, we have discovered we are each others half. What makes our souls whole again. We have earned this union. From this day forward, our love will be our strength. This marks the beginning of what is our real journey….. The journey of our soulmate union. (c)2011”
Back in 2003, a group of software developers in San Francisco were too busy creating a new virtual world called Second Life to attend something else they loved, the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, so they did something audacious. After getting permission from Burning Man organizers, they created their own Burning Man in Second Life, which they called Burning Life.
Burning Life became an annual tradition and in October 2009, Second Life will hold it’s seventh annual Burning Life. The following machinima created by Loki Eliot is a teaser to give you a taste of what’s to come during the week of October 17-25 during Burning Life 2009:
I’ll be writing more about Burning Life 2009 in coming days and weeks.
"I believe that a village in Africa with a couple of computers powerful enough to connect to a virtual world could be the shared resources that people could use to communicate, work, learn." That’s the vision of Linden Lab‘s founder and former CEO Philip Rosedale as expressed in an interview with Draxtor Despres on the machinimaObama in Ghana…and the Metaverse was watching!.
Rikomatic‘s machinima of the event discussed here yesterday and Draxtor Despres’ machinima show two very different but equally valid approaches to covering President Obama’s speech in Ghana. Rikomatic choose to use the format to convey the speech itself, while Draxtor Despres chose to use the speech as a context in which to interview five people: U.S. State Department Director of Innovative Engagement William Mays, Ghanian-born Julius Sowu, Linden Lab’s Philip Rosedale, Internews‘ Vice-President for Africa, Health, and Humanitarian Media Mark Frohardt, and former ambassador to QatarKenton Keith.
Julius in Second Life
Julius Sowu, who emigrated to the U.K from Ghana in 1981, spoke of how social media are making it harder for politicians to spin events like this, and said "The shining outcome will come when more of us can sit down at the same table, virtual and real, and truth comes through. Virtual worlds are here to stay." Counter viewpoints were expressed by Mark Frohardt and Kenton Keith. Frohardt felt that the low penetration of broadband and computers in Africa combined with the explosive growth of cell phones made the latter a more effect means of communication there. Keith was concerned about the"miniscule amount of Americans who work or study abroad" and feared that "Americans will use [virtual worlds] instead of the other kinds of exchanges that are absolutely essential."
Second Life avatars watching President Obama
Draxtor Despres ended the machinima by saying, "I trust that young people know how to utilize virtual worlds to get acquainted with other cultures which they can then explore in the physical world."
A virtual world and United States presidential first took place last month when a speech by President Obama was streamed live into two virtual worlds, Second Life and Metaplace, from the African nation of Ghana. Even for a president as media-savvy as Obama, this was his most tweeted, Facebooked, and SMS‘d event to date. After the speech, a mixed reality question-and-answer session allowed folks in Second Life and Metaverse to ask questions of three African experts.
Although this event did not receive much publicity, it was important both for technical and the political challenges it presented, and particularly because it brings virtual worlds closer to the mainstream of American life.
You can watch an excerpt from President Obama’s speech as seen in Second Life on rikomatic‘s YouTube video of the event here (warning: the audio portion is not great)::
Day four of the Second Life Community Convention began with.Linden Lab‘s Tom Hale (pictured on the right) unveiling new features that are coming soon, and sneak peaks at wish list items we could see over the coming year. These include features such as searchable maps, pre-developed land for sale, a new registration form for new members (thank you, Linden Lab … I’ve had to guide several noobs through the confusing current registration procedure!), a new social website-like dashboard that integrates the various aspects of a resident’s Second Life existence, and a redesigned secondlife.com website. There were also mentions of plans to allow use of allowing the use of mesh for 3D modeling, allowing multiple media textures including Flash, interactive web textures that allow clicking on links, and collaborative text editing.
In the afternoon, machinimas from the 2009 MaMachinima Festival were shown. The next two pictures are from two of the machinimas shown. The first is from the machinima Orientation, which was made in Second Life at Virtual Holland by Chantal Harvey, with performance by Arthole (Arahan Claveau and Nebulosus Severine). The next one is from Erlkönig, based on the story by 18th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and made in Second Life by Cisco Vandeverre.
According to the Mamachinama website, these machinimas can all be viewed from within Second Life, but when I tried it, the SLURL was for an invalid location. DVDs were handed out to people at SLCC, which is where these images came from.
One of the most amazing workshops to me was the one in which Max the Virtual Guide Dog was demonstrated. Most people don’t know that there are blind people in Second Life, who join for essentially the same reasons that sighted people do – to have fun and to meet people. Max allows the visually-impaired to navigate through Second Life and be aware of where they are, where they are headed, and what objects and avatars are around them. You can learn more at the Virtual Guide Dog Project.
This was the fourth and final day of SLCC 2009. You can read about the preceding days of the convention in Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.
Molotov Alva, the title character, is a resident of the suburban town of Petaluma, California, who one day falls out of his "real" existence in California into a virtual existance in Second Life. The ten part series consists of his video "dispatches" chronicling his attempts to create a life in this new world, so memories of it don’t slip away into oblivious as his memories of his "real" life have.
In Hindu tradition, Nataraja is a cosmic dancer whose dance leads to the creation of the universe. This is the basis of the machinima, "The Great Dance – Myth of Nataraja".
The machinima’s producer, Gary Hayes (Gary Hazlitt in Second Life) says of it, "Nataraja is both the destroyer and the creator of the universe. He dances away the destruction of a world of illusion followed by the creation of a world of enlightenment." Hayes has a long list of achievements, including being Director of Australia’s Laboratory for Advanced Media Production.
I think you’ll enjoy this. If you question the creative potential of machinima, this may persuade you.
If you are in Great Britain, you can see this machinima in its world premier live screening at moves09, an "international festival of movement on screen", April 23-28, 2009 in Manchester and other locations in Britain. The link for the festival showing of Myth of Nataraja is here.
This machinima shows an example of Crescendo Design using Second Life to construct a model house in Second Life based on real life architectural plans, accompanied by the inspiring music of Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony.