It’s Duran Duran’s Universe (and we are all just visitors)

How do you describe the Duran Duran Universe?

Take Jane Fonda from Barbarella, sprinkle in some Blade Runner, let Andy Warhol blend it all together (for 15 minutes only), give it a good run through the transporter of the Starship Enterprise and set the entire thing to a thumping soundtrack for THE pop band of the 80’s, and you have a pretty good start.

Officially opened in 2011, The Duran Duran Universe (DDU) is, according to the band’s website, the permanent virtual residence of and by the band Duran Duran. If you have not yet not been to the DDU sims, you owe it to yourself to run, not walk, and give it a visit. Although the bands music and imagery are certainly evident throughout the area, the sim is much more than just an all out tribute to a musical group. Using some really interesting visual and sound arrangements, The DDU is a virtual feast for both the ears and the eyes.

A  lipstick shaped tower-nightclub  reaching into the sky, a giant retro phonograph club, geometric light displays, plus a mountain range of snow capped eyeballs staring back at me all combined to make my avi felt like it was on acid (again) as I explored the location. My favorite spots were a tunnel of light that made me long for my Spirograph from chidhood, plus a…well, it is sort of like a…a…it is an awesome  musical light and sound thingy! (Work with me here!)  Imagine sitting in a chair and you are surrounded by circling boxes each identifying a track of a song. Touch a circling box marked “bass” and a bass line begins. Touch the box marked “vocal” and Simon Lebon is singing to the bassline. Keep adding and subtracting from over a dozen choices and you are creating your own mix of a Duran song.

A few  real word musical groups have tried to establish a presence in Second Life, with mixed results. WIth the DDU, Duran Duran is doing it better than most and seems to take a keen interest in the virtual world. Duringa recent show for the 2012 Olympics, the band used footage from SL in the background during their live performance.

Chrissy Welinder

Chrissy Welinder is the DDU Community Manager and in world face of the DDU. An admitted fan of the band, she keeps everything running in world. I really love how she has taken what could have simply been a typical “Isn’t Duran Duran Awesome” self indulgent promotional space, and made it into a real piece of performance art that any 80’s supergroup would be proud of.

Visit the DDU in Second Life

 

A machinima project reminds me of what we are capable of in Second Life.

Sometimes we think we have seen it all in Second Life. Then someone comes along like KabukFarshore who presents something to us that, at least for me, is a reminder that Second Life is limited only by our imaginations. The film is entitled “echo quietes serenata” and I wanted to share it with you because frankly, I can’t stop watching it. For me, this is so well done that there are moments I forget I am watching something created in Second Life. I found it to be both melancholy and uplifting. (I also love when the music stops and you just hear clapping!) Take a look for yourself:

According to her blog, this work was done as part of the University of Western Australia’s 5th Short Animated Film Festival: “See Wisdom”. The UWA is one of the few reaming universities maintaining a  presence in Second Life.

In her video post, Farshore says the piece is  “a film essentially about how we learn. To me, wisdom is a combination of how we handle things beyond our control (in this case, a small… apocalypse), and how we respond to the situations that we ourselves create.”

See this and more of Farshor’s work here.

The University of Western Australia in Second Life

Not Everything Is Plain … (even in your Second Life.)

I love when artists take on the basic environment in Second Life and convert it into something beautiful or thought provoking. Despite the increase in costs to do so, artists have a history of grabbing hold of the flat, bland look of SL and twisting it, massaging it and painting it into something truly unique.

One of the latest to do so is artist Fuschia Nightfire who has created a wonderful sim environment entitled “Not Everything Is Plain Black & White”. Nightfire has created an immersive, interactive environment using very simple shades of black and white. The main path takes you through elaborate, dazzling halls into to wide open vistas.I love when you can stray form a main path and still find  some unique settings, and this environment that  Nightfire has made has plenty to see. My favorite part of the visit was coming across beautiful “transparent” Zebras. I am always amazed how a certain environment in SL, when done well, can provoke a feeling to me in RL.  There are those moments when a place can actually make me “feel” cold or warm, or provoke optimism  or melancholy. I would say Nightfire’s creation has moments of all the above.

At the entrance area, Nightfire has taken the time to provide some wonderful free gifts that go along with the theme of her display, including skins, eye shades and a few clever outfits for both men and women. The Exhibition runs from 20th January until 20th February 2012.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MetaLES/56/62/30