Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters

It’s been a great couple of weeks for interesting new Australian presences in Second Life. Last weekend, ‘Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters‘ launched. It’s a fascinating take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth character, a “timely use of pop culture as an adaptive bridge between classic texts and new media technology”.

The first five minutes of my wanderings around the build were reminiscent of the last Australia Council funded build I wandered around, Babelswarm. In this case, the New Media Consortium provided part of the funding as well. The similarity isn’t in relation to content, it’s the quality of the content. As Macduff says in the play: “The life o’ the building!”.

Three Australian collaborators were involved with the project: multimedia artist Kate Richards, theatre and film director Kerreen Ely Harper and Angela Thomas, a writer and educationalist.

For me, the power of the experience is that there’s plenty of room left for self-interpretation of the intent. Having studied Macbeth a (cough) few years ago, the strength of the themes from that work are strong. English teachers take note: this is an obvious boon for the student analysing Macbeth – the immersiveness and open interpretation provides one mighty playground for discussion of the play itself.

Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.

I think it’s fair to say that for most student, Shakespeare can be one of the more forbidding hurdles to overcome, and initiatives like this can only help lower those hurdles. Kudos to the creators, the NMC and to the Australia Council, who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to virtual worlds as artistic platform.

Check it out in-world

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  1. Thanks for sharing
    best regards

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  1. […] When comparing the efforts of the Consortium to local ones, the lack of action by key governmental departments becomes more obvious. The USA experience shows diverse departments like Defence, Energy and Health all examining virtual worlds closely. To be fair, there’s obviously a much greater critical mass of employees in the US, but it still does paint a stark contrast to what’s happening in Australia. The tertiary sector is leading the way with little indication of anyone following at the Federal level aside from independent bodies like the ABC and the Australia Council who’ve invested in some impressive projects. […]

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