UWA: making everyone welcome

The UWA campus in SL

It began with a team from the University of Western Australia and Google SketchUp. Having won the Google “Build your Campus in 3D” competition, for which the team re-created some of the physical world’s campus buildings in SketchUp, it was but a short, logical step to want to bring those same buildings into Second Life, and create the campus in a more detailed fashion. SketchLife is the product of a UWA student – SketchLife realises SketchUp models as prim-based builds in Second Life.

Jayjay Zifanwe (SL) heads the team which put together the buildings and the surrounds of the UWA campus in Second Life. This team, composed of people from the UWA, together with associates gathered from across the globe – and discovered through Second Life – has done a marvellous job of creating a campus that is welcoming to all. Apart from the rendering of the real-life campus, intended for prospective students, alumni, and the vice-chancellor, there’s also:

– a skybox, intended to be used by university staff to run classes in
– a magnificent art exhibitions, composed of the ingenious works of Glyph Graves
– the entries for the UWA’s art and design competitions.

The main UWA landing site can be found here.

Mini Launch Day, August 21st 2009

4004178744_a7a1d5da80The mini-launch of the UWA sims occurred in August, well before the campus was complete. Jayjay Zifanwe and Ted Snell worked feverishly for several weeks and at least one whole weekend to ready the Astronomy art gallery in the SL Physics building for the occasion.

Spreading the word

After the mini-launch, but prior to the main launch, Wad Halberstadt, from the UWA’s School of Business, was gamely plugging away at teaching his Electronic Communication Strategy classes in Second Life, unaware of the work going on in other parts of the university. It took a chance meeting between Wad’s student, Leonie Clarrington, and Jayjay, to bring the campus builders and the teachers together. Wad and Jayjay have collaborated on the project since that time.

Main Launch Day, October 2nd 2009

uwa_launchOn the launch day of the UWA sims, 40 people attended the ceremony as avatars in Second Life, and 120 people packed into a RL space to attend. The people in the physical space were able to follow the proceedings in SL; the SL folk able to view the video kindly relayed the action for the other people unable to view the video through SL.

The IMAGINE competition: calling all artists

Second Life is swarming with artists of all persuasions, and what do artists like better than extra cash to help them to continue making art?  Peer recognition, perhaps? A place to exhibit? How about all of the above?

What better way to encourage this burgeoning group than to offer prizes, put on awards ceremonies, and then display the winning pieces in pride of place?

UWA has recently launched the IMAGINE 3D art competition, open to all users of Second Life. The response to this launch has pleased and overwhelmed the UWA SL team – there were 30 submissions for IMAGINE, and 40 people were present in Second Life for the awards ceremony for the inaugural month. The IMAGINE competition has been designed to encourage people to push their imaginations to the limits, and to submit work which expresses their best efforts in their SL favourite medium. There is a 100 prim limit on submissions.

Due to the efforts of the UWA team, the prizes for the overall winners at the end of the IMAGINE competition have been increased to L$75,000 each for first place, L$14,000 for second place; also L$14,000 for the best non-scripted entry. Monthly prizes come in at L$5,000 for first place, L$1,250 for second place, and L$1,250 for the best non-scripted entry. Additionally, the two winners receive a custom RL tee-shirt.

Each entrant who submits any genuine entry (not a block of plywood), and does not win a main prize, is eligible to receive money from the participation pool. The participation pool for the month of September was filled by Jayjay Zifanwe, Sasun Steinbeck and Tranguloid Trefoil, and in October, Phillip Vought will be contributing. If you would like to donate to the participation pool, you can do so here.

The monthly judging panel consists of: Professor Ted Snell (RL) – Director, Cultural Precinct, The University of Western Australia, Frank Roberts (RL) – The University Architect, The University of Western Australia, John Barret-Lennard (RL) – Curatorial Director, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Jayjay Zifanwe (SL) – Owner of The University of Western Australia, Raphaella Nightfire (SL) – CEO SW&MB Fashion Productions, CEO Evane Model Agency
Snr Writer Best of SL Magazine, Owner Sanctorum Gallery, Tranguloid Trefoil (SL) – Owner of WASP at the University of Western Australia. Each of these people is well-versed in the judging of art, therefore when they sat down together to judge the September competition, many of their decisions were unanimous.

Along with honourable mentions for the works of Venom Silverfall, Ninka Darkstone, Tweak Serpente/Strix Serenity and Soror Nishi, and the Best New Artist award, going to Isaa Gelber (see the reason why here), the main place-getters for September were:

First Place: Snubnose Genopeak

Best Non-Scripted Entry: Isaa Gelber

Second Place: Alizarin Goldflake.

September Round Winners: view them here.

Jayjay Zifanwe, as the head of the UWA team, has been particularly impressed with the efforts of Quadrapop Lane with regards to IMAGINE, naming her “the jewel of Western Australia”. Along with Jayjay, Quadrapop acts as the co-host of IMAGINE, and is the curator for all the entries. In a world where much art is plonked down higgledy-piggledy next to contrasting, distracting, or down-right incompatible pieces, Quadrapop’s efforts have allowed the entries to shine individually, and create a harmonious whole of all the pieces together.

The FLAGSHIP competition: calling all architects

There were fewer entrants for the FLAGSHIP competition, the design component, and with good reason. While IMAGINE encourages people to push their imaginations to the limits, and to submit work which expresses their best efforts in their favourite media, the end goal of FLAGSHIP is to attempt to bring the winning Second Life build into being as a physical building on the UWA campus.

Likewise, the FLAGSHIP competition attracts prizes of L$75,000 and L$14,000 for the first and second place-getters in the overall competition, and L$5,000 and L$1,250 for the equivalent in the monthly competitions.

Flagship Winner: view it here.

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