Babelswarm Revisited

As we’ve previously mentioned, Babelswarm is a fascinating installation developed by writer Justin Clemens, visual artist Christopher Dodds and musician/artist Adam Nash – all from Australia.

I did a walk through Friday evening and grabbed some pictures though the impact of it is well and truly best experienced in-world.

We’ve also featured a video walkthrough in this week’s Weekend Whimsy

Check it out in-world.

Babelswarm – Australia Council launches Second Life art project

An Australia Council project that was initially announced nearly a year ago, has come to fruition.

Babelswarm is the final product of writer Justin Clemens, visual artist Christopher Dodds and musician/artist Adam Nash and it’s being launched this evening at 5.30pm, Friday 11th April. It’s a simultaneous launch in Second Life and in Lismore, NSW at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

The Australia Council describes Babelswarm:

The installation, a metaphor for the Tower of Babel, uses voice recognition software that converts the spoken word of real and virtual participants into 3-D letterform images in an evolving tower of words. The artwork is a simultaneous installation in Second Life and in a real world gallery, where visitors can be involved directly in its creation via a computer interface.

Babelswarm installation

The Australia Council’s chairman, former QANTAS CEO James Strong, is upbeat about the use of Second Life for artists and the Australia Council’s support of such endeavours: “Virtual worlds like Second Life are fast becoming mainstream platforms for artistic interaction; we are keen to provide pathways for artists to continue to innovate in these rich digital environments. The Australia Council supports artist residencies in many places in the real world; it is only natural for us to help artists explore the creative possibilities of residencies in virtual worlds.”

The Lismore Regional Gallery is located at 131 Molesworth Street, Lismore, NSW. The exhibition will run until April 23, 2008. The Babelswarm blog has much more detail of the installation.

Check it out in-world

(Pictures: Babelswarm, 2008)

Richard Sealey Exhibition

On Telstra’s Ponden sim, an artist has created an exhibition presence. Richard Sealey (SL: Ritchey Jacobus) is pretty up-front with his intentions:

“I’m looking at creating a pemanent display of my art using SL to promote my name around the world with links to my website. Through this I hope to generate RL sales”.


The exhibition opens this Sunday the 25th November at 11am AEST (Sat 24th 4pm SL time).

Check it out in-world

Australia Council announce grant winners

Sorry, a little slow on the uptake on this – on the 5th September the Australia Council announced who it would give a $20 000 grant to for artstic development in Second Life, something we covered a while back.

Congratulations to Christopher Dodds, Adam Nash and Justin Clemens. We’ll try to touch base with one or all to find out about any plans underway.

(Thanks to SL Insider who made me realise I’d missed this announcement)

Thursday’s Fictions Q&A a success

This afternoon, the ABC Island Ampitheatre played host to the Q&A session following the ABC TV screening of Thursday’s Fictions.


The panel consisted of Dr Richard James Allen , Dr Karen Pearlman, Gary Hayes and Story Consultant Jacqueline Turnure and the discussion was moderated by Christy Dena and audio streamed. Around twenty-five people sat in-world on the discussion with lots of questions around the translation of the story into SL, the collaborative process that allowed the project to succeed and the potential for such projects to increase the engagement of the wider community with SL as an entertainment medium.


Check out Thursday’s Fictions in-world

(For more pictures: go here).

Weekend Whimsy

Each Friday we’re going to provide a sampling of content generated by SL users and posted on services like YouTube. Here’s Round 1:

1. The Cecil Codex Chapter 5

2. Second Me

3. Globe Theatre Opening

Thursday’s Fictions

A fascinating Australian collaboration is about to make its SL debut. ‘Thursday’s Fictions’ is described as a surreal dance fantasy and it’s screening on ABC TV this Sunday, 29th July at 3pm AEST. Directly afterwards at 4pm at the ABC Ampitheatre on ABC Island there’ll be a Q&A session with Dr Richard James Allen, Dr Karen Pearlman, Gary Hayes and Story Consultant Jacqueline Turnure.

A standalone SL presence based on Thursday’s Fictions is close to completion. Gary Hayes was kind enough to point us to the build for Thursday’s Fictions for a preview and it looks like being an interesting and interactive presence. It’s likely a landmark for it will be provided at the Q&A session on Sunday.


Check the ABC website for more details on the screening or the LAMP blog for more detail on the SL build by Gary Hayes.

We asked Gary for his thoughts on the build:

“It was particularly exciting recreating what I had read and seen of the film and making it relevant to Second Life – so I was careful not to just clone the sets or be too real world in translations of the metaphors of spirituality – but try to imagine given unlimited pallette what the choices around reincarnation could be”.

Gary also gave a brief synopsis of the film and the SL build’s relationship to it:

“It is the story of a lady called Thursday who tries to cheat reincarnation in that she takes the wrong things with her into each new life. So the Second Life experience is to get you, to think about what qualities you would carry with you into a new existence. I have built a small user journey through this and the idea is to go into further development to build all the story elements – the days representing new lives. Richard Allen and Karen Perlman have been great in allowing me to work with them to be very SL specific with this”.

Update: Check out Thursday’s Fictions in-world”>

Contempo Institute shows Australian artist

The Contempo Institute is a gallery space holding an opening party on July 19th at 7pm SLT (Midday this Friday the 20th Australian Eastern time).

The exhibition is titled The Body Graffik and it showcases 2D works by four artists working with the human form. Additionally, they are showing two works by Australian artist Reni Voom: Metal Sea and the Touchable Autumn.


Reni’s take on his work and the exhibition:

“If I had my life over again I’d be a computer programmer;
If I had my life over again I’d be an architect;
If I had my life over again I’d be a graphic designer;
If I had my life over again I’d be an animal trainer; Dogs? No, more likely ducks. (Maybe I like animation rather than animal training);

If I had my life over again I’d be a bird or a goat;
If I had my life over again I’d be a scientist who studies obscure quirks of nature;
If I had my life over again I’d be a child for life;
If I had my life over again I’d be a mathematician who could fill a chalkboard with complicated equations and formulas. And understand what I have written, of course. (I’ll need a bow tie for that job).

Second Life offers an opportunity to dabble in all these fields of experience. I enjoy environments where my learning curve is steep. The ease of building within virtual reality allows me to visually brainstorm, experiment with ideas and, if luck is on my side, bring works to a stage of resolution. It happens faster in here than in real life.

Second Life is not separate from the real world, it’s an extension. I’ve spent years working in the fields of ceramics and printmaking Both these mediums combine my interest in Visual Arts and Science. Two years ago I finally completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts. My honours year was spent exploring the nature of rust and decay.

My challenge in my first series of work, as a Second Life groupie, is to create objects that evoke the sense of touch though visuals and sound. Often in galleries in real life we have to stand back from the art and experience the work passively. I want you to walk into, touch and attempt to knock over my pieces.


Reni Voom”

Check it out in-world

The Sun Never Sets

Australian machinima auteur Skribe Forti has produced a short “avant-garde soap opera” titled The Sun Never Sets.



Who needs Young and the Restless?

Australia Council announces first in-world artists forum

The Australia Council certainly can’t be accused of not howing interest in Second Life as a means of artistic expression. Last week we reported on the ‘matchmaker’ service for artists and musicians working in Second Life. Now, in conjunction with the ABC they’ve announced an artist forum for the 12th July:

“The in-world event, to be moderated by ABC’s Sunday Arts reporter/producer Fenella Kernebone, is for the Australia Council’s inaugural Second Life artist residency.

In an open forum at 7pm (EST) on ABC Island, Paris-based artist and architect Brad Kligerman – one of the first artists in Second Life to complete an in-world residency – will present his work, discuss ideas and answer participants’ questions.

Brad, an architect and teacher, completed his 11-week residency with US-based Ars Virtua , a new media centre and gallery in Second Life, where he questioned the idea of materiality in the rendered environment and the nature of image.


Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said the partnership with the ABC was a great fit with the Australia Council’s Second Life initiative. ‘The ABC was the first Australian media organisation to establish a presence in Second Life and we are excited about working with them on this project.’

‘We hope that Australian artists gain valuable insight from Brad Kligerman’s successful art interventions in Second Life and that they will be inspired to create innovative works in-world that will place them at the forefront of this groundbreaking practice,’ Kathy Keele said.

The Australia Council has also set up an artist’s forum in Second Life for artists looking for other artists with whom to collaborate. The moderated artists forum can be found at ABC Island and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Island, Esperance.”

Like any event, places are limited so drop an email to with your Second Life Avatar name. The event will be streamed live at a location to be announced and and a vodcast . A vodcast of the event will also be available on the ABC Sunday Arts website . Sunday Arts screens at 5.00pm on… Sundays.

For more information on Ars Virtua and Brad Kligerman visit

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