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

$100,000 in virtual learning prizes up for grabs

The New Media Consortium (NMC) have announced they have 100 thousand US dollars available to fund up to twenty “innovative open-source learning experiences”.

Read all about it here – I get really inspired by the momentum that’s behind education in virtual worlds now.

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