To cross the Luminarios Divide

Update: The Luminarios Divide has closed, the region is under new ownership.

Over the past few weeks I’ve received a number of IMs, notecards and Twitter direct messages from people telling me about places I might like to visit and blog about. While suggestions are always appreciated, and I will try to get around to visiting as many as I can if you do drop me word, please be advised that it might take a while for me to get around to doing so.

One of these recommendations (thank you, Baz!) was to pay a visit to the Lumenarios Divide in Storm, a unique and quite beautiful Adult-rated build.

Luminarios Divide
Luminarios Divide

You have come to a land the likes of which you have never seen before. The living aura of this place calls out to you with a maternal need that strikes your very core. It begs to embrace you and welcomes you to explore it. There is evidence all around that you are not the first to stumble upon this ancient, sleeping giant of a place. The beings that inhabit this land have been here longer than they can remember, and soon, so shall you. Here, all are welcome and those that have come before have made Love, War, and above all, Beauty.

So reads the greeting awaiting newcomers to this most ancient of realms. For those who wish to immerse themselves in the story of the Divide, a storybook can be obtained from the arrival point. In it lay the story of how the Divide came to be and who came to it both in pilgrimage and to seek a place to live.

Luminarios Divide
Luminarios Divide

Surrounded by barren hills, the Divide is a wondrous place; a series of small, mostly verdant islands over which are suspended even more islands, held aloft by balloons and spinning propellers, the blades of which might be so many petals from a flower.

Walkways extend between the water-borne islets and climb up to and between those floating in the clear, blue skies. Climbing them takes time – and for the faint of heart there is also a teleport system – but it brings with it rewards of its own, as following the rocky paths leads to discoveries the teleports can easily miss.

Luminarios Divide
Luminarios Divide

The Divide is the vision of Luminaer Moonflower and Anitsas Gi’tli,T and is intended to fulfil many needs: role-play environment, a romantic setting for couples; somewhere to dance away the hours; a place to rest the spirit and marvel at the beauty of the build; somewhere to simply enjoy. It is a place which is well worth taking time to visit and explore, and to immerse yourself in the lore Luminaer and Anitsas have created.

For my part, I fell in love with the region; it has an otherworldly feel to it without actually – aside from the fact the islands are floating in the sky – being overtly otherworldly. The sky and water, the trees and plants are all very much of this world – as are the balloons holding the walkways aloft. So there is a sense of familiarity with the region which encourages one to feel at home;  yet at the same time the fantastical nature of the region is underlined in a very subtle way. Again, this is not so much that you are walking among floating islands, but in the things you find, from the bones of a great dragon through to the etherial floating lanterns…

All-in-all, a fabulous place in which to spend time.

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The Drax Files 5: Engrama make SL rock

The fifth segment of The Drax Files moves somewhat away from the central theme of the series to date, that of content creators and their work in Second Life and shines a light on the live music scene within SL. In doing so, it again demonstrates the rich diversity of opportunity which is available within the digital world.

Engrama: image courtesy of Draxtor Despres
Engrama (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)

Engrama is a partnership of musicians in both in the real world and in SL in the form of Argentine-born Pupito Helstein and his Spanish girlfriend Lakua Arriaga. Like many musicians who have embraced Second Life, they’ve found that the platform has provided them with a unique world-wide reach that provides an added dimension to their real-world lives.

“We have no backing tracks, it’s all live,” Pipito says of their in-world performances, “We prefer to play original songs; In fact we improvise in Second Life, we sometimes create even original songs.”

“It totally depends on the mood of the crowd,” Lakua adds.

Engrama: Lakua (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)
Engrama: Lakua (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)

Operating from their mountain village home, Engrama have developed not only a distinctive voice, focusing on post-rock era music (which includes covers of Sigur Ros, Radiohead and others as well as their own original pieces), but also a distinctive presence. They’ve taken to building their own stage sets and instruments to better reflect their music and style. More recently, this has led the couple into wider fields of content creation, making prefab homes, furniture and clothing. Pupito has even attempted to encourage his musician friends to embrace Second life, spending time creating unique avatars for them.

Engrama: Pupito (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)
Engrama: Pupito (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)

“There is one magic thing in Second Life,” Lakua says as the couple distinguish between their real world and Second Life experiences, “[That’s] when people send us messages like, ‘Hey guys, I heard Engrama music at the Colorado [Grand] Canyon on a trip!'”

“People record our Second Life shows,” Pupito adds, “And then they listen to them on their iPods.”

“They share with us how our music makes them feel,” Lakua finishes.

This is not boasting in any way; the statements are made in a tone of delight and wonder which demonstrates both Lakua and Pupito are themselves awed by the impact their music can have on an audience they might otherwise never reach. “This  is real interaction,” Lakua states as the video closes, “Second Life is a parallel life, they [it and real life] can go together, and sometimes they can cross.”

And that is again the magical power contained within Second Life – not only that we can come into the digital world and free ourselves from the constraints of everyday life and business and create and play and have a lot of fun or share time with others – but that we have within this digital domain the ability to reach far beyond ourselves, to touch others and be touched by them, to share, uplift and help others, and be a part of lives, and make them a part of our own in ways which simply cannot be achieved in the physical world.

Continue reading “The Drax Files 5: Engrama make SL rock”