Pictures in the Mind’s Eye

I’ve been waiting to visit Nino Vichon’s When the Mind’s Eye Listens since it opened, doubly so after seeing Ziki Questi’s piece on the installation. However, I held off for a number of reasons, one of them being that with my decision to get a new PC, I wanted to try my hand at some basic in-world machinima, and Nino’s piece offered itself as the ideal subject.

When the Mind's Eye Listens
When the Mind’s Eye Listens

The piece itself, part of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Full Sim Arts series, represents a journey through the neural pathways of the mind, as they hold your dreams, memories and fantasies, often intertwining with one another or intersecting one another and creating new pathways, combining them with other stimuli, all of which my feed back into the creative drive.

It’s a fascinating piece, largely driven through particle generators, built across a number of individual levels which present an immersive piece which is ideal for experiencing in the first person via Mouselook. Simply use the magic carpet present at each level’s teleport point to ride the neural paths and let your eyes  – and ears, as there is an aural element to the piece – take-in the marvels of a quite creative and beautiful journey.

When the Mind's Eye Listens
When the Mind’s Eye Listens

Each level is entirely self-contained with its own carpet ride, and if you like you can try Nino’s suggested experiment and ride the carpet with your eyes closed and just listen to the sounds around you (best done with headphones).

If you want to enjoy the visual element of the installation, take a few minutes to adjust your viewer to get the best experience: set your time to midnight, push your particle effects up (if like me, you tend to tone them down during “normal” SL use), and if you have a viewer which allows you to do so easily, push up your rendered glow and luminance a few stops each.

When the Mind's Eye Listens
When the Mind’s Eye Listens

I’ve long enjoyed particle-based art in SL – as many know, I’m a paid-up member of the Tyrehl Byk fan club 🙂 – and Nino’s 3D work presented here is another excellent demonstration as to what can be achieved with the constructive use of particles in SL. With new particle capabilities already available server-side and just waiting the viewer-side controls, I’m looking forward to seeing what artists like Nino and Tyrehl come up with in the future.

Another thing which has long fascinated me in SL is machinima and video-making. While I have posted a few videos in my time to YouTube, all of them have relied upon still images and creative editing on my part to produce what amounts to slide shows with music, rather than true videos. This is because the old PC never really had the horse-power to handle SL and video capture. That’s changed with the new machine, and while I’m not going to be rushing off and filming everything at every turn, I did want to see what it would be like to capture and edit some “real” in-world video.

While it may seem a little cheeky on my part, Nino’s piece has been the ideal candidate for me, as I’m somewhat limited with things like camera movement as I only have a trackball (no Space Navigator or anything super-neat), and am currently reliant on the free version of FRAPS until I work out what it is I actually want to do by way of filming in SL. Nino’s use of magic carpet rides around the installation therefore freed me from the worry of camera movement while recording. I’m the first to admit I’ve got a lot to learn where video making is concerned, but, here’s my initial attempt.

If you haven’t already seen Nino Vichon’s When the Mind’s Eye Listens, I urge you to do so; it’s an amazing piece. Fare moreso than my video might suggest.

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