Lokli Eliot pinged me earlier in January about a video he was putting together called The Lost Virtual World, which is an examination of Second Life, VR, the media’s falling in-and-out of love with both, and something of a historical look at Second Life’s (and Linden’s Lab’s) development. The formal announcement of the video’s realse came via Loki’s blog and episode 3 of The Drax Files Radio Hour.
Carefully complied from a range of videos and interviews, Loki’s piece, at 37 minutes in length is a goldmine of information, skillfully crafted to present a very clear message, encompassed, to a degree, in the opening titles.
From Alice in Wonderland, by way of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the video flows gracefully into interviews featuring noted faces behind the development of SL, and touching upon some of the highs and low of the platform, the controversies which have courted it (witness Philip Rosedale’s public declaration on the subject of land “ownership” in Second Life – wonder if the company still rues the day he uttered those words?). At the same time it casts a wider net over the past, present and future of VR as whole and offers succinct précis of the media’s love affair with both.
The beauty of this piece is that while there is a carefully structured narrative throughout, it is also presented largely free from any bias an audio track might otherwise supply; even the on-screen text restricts itself to factual comments, rather than attempting to steer the viewer’s thoughts. This allows each clip to speak for itself while also building on the central theme. This in turn deepens aspects of the video’s impact, particularly in the clips featuring events and faces from SL’s past. Recalling those events from SL’s history and seeing faces now long departed from this virtual realm evokes very personal memories, which further help the video resonate more personally than might otherwise be the case.
And because of this, I’m going to stop here and not analyse things further, as I don’t want my own thoughts intruding into yours as you watch the film. Instead I’ll say only this: get yourself a drink, settle comfortably in your chair, and enjoy.
(And a very nice use of elements of the TRON soundtracks as well!)