Transcending Borders (2): celebrating the machinima makers

On Sunday, December 14th, 2014, the Grand Finale of the University Of Western Australia’s (UWA) Transcending Borders was held at the impressive UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre. During the event, over L$1,000,000 was awarded in prizes to artists, machinima makers and those who took part in the audience participation competition. With some last-minute additions to the prize pools, and some additional special awards, the event was a very special celebration of artistic expression in Second Life.

Transcending Borders challenged entrants to interpret the title of the competition in any fashion they deem applicable, and produce a 3D artwork (in no more than 150 prims) or short film based on their interpretation, be it on transcending borders of space and time, love and loss, nationally or culture or language, or the real and the virtual, and so on. The result was a glittering array of 67 artworks and 38 machinima, representing a broad diversity of interpretations of the theme.

The Grand Finale was hosted by the UWA’s Jayjay Zifanwe, with the UWA’s art curator, FreeWee Ling also on hand to announce the special Curator’s awards in both the art and machinima categories.

In the first part of this report, I covered the awards for the Transcending Borders 3D Art Challenge. Here, I review the winners in the the MachinimUWA VII Transcending Borders Challenge, in which machinima makers could submit as many films on the them as they wish, as long as each entry had been specifically filmed for the Challenge, and should preferably run for around 4 minutes 30 seconds (although this latter point was not a “hard” rule.

Audience Participation Prizes

Alongside the “main” challenges focused on artists and machinima makers, Transcending Borders included two audience participation competitions. Anyone who was not on the official judging panel was invited to provide what they thought the top 10 would be as decided by the actual panel, and those with lists which most closely matched the final list of prize winners as determined by the judges, would receive a special prize.

And the winners were:

  • 5th place winner (L$5,000): Elle Thorkveld
  • 4th place winner (L$7,500): Chic Aeon
  • 3rd place winner (L$10,000): Karima Hosian
  • 2nd place winner (L$15,000): Lalie Sorbet
  • 1st place winner (L$20,000): Dyzo.

Commenting on the machinima audience participation competition, Jayjay said, “No tall order to attempt to participate in this challenge, as one had to watch all the machinima [38 entries].
Quite amazing, as all the top 3 correctly predicted 8 of the top 10 [as determined by the judge’s votes].” He went on to note that of these five individuals, three had been in the top five of the last art Grand Challenge, perhaps showing that there was something of a science in how the winners make their selections.

For Chic Aeon, the audience participation prize was the start of a remarkable part of the evening, something she shared with Haveit Neox.

Machinima Prizes

Note that SLurls are given with the titles of all winning pieces, and all the entries into the MachinimUMA VII Transcending Borders challenge can be seen on the SL Artist website.

The 10th through 6th places winners, who each received L$25,000 are:

As there was a tie for 4th place, there was no individual 5th place prize winner. Instead, the top four prizes in the MachinimUWA VII Transcending Borders challenge were awarded as follows:

Jayjay had contacted Tutsy ahead of the event to inform him he had won a prize, but due to Internet issues, Tutsy could not remain connected to Second Life for the event. Instead, a short speech he had prepared ahead of time was read out by his friend, Yoon.

I would like to express a warm welcome to all participants and visitors for attending this grand finale. Also I would like to express a big thank you to UWA, Jayjay and all the organizers of this contest for offering the opportunity to many people, to discover or establish themselves as creators in 3D or Machinimas. 

Transcending borders in and with a movie is less tough than transcending the borders of a contest itself.  A work of NicoleX was refused because it conflicted with the UWA borders. I do regret the work has been refused, it shows the limits we have to deal with sometimes.
Yet we also cannot be deaf and blind for using our freedom of expression with a sense of awareness for the consequences. When input and output become disproportionate, other
solutions are needed.

Therefore again, many thanks to both UWA and all people that participated with their movies and opinions. And I am secretly proud as well a tiny little bit, thank you all!

 Special Awards

In addition to the top ten awards, the Grand Finale included a number of special awards, both from the MachinimaUWA VII Transcending Borders challenge and also from the 2014 Project SciFi, which the UWA partners.

MachinimUWA VII Transcending Borders Special Prizes

  • Honourable Mention Prize for message within a film (L$15,000): Unseen Transcended Borders, by Eric Takkar & Arcane Marenwolf (USA  and Australia)
  • Honourable Mention Prize for artistry within a film (L$15,000): The Embryo, by Ultraviolet Alter (France)
  • UWA Special Prize (L$25,000), awarded by the UWA representatives on the judging panel to the film that interweaves a number of locations from the UWA campus in it: The Ghost in the Machine, by Chic Aeon (USA) – Chic’s third win of the evening, and the second for her entry
  • Curators Choice Award (L$25,000) for the film, selected by UWA’s curator FreeWee Ling, that weaves one or few of the artworks in the challenge into it: Reading Primchords, by Haveit Neox (USA) –  Haveit’s third individual win in the Finale with both the film and Primchords, the artwork which inspired it. Haveit also shared a prize with Lilia Artia and Mouehane for Sharing Unknown Roads

Commenting on her choice, FreeWee said:

For the machinima curator’s prize there were several entries that included artwork from current or past UWA shows. Some were focused specifically on a single piece or two, some incorporated art as a background to their narratives, and some had only a brief sighting of a work. I was looking for machinimas that most effectively used the artwork to tell the story of the film. The films that did that best seemed to be those by the 3D artists themselves. Among those, there was one film I thought was most engaging with the 3D art being essential in telling a story.

Project Sci-Fi Awards

Mention was also made of the two SL-based machinima which had also received prizes inthe 2014 Project Sci-Fi competition. This event was judged by a jury entirely separate to that of Transcending Borders.

  • 2014 Project SciFi Challenge Honourable Mention (AU$200): About Face, by Avajean Westland (USA)
  • 2014 Project SciFi Challenge winner (AU$300) Metaphore by Tutsy Navrathna (India).

Congratulations to all the winners.

As with the first part of this report, I would again like to extend my personal thanks to both Jayjay and FreeWee for the incredible amount of work they do in the promotion of virtual world art and the potential of virtual worlds. Transcending Borders is not only a fitting theme for a UWA Grand Challenge, reminds us that both Jayjay and FreeWee help artists, educators, students and virtual worlds enthusiasts transcend the borders between the virtual and the physical each and every day.

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Transcending Borders (1): celebrating the artists

The UWA-BOSL Ampitheatre: scene of the Transcending Borders Grand Finale
The UWA-BOSL Ampitheatre: scene of the Transcending Borders Grand Finale

On Sunday, December 14th, 2014, the Grand Finale of the University Of Western Australia’s (UWA) Transcending Borders was held at the impressive UWA-BOSL Grand Amphitheatre. During the event, over L$1,000,000 was awarded in prizes to artists, machinima makers and those who took part in the audience participation competitions. With some last-minute additions to the prize pools, and some additional special awards, the event was a very special celebration of artistic expression in Second Life.

Transcending Borders challenged entrants to interpret the title of the competition in any fashion they deem applicable, and produce a 3D artwork (in no more than 150 prims) or short film based on their interpretation, be it on transcending borders of space and time, love and loss, nationally or culture or language, or the real and the virtual, and so on. The result was a glittering array of 67 artworks and 38 machinima, representing a broad diversity of interpretations of the theme.

The Grand Finale was hosted by the UWA’s Jayjay Zifanwe, with the UWA’s art curator, FreeWee Ling also on hand to announce the special Curator’s awards in both the art and machinima categories.

JayJay Zifanwe
JayJay Zifanwe

Opening the event, Jayjay said:

It’s been an absolute pleasure for me to work with all of you over the course of these challenges, and especially to those who went above and beyond the call of duty to make all of this a success. Thank you FreeWee Ling, curator of art at UWA & RL Honorary Fellow at UWA. Thank you LaPiscean Liberty, co-host for MachinimUWA VII, champion of machinima of Second Life. Also much thanks to those who have provided support and sponsorship which sees the overall prize pool standing at more than L$1,000,000 across both art and machinima. Special mention needs to be made of all who have been such strong supporters.

These challenges are sponsored by Tom Papas and SciFi Film Festival, LaPiscean Liberty and SL Artist, AviewTV, Arrehn Oberlander and MetaHarpers, Kip Yellowjacket and Virtlantis, Taralyn Gravois and Arts Castle Gallery, TheDoveRhode and Peace is a Choice and S&S Gallery of Fine SL Art, Barbie Alchemi of Creations for Parkinsons, Jon Stubbs and UWA Student Services, as well as The UWA Virtual Worlds Project.

I want to thank all of you for being here today, bringing the world together. The UWA Art, Architectural & Machinima Challenges, the teaching & research have seen people from all corners of the globe involved with students, artists, builders and machinimatographers hailing from Lithuania, Singapore, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Finland, Greece, India, Colombia, Poland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hungary, Latvia, Russia, Venezuela, Belgium, Mexico, Wales, Canada, the USA, the UK, Uruguay, Scotland, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France, the French Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Cuba, Serbia, Tunisia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and parts unknown. More than 45 nations with 6 of the 7 continents of the world represented.

The following is a run-down of the winners of the 3D Art challenge. The MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders awards are presented in a further article in these pages.

Audience Participation Prizes

Alongside the “main” challenges focused on artists and machinima makers, Transcending Borders included two audience participation competitions. Anyone who was not on the official judging panel was invited to provide what they thought the top 10 would be as decided by the actual panel, and those with lists which most closely matched the final list of prize winners as determined by the judges, would receive a special prize.

In all, there were two groups of audience participation prizes for the 3D art challenge. As an entire art degree class from York University entered the competition, and the overall prize pool had been increased from L$57,500 to L$62,500, the audience participation prizes were altered, with 3 awards specifically for York University students, and four for members of the public. These prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Joint second in the York University student prize: Vickar Tran and Stefano Onorati (L$2,500 each)
  • Overall winner, York University student prize: Abisola Okiwole (L$5,000)
  • 4th place, audience participation: Rosie Dimanovic (L$7,500)
  • 3rd place, audience participation: Sheba Blitz (L$10,000)
  • 2nd place, audience participation: Sueworthy (L$15,000)
  • Overall winner, audience participation: Temi Sirbu (L$20,000 and a place on the official jury for the next grand art challenge

All of the winners will additionally receive a physical prize from the UWA.

Art Awards

Note that SLurls are given with the titles of all winning pieces, and all the entries into the Transcending Borders 3D art challenge can still be viewed at the UWA art gallery.

In an unprecedented result, there were no fewer than five 10th places winners, all tied on a total of 21 points from the judge’s selections. The five winners each receive a L$5,000 prize and are:

Pixel Sideways "Transcending Borderz" - joint 10th place winner
Transcending Borderz, by Pixel Sideways – one of the five joint 10th place winners

Continue reading “Transcending Borders (1): celebrating the artists”

Candlelit stories, Christmas memories, miracles and safaris

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to Second Life and Kitely by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library.

As always, all times SLT / PDT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island, or at their Kitely Homeworld.

Saturday December 13th, Sunday December 14th, 19:00 The Candlelight Processional

First performed in Disneyland in 1958 and duplicated at the Magic Kingdom in 1971, the Disney Candlelight Processional now resides at the Epcot Centre’s America Gardens Theatre. An annual event, the Processional, as the name suggests, features an evening procession followed by the retelling of the Biblical story of Christmas, complete with carols, songs,

At 19:00 SLT on Saturday, December 13th and Sunday December 14th, there will be tribute to this holiday tradition at Magicland Park, with Caledonia Skytower narrating the story of the nativity.

Monday December 15th, 19:00: Witches, Magic and Other Strange Things

Join Gyro Muggins on A Science-Fiction Argosy, as he embarks on  a journey through this collection of classic science-fiction short stories brought together by Damon Knight. The collection features the writings of, among many, Kate Wilhelm, Shirley Jackson, Frederik PohlJohn Wyndham, Larry Niven, Poul AndersonBrian W. AldissTheodore SturgeonFritz Leiber and Isaac Asimov.

Tuesday December 16th,19:00: A Christmas Memory

Capote2Faerie Maven-Pralou returns to Truman Capote’s semi-autobiographical stories of a childhood remembered, as she read A Christmas Memory. First published in December 1956 by  Mademoiselle magazine, A Christmas Memory was followed, in 1967 and 1982 respectively by The Thanksgiving Dinner and One Christmas.

As the first story in the trilogy, A Christmas Memory introduces us to Buddy (Capote),  a seven-year-old boy and his older cousin and best friend, “Sook” (Capote’s older cousin, Nanny Rumbley Faulk).  Set in the 1930s, it recalls a time of country living, the excitement and joy associated with Christmas, wrapped in a ribbon of friendship with just a gentle touch on the themes of loss and loneliness.

Wednesday December 17th

13:00 and 18:00: A Hypergrid Safari by Moonlight

Join Caledonia Skytower and Shandon Loring as they read selections from A Christmas Carol while folk from the Hypergrid Safari and the Moonlight Safari drop into the Seanchai Library homeworld on Kitely.

19:00: Miracle on 34th Street

Caledonia Skytower hops back to Seanchai Library’s HQ in Second Life to conclude her reading of this seasonal classic, an adaptation of the George Seaton / Valentine Davies Christmas classic film of the same name, telling the story of how Kris Kringle is hired by Macy’s to become their “Santa Claus”.

First appearing in 1947 and starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street has been subject to a number of remakes and updates, including the 1994 version starring Sir Richard Attenborough.

A novella based on the film, also penned by Davies, was published simultaneously with the film’s release, and was itself turned into a stage play in about 2006 by Will Severin, Patricia Di Benedetto Snyder and John Vreeke.

Thursday December 18th

19:00 The Scrooge – Another Christmas Carol 

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night – Hannukah Tales of Light

With Caledonia Skytower.

Saturday December 20th, Seanchai Kitely, A Christmas Carol

Caledonia Skytower and Shandon Loring conclude their reading of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic. Dare you say “bah, humbug!” or will you go in, so that Shandon may know you better?! Will you let Cale reveal to you all things present, shaped by the past, or will you try to avoid her showing you those things yet to come? Step into the Seanchai Library and settle into one of the traditions of Christmas!

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for November – December is Heifer International, which is working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

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A visit to Hydra Isles

Umbral Photography, Hydra Isles (Flickr)

A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit Hyrda Isles, the homestead region designed and curated by vlady Veeper and Coqueta Veeper, and a place of two very distinct parts.

The south side of the region offers Umbral Photography,  “a place created for photography, including seasonal landscapes, lakes, full house, animated bridges, free permits to rez your own poses”. The north side of the island, and notably the north-west quarter of the region, is given over to Umbral. an adult-focused environment for erotica and D/s. The demarcation between the two areas is low-key, and visitors are free to wander between both – indeed the photogenic elements of the region are evident throughout, and not restricted to just the the south side.

Umbral Photography, Hydra Isles (Flickr)

Seasons change within the region, and right now and in keeping with much of Second Life, there is a distinctly wintry feel to Hydra Isles: snow lies on the ground and atop roofs and rocky outcrops, while the water flowing between the islands has a distinctly chilly look to it, so be prepared when wading!

Where you roam first really depends upon where you arrive; use the Umbral photography SLurl, and you’ll arrive alongside a stone bridge on a narrow rocky bar connecting two of the island in this part of the region. Wall away from the bridge, through the tree, and you’ll come to the ruins of an old church in which sits a small art gallery, partially flooded, and beyond it, a outdoor seating area with armchairs, books, refreshments and a warm stove – albeit all in a small snowstorm!

Cross the bridge from the landing point, and you’ll find yourself led to the house, sitting at the end of a avenue of trees, their boughs bent arch-like overhead. As the parcel description notes, the house is open to all, and offers further opportunities for photography indoors and out.

Umbral Photography, Hydra Isles (Flickr)

The north side of the region, as mentioned above, features a large structure given over to erotica and D/s activities. As such, what you may find there is variable, and the landing point outside the building provides clear guidelines on acceptable behaviour therein.

Outside of this, and in keeping with the overall theme of the region, are a number of small islands, each offering their own opportunities for photography or for simply sitting and cuddling with a loved one. Chief among these is a rocky island to the north-east, which features a tiny lighthouse atop a rocky promontory, looking across the water towards the old church, and with seats and a cuddle spot below.

All told, an interesting region to visit and explore, with opportunities to simply sit and share time with a friend, made all the more pleasant by the friendly and warm greetings extended by  Coqueta and vlady when they are also present in the region.

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