The Drax Files World Makers closes-out 2014 by reaching its 25 instalment, which arrived on Tuesday, December 30th. Since the original debut show in March 2013, the series has covered a huge amount of ground and given a tremendous insight into the impact a virtual platform like Second Life can have on people’s lives.
Over the months we’ve been allowed to see inside the lives and work of content creators, animators, artists, fashion designers, educators, film-makers, musicians, actors and more, and have been able to see not only the incredible creative freedoms the platform offers, or the unique opportunities for learning and giving it presents, but also how it can become fully intertwined into our physical worlds, allowing us to form friendships and relationships that otherwise simply would not have happened, and deepening our experiences in life and our understanding of the world around us in ways unimagined prior to setting through the magic portal of the viewer.
Segment #25 of the show is very much a reflection of all of this. In it, we get to share time with Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth – Oblee for short, a musician who has found that success in Second Life does carry over into the physical world, although this is not his primary motivation for being in-world; it is simply a by-product of discovering the huge freedom and reach the platform has given his music – and his self-confidence in the process.
“I don’t see a conflict between the virtual and the natural world,” Oblee says of the time he spends in Second Life. “So little of our entertainment is a two-way street. So many people say, ‘oh I don’t have time for that,’ and then they’ll sit and they’ll watch TV for hours. Here we have a world that is built by its users and it’s filled with music, and it’s filled with visual art and its filled with all these wonderful things.
“It’s not an alternative to life. It’s adding to the substance of your existence.”
This is more than amply demonstrated in his own experiences and story. As both an individual musician and a session performer with other SL musicians, Oblee has been able to perform before international audiences through his gigs, the convenience of the virtual allowing him to share time with people on the opposite side of the world to him, and develop friendships and contacts as a result, be they with other musicians or the audiences he performs before. “You can do a world tour in one day,” he notes in reference to the platform’s reach.
That reach has allowed him to develop his confidence to the point where he’s recently released his first physical world album. This not only features songs written for his in-world gigs, but has also been entirely paid for through the tips he’s earned in-world through his performances. It has also achieved international sales on the iTunes store – thanks again to his Second Life supporters.
It is this idea of adding to the substance of our existence that, for me really resonates through this segment of The Drax Files. It’s a beautiful term to describe our relationship with the platform, and one so clearly demonstrated in Oblee’s life, as noted. As such, I’ll leave the final words on this piece to him.
“Without Second Life, I don’t think I’d be doing the things musically that I’d doing today … If you have an idea in virtual reality, what’s to stop you from taking it to real reality?”