A medieval meander in Second Life

St Illuminatus - Morphe Northwinds
St Illuminatus – Morphe Northwinds

While I’d encountered some of his work during my travels around Second Life, it was my visit to Tahiti Rae’s Love, Henry in July 2015, which particularly drew me to the architecture of Abel Dreamscape.It was at Love Henry that I first encountered the magnificence of Abel’s St Illuminatus cathedral – and it made quite an impression.

ISo when I hopped over to take a look at Timekiller II (see my post about the event) located in one corner of Abel’s Morphe Northwinds region, I decided to extend my stay and explore his work in general depth.

The docks at Morphe Northwids, feature one of Lia woodget's Blackspot ships
The docks at Morphe Northwids, feature one of Lia Woodget’s Blackspot ships

Anyone involved in medieval and  / or fantasy role-play may well be familiar with Abel’s designs. His buildings, while high in terms of LI, are beautifully produced and make excellent centrepieces for any suitable period environment. His range includes everything from huge period castles down to individual landscaping and building kits (the latter full perm), going by way of churches, towers, town houses and buildings, docks and peasant cottages, with expansion kits, cannon and furnishings also available.

Morphe Northwinds presents many of Abel’s building and kits in a medieval setting (complete with some ambient sounds):  a small town, complete with docks, presided over by the imposing bulk of the cathedral. Here visitors can explore the building at their leisure, examine the vendor signs, enjoy the music stream (suitably period, if not medieval), and discover some of his accessory packs.

Abel's Medieval town buildings complex - Morphe Northwinds
Abel’s Medieval town buildings complex – Morphe Northwinds

Cross the bridge to the south, and you find yourself in Morphe Inc., the main store area, dominated by the huge edifice of Thorean Castle, with is great hall and 12 other rooms, sitting above a series of catacombs built using Abel’s tunnel kits. Across the paved road from the castle sits the full perms mall with builders kits, which is itself alongside a rezzing area where more of Abel’s building can be viewed and examined.

Getting to see any building in-world before you commit to buying it is generally a vital part of the purchasing process. With Morphe Inc., and particularly Morphe Northwinds, Abel has provided a means to not only see his builds up close, but also view them in period environment; one which also offers those interested in medieval buildings an interesting place to visit.

Details on St Illuminatus - Morphe Northwinds
Details on St Illuminatus – Morphe Northwinds

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Timekiller in Second Life

Timekiller II

Marking the start of the year, the second Timekiller festival organised by SL Goth Magazine is currently under way at their headquarters in the Morphe Northwinds region, and will run through until Sunday, January 24th.

With the theme of Gothic Steampunk, the festival features 20 designers, live DJ’s, live story tellers and is nestled in the corner of Morphe Northwinds, while gives it something of a more personal, intimate look and feel than can sometimes initially be experienced when dropping into a much larger event.

Of particular note for the event is a special live performance by renowned cellist-singer-songwriter Unwoman (Erica Mulkey). Recipient of the 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award for Best Solo Musician and Best Album for her album Circling, Unwoman has performed at steampunk conventions and other major events across the United States.

Timekiller II
Timekiller II

The Unwoman concert will take place on Tuesday, January 19th at 17:00 SLT. In addition, Aura Fitzgerald will be singing live at the festival on Wednesday, January 20th, from 15:00 SLT, while Finn Zeddmore and Caledonia Skytower from Seanchai Library will be giving live readings on Thursday, January 21st at 16:00 SLT  and Sunday, January 24th at 15:00 SLT respectively.

The timekiller II schedule of events
The Timekiller II entertainment schedule

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Recalling a Starry Night in Second Life

Several years ago, I was pointed towards a You Tube video showing the creation of a scene in Second Life. The video was posted by Sharefestival, but was originally produced by Robbie Dingo.

Watch the World, made far back in 2008, poses the question “Ever looked at your favourite painting and wished you could wander inside, to look at it from different perspectives?”, and takes us on a time-lapse journey through the in-world recreation of what is perhaps Vincent van Gogh’s most celebrated work, The Starry Night.

The Starry Night is one of many the artist created depicting the view from the window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It is the only noturne he produced in the series and was painted a little over a year before his death. In it we see the pre-dawn countryside visible from the artist’s bedroom, but with a styled village of Saint-Rémy – which was not visible directly from van Gogh’s room – added in the middle distance. It’s a poignant painting, and one which inspired American singer-songwriter to compose the equally poignant Vincent.

The Starry Night, part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City
The Starry Night (889) by Vincent van Gogh, part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City

In the video, we are taken on a journey with Robbie as he recreated The Starry Night in Second Life, offering visitors the opportunity to enter van Gogh’s world and visit his village. It’s a wonderful video, hauntingly framed by McLean’s lament, and it is one I’m often drawn back to time and again, so much so, that I had convinced myself I’d already blogged directly about it.

Sadly, the build itself has long since passed from Second Life, but as I’ve not dedicated a post to the video, and again found myself watching it recently, I thought I’d rectify the latter and write about it now. It’s a timeless piece, and a beautiful demonstration of how Second Life can be used to present a new perspective on art.

Robbie also offers a Revisited video on the piece, in which he shows footage not used in the original cut:

Statues, avatars and mermaids

It’s time to kick-off a week year of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, January 17th, 18:00:From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Mied-up FilesWhen running away, it’s always handy to have some idea of where to run to. In Claudia Kincaid’s case, the ideal place is the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. As her younger brother has money, Claudia decides he should come with her to help on the finances front.

The museum proves an interesting place to settle into, but when the museum purchases what appears to be an early work by Michelangelo, a statue of an angel, for the unbelievable price of $225, Claudia and Jamie, her brother, find themselves taking on the role of investigators.

Is the statue genuine? Has the museum bought itself a bargain, or is  the statue something else? Digging into the matter, Claudia and Jamie are led to the remarkable Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, former owner of the statue and the owner of some remarkable files which promise to led Claudia into some discoveries about herself.

Join Caledonia Skytower at Magicland Park as she reads from E.L. Konigsburg’s engaging story.

Monday January 18th, 19:00: Snow Crash

We all know Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash as one of the inspirations behind Second Life. Now Gyro Muggins continues his reading of this modern classic.

Snow CrashIn the 21st Century, Los Angeles is no longer a part of the United States, but is instead run by a variety of corporate and other factions, which much of the city divided into sovereign enclaves. Mercenary forces via with private security firms; drugs and the private vehicle reign supreme and where hyper-inflation is rampant.

Within this strange and complex world exists the Metaverse, an omnipresent 3D “Internet of everything” in which people can roam as avatars. It is in this world that the aptly named Hiro Protagonist (and former pizza delivery driver) operates as a sword-welding heroic warrior and bounces between the virtual and physical worlds as the self-styled “last of the freelance hackers.”

However, when his friend and fellow-hacker Da5id, falls victim to the mysterious new drug Snow Crash, which exists in the virtual world as a computer virus capable of infecting machines connected to the Metaverse and in the physical world as a viral infection which attacks the central nervous system, Hiro sets out to learn the truth of what is going on. Working with his virtual business partner, the 15-year-old Y.T., Hiro digs into the truth behind Snow Crash, leading him (and Y.T.) to the doors of fibre-optics monopolist L. Bob Rife and his acolytes and minions, including the highly dangerous Raven.

Tuesday January 19th 19:00: Pearl

PearlFaerie Maven-Pralou continue her reading of the first book in Lisa Pinkham’s the Doll Collection series.

Everything changes for Addy on her 12th birthday, when she receives a mysterious gift of a collection of dolls and an opal necklace imbued with magical powers.

Soon, Addy finds herself transported to a beach where she meets a mermaid, Pearl, and where she can swim with and talk to underwater fairies and enjoy the company of min-reading dolphins.

But all is not as safe as it seems; when Pearl vanishes and Addy’s magic necklace is stolen, Addy is left with no way home and without a friend – and she must confront the thief on her own, trusting that the magic which resides in her is enough to put things to rights.

Wednesday, January 20th, 19:00: Silence of the Loons

While writers from the southern American states turn to tales of crime, inevitably the broiling heat of humid summer days is an ever-present backdrop. But when the stories of criminals and their ways are moved northwards to Minnesota, it is the brutal cold of hard winters which offers a frame for many of the tales.

In this collection, 13 of the state’s top crime writers present a series of tales of mystery, all of which are linked by the same 8 clues, which lead the reader through their dark twists.

Join Kayden Oconnell as he reads from this fascinating anthology.

Thursday, January 21st

16:00: Stempunk Selections

with Finn Zeddmore, presenting a special Steampunk themed session at SL Goth Magazine’s TIMEKILLER II Festival.

19:00: Time Travel Stories

With Shandon Loring – Also to be presented at Seanchai Kitely and Seanchai InWorldz. Check session post during the week for specific grid locations).

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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 January / February is Heifer International, working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

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