Shivers Unleashed: an international music festival in Second Life

Shivers Unleashed
Shivers Unleashed Festival

Friday, July 8th through Sunday, July 10th sees the fifth Shivers Unleashed music festival take place in Second Life.

Organised by Shivers Productions, led by Mania Littlething and Anakin Muircastle, the festival brings together 20 headline artists and bands on the main stage across the weekend, supported by DJ sets on a separate “chillout” stage as well. With the exception of just one year, The Shivers Unleash Festival, or SUF, has been a part of the Second Life music scene since 2011, and is truly international in flavour. This year, for example, features artists from across Europe and North America and from South Africa and Japan, all of whom come together to celebrate and share a love of music with SL residents.

Shivers Unleashed
Shivers Unleashed Festival

I had the opportunity to chat with Mania littlething in the run-up to the event, and one of the first questions I asked her was how SUF came into existence.

“It actually started while being drunk with my partner,” she replied, laughing. “We had a Halloween event at our club and we got the idea to some time host a really big cool festival. That got realised in the summer of 2011, when we hosted the first ever Shivers Unleashed Festival!”

This year sees SUF take place on a dedicated region featuring a main stage for the headline acts, a second “Psychedelic Circle” (or PsyCircle) stage for DJ parties, a small marketplace area and a beach camp site where festival attendees can kick-back and simply enjoy the atmosphere. Over the three days of the event, a quite eclectic mix of music will be presented from acoustic / vocals through to synthpop and cyberpunk rock, going by way of electric blues, rock, metal, dubstep, psytrance and more. Given this mix, I asked Mania how the festival arrived at its line-up.

Shivers Unleashed - main stage
Shivers Unleashed Festival – main stage

“Well, the basic idea has always been to gather, in our opinion, best and most impressive artists of Second Life on our stage over the one weekend,” she replied. “Of course, because we’re looking for acts, our personal taste plays a role; but we start several months ahead of each festival, scouting around, asking those we’ve particularly liked if they would come back and perform. When we find cool acts we hadn’t previously come across, we invite them as well.”

She continued, “We’re also looking for new acts, or those who haven’t previously appeared at SUF. So this year, for example, we’re featuring Yadleen, a German composer who has only been performing in SL for the last four months.  But our main objective is to create a special event with special acts. And it’s always nice when we can bring acts who are not often to see in SL; this year, for example, we’re delighted to have Nnoiz Papp and Cyberpiper performing on stage!”

All of which adds up to an interesting mix – so, if you’re in the mood for music this weekend, why not drop in to Shivers Unleashed? Check the schedule below for acts and session times (all in SLT), and check-out the artists and bands in the Festival Guide. You can also catch a preview video for this years acts on YouTube.

Friday, July 8th – Live Sets

10:00 Dje Atolia  (France)
11:00 Psiquence
Noon Wolfie and the Bad Reputation (Gibraltar)
13:00 UKD Project  (Italy)
14:00
Plastik Guitar (Portugal)

Saturday, July 9th – Live Sets

08:00 Deceptions Digital (Germany)
09:00 Paris Cloyd (USA)
10:00 Bolt (South Africa)
11:00 Switchboard of Souls (USA)
Noon
Nnoiz Papp (Germany)
13:00 Cyberpiper (Luxembourg)
14:00
Paris Obscur and Lisa Brune (France)
Shivers Unleashed - PsyCircle stage
Shivers Unleashed Festival – PsyCircle stage

Sunday, July 10th – Live Sets

08:00 The Black Stripes (Japan)
09:00 Aminius Writer (Germany)
10:00 Zoz Quandry (UK)
11:00 Yadleen (Germany)
Noon
Option Y (USA)
13:00 Cellshader (USA)
14:00
Red Heaven (Canada)

Weekend DJ Sets – PsyCircle

Friday 15:00
Lunna Darwinian
Friday 16:00
Minna Freedom
Friday 17:00
TBA
Saturday 15:00
GreySunshine
Saturday 16:00
Saaryi Ossic
Saturday 17:00
Annie of Fractal Psy
Saturday 18:00
TBA
Sunday 15:00
Chillout
Shivers Unleashed - camp site
Shivers Unleashed Festival – camp site

Additional links

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All_Most Real in Second Life

Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL
Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL

Now open through July at Nitroglobus Hall, curated by Dido Haas, is ALL_MOST REAL, an exhibition by MM (myster). Comprising 18 monochrome nude and avatar studies, it is an extraordinary exhibit, demonstrating both the depth of mood, feeling and sheer realism which can be achieved through Second Life photography, whilst also highlighting the extraordinarily narrow boundary which exists in our perception of what might constitute “reality”.

ALL_MOST REAL is a quest on reality and perception, and how they influence our emotions,” the artist states in introductory notes for the exhibition. “We know perceptions win over facts and reality so many times, conditioning our lives. In MM’s search for realism, could it be that the doll finally (like Pinocchio) transforms pixels into flesh?”

Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL
Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL

Of the 18 images presented here, with six from the physical world, the rest from the virtual. Together they offer a set of works not only of subtle, sensual beauty, each with its own story to tell, they also toy with our perceptions, and invite questions on the nature of reality and transformation. Where, exactly, does the avatar model cease and the human model start – and vice versa?

Which is not to say that any formal challenge is being made to visitors; there is no demand that we attempt to sort one from the other – although MM did tell me that she did ask several friends to examine the images to see if they could! Rather, as she notes in her introduction to the exhibition, it doesn’t matter if you solve the “puzzle” of which images might have been taken in which medium; it is on how they individually and collectively speak to you, and the journey they encourage you to take.

Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL
Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL

This challenge to our perceptions of the avatar / human “divide” also resonates deeper, touching on matters such as our own level of investment in our avatars; the way in which we can project our living essence into the digital through them. Thus the journey offered in studying the pictures becomes uniquely personal.

Some three months in the making, All_MOST REAL is a stunning and captivating exhibition; one which really should not be missed. Whether depicting a physical model or an avatar, the beauty and life permeating each of the images is as undeniable as it is breathtaking. Take All_Most Real 15, for example (below). Such is the natural depth and tone to the picture, it is hard to escape the feeling – the desire – that if we look long enough, the subject’s eyes will open and her lips will soften into a loving smile at us.

Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL
Nitroglobus Hall: ALL_MOST REAL

Highly recommended  – an  exhibition which should not be missed.

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