Fantasy Faire 2017: your shorthand guide to the realms and events

Fantasy Faire 2017: Dawn’s Promise – click any image for full size

The largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, Fantasy Faire brings together fantasy enthusiasts, creators, performers and designers for eleven days of commerce, special events, live music concerts with special emphasis on fund-raising for Relay for Life of Second Life.

This year, the gates opened on Thursday, April 20th and will remain open through until the end of the month of April, presenting 15 regions (including the entertainment and Quest regions) to be explored and enjoyed. I’ve had the good fortune of having early access to the regions as a Fantasy Faire website writer (although one of my articles got trounced upon by another on the same subject), so I’ve been able to see things as they’ve been built – and try some bits out; more on that soon!

Fantasy Faire 2017: Egregore

One of the things that is fascinating about this year’s event is the broad range of the Fairelands region themes. In one or two cases, these go beyond what might be considered “normal” fantasy and into realms perhaps not so well visited in the past. The is a definite urban grunge bordering on a post-apocalyptic feel to San Mora, for example; while The Rose is clearly inspired by the plazas, buildings and canals of Venice as we see it today.

Darkness also has something of a theme as well – not so much in the “evil” kind of darkness per se (although there is that – or at least a foreboding deepening – as well. No, by darkness, I mean just that: several of the regions have opted for a twilight or night-time theme. Anansi, meanwhile has a twist of Something Wicked This Way Comes about it – in a very steampunk-ish way! There is even a touch of science-fiction through one of the role-play stories!

You can find the background notes on all the 2017 Faireland regions either via Sonya’s official welcoming post, or by visited the individual pages on each – and as time allows, I may well be offering thoughts on some as the days of the Faire progress.

Fantasy Faire 2017: Spirit Pool

Of course,as well as all the best in fantasy shopping, Fantasy Faire offers just about something for everyone. There’s  the Literary Festival, which is based at  Kakushi Pasu, and which I previewed earlier in the week. There is also the Fantasy Faire Quest – which opens on Friday, April 21st to avoid the initial rush to the Fairelands, and about which I will hopefully have a lot more to write about in due course!

Then there are the auctions. The silent auction takes place at the two auction houses at Kakushi Pasu (here and here), and the auction runs through until 17:00 SLT on Saturday, April 29th. The Live Auction will take place on the final day of the Faire, Sunday, April 30th, at Opal Flight.

Fantasy Faire 2017: Kakushi Pasu

Role-play! There will be plenty of opportunities for role-play throughout the Faireland regions (follow the links provided to find out more, SLurls at the end of this article):

In addition, there will be special role-play classes hosted at Fallen Sands.

Fantasy Faire 2017: Opal Flight

As a part of the entertainment, there will be dance shows from the top dance troupes from across Second Life, including the Changhigh Sisters, The Monarchs, The Night Theater, Sky Fire, the Misfits and more. Together with cabaret shows, burlesque – everything you could want in fact!

Then there are the DJs, the art galleries – so much to see and do, in fact, that you’re going to want to bookmark the Fantasy Faire website (as if you haven’t already!) and keep an eye on the event calendar (use the Agenda view for easier, daily viewing!).

The Monarchs will present Draco Eternum throughout the Faire, as well as other top dance troupes and entertainment being on show as well!

Fantasy Faire 2017 SLurls

 

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The Anthropic Principle in Second Life

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

“I want to give the feeling that you’re an explorer, only having the tale of one man, written in a little book, to guide you,” Gem Preiz says of his latest installation The Anthropic Principle, which Caitlyn and I have the privilege of exploring ahead of the official opening on Thursday, April 20th. And truth be told, hat’s exactly the feeling he has created.

As one might expect given the focus of Gems work, fractal art plays a role within the installation,  and visitors do undertake a journey through various spaces to view them. But the familiar journey and the art itself are only a part of things. The Anthropic principle is a piece which binds together many parts: storytelling, a contemplation on religions, extra-solar life, the nature of human origins and philosophy, in a world which has a highly effective, TRON-like feel to it.

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

In particular, and as the title suggests, it draws upon the anthropic principle, a philosophical consideration that observations of the Universe must be compatible with the conscious and sapient life that observes it. In particular, the installation draws upon the weak anthropic principle as Brandon Carter, an Australian theoretical physicist, first employed the term in its contemporary form.

If this sounds terribly dry – don’t be fooled. Gem utilises the anthropic principle as a foundation upon which to build a story, a story visitors use as a guide to their travels through a series of cityscapes. Broad in scope, the story encompasses the recent discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system (which you can read about in this blog here, here and here), and well as touching upon one of his previous exhibitions, Wrecks (which you can read about here), to present an installation which is both fascinating to explore and which gets the grey matter working!

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

A journey starts with some simple instructions: on arrival, set your viewer to midnight, make sure you have Preferences > Graphics > Advanced lighting Model checked and particles turned up (you don’t need to set draw distance to 400m, the spaces are all relative enclosed, and half that distance works fine). Then, grab the story from one of the cubes on the floor (English and French versions available), enable the audio stream, have a read (recommended) and – when you’re ready – head for the Stonehenge-like structure where a teleport awaits.

This will carry you to the first destination – a city on one of the distant worlds of TRAPPIST-1. You’ll learn about the first journey to this world through the worlds of an original explorer, whose tale is related through the words of the story’s protagonist. In doing so, you’ll also find clues to the route you should take through this maze of buildings and subterranean vaults, a place built be a civilisation remarkably similar to our own, and with similar broad religious beliefs, prompting questions on origins.

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

The story guides visitors through these places, each rendered in that TRON-like style, bright lines of colour – orange, yellow, white, blue, red – although the way is not always obvious. Within these realms are galleries (sometime one, sometimes more than one – look for the deep blue lines on floors and in entrances to rooms) where hang Gem’s magnificent fractal art pieces, all of them an integral part of the unfolding story.

From the city through to Hell and thence back to the city and onwards to Paradise, visitors are gently exposed to Gem’s take on the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP), an interesting and thought-provoking idea that not only will a universe capable of supporting give rise to living beings capable of observing and reflecting upon it, but that those lifeforms, wherever they are spawned in our universe will pass along an almost identical evolutionary path, up to an including forms philosophies and religious ideals, architecture and more, which all stand as a reflection of our own civilisation through the centuries.

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

This really is a journey worth taking rather than describing. Not for the ideas that Gem gently puts forward, but because  whether or not you’re in the mood for philosophical conjuring, the various environments are really worth seeing, and the fractal art within them is, as ever, mind-blowing; each piece a story in and of itself.

And when you do visit, do make sure you have the accompanying sound stream playing.  The selections of Hans Zimmer’s music are remarkably apt, and Gem has clearly chosen the pieces with care: time and again both Caitlyn and I were struck by the perfect fit of music with our own rising expectations as we ascended ramps or descended stairs towards the waiting light of new rooms…

The Anthropic Principle – Gem Preiz

All told, a fascinating exhibition and another selection of stunning fractal art. When you have completed a visit and found your way back to the landing point, you can touch the poster there to visit No Frontiers, another of Gem’s installations (which you can also read about here), which is running concurrently with The Anthropic Principle through until the end of June.

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