When listening to the SL17B Meet the Lindens Session with Patch Linden, I was given cause to recall Juliana Lethdetter’s outstanding Maps of Second Life, on display at her New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery.
It’s a place I last wrote about long ago in the dim and misty days of 2012 (see: Charting the growth of Second Life), and so has been long overdue for further coverage in these pages.
For those unfamiliar with this particular gallery, it is a labour of love that brings together just about every style of map of Second Life that has ever been produced – and provides a wealth of information besides.
The maps start from the earliest days of Second Life – 2002 – and run through to almost the present. It encompasses “official” maps, those produced by SL cartographers depicting the Second Life Mainland continents, and specialist maps charting air routes, airports, the SL railways, specific estates. Not only are they informative, some stand as works of art in their own right, as with the map of Nautilus, below.
Alongside of the maps is a veritable treasure trove of information that any Second Life historian is liable to fine mouth-watering, as well as a certain amount of practical information poking at the technical intricacies of the platform. You can, for example, look back to 2007 and see why Anshe Chung became the first “SLebrity”, appearing on the cover of CNN’s Business week as her Dreamland “empire” as it stood at the time shown in all its glory. Or you can take a peek at Second Life as it stood in March of that year – a time when it had in total roughly the same number of private and Mainland regions as Mainland has on its own today.
Elsewhere, you can look back on Second life Birthday celebrations of the past, the gallery featuring SL12B, one of the celebratory events organised entirely by residents and referred to as the Second life Birthday Community Events (2012 through 2018), when Linden Lab completely stepped back from direct involvement in the event’s annual planning and execution. Or you can catch up on the very latest acquisitions for the gallery, such as Rydia Lacombe’s map of SL railways I recently wrote about (see: Mapping Second Life’s mainland railways).
The latter underscores the point that this is a living museum / exhibition. Since my original article on the gallery, Juliana has continued to curate and grow the exhibits on display, growing to incorporate further items of interest new locations in Second Life, as well as retaining those special items of SL history like the guide to the legend of Magellan Linden.
Thus, as well as the railway map noted above some of the elements that have been added since my last piece include a display of other map resources in Second Life, which includes information on David Rumsey’s excellent collection to physical world maps (see: If maps are your thing, Rumsey’s the king!), while maps and images of Bellisseria ensure the gallery is right up-to-date with the growth of Second Life continents.
What makes this exhibition especially worthwhile is the sheer depth of information presented. Individual maps / displays are presented around the walls of the gallery with large information panels alongside or under them, complete with citations, while gear icons provide further access to information – note cards, landmarks, links to external web pages, and so on. All of which makes this a first-class practical resource.
If you’ve never visited the New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery, then regardless of your level of interest in Second Life history or maps in general, I really cannot recommend it enough. It is guaranteed to captivate, and is a genuinely educational visit. And while there, please do use the books on the landing point to visit other points of interest in the region.
- New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery (New Kadath, rated Moderate)