Art of the Artists: machinima challenge with L$350,000 prize pool

Poster by Eliza Wierwright

At the start of July I was able to break the news that the University of Western Australia would be retaining a presence in Second Life for at least two more years. As a part of that report, I made mention of an upcoming UWA machinima challenge. It has now been officially announced.

Art of the Artists – subtitled SLartist@UWA Machinima Challenge is not a resumption of the UWA Machinima Grand Challenges, the last of which took place in 2015 with Pursue Impossible. Rather, this is a special challenge, sponsored by LaPiscean Liberty of SLArtist and Singh Albatros and The Writers Centre, Singapore. On offer is a combined prize pool of L$350,000, including two special prizes.


The aim of the challenge is to produce a machinima film focused on any of the art exhibits located on the UWA regions in Second Life.

Entrants may choose individual pieces of art or a collection around which to weave a story. However, the art must be a relatively significant part of the story, and not merely something glimpsed in passing.

Films entered for consideration of any of the prizes can be no longer than 8 minutes duration; films with longer running times than 8 minutes may be submitted for showing, but will not be eligible for any of the prizes.

The Prizes

  • 1st Prize: L$75,000
  • 2nd Prize: L$50,000
  • 3rd Prize: L$40,000
  • 4th Prize: L$30,000
  • 5th Prize: L$20,000
  • 6th – 10th Prizes – L$7,000 each

In Addition, there are two special prizes:

  • L$50,000 UWA Art of the Artists Special Prize: this will be awarded by Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of the University of Western Australia
  • L$50,000 The Merlion Special Prize: this will be awarded by Singh Albatros on behalf of The Writer’s Centre, Singapore to the film which – in the view of the judge –  best represents the The Merlion,  the national personification of Singapore (see below for more).

The 10 main prize winners will be selected by a selected panel of judges. Details of the full panel will be available on the UWA website soon.  Each of the special prize winners will be judged independently to the judging panel, and as such, may be eligible for a prize in the general classification as well.

The full Merlion installation at Monash University

Where to Find the Art

Art which can be used in films submitted to the Challenge can be found in the following locations:

  • The UWA Main Gallery – the primary exhibition space for art at UWA, including entrants to the most recent challenge, Transformations, which is expected to remain up at least through the end of this year.
  • The UWA Main region – this is the home of the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Somerville outdoor cinema, the Moreton Bay Figs, and Sunken Garden. Some of the art from the UWA regions which will be closing will be relocated to platforms above this region. The relocation work is expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
  • The Merlion – celebrating Singapore’s iconic Merlion sculpture, the full-sized version is hosted by the Monash University in Second Life. The smaller version at te UWA offers information on Merlion Portal Project concerning cultural, literary and artistic significance of the Merlion. It also provides a landmark to the full size installation.

Note that selected art for a film may be filmed in its current location. however, films do not need to be restricted to these locations, as long as the art is the focus of the story being told. Entrants may contact artists about filming their works in other locations and / or collaborating with them on a film. Should you require a blue screen for part of your filming of the art, please contact FreeWee Ling or Jayjay Zifanwe.

How To Enter and Guidelines

  • The challenge is open to all machinima makers, unless involved in the judging process.
  • Films entered in consideration of any of the prizes should not exceed 8 minutes in length.
  • Films with running times longer than 8 minutes may be entered, but will not be eligible for any prizes.
  • Completed films should be uploaded, preferably YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the film sent to  Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty.
  • The closing date for submissions is December 31st 2017
  • Please acknowledge all art featured in your film, and please acknowledge and get authorisation for any music you use.
  • You own all rights to the films you create, but by entering the challenge you give permission for it to be shown on the UWA Blog, the Slartist Website and to be played on UWA lands.
  • The ten winners of the general prizes will be adjudicated by a panel of 5 judges. The special prize winners will be selected by Jayjay Zifanwe (UWA Special Prize) and Singh Albatros (The Writer’s Centre prize).
  • If you have questions, want to discuss anything, or add to the prize pool,  please contact Jayjay Zifanwe.

UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

Image courtesy of UWA

In February, I relayed news on what is to be the final mixed-media art exhibition at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) presence in Second Life,  which is currently scheduled to be scaled back from the end of July 2017.

Held in the tradition of the UWA’s Grand Challenges albeit it on a non-juried basis and as an exhibition rather than a contest with prizes, Transformations ceased accepting entries at the end of April 2017, and all of the submissions received prior to the closing date are now on display at the UWA’s skyborne gallery space.

Transformations: Noke Yuitza – Transcendence Despite Falling Rain

“Our final show is about beginnings, endings, transitions, change,” UWA’s art curator FreeWee Ling said in the original announcement for the exhibition. “The theme is deliberately vague in order to allow for the broadest possible interpretation. It is intended to highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that reflects on the past in SL and/or imagines the future of virtual art.”

In all, just under 30 artists from across Second Life responded to the call, producing both 2D and 3D art pieces, and short machinima pieces encompassing the theme, with some offering artists submitting works in more than one medium. As always with a UWA event, the finished pieces are extraordinary in the richness of creativity shown, and the manner in which that acknowledged broad theme has been interpreted.

Transformations: Thoth Jantzen – Transfabulous

3D art makes up the larger part of the exhibition, occupying most of the floorspace. 2D art can be found within a horseshoe display area on one side of the exhibition hall relative to the landing point, and the machinima entries in the opposite direction, against the wall separating Transformations from a display of works from past UWA challenges and exhibitions.

All of the pieces are provided with an artist’s name plate which, which touched, may furnish you with information on the artists and on the piece itself. In a small departure from previous exhibitions, the machinima is provided for in-world playback – touch the associated screen to start a video. Those who prefer, or have a viewer that doesn’t support CEF can still touch the artist’s name tag and receive a link to video on YouTube or Vimeo, where they can watch it.

Transformations: ErikoLeo – A Virtual Wander In Two Dimensions And A Half

Given the breadth of work on display in Transformations, offering a review of individual pieces is not easy – but I did find myself draw to a number of pieces, such as Grow, a stunning time-lapse video by Glaz Decuir in which we witness Silas Merlin taking s raw idea and transforming it into a finished 3D piece – and it is a truly fascinating study. Then there is Noke Yuitza’s Transcendence Despite Falling Rain, depicting the transformation and transcendence which grow from a failed relationship, beautifully and evocatively presented.

Alongside of Noke’s work is  ErikoLeo’s marvellous A Virtual Wander In Two Dimensions And A Half, which uses 2D panoramic images within a 3D model to offer transformative views of Second Life past and present – complete with and interactive element that puts you in to the scenes (take the anywhere door, then touch the arrows and go to mouselook in each sphere). Thoth Jantzen provides a dimensional defying Transubfabulous – be sure to teleport up from the part of the installation in the main gallery.

SLurl Details

Given the number of entries, this is an exhibition which requires time to appreciate – and you can find a full list of the artists involved on the UWA in SL blog across three posts starting here. One thing I would recommend when visiting – set your viewer to midnight; it removes much of the distraction of surrounding spaces and skyboxes.

Call for entries: UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

Image courtesy of UWA
Image courtesy of UWA

The University of Western Australia looks likely to cease most of its presence in Second Life at the end of July 2017. However, before then the long-time patron of arts and artistic expression in Second Life is running one more major art exhibition, and recently put out a call for entries.

“Our final show is to be titled “Transformations” and is about beginnings, endings, transitions, change,” UWA’s art curator FreeWee Ling stated in the announcement. “The theme is deliberately vague in order to allow for the broadest possible interpretation. It is intended to highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that reflects on the past in SL and/or imagines the future of virtual art.”

Those wishing to apply to be a part of the exhibition are invited to subject one piece in any or all of the following categories: 2D art, 3D art and / or machinima (so entrants can subject up to 3 pieces, one in each category). The closing data for entries is 23:59 SLT, on Sunday April 30th, 2017.

It is important to note that this event is an exhibition and not a UWA challenge / competition. There is no judging panel and there will be no prizes offered. However, official exhibition catalogue will be published on-line as part of the UWA Studies in Virtual Arts (UWA SiVA) journal series.

General guidelines for entries are:

  • As noted above, artists may submit up to one entry each in 3D, 2D, and/or machinima (up to 3 entries in total). Collaborations are encouraged, so if you participate as a named collaborator on any entry, you may also submit a separate entry as an individual.
  • Land Impact limit for 3D work is 300. Sound and light emitting objects should be carefully crafted in consideration of other nearby entries. Objects that might impact other nearby entries may have to be placed on a platform to isolate it. In such cases a poster and TP device will be placed in the gallery. Any entry with excessive script lag may be refused or returned for revision.
  • 2D entries should reflect the theme and must be images substantially created in SL. Post-processing (e.g., Photoshop effects) should be kept to a minimum.
  • Machinima entries can be of any length or subject matter as long a they are substantially produced using SL as the primary medium and conform to other criteria listed here. A poster and/or screen shot will be placed in the gallery and in the exhibition catalogue along with a link to the machinima.

For the full entry guidelines, including how to submit your entry, please refer to the call for entries blog post. All enquiries, concerns, etc., about entering the exhibition should be addressed directly to FreeWee Ling, who has final say on any issue.

Good luck to all who enter!

Additional links

All UWA regions to remain in Second Life through mid-2017

UWA: Winthrop Clocktower and the Reflection Pond, with the SLeducate area on the right, which you can read about here
University of WA: Winthrop Clocktower and the Reflecting Pond

On September 13th, I relayed the news that the University of Western Australia would be scaling back its presence in Second Life to just one region; with three others being retired and the fourth to be transferred to the San Jose State University. Well, things have now changed for the better.

In a blog post issued on Monday, October 10th, the day after two of the regions had been scheduled to close, FreeWee Ling gave the news that all three originally slated to vanish from Second Life will now remain in place through until July 2017, while UWA Virtlantis has now changed hands as originally planned.

UWA campus
UWA campus

This means that through until July 2017, the regions will comprise:

  • University of WA: the “main” region, this is home to the iconic Winthrop Hall clock tower, Sunken Gardens, and Somerville Theatre facilities, as well as the new starter resource facility, and is set to remain in place for at least another year
  • UWA: home to the UWA gallery, which is currently hosting the IMMATERIAL exhibition, now set to remain in place until July 2017
  • UWA Winthrop: home to the UWA’s permanent exhibition of art from past winners and selected pieces from previous 3D art challenges are displayed, now set to remain in place until July 2017
  • WASP Land: the technical region, and home to the St Basil’s Cathedral model, fractal works, etc, now set to remain in place until July 2017
  • SJSU Virlantis: is now under the management of Sonicity Fitzroy (aka Dr Phylis Johnson) of the San Jose State University. It remains attached to the UWA regions, but has a revised name/ SLurl.

Following the original announcement of the three region closure, Second Life artists and residents wrote to UWA Central concerning the plans, and this may have contributed to the decision to extend a lease of life to those three regions. Either way, that they have been granted an extended lease of life to remain an active part of Second Life is most welcome.

Additional links

Note; at the time of writing this article, WASP Land and UWA Winthrop were off-line, having been scheduled to close on October 9th, 2016. Given Jayjay’s announcement, they will hopefully be back on-line very shortly.