Tag Archives: UWA

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.

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Call for entries: UWA’s Transformations in Second Life

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!

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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.

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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.

UWA to scale back in Second Life

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

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

Update, October 10th: JayJay Zifanwe has announced that the four core UWA regions will remain open through until July 2017. You can read more here.

I received a nudge about the University of Western Australia, which has enjoyed a long presence here in Second Life, operating multiple regions and becoming a stalwart supporter of virtual arts through its grand challenges and other competitions and opportunities offered to artists to present their work, as well a through support of machinima in physical world film challenges, such as those run by Screen My Shorts.

The news was actually broken over the weekend by Jayjay Zifanwe, who has spearheaded the UWA’s presence in Second Life since it started, and who has worked exceptionally hard with FreeWee Ling to promote and support artistic creativity within the broad cross-section of second life users and talent. In the post, Jayay states:

It is with a heavy heart, that I must inform you all, that 4 of the 5 UWA sims, will vanish into the binary night on the 9th of October 2016. The SIM that will remain for at least another year is the Uni of WA sim, which is our flagship sim housing Winthrop Clocktower and the Reflection Pond, The Sunken Gardens and The Somerville Theatre.

Everything on all [the] sims will remain as is for the next 2 weeks… do come back for a visit as many of the artworks going back 7 years are still at various locations. Once those 2 weeks are up, our curator, Freewee Ling will start to rationalise what is on the UWA sims, so that some items from all sims are brought onto the one remaining sim.

UWA: UWA Winthrop and the gallery displaying some of the smaller art pieces on display within the UWA regions

UWA: UWA Winthrop and the gallery displaying some of the smaller art pieces on display within the UWA regions

FreeWee adds to the blog post with a note to those artists who have works on display in the UWA regions. So if you are one of those artists, do please make sure you read the post in full. Of the four regions which the UWA is closing, three will be shutting down completely, and one will be changing hands.

The reasons for the region closures appear to be internal to the UWA, and not anything specifically directed towards virtual worlds and Second Life. At the end of 2015, the UWA did cut back on its direct support of artistic endeavours in SL through its patronage of the Grand 2D and 3D art challenges, again spearheaded by Jayjay and FreeWee. Since that time, arts have continued to be supported at the UWA through smaller, but no less attractive activities, such as a the current Immaterial contest, which I’ve been covering in this pages, and the entries for which can be seen at the UWA gallery.

Nish Mip's Last Ocean, a poignant opening to Jayjay's blog post

UWA: Nish Mip’s Last Ocean, a poignant opening to Jayjay’s blog post

If you have not visited the UWA regions, I urge you to do so before the four scheduled to be removed vanish. There is a stunning amount of art to see, much of it standing as a historic look back over artistic expression in Second Life, including the Grand Final winners from the various challenges, including Nish Mip’s Last Ocean, which forms a poignant opening to Jayjay’s post, As well as the art, there are campus facilities to explore.


Tutsy Navarathna’s “The Residents“, overall winner in the machinima category of the 2013 Project Sci-Fi challenge, sponsored by the UWA

For my part, I’d like to thank Jayjay and FreeWee for all of their hard work over the years in building the UWA environment in-world, and to those at the UWA itself, for their support of virtual spaces and digital arts.

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