Report from HUMlab Island in Second Life

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My avatar chats with Japanese/Swedish artist Sachiko Hayashi’s avatar in front of the temporary shelter on the HUMlab Island (Thumbnail)
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I am flying to right of the HUMlab House and garden area. (Thumbnail)

HUMlab presence in the online 3D world platform of Second Life (SL) is centered upon a 5120 square meter island we purchased in June 2007. Since then the island has been visited by various HUMlab staff, researchers and students but not much has been happening there. In fact it was beginning to take on the appearance of one of the infamous ‘sandboxes’, island where the new arrivals in SL spend them time learning to dress themselves, move around, chat and build things. A number of structures had emerged on the island, interesting although they were SL is full of sculpture that is not so easy to understand. I started looking around to find out who had been doing the building. Not so difficult as all the objects bear their creators name when you right click on them and request details. So I knew who they were made by and I do not want to discourage anyone from expressing themselves creatively so I mailed out a request to everyone on the HUMlab group list in SL some ideas for coordinating the Island. No replies. I then mailed out to individuals bringing up the idea of pooling resources and building together. Still not reply. So last night I leveled the island, removing everything and started again from scratch. The result is we now have a house, some trees and stones and a hut.
But this does not solve the problem of coordinating activity that leaves behind traces of use on the island. I’ve thought about sending out more messages, which I will do. As well I want to create and link a wiki or a blog to those stones you can see in the center of the island so those who use the island can leave messages, make requests or introduce themselves. I also have a plan for a more custom built structure on the empty end of the island.
Finally, some exciting news. Sachiko Hayashi, familiar to many in HUMlab from the 2006 seminar, Technology as a Medium: Artist as a Consumer will be resident on the HUMlab SL Island for the coming months working on an installation art piece in collaboration with artists from Denmark. More details later.

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