Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lauren Elder

Avatar: SONY Pixelmaid

Recreating a metaphysical space, teleporting in any location. A world Surrounded by basic prims, and the ability for objects to move be source code and scripting. Second life is not tangible for everyone, need an account an avatar, it is generally shown to others through the use of machinima. Machinima is a virtual camera in second life to record what’s around you and what you see. My avatar, SONY Pixelmaid, spends most of her time making sculptures on the DMC land.
The entire source would be taken in different clips in SL and brought into after effects, I mainly interested in shooting scenic and my finds upon travel. The .mov file will be hung on top of the ceiling and projected down on the white space, 3d object/ cylinder pedestal. The object itself will be rotating changing to position and direction of the placement of the camera. (The camera is in the similar 3d moving, xyz plane.)

here the is the architectural mock up I did of the sculpture that was presented in class.

A cylinder pedestal constructed from bendable plywood attached to a mechanical rotating device.
Applied on top was a laser cut of to planes leaning agains one another and using the same material my name SONY Pixelmaid was carved out .

Here is the video that was projected on the sculpture as a method of skinning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Avatars and Materiality ISL

My work in Second Life dealt largely with avatar creation. This was an involved process, as I had to learn how to use Maya to model parts of my characters, how to import these into the SL Viewer, how to script, texture, and animate them. What sets SL avatars apart form other playable 3D models - at least until Mesh goes mainstream - is that characters are built using "attachments" fixed to a human figure. A custom avatar is essentially a costume. A part of me has always resented this, for the inconveniences it imposes, as well as the persistent knowledge that my avatar is just a human dressed up as something else. For example, my current avatar is not a real crocodile. I must then remind myself that even a seamless model of a crocodile - or a human - is never the real thing.

Having come to terms with handling a medium that seemed less legitimate at first (only because it did not fit the mainstream model of continuity that I was used to), I decided that it was still worthwhile to pursue avatar creation. The most important point is that any object can be brought to life if it is controlled by a person. Avatars, by mediating the gulf between the virtual and the physical, infuse the body parts they wear (however fabricated they appear) with spirit.

By recognizing that photo-realism is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in second life, I began to notice the aesthetic potentials of the 2D space we perceive as 3D. Objects move in Second Life 3-dimensionally, but we access them through a flat screen. This, together with the computer's tendency to glitch and create artifacts, is what I think of as the material of the computer. My second video, "Claustrophobia", explores the line where 3-dimensionality disintegrates to reveal the materiality of the computer. While this was not my primary focus this semester, I can see working in the future to create more abstract avatars that distort the user's sense of space and reality.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Snapshot as skeleton with blossom, 2010

Snapshot of hanging, 2010

The evolution of appropriation in the history of art has lead the viewer to contemplate subject matter and perspective through the guise of different and predominantly cutting edge mediums. I am interested in Second Life as a medium or platform for both art and social experimentation. Second Life embodies the self, as to explore one must be present in an avatar account, but free from any restrictions on that appearance. Fragmented from that avatar, as the human behind the avatar can view themselves while controlling them selves (ie. movement ect.). This free-ness allows an avatar to not exist in their own documentation. Making it possible to use Second Life solely as grounds for documentation of others, or of ones own sculpture, or architectural work. I am interested in including my image, and the many forms it takes.

To reinforce the importance of documentation it is worth considering that Second Life's unique scripting language 'Linden Scripting Language' or 'LSL' allows one to import 3D objects or 2D photos but any work created in SL can not be exported. This leaves documentation as the only way of exporting what happens in SL to the outside world. Which is really in sync with the effect increased internet use has had on the viewing of art and understanding of space as the composition of space in the documentation.

Afterthing, 2010

Venus Pose, 2010

Using my own avatar as subject the above image titled 'Afterthing' was posed in reference to Sherrie Levine's After Edward Weston. Levine, as with much of her work, has rephotographed one of Edward Weston's photos of his son's naked torso. Another documentation photo includes my own avatar Till Hollow and an avatar who I often collaborate with, Blossom Hydraconics, posing in the iconic Venus pose in front of an image of The Birth of Venus painting by Sandro Botticelli. The pose was a pre-set that we acquired for free. Second Life pre-set animations are interesting in their hyper-embodiment of popular culture as spelled out in categorical semiotics in the virtual realm. Or the pop-margin: art, specifically painting art, hair, bling, what is interesting or fetish worthy, death, hyper-real water and beaches. These two documentation photos represent the a world of possible permutations, a black-hole of appropriations manifested in SL, ripe for documentation, or performance beside, or real time tours of (a different form as exampled by Jon Rafman's Kool-Aid man, an ideal form --> tours as they escape art object in a very fresh way).

A third photo that I include in the post is documentation of an installation I encountered as a tourist in SL. I came across an open copy of F. Scott. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which as an iconic narrative and critique of the American dream, I was drawn to document its existence, even if its original placement was the result of a thoughtless prop res.

The Great Gatsby, 2010

The following videos that I included here represent my interest in the absurd, the occult, the superficial and the metaphoric potential latent in this incredibly open platform. These themes will likely drive my future explorations and fluid approach to documentation.

Video titles in order: Res Bling Then Put On --> Wear Til Done; Falling Potential in Second Life and Reverse Effect; Dance of Death: Water; With Leopard; Pre-set Dance on Grave

Final Project and Documentation All At Once

The pictures above are of the same build, a scaled down version of my final.
I'm still focused on Second Life as a means to an end, allowing me to create objects and spaces more easily than if I were to attempt building them physically. I'll then be able to use these objects and spaces as resources for other works. Combining images with built objects as textures or backdrops will also provide a convenient way of visualizing and experimenting. The finished model and a backdrop image from the Hubble Space Telescope seem to work better than the full-sized construction for visualization in many respects, because they can be manipulated more easily and need less virtual space. A combination of the smaller and full scaled builds should provide any kind of reference I could want, so I will probably develop this into a pattern of working in Second Life (using multiple builds at different scales) to be applied to my other work, mostly drawing.

I apologize if all of this media seems shoehorned in, but that's because it is. I wasn't especially interested or concerned with documenting the majority of my work aside from the occasional picture. I am happy with the the pictures and objects themselves, but being fairly new to video and reluctant to use it, I haven't looked forward to using Camtasia. So I ended up making just a couple brief videos of looking around at my constructions.

As my work progressed, I ended up moving away from architecture and toward science fiction, mostly because that's an aesthetic I grew up with and like. The virtual environment of Second Life is also ideal for modeling spaceships and the like because it allows complete control over the basic shapes of elements, textures, transparencies, and all without factoring in structural strength or just how everything is assembled and held together. Following the suggestion of pairing the finished spaceship model with a space-like background, I had to scale the whole thing down. It was a bit of a process since there was only so small it could be made. Taking some prims out and scaling a few pieces at a time did the trick, until I ran into an inherent limitation in small-scale construction (incidentally, nothing will go any smaller than 0.010 meters in one dimension.)

Impossible Spaces

I started out in Seecond Life most interested in doing things I can't in the physical world; my very first thought involved architecture. Second Life gives a nice bridge between drawings, plans and models because of the ability to interact with spaces through an avatar. Even better, limitations in material and form aren't a worry because there isn't the limitation of being physical.
After exploring what changes to the land could be made, I opted to excavate a space for my studio, which is really more of an exhibition space and work in itself since I ended up working off-site for a lot of my other projects. Despite not having to worry about support, I started by building a set of large beams. It's interesting to me that I still felt it a little necessary to use these elements, as well as adding scripted lights, even though they're not really necessary; personally I like the aesthetic of exposed crossbeams in the ceiling. The lights are mostly for show and learning to script objects to do things.

Floating land seems almost cliche given a virtual world, but I felt it also had to be done to take advantage of the fantastic elements. I ended up using many smaller touches to reflect the advantages and abilities of Second Life; stones to teleport between rooms and locations, single-way transparencies, and improbable materials like a solid stone roof are some of my favorites and let me explore the aesthetics without worrying about being practical or possible in the physical world.

exploring in Second life

Exploring in Second life

Now I keep Exploring in Second life for more than three months. At first, I cannot adapt the way of the exploring in virtual world. After visiting several places, I found people were enjoying their dreams in this world. I wanted to be a photographer in Second life and explore places, create own darkroom and cameras. Later I found that it’s not my avatar did, but I in real world was taking the pictures and building darkroom. The question confusing me is that I am the avatar to take pictures or the avatar itself takes the pictures. I think the limits of the way in virtual world control the communication. Although my avatar is taking camera, pressing the shutter is me in real world, and the picture is from the scene I saw from monitor, not the one from avatar’s view.

After communicating and building in second life, many problems come to me. What’s the different between the things I do in Second life and in the Facebook - like website? What makes people use this kind of visual virtual reality to communicate? The visual effects from monitor bring people what kind of experience? Why people like to use this way that taking much time and complex operation method to communicate? More and more questions are coming. At the same time, my works are also about virtual reality, and using computer graphic to create virtual environment, though different from the second life based on internet. What I want to bring viewers? Facebook - like websites and methods bring us fast and convenient way to communicate and work with high efficiency. In my opinion, the high speed developing of the society let people need this kind of environment to realize the fast information communication. But in complex environment in Second life, the methods of communication are not the main reasons that people enjoy in the virtual world. In the process of communication, the information is vision, their walking and experience are the behaviors from the avatar, the real person doesn’t move. The simulation experience is in place of the real one. This brings strange feeling. After I “walk” in virtual world for hours, and found I never leave my chair, I was afraid of this experience. This experience in virtual world really can instead of the real experience? What is the difference from the real one and the virtual one? And the future virtual experience will be more real? In future working and exploring, all these questions are important for me to think.

Memory season

memory season

- website link - more about memory season

In memory forest, listening sound from days. When?

This summer, I went back home and entered in a forest. Sound of water, lights through leaves called me. Memory became clear. It’s my memory forest. I believe that every person has own memory forest, memory grows in seasons.

Does my avatar have his own memory? I try to build a space also in second life world, though it’s a virtual world.

Memory Season

addition : texture and partical test

i try to put seasons in the space, and use partical script to simulate the snowy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

last final video

this is just a bit of a final record of experimentation before I go off for break-- the combination of growth, positioning, and synchronization.

final part 1

this is the first part of my final with my experimentation with growth through coding on Second Life. I experimented with these processes and came to the 'ability' to control the growth of objects in plantlike forms despite their instability in rooting themselves to particular objects. With that, I found myself creating orchestrations of objects that would act seemingly at the click of a button in simulating what could be considered natural disasters, mass growth of plants, or even complex organisms.

Environments on Display

I was interested in creating objects that had a different aesthetic and feel from the usual scenes Second Life offered. I have been experimenting for some time with baked lightmaps and textured and wanted to create enclosed environments that contained their own lighting and atmosphere.

I decided to present each of these scenes in their own "containers" or spaces that when put together resemble a sort of outdoor museum. Though most of the spaces shown are in the first person view, I wanted to show one of the models in second person view because the scale of the object has created an interesting relationship between viewer and environment.

I've decided to show the spaces in one video instead of several individual videos:

Below I have included a render of the original scene in maya, with objects this time:

I liked the idea of removing the objects in the Second Life version of this scene and the strange atmosphere that was created by objects that were not visible but still left their mark. I decided to put the light source in an unexpected place (rather than just emitting from the window) because of the strange shadows that resulted from the table and chairs that surrounded the light. The way the shadows spread out across the room seemed to create a different impact with missing object rather than a straight forward presentation . Like the rest of spaces, this space was created in maya, where I spent most of my time working.

DarkCity Soir_Jihoon Yoo

When I am working with technologies, I feel myself getting more obsolete. My works are about my predictions for the future. One day, they will replace me. Nowadays, technologies can replace many parts of my life. For example, jobs can be replaced by machines, sharing time with friends can be replaced by Facebook, and hobbies are relying more on computers. They can even replace parts of a body such as an artificial heart.

When my avatar with its movement interrupts sleeping of 3-D objects, my avatar can be metaphor of nightmare. cyborgs that I made using 3-D software enact aspects of my experience such as insomnia or isolation.

I am interested in how I can present 3-D objects that I see and touch in the real world on a 2-D screen. After I graduated from a sculpture department, I discovered that there are no 2-D objects in the world. To present this thought, I started making layers in a single screen. Each layer depicts a different temporal view of space because space is changed by passing time. As accumulated layers, flat moving images or still images can become 3-D images. Currently, I am focusing more on light and shadow, because they can make 3-D and 2-D images, simultaneously. Through making these works, I can feel and express how my existence is impacted by modern high-tech society.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

growth and coding

I'll admit, I'm not a fan of coding. I have trouble with it because it's not plainly laid out for me and when it is, it's difficult for me to determine what's what. For me, it's like having a math test but not knowing any of the equations, just knowing that numbers do something.

I've managed to manipulate a little bit of control from the coding that I've found and modified to fit what I'm trying to explore in this world, this realm of digital formatting recreated by our imaginations. From the exploration of evolution and a transfer from one animal characteristic to another, I have discovered that unraveling the web that is LsL coding is a much more daunting task then I had previously imagined. I had come to the idea that there would be an extensive reference bank where each variable would be explained with a bit more depth, but sadly I did not find the extensiveness I was hoping for. Because of my minor setback through coding, I chose to observe and recreate the main aspect of evolution that I was attempting to envision in Second Life.

The main aspect of evolution is a growth of some kind, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual, but the choice I had made for my decision to recreate in Second Life. I had gone over the same code multiple times in order to find an easily changed mechanism of some kind that would allow a 'rooted' growth, where a prim would grow from a fixed position but so far, my efforts have proven somewhat fruitless.

The lack of limits in Second Life pushes me to enforce my own rules to 'problem solve', given the wide range of things to discover in this digital world. Because of that, by providing a limit for myself, I allow myself a task to complete while exploring what Second Life has to offer. While I have created 'growable' objects, my main hindrance has constantly been the ability to anchor an object by a specific end in order to give myself some form of logic in terms of growth, my limiting factor.

Despite that, I have been able to visually recreate demonstrations of growth in Second Life without the use of poses or a custom HUD and instead, by using prims all geared to a single trigger. In the video that goes along with this video is a series of clips that shows the progress that I have made in an effort to solve the problem that is anchoring an object.