Arts and Culture

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ARTS AND CULTURE IN SECOND LIFE

A Rich Creative Medium, an International Audience

"Second Life is the future right now, offering endless possibilities for artists." — Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran

Writers and Authors

Second Life has become a great place for writers and authors over the past two years, with everything they could need whether they're hobbyists, aspiring authors or bestselling authors. One of the largest active projects for writers is The Written Word with over 1,000 members in its associated groups and activities from open mics, workshops and socialising, through to televised interviews with bestselling authors, and free spaces for publishers who invite submissions. Visit the website to find out more and come along to be given links to more of the growing number of writing projects on Second Life. http://www.writtenword.org.uk

Creative People

Artists of all kinds have found a powerful new medium for creative expression in Second Life. Dancers, theater artists, painters, graphic designers, photographers and architects use the Second Life platform to develop exciting new work and expand their audience. Second Life is a new canvas with infinite possibilities.

Artists

The virtual world offers artists an extraordinary creative medium. The embedded building and scripting tools allow artists to add multi-dimensionality to their work — light, sound, 3-D sculpting and motion. And, Second Life is an ideal format for sharing that work. On any given day, hundreds of inworld galleries and museums are host to shows by artists from around the world, displaying everything from photography to paintings, the real to surreal. For an up-to-date list of art galleries in Second Life, see http://sasun.info/ArtGalleriesOfSL.aspx.

Architects

Second Life is an ever-expanding world filled with diverse environments, from cityscapes to fantasy lands, all created by the Residents. It's an architect's paradise. There are no limits to what you can create — scale models of real-world houses or fantastical structures unbounded by physics. Builders can work simultaneously on the same project, and all members of a team can see the work as it develops then tweak it on the fly. Real-world clients can walk through a virtual model of their home. Second Life can help Architects visualize, prototype, build, and then sell a project.

Creative Tools

Built-in, easy to use creative tools give Residents the power to change the world. Professionals and beginners alike can quickly learn to make anything from hairstyles to houses, personal photo galleries to interactive art installations. Second Life offers an environment unlike any other, merging many of the best qualities of the Web, online games, social networking, user-generated content, creativity applications and telecommunications technologies. Residents also benefit from these tools and features:

Build & Script

Residents use simple 3-D modeling tools embedded in the Second Life platform to create clothes, buildings, landscapes, sculptures and whatever else they can imagine, and they can animate objects and avatars using the built-in scripting language. Because everything happens in real time, creative work can be highly collaborative.

Images & Textures

It's easy to convert digital photos and designs from popular graphics applications into an Second Life-compatible format and import them to the Second Life servers. All images can be applied as "textures" to objects and avatars for an infinite variety of creative results.

Audio & Video

The Second Life platform supports streaming media, and enabling it is as easy as copying and pasting the artist's media server URL into a control panel. Theater artists, dancers, musicians, and spoken word acts can put on live or prerecorded performances inworld.

Intellectual Property Rights

Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, decided in 2003 to break away from industry standards and allow users to have intellectual property rights over what they create in-world. Built-in features allow creators to label work as their own and flag it with the level of copy permissions they want to assert over their work, e.g., all-rights reserved or freely modifiable and transferable. You own your work, so you can sell it, swap it, hang it in your virtual mansion and enjoy it.

Micropayment System

Since you own the rights to your work, you can sell and trade your objects, scripts, and animations for pleasure or profit. The inworld micropayment system (Linden Dollars) allows you to easily pay other avatars for products, services and entertainment. Similarly, the audience at a performance, concert, or film screening can pay a "tip jar," or event organizers can charge for admission. Some talented Residents have been able to quit their day job and live off what they make selling their goods and services in Second Life.

Second Life offers professionals and amateurs alike a vast canvas for imaginative expression. Theater artists, dancers, painters, musicians, designers, sculptors, and creative people from around the globe have already made their mark on the virtual world, and the wonders have only just begun.