latest news from Furillen

Just a few updates after a distinctly weird, tiring and busy week.

First, after the bold announcements about our video screen yesterday the reviews are somewhat mixed. For some people it plays right away, for others it feels like pulling teeth.


Rin – who is even more Super Rinnuendo in my eyes, as result of this – has been tearing her hair out with finding solutions, and we are still trying to work through the issues. For now, the ability to choose has been taken away, it will play one video at a time, following that well-known principle …


In the end, this may be as far as we can take it. Video will play for most people most of the time, on both Mac & PC. Whether this justifies laying on a machinima event – which was the main reason for all this effort – I am not sure.

And as for Rin …


So anyway … if you struggle, keep on toggling away at your viewer video button, as well as the controls just above the screen – the home and reload buttons, especially.

SL never was an elegant technology …


But the cinema layout did – at least – give us a chance to stage Flashmob 2 …

Happy Night @ Furillen *2

(Almost)Full of Beautiful people's feet in water @Furillen

Second, Round 2 of the competition closed yesterday. We had some great entries, and the usual procedures now apply: there is a new Round 2 group to simplify voting (so everything in the group is eligible), so you need to nominate which picture (if you posted several) you want included in the vote.

If you don’t see your picture in this group – contact me urgently. It’s invitation only, to avoid stray pictures. You will also need to join the group in order to see every picture because …

… only entrants get to vote. And you get TWO votes each. Vote by notecard or flickrmessage. You can try voting through IM, but mine get capped so it’s a risky method.


Third, and relatedly, you nice people need to tell me whether we are going on with this competition thing or not. I enjoy seeing the pictures around a particular theme, and find the outcome intriguing.

But really, if it feels old already, let’s move on. For me it’s work, so I am not jumping up and down for it to run on and on. I don’t have a competition fetish.


If you read this and see me around this weekend, just let me have your thoughts please. I’m seriously in two minds about this.


But don’t suggest a competition that lasts a few months or something – I’ve been in SL long enough to know how time works here. Letting things drag on is how stuff dies in this world.


Fourth, we have some great events coming up, with a new art show being planned with an artist whose work I admire hugely – which will involve some innovative displays – and another under discussion with someone whose pictures I have admired for a very long time.


So let’s end there. I wish you all a very good, creative and/or just downright lazy weekend.

Furillen – up next

As we get ready go close down the exhibit of portraits by Moon Edenbaum, ‘Shoot the Shooters’, it is time to look ahead to the next key date …

… which is this Friday, 5 February 2016, when entries close for Round 2 of the Furillen photography competition – at midday SLT to be precise.


As before, voting will take place over the weekend before I announce the winner on Sunday 7 February at midday SLT. The winning picture will be displayed on the sim, and the winner gets to choose the next theme, with Round 3 starting in 8 February and running until 24 February.

To remind you, the theme is ‘cold’. I made some suggestions about what you might do – and issued a plea for as many as possible of you to join in – right here.

So please join in. To show you that I mean it, I am resorting to the lowest form of art, the pleading fluffy kitten GIF.


Happy now?

As for ‘the rules’ … the only difference this time around is that only entrants get to vote. Why did I do this? Because it was too complex before – too complex for me, I mean.


The last winner was a hugely popular choice and I expect the next one to be be just as much a consensus pick.

cartoonSo if you would like to influence who wins, then you know what you have to do …

As for events, and following a quite reasonable request from Kate Bergdorf, we’ll be leaving the show up for one more day – just to allow those who don’t (or can’t) come into Second Life at the weekends to come along and see it on Monday.

Meanwhile, Moon has already started to post the series on his flickr stream, so you can show your appreciation of his extraordinary talents with the usual flickrite love.

Back at Furillen, I’ll be working hard to keep the momentum going during a busy February in my first life.

I will be trying out various ways of changing the seasons without undermining the atmosphere.

I will be working with the builder – ‘craftsperson’ – KT Syakumi, on new (and unique) buildings for the sim, which try to replicate what exists on the real Furillen.


And, of course, I will be planning new shows and events. I have several in mind.

Each, I hope, will feature a really distinctive artist whose work has close connections – of one kind or another – with Furillen in Second Life.


Each, I hope, will be ’embedded’ within the sim, offering an experience of art that is immersive, collective and different. Precisely how this is achieved depends entirely on the art form in question, on the wishes of the artist — and on what’s technically possible.

The Artist's Eye

As ever, I won’t be making any of my plans public until I really have to …

Just watch this space.

For a sim in which nothing much happens, everything at Furillen happens fast.

To all of you who came to the the event this weekend and supported Moon and me – thank you.

Happy February.


latest Furillen news

One of the reasons for keeping this blog is to build a kind of memory board, or diary, because so much happens in such a short time in Second Life that developments often get lost to the memory simply because they are so fast.

So here we go.

First. I changed the sky and ground textures again.

new ground 01_001

Neither will be a long-term change, but I am exploring different settings ahead of a possible Furillen ‘spring’.

In response to my recent post on this question, many of you said you’d like to see seasons at Furillen. Some said you wouldn’t …


What you can be sure of is that the unusual atmosphere at the sim will be always be retained, if not the snow (although there is more snow than ever, right now).

new ground 01_008

As I’ve said before, this means searching for a combination between realism and something akin to hyperrealism or even surrealism. I usually know when a combination is right when I see it.

It’s never quite a eureka moment, but it is a little bit like this …


Second. One of the hotel rooms has been changed and I’ll be moving more things around in the next week or so, as time permits. As always, the rationale I follow is about making pictures.

Inevitably, perhaps, reflections are involved …

new ground 01_009

Third. The first Furillen art event, featuring portraits by Moon Edenbaum, happens this weekend. There will be minimum disruption, but it will be intriguing to see how the sim looks and feels with something going on there.

new ground 01_004

There may be one or two closures, just look out for group notices.

As always, please let me know what you think.

Fourth. A new Furillen gift has been left out for visitors, located next to most tip jars – just touch the prim and it will give you three items, the rest should be self-explanatory.

new ground 01_006

The gift is a beautiful album of Furillen words and pictures that was made – without my knowledge – by Anna, whose flickr stream is here. I am very grateful to her for allowing me to make this available to everyone who wants it.

Please let her know if you like it.

Fifth. I hope to feature some guest blogs here in coming weeks. If you’d like to write something, let me know. Anything Furillen-related or photography-related.


You don’t need to be a fabulous writer, I can edit what you do – and I’ll do the layout here. (Do you imagine I’d allow anyone else to do that …?)

And don’t listen to all that Hemingway shit …


Sixth. The competition seems to be hotting up. Please join in.


If you say you don’t want to because you ‘don’t like competitions’, think about this. I have made clear that this is a competition with a difference – less about the prize, more about the process; less about competing interests, more about community; less about one person or committee deciding on the ‘best’, more about people deciding together.

Very funny Humor Cartoon Jokes on Democracy

Having heard me say all of that, and if you still don’t want to join in … well, perhaps the problem isn’t really competitions at all …

So come on. Remember that great Ghandi line. It may seem cheesy now, and he was talking about somewhat more important things than a Second Life picture contest.


But I need to end somewhere, so I may as well end here.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

By all means prioritise alleviating world poverty, dealing with climate change and ensuring that there are no more wars. But by comparison, submitting a picture to the Furillen competition pool isn’t too big an ask.


Is it?

Enjoy your day, wherever you are. And see you inworld … you know where.


cold calling

Our current competition round is on the theme of ‘cold’, and while we already have some great pictures in the pool, some of you have said that you are struggling to come up with anything that doesn’t simply involve snow and shivering.


So I thought I’d make some suggestions, to see if I can help over any lingering cases of ‘photographer’s block’ with this theme …


How do you normally take pictures? Some of you plan, some of you just react to what you see. If you normally just react, my advice is …

… don’t let a competition theme stop you from doing this.

Don’t even think about it.

Just …


… do it.

Keep taking pictures. Look back at what you did as the competition deadline approaches – it’s 5 February – and see what might fit the theme.

At a sim like Furillen, I’d be amazed if you don’t find something in your files that fits ‘cold’.

It’s not as if we called it ‘wheat fields’ …

Balancing Act

Now that would be tough at Furillen …

As for the planners amongst you, don’t be too literal with this theme – and don’t over think it.

‘Cold’ is really just a trigger.

It can mean many things, such as …

… a mood …

Cold wind blows

… an emotion …

~ εmo ~ *229 @Furillen

… a colour …

Iced blue lagoon

… a glance …

Are you there?

… a touch …

… an absence …


… a sky …

Another lost Soul

and much, much more.

Another way to do this might be to use a thesaurus …


If ‘cold’ doesn’t get you started, perhaps some of these other words will?

Once you have your picture, you just need a title.

If the fit between theme and picture isn’t obvious, use the title to make the relevance of image to theme clear. This could be a quotation, or just a word or phrase that relates the picture to ‘cold’.

Some of the pictures in the first round – about ‘solitude’ – didn’t really do this.

So for example …

A picture with some exposed flesh …

iolanda 01_009

… could be called “goose bumps”.

An image of someone who seems bereft …

how to disappear completely

… could be called “numb”.

While a picture of a telephone, left off the hook …

cold sky_035

might carry the title, “cold calling”.

I’m not saying these are great ideas. But they are ideas that don’t involve snow and shivering – and they came to me in the few minutes it took me to write this.

Whatever you do, please try to do something. It’s a great way to hone your skills – and to celebrate the community of photographers that has been developing at Furillen.



picture of the day: 18/1/16

Furillen contest

“Furillen contest”

by lamouettesurlepont

This picture was the runner up in the first round of the Furillen Photography Competition.

It is an extraordinary image, which clearly moved many of you who voted for it. One person commented that it ‘grabs you by the throat’.

I couldn’t agree more.

For me, the picture captures the theme – solitude – very powerfully indeed. I sense a great deal of emotion in it. It speaks not only of solitude, but of isolation.

The sense of space here, and the mood conveyed through the sky, are stunning.

When I contacted Oyo about the picture, she described the image as a “cry in a huge silence, a way to express the inaudible. I think we are many in this case, perhaps almost all of us”.

This did, I must confess, leave me speechless.

competition review

So our first competition reached its conclusion yesterday. We have a wonderful winner.

Congratulations to Wilberforce Buckshot for producing such an eye-catching picture. I think it really gets to grips with the theme of ‘solitude’.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.

I love the discursive title, “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self”. It is a quotation from May Sarton’s memoir, Journal of a Solitude.

To me, this line draws the viewer right into the competition theme, and I believe that it was this close correspondence between theme and picture that many of you wanted to see in the winner.

But even without this title, there is something hugely evocative in the image of this elegant man, silhouetted against the Furillen sky.

This picture is quite clearly a ‘Furillen picture’.

Minimalist. Powerful in its use of space and light.

And as I am sure everyone will agree, this is not simply an artist to reckon with, but a splendid avatar, too.

I never hold a grudge. As soon as I get even with the SOB, I forget it.

There is an additional, very touching aspect to all of this. When I told Wilberforce the news, I discovered that he is marrying his Second Life partner, Gidgy Buckshot – marrying in real life, I hasten to add – on Tuesday of this week.

I wish them both great happiness.

Wilberforce has produced an incredible run of great pictures from Furillen. As someone commented on one of them, he really seems to bring the place to life.

Here are some examples of his Furillen work:

I stayed in a really oldfashioned hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.

I don't know anything about the hotel business.

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

All labour is directed towards producing some effect.

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. (Part I)

But I could – and would – say the same thing for so many of the people who entered. And I look forward to doing so …

This contest was, I must say, a close run thing. There were many strong pictures in the pool, and this was reflected in the voting.

Every one of you who voted thought about this hard. You had good reasons for choosing the picture you voted for; reasons that you often stated to me when you voted.

I was struck – and really impressed – by the thoughtfulness, generosity and sincerity of your reasons.

I will be featuring some of the other great pictures from the competition pool in the picture of the day slot this week – starting with the runner up, which I will post later today.

True to competition rules, Wilberforce’s picture will be displayed on the sim for the next two weeks.

And he has nominated our next theme: “cold”

cold a

Many of those who took part in this round said that they didn’t usually like competitions, but this one seemed a bit different.

It wasn’t about the prize, it was about the process – the taking part, the sharing of perspectives on a theme, the fascination of seeing what others came up with.

So thank you, everyone who took part, for proving that it really is possible to have – for want of a better term – a ‘non-competitive competition’.

The next round starts now. Same procedure as before. It ends on Friday 5 February at midday SLT.

Enjoy …

photography at Furillen

While Furillen wasn’t specifically designed for taking pictures, photography was an important  consideration when I laid things out. This was inevitable, given that this is what I like doing most on the grid.

As I said in another post, Flickr has had a major influence on visitor numbers at Furillen. But numbers aside, it has also created a special atmosphere.

stormy weatherII

It sometimes gets a little bit weird, too.

performing against gloom

With people working hard at pictures, moving around searching for good angles and perspectives, trying out different light settings, there is usually a good vibe.

three a

Close Encounters of the Third Kind @ Furillen

People who go around the grid taking pictures are invariably good to meet: long established in Second Life, curious, and knowledgeable. Being creative and interested in the visual side of the grid, a lot of them also have great avatars.

The Remains  of the Day

Something wicked

Be with me


Kthulha's Awesome Hat

Boo is lost in Bubbles @ Furillen

I also really enjoy seeing bloggers at Furillen. Although they tend to see the sim mainly as a backdrop for whichever clothes or accessories they want to feature, they are always welcome.

No Skies to Lose

The stuff they do is often fun, too.

blogger b

Flickr in Second Life is quite a social space, many of the active people know each other, take pictures of each other, comment on each other’s work and attend each other’s exhibitions. A bit like any real life art scene, I guess.

Quiet Glance

The photography competition was intended to tap into all of this, and I think it has worked. Some awesome pictures have been submitted to the competition group: well over 100 pictures since 1 January 2016.

Entries close today, voting on the first round takes place over the weekend, and the winner will be announced on Sunday. The winning picture will be on show at the sim, while its creator gets to choose the next theme – the next round will begin immediately and runs for a further two weeks.

I won’t be voting myself, but will post some of my personal favourites from this round – all on the theme of ‘solitude’ – in the Picture of the Day slot next week.

Meanwhile, to all who submitted pictures – thank you and good luck.

the furillen photography competition

The Furillen photography group was started on 12 October 2015. Since that time, the group has acquired 1476 images taken by 215 members. The standard is consistently high, and sometimes out of this world. More important, though, is the spirit of generosity that one sees in the comments, and feels among photographers who visit the sim. So we will have a contest, but a contest with a difference because it will (I hope) be infused with the community spirit that has been so characteristic of life at Furillen:

1. The contest will take place monthly, starting today.
2. Each entry to be based on a designated theme for that month.
3. One entry per person, eligibility is membership of this group.
4. Winner to be chosen democratically, through a vote organized by me using flickrmail, one vote per member of the group.
5. Two prizes: a) the winning picture will be displayed on the sim for the next month; and b) the winner gets to choose the next theme.

January’s theme is: solitude

Please tag your pictures with this theme, and the word ‘competition’.

Post them in the main Furillen group on Flickr, and also in the competition stream, which is here:

By all means tag several of your pictures this way during the month, just choose which you’d like to use by the closing date, which is SLT midnight on 31 January 2016.

I am looking forward to seeing what you lovely, talented people come up with.

hot seat e