I’ve watched Slipknot perform twice this week in London. Whether you like their music or not, it is difficult to resist the sense of theatre that surrounds it. Or the song that plays as the show opens …
… which leads me straight on to a quick update on the Furillen Bowie weekend, which is coming up fast.
First. In addition to the 17 albums that are already on Furillen’s Bowie playlist, I’ve been adding more music, including …
So I think in terms of music, we have it pretty much covered.
Besides all of this music, we will be displaying well over 100 images – including some hand-written lyrics and drawings by Bowie, as well as pictures of some of his great outfits. This one, for example …
Finally, we have movies for you. These will include a ninety-minute compilation of music videos that seems to have been put together by Bowie himself, and a conceptual movie that was made to accompany the 2003 album, Reality.
We are, in short, doing the great man proud.
Where are we now, where are we now?
The moment you know, you know, you know
As long as there’s sun
As long as there’s sun
As long as there’s rain
As long as there’s rain
As long as there’s fire
As long as there’s fire
As long as there’s me
As long as there’s you
It was a busy weekend at Furillen.
It was compelling. I love this art, and enjoy the sense of drama – imagined and real – that surrounds it.
The winning picture engages with the ‘cold’ theme in a direct but nonetheless subtle way. For me, as for many others I think, it is the light in Carolyn’s picture that really grabs – and holds – one’s attention.
By the time you read this, the winning picture will be on display in the hotel reception.
Tomorrow, I will announce a theme for the next competition, and set down some other new ground rules – just to keep things interesting.
Third, the great Rinnuendo continued working at the movie player. We discovered – and worked around – more SL-specific quirks, and we are starting to believe that we may now have one of the best – no, the best – movie screens on the grid.
In a previous post, I said that the screen is only a temporary installation at the sim, and I believe this is the right choice. So do enjoy this while it lasts – and please be patient if you are not so keen (derendering is your best option).
If you tweak your preference settings for media at distance, you can hear and see (or glimpse) the screen from all over the sim. To me, it has the feeling of a vast, empty cinema.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure you follow the instructions on the board next to the screen – and avoid pressing buttons repeatedly as you might with your TV at home. Give the movies time to load, particularly those you haven’t yet seen.
Fourth, the outside cinema was the location of not one but two ‘flashmob’ line-ups. These are great fun – a good test of photography and lag survival skills, and a really pleasant social occasion.
There are some really exceptional characters at Furillen, which has now taken on a social and creative life of its own far beyond anything that I have created or can (or would want to) control. I called myself the janitor with good reason.
Fifth, preparations are well underway for the Bowie weekend that will take place at Furillen on 13-14 February 2016. I have the music well covered, but if there is any digital Bowie-related art – including movies – that you think would enhance the weekend, please get in touch.
Before then, I will be resuming my nocturnal first life habits as I come out of hibernation and start going to a gig or two in London. This week it is Slipknot and All Time Low. I’m looking forward to the theatricals in both gigs, especially the former.
But the working week, alas, starts now. Whatever you get up to, do make the most of it …
Someone requested that we hold a Bowie event at Furillen.
This is no doubt partly a response to the wall-to-wall Bowie music, featuring 17 of his albums, that we had streaming through the sim just after he died.
I think it’s a great idea. We could simply have a party, but with a homestead limit of 20 avatars I can imagine the carnage that would ensue if I issued an invitation with a start time on it. So instead, I propose a Bowie weekend …
… during which you are invited to come to the sim appropriately dressed, in outfits that the great man himself might have enjoyed at some point during his long and distinguished career as a style icon.
Besides a spaced out Janitor, greeting you at Furillen will be …
If you like the sound of this, pop over to Furillen next weekend, February 13-14 2016, to celebrate the life and work of this extraordinary – unique – artist.
… let’s dance !
Has it been a success? I think so, and in three key areas.
First, numbers. All records for visitor numbers to the sim – and for listeners to the music stream – were broken during the course of the evening (European time), and it seems to have been an extremely busy night.
I spent several hours at the sim and it was full or very close to full for most of that time.
For anyone who was trying to get in for a quiet moment or two … sorry about that, but normal service will be resumed in due course.
Second, the experience. Moon and I had worked hard to make this an immersive show. Besides the music and lighting, the idea behind ‘projecting’ the images onto the building walls was to create a collective experience of art: a bit like the cinema, but while looking at pictures instead.
Not only the pictures in the slide show, but the four animated gifs on the hotel rooms behind. Like this one:
Watching pictures together, waiting the (carefully selected) 45 second period for the introductory slide for each image to clear … waiting and anticipating, together … has a strangely hypnotic effect.
There were some moments that really felt quite special.
I recommend reading this excellent piece by Kate Bergdorf, for a description of how this felt from her perspective.
Third, the concept. I wanted to show art not only at Furillen but of Furillen. Art that belongs at the sim because it was made at the sim.
I wanted to offer an alternative to a gallery, using other aspects of what I felt Second Life could offer.
I wanted to show pictures in a way that emphasized what art stands for at Furillen, its sense of community and co-operation.
Moon’s wonderful pictures were the perfect vehicle for this, and I am very grateful to him for agreeing to what must have seemed – at first – to be a bit of a strange idea.
Fortunately, Moon knows enough about Walter Benjamin – who, unashamedly, was my inspiration for this project – to have agreed to come along for the ride.
Without Moon’s excellent portraits – all of them made at Furillen in the same room using the same set – this show could never have worked.
So, to repeat …
Just see it.
One of the most neglected aspects of sims that I visit in Second Life is the soundscape. Occasionally, I have visited a sim and been captivated by what I hear – music, or other sounds (birds, creaking doors, the wind – whatever fits).
More often, alas, I visit a beautiful sim, switch on music, and hear traffic news, or an advert for something really shit that ‘you always knew you needed’ …
There was a sim called October Country – does anyone else remember it? – that streamed audio books and plays. Visitors – me! – would sit for hours in a spooky graveyard listening to classic broadcasts, usually of science fiction. It made for a wonderful atmosphere.
I wondered about doing this sometimes at Furillen. If I did, it would surely have to be War of the Worlds to start everything off …
Although there is a separate page on this site referring to music at Furillen, I wanted to mention it here partly to draw attention to the fact that the sim has its very own music stream.
I won’t bore you with how it works, but there is around 60 hours of music on a random loop. I have 12gb of server space, so there is room for plenty more. But I reserve that for special occasions …
… there were some Christmas tunes for a very short time …
… the new song released by Radiohead on Christmas day was uploaded and played once per hour (just wait until their new album is dropped – any time now!) …
… when David Bowie died I uploaded 15 hours of his music and played it for two days, and I still use this playlist from time to time …
… and this weekend, I will be playing music chosen by Moon Edenbaum to accompany his series of portraits that will be on show.
I don’t know many other sims that have their own music stream permanently running. Elysion – a favourite place on the grid for many of us – is one. There is always great music on there, and I enjoy talking to the owner – Syn Beresford – about music choices.
The music I uploaded to the stream is mainly what I’d play when working – or running, strangely enough. It’s mostly ambient, very atmospheric, usually without words.
Biosphere, Eno, BVDUB, Hammock, John Foxx, Nils Frahm, Oophoi, Stars of the Lid, This Will Destroy You … all feature heavily, alongside a smattering of other stuff, including some classical (Avro Pärt, for example) …
I think it not only fits the sim’s special atmosphere, but enhances it.
One feature of the stream you might find odd is my voice, intermittently telling you that you are listening to Furillen radio, etc. This is done in order to prevent – or discourage – a larger commercial sim from latching onto the stream. It would sound a bit strange …
I do this because there are 50 listening slots on my stream. More than enough for a homestead like Furillen, but easily swallowed up …
The stream provides listening stats, which are interesting reading. On average, I would say that between 50-70% of those on the sim at any one time listen to the stream. Those who tune in listen – on average – for around half an hour.
One in ten listen for well over an hour, some for more than 4 hours …
But here is my favourite statistic. Since the stream began, listeners have tuned in from a total of 102 countries.
Want a list? Alright then, if you insist. Here they are, in order of listening minutes …
Korea, Republic Of
United Arab Emirates
Moldova, Republic Of
Isle Of Man
Bosnia And Herzegovina
Trinidad And Tobago
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
If nothing else, this demonstrates just how cosmopolitan the grid can be.
But I hope it also encourages those of you who haven’t listened yet, to tune in …
… and enjoy how Furillen sounds, not just how it looks.