Shipwreck Moon, my poem about a blue moon (or two)

Last night I went out near midnight in RL to look at the blue moon over California.

Then I came inside and looked at it in SL over the Farhaven Isles.

Here’s the poem that came out.

Dreamy spring in Second Life

A dreamy spring has come to my lands.

Now I live by the sea!

I’m so pleased! There’s a new ocean sim called Windrush next to my land in Farhaven. So now I get to sit on island rocks like like this one and watch the sun go down on another gorgeous SL day. G’nite, all my friends. Sleep well.

Stroll around inside a masterpiece

Bryn Oh had an intriguing post today asking for input on her machinima proposal to produce a further machinima that would accompany a museum display of a Canadian painter’s work. Her idea (if I understand it correctly) is to produce a machinima that is a virtual 3D portrayal of one of the artist’s paintings. The idea of “walkabout art” where an avatar can stroll around inside a virtual build of a famous work of art — be it a painting, poem, story, song, or any medium really — has intrigued me ever since I moved to Second Life.

Along these lines, I create walk-in “Poem Parks” on my parcel of land in Farhaven in Second Life, which you can visit directly by clicking here. I love visitors! These are virtual parks I build where avatars can wile away the day exploring the famous images of the great poets. For example, I have created parks for the Wordsworth poem “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud” and Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.” Sadly, these parks have gone the way of all Second Life ephemera, and they are no longer there. But there will be more! I am in between poems at the moment — dreaming up the next park — but you’re welcome to visit anytime. There are always animals and creatures to meet, and paths to wander.

Second Life offers an incredible opportunity to create walk-in art. There are several amazing examples that I know of. My favorite is Robbie Dingo’s unforgettable “Watch the World” machinima from 2007 in which he builds the Van Gogh painting “The Starry Night” in Second Life. Settle back for a real treat as you watch it, whether you’re watching it for the first time or, like me, watching it for the hundredth time or so. I’m embedding the Youtube version below for ease of watching, but if you can, watch the blip.tv high-quality presentation here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV1YbWBSXS8

You can read Robbie’s original presentation notes from his 2007 blog post here, including his provocative invitation:

Ever looked at your favorite painting and wished you could wander inside, to look at it from different perspectives? Spend a single day in one of mine, from early sunrise on a new day, to dusk when lights come on in cosy homes; through a peaceful night, till morning.

Robbie’s “Starry Night” sim is long gone, but his machinima remains a masterful demonstration of what it can be like to walk around inside a work of art. As one of the Youtube commenters says, it’s tons of fun when some SL critic asks what you could ever do with a silly game like that, you just cue up Robbie’s video, toss your head and say casually, “Oh, something like this maybe.”

Another great example is Farley Crabgrass’s machinima “A Second Life Winter’s Night,” portraying the Gordon Lightfoot song “Song for a Winter’s Night” (sung here by Sarah McLachlan) — filmed in my poem park of the Robert Frost poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcVObjx2RkA

And for a final example, here is Tracechops’ machinima exploring Yeats’ poem “The Stolen Child.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9hnUYV06t4&playnext=1&videos=tr73TA5cVgY

All of these have different capacities for interaction and exploration, but I find each one a masterpiece in its own right. Perhaps you know of others? If so, please post them in the Comments to this post. I’d love to see more!