Tuesday, 16 May 2017

So the Second Life module is coming to an end and what a great experience it has been.  I feel I am a bit behind with my blogs but to cap things off over the last few weeks in Second Life there was two classes I couldn't come to because of internet connection for some reason...one class where we had a discussion about a reading by Thomas More called Utopia which was very insightful even though nobody's chat would work so you had to read on the chat screen what people were saying and if you typed something to try to get involved in the conversation nobody would acknowledge it so what was the point . Im pretty sure for most of the classes I must have had a setting wrong with the chat and didn't know it. Well I felt that was the case, but then some days there WOULD be a reply which sent me into a total confusion. But back to Thomas More and Utopia. I wondered ..if he was the first person to come up with the name Utopia and what it stands for- which is ,a good place, then what about heaven ? Did they not believe in a Heaven yet and if so would they not have striven to be better people so the could make it there one day. Also it doesn't sound very Utopian to have mercenaries fighting on your behalf either. There should not be any fighting at all !!!

The next week we had a talk with a few people from Second Life and a group exhibition which was great. We had to go to DIT in Second Life and build our own canvas in which we had to upload a painting we did based on Heterotopia and stick it to the wall .  Then that evening we all meet up in a group and walked around looking at everyone's painting while the artist gave a speech on what they had painted and the story behind it. All the work was brilliant and we left it there and arranged to meet again the following week.

The following week a man who has been a member of Second Life came on to speak to us about his time there and the three different female avatars he was using to portray himself.His name was Sitearm and he had a very interesting story we arranged to meet in Second Life the following Monday and go on a shopping spree!!!

We met on Second life at 10pm ..it was quite funny because I teleport-ed to DIT to meet him but for some reason I always land on the roof and my computer was glitching so I couldn't get off the roof and meet him in the college so he had to come and meet me up on the roof instead haha! There were a few bad connections at the beginning with sound so we couldn't speak freely but chatted away anyway. I was surprised at how easy it was to chat to him as I was fairly nervous before hand due to the fact that I didn't know him and was a bit anxious. I was a bit in the dark aswel because I had missed the first half of the class the week previous when he introduced himself so I didn't know his story in Second Life but we just chatted and he asked mea few questions about my time here, which was another reason I was nervous because he had read my blog and I felt I might be judged on my previous statements..
 Anyway he went through a few of the basics with me because my computer was glitching alot and I figured out how to lower the quality which made everything better. I walked around the roof a few times...which I found quite funny.. going for a stroll around the DIT roof! But everything worked !
Then Sitearm brought me through all the ways to edit your avatar,how to change the clothes,how to change the body type, how to put on and off hair,how to get rid of any accessories you dont want! It was great, I learnt loads ..and even squeezed in another walk around the roof for good measure!
We decided then to go find something to do and he showed me how to see whats on in Second Life at that time. We were going to go and see a Star Trek museum which I was looking forward to but it wasnt on at the time. There is a Second Life clock aswel which is different to Irish time and American time and you have to keep an eye on that if you want to see any of the shows. I will say that I got a bit of a shock when I thought I was told to click on the boxes that PG the events and without realising I had actually turned on all the X rated places to meet up and my god was there a lot of them! After realising I moved swiftly on and we chose an area with music ,teleport in and had a walk around a maze and drove car - all great fun - but still didn't bum into any other people.
After that we went back to DIT and I tried to change an  outfit. Sitearm was very patient with me as by that time it was 12am here and I was in sleep mode, it had been a very knowledgeable couple of hours and my brain couldn't handle computer anymore, so after running through some more commands and options we decided to call it a night.
It really was the best fun I have had in ages in an online game setting. I thanked Sitearm for his time and I also thanked him for opening my eyes and changing my mind fully about Second Life.
I am already planning my next trip  to see the Star Trek Museum ! Cant wait !!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

First Encounter

So first thing first ...select an avatar.

Choosing an avatar is meant to be an enlightening experience. You can chose a different persona. Decide what side of you you want to show the world. You can change the colour of your skin, the colour of your hair even what sex you are. With all of this at my fingertips you would think I would have been more creative but I just quickly chose one from the menu that I liked the look of and left it at that. She is a female and she looks like a witch wearing a black cape and a carrying a cat on her shoulder...maybe choosing an avatar does say something about you after all!

I entered the Second Life world.

There I was staring at the back of my avatars head standing on the start platform, not quite sure what to do now. I followed the arrows which guided me towards a place I never got to see as the class was sent a link to the DIT college classroom and I could just teleport there, but I did get to have a little fun before that. The arrows are designed for you to move your avatar through different obstacles so you can practice using the different keys. So away I went up and around the walkway and was told by a sign that I had to jump and fly over the gaps in the ground....jump I went..and down I went..through the gaps and down to the floor below...around I walked again and now I had to learn how to jump up a step bigger than my avatars head, up I went and around I went again....jump I went and....down the hole again. This is getting annoying. It was here I was approached by another avatar, dressed all in black and had an array of guns floating above his head. Pretty cool dude. He said Hello, I said Hi back and explained that I was new here,I asked him why he had guns above his head. He said they were part of his costume and asked me if I wanted to go to the Island. It was at this point I freaked out at being put so on the spot. I had so many thoughts going around my head that I didn't know what to do. It was in the classroom in Grangegorman I had gone online that first day so I thought maybe it was another class member who had snuck up on me and knew who I was. But shur what harm...it was strange and intimidating these feelings that encounter brought to light!  Definitely some underling psychological issues!! Is it the fear of conversation? of speaking to someone you don't know so bluntly like that? you wouldn't walk up to a stranger at the bus stop and just start chatting away, why is that? is it a form of anxiety ? is it because people just want to be left alone now days with what ever alone time they can get in between work and home and social life forever in there faces.
I sat on the bus last week on the way to Wexford and it was jam packed, so I squeezed away in next to this guy who was staring out the window. It felt very intimate on the bus for some reason, it was one of the old Bus Eireann busses where you can see everyone above the seats and your not in your black shell cocoon all to yourself ,so I offered him some chocolate and made a comment about how uncomfortable the seats were, typical bus talk and I could see he appreciated the comment as he relaxed a bit in his seat but no other conversation emerged...so why bother talk at all sometimes.
 Anyway off I went and transported myself to the DIT classroom where we spent the class learning to sit and fly and talk to each other and we went outside to take a few screen shots with our camera button to use for next weeks class.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

What is Second Life?

So there are good sides and bad sides to Second Life. Which one should I start with?
The good side is that it is an online virtual world where you can become whoever you want, dress how ever you want and speak the way that you want to. If you have had an accident or for some reason you are bedridden for instance then it is a great escape and a way to meet and socialise with new people when ever you feel like it. The bad side is that it is 14 years old and the graphics dont look like they have been changed since its creation. It was all the hype at the beginning but due to viruses and technology not being what it is now days it went bust for a while and all the people went with it by the looks of things. Apparently there are 1 million people using it , I have visited the Island a number of times and have only met one person and that was at the start ,but hey, plenty of time for explorations.
But lets not be all negative and cynical there is another good point and that is that people can build what ever they like in the virtual world as well. You can use money to buy plots of land and contract people to build you a house if you so wish. That is what John O 'Connor has done with the Dublin Institute of Technology. He has built a virtual college in Second Life and holds lectures there every week . The great thing about this is that anyone can join a lecture any time from anywhere in the world which is great! You are able to control who enters the lectures if you so wish by changing the setting as well. In this blog I will be documenting my experience with the module over the next semester in Second Life. Lets hope my feelings on it will change and I can even recruit a few more to join :)            

Monday, 27 February 2017


 I am an artist in training on an small island in West Cork called Sherkin Island. The course I am doing is a B.A. in Visual Art run by the Dublin Institute of Technology. For one of our sessions we went on a trip up to see the college in Grangegorman and was introduced to John O Conner the Dean of DIT. I had seen him previous to this when he was giving a lecture at the Uileann Art Center in Skibbereen about an online game called Second Life. I will admit that I feel that I am using the wrong word when I call Second Life a game as it is not really a game- you cannot run around collecting things and shooting people for entertainment, no, it is more like a virtual world, a chat room and is always being compared to another game like it called the Sims, need I say more. After being introduced to this Second Life in Uileann our course director Glenn informed us that we would be having Second Life as a module for the rest of the year. There were alot of mixed feelings towards this, from me especially but this is why we were all there sitting in Grangegormon being introduced again to John O Conner and introduced to Our Second Life.