Friday, August 11, 2006

ManorMeta Crystalline Home

[Images Redacted]

The ManorMeta Crystalline Home is currently on display in Brilliant (view on map | direct teleport) as a part of the Architecture category in the New West Art Exhibition. After picking my jaw up off the floor, my first question was simple: What is it, exactly?

The home as entered in the exhibition is a significant embellishment upon a pre-existing 'alpha' build in the Better World Sim that has been documented on Snapzilla by Second Life residents Torley Linden (who purports to have entered 'THE KICKASS ZONE') and Tao Takashi (for whom it looked rather strange at first glance). While the build in Better World appears to be somewhat permanent, its mutant cousin on steroids will only be available for viewing in Brilliant until Sunday. Fortunately, it has already been extensively photographed by its creators (and to whom credit is owed for the images appearing in this post). That said, the initial question remained: What is it, exactly?

Some of the more 'pragmatic' details on home can be found here, but luckily I ran into In Kenzo, one of the build's two creators, who was able to fill in some of the gaps. According to Kenzo, ManorMeta is a set for an RL family television/web series in development. With the script for the pilot episode, Kenzo came to Second Life at the beginning of this year with the intention of using it as a production tool to prototype ideas, of which there would appear to be no shortage; in the series "six foster kids come to live in an organic "smart home" with a retired rock and roll diva and hacker scientists." Ok. Makes perfect sense to me.

The build represents an altogether mind-blowing duality of hard angular spaces interwoven with curvaceous organic elements and iconography to create an architecture of pure imagination that is at once substantial and ephemeral, a shimmering mirage at the edge of the liminal and the subliminal that would seem to suspend within it terabyte upon terabyte of moments, memories, and secrets, perhaps not entirely unlike the imagination of a child.


At 8/12/2006 12:42 AM, Blogger Prokofy Neva said...

Chip. Deep, cleansing breaths now.

>What is it, exactly?

It's a sculpture. Made out of rocks. With transparency flipped on to 80 percent and "brightness" checked off.

All games have sculpture/rock caves like this. It's classic 20th century game sculpture.

Now, if this weren't in Better World and associated with a real life tv series, but was located in a sim with a name like Mogwa and created by a Sith kiddie with a name like Avatar Rejected with Unverified Payment Status, would you be as excited? In other words, context is all, eh?

At 8/12/2006 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't see you on the visitor logs, Prok, but if you had made it inside you would've found a lot more than a sculpture of rocks. Crystals and minerals, yes, but also furniture and sustainable gardens, educational links and games were embedded in the rooms. This beta build was a fun experiment, part of an organic process that opens us up to new forms of interaction from museum patrons to incredible artists.

We've been videoblogging the ISEA show, DanCoyote Antonelli's ZeroG SkyDancing and the many other extraordinary exhibits on Brilliant this week for the ZeroOne Art on the Edge Festival/ISEA at the San Jose Museum of Art. Over a dozen artists and organizers brought new world gaming architectures of all kinds to a museum setting with grace and precision. Our work was neither in some places, but even in its clumsier spaces it manages to teach us more about how to better use this platform together.

It's great to play with artists like this and be inspired by the possibilities of immersive environments.

At 8/12/2006 4:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more big thank you to my partner Common Cure for building and design expertise, and to our architectural consultant Elizabeth Marley from SCIARC and Growing Architecture. The theories of carbon nanotubes in silicates have grown quite a bit in the last few months....these two were both invaluable on the Brilliant build. It's pure fiction, but it's fun.

At 8/14/2006 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spent some time in ManorMeta and enjoyed it very much. It think it is well worth taking a look at, along with all the rest of the New West exhibits.

At 8/16/2006 8:22 PM, Blogger ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ said...

FREAKIN' YEAH!!! THIS IS THE KICKASS ZONE! I was so happy to get a friendly message from In Kenzo too after I IMed enthusiastically about how much I like this dope shiznit, it makes me wanna get down on the crystal-curb and bust rhymes of praise!

I think I relate to it in some way because my own building style is similar. So I feel some kind of kinship.

This is the kind of thing I see in my dreams. And in saying that, it's a dream come true.

Fab writeup Chip, as always, your style cracks me up and educates me about the finer parts of architecture (artchitecture?) at the same time.

"... erhaps not entirely unlike the imagination of a child."

Profound, I am touched!

At 8/17/2006 6:37 AM, Blogger Prokofy Neva said...

InKenzo, What you're doing is trying to supply more context -- and more and more credentials -- to try to make an unassailable case for a piece of SL architecture -- and it's that process itself I'm questioning.

Is SL art to be judged by the extent to which its makers can vlog with the greats, with RL museums? Or can it stand on its own? Is the legend around a build intrinsically connected to the build due to the social nature of SL?

I don't believe you have to visit a house to make a judgement of it, if you have ample photos here and on other blogs, and a very full article like Chip's. To insist that you can't make an artistic judgement unless you physically visit a place puts a binder on art appreciation that I don't think most people could accept.

I'm really for getting beyond the WOOT and WOWZER approach to SL builds.

I'm also not sure that judging a build by what kind of furniture/interior decorating and gardens you find is appropriate for criticism of architecture, either, although of course it's important for the whole look.

As for "educational links and games embedded in rooms," this point suggests that if a build has a laudable social or educational function, and thus a social role is assigned to it, that the loftiness of this function can make the build rise above what might otherwise be pedestrian art. I definitely can't accept that "social usefulness" criteria for art, though I think it's a good topic for discussion, i.e. for me, the artistic expertise of a build like Jauani's in Frisch becomes mitigated by its use as a newbie station, given that you fall down the stairs.


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