[iDC] Second Life Art

Josephine Dorado josephine at funksoup.com
Mon Feb 5 06:02:22 EST 2007

Hello from a lurker --
Speaking of art in SL and social issues games...

I and my partner Dan Winckler run a project called Kids Connect,  
which is a series of collaborative workshops for young people in  
multiple locations, teaching them to connect and work together via  
performance, storytelling and collaboration by theatrical and digital  
means. In our pilot program in summer 2006, participants created a  
hybrid city and a performance with other students in New York and  
Amsterdam on Kids Connect Island in Teen Second Life.

Guided by artists and educators from the fields of improvisation,  
sound, video, performance, and SL, they learned skills like VJ-ing,  
Playback Theatre, digital storytelling, and building in SL. They then  
used those skills to build a hybrid city combining aspects of both  
New York and Amsterdam, as well as to create a performance that  
occurred both live and online simultaneously in Teen SL.


One of our objectives was cultural exchange through creating fun,  
theater-inspired activities in these virtual playspaces.

There is no denying the power of the immersive environment for these  
students. They loved Second Life, spending a great deal of time  
getting our hybrid city ready for the performance.
In NY, our students would race to the computer labs, waiting  
impatiently for us to start. They became very engaged in it and  
subsequently, became very interested in who their Amsterdam  
counterparts were.
Many questions surfaced, like "Why aren't there skyscrapers in  
Amsterdam?" and "How come they don't play the same kind of football?"  
and more disturbingly, "There's black people in Amsterdam? I didn't  
know there were black people in Amsterdam?" (asked by a 13-yr-old  
black female student, after seeing real life pics of the dutch  
(yes, students in the US are _that_ insulated.)

Here's a shot of our first (avatar-to-avatar) meeting in SL, with a  
video that the students made in the bkground:

So, in response to the post that criticized the power consumption of  
an avatar, I'd say that some things cannot be measured, like the  
curiosity and connection created in a shared, immersive, creative  
social space. Is that kind of connection worth more or less than   
"1,752 kWh per year"?  ;-)
Sometimes the whole is worth more than its parts...


SL: Josephine Junot

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