Igor Ballyhoo Revisited

titan_003I spent the afternoon in Second Life© with Igor Ballyhoo. We were taking a last look at his exhibit Cyber Orthodox, sponsored by Linden Endowment for the Arts on LEA 6, which closes today. The work is large and dark, made up of exquisite details, just like his older builds. The photo above is of the statue Titan. This is the first major exhibit by Igor since he returned to Second Life several years ago after a brief hiatus. I am so happy to see his beautiful work available to the public again since I know he mostly prefers to show his art in private. On a more somber note, Igor also revealed to me that the University of Texas (UTSA) sims have finally closed. UTSA sponsored works by Igor Ballyhoo (and Rebeca Bashly) for years, but now some of his major works, like Snow Crash and Forest of Scissors, will no longer be seen in Second Life. For those of you who have never seen these installations, let me tell you, they were nothing short of magnificent. I have included a machinima by Osprey Therian of Igor Ballyhoo’s Forest of Scissors.

Photography by Kate Bergdorf



20 Personal Second Life Questions Meme

For a while now, Second Life© photographer and blogger Strawberry Singh has provided for us in her blog Memes. She answers them herself and posts them and also encourages others to complete them and then share on her blog. Besides being a lot of fun, I think it is a great way to get to know more about people in Second Life. I applaud her efforts and have decided to join the growing group of Meme-completers!

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1. When and how did you discover Second Life? I read an article in 2010 in the NYT and Second Life was mentioned in it. I was curious enough to check it out the same day, created an avatar and joined.

2. Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? I had never heard about virtual worlds before. I won’t lie, I was a little curious, but also  skeptical.

3. Has Second Life met your expectations? Yes. Well, I didn’t really know what to expect initially, more than anything I see it as a promising sign that I consistently find myself being intrigued by the virtual world.

4. If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself? Explore!

5. How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles in world? If I remember correctly, I tried flying pretty much right away. But I  was horrified that I was going to fall! When I eventually mastered it, I loved it. Still do; flying is really one of the most remarkable things in SL.  I was never that curious about driving vehicles (maybe because I don’t have a car in real life) and I didn’t try it until much later on. I remember once when I good friend built a go-cart like vehicle and we raced. It was pretty amazing.

6. Do you have a mystery alt? I do.

7. Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? Yes, to both. I am convinced that our avatars are reflections of who we are and who we strive to be.

8. Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? There are several people in SL who have inspired me, all of them artists, all of them ridiculously talented. They made me realize I want and need to make room for creativity, in RL and SL alike.

9. Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world? No, I think it is just as easy to have close relationships in SL as it is in RL.

10. Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? I don’t think I could have imagined it before it happened to me. Twice.

11. How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? Yikes, sorry, I always cringe a little when I hear someone saying “playing” second life because it doesn’t feel like a game to me. But, yeah, I guess my perspective on dating has changed a little since joining second life, it somehow seems less restrictive inworld.

12. How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life? My perspective has not really changed, even though, I am totally impressed when I hear stories about people making enough money to live on in real life on their business in second life.

13. Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly. Relationships, creativity and time management.

14. If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix) I don’t think so. I’ve realized over the years that I’ve been in second life that a healthy balance seems to work best.

15. How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is? People hide behind their avatars and  become less inhibited, be it socially or sexually or in any other way.

16. How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion? My spending habits have not changed the least.

17. Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? Both.

18. If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it? Interesting question, but really hard to answer. I hate to say “both” again, but I think it is true.

19. Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone. Gimp,  photography, curating.

20. If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else?  I think it would be like it is for us finding old photographs of relatives — we are usually quite sentimental about it.



The Trace


On The Trace, by Kylie Jaxxon, are located mostly small wooden seasonal houses dispersed throughout a relatively flat and sandy water landscape. This is a remarkably beautiful and tranquil place that truly feels like Summer. Each wooden house has a different exterior. The interiors are all decorated differently as well, giving the visitor an impression that these are all lived in homes and not simply houses. The layout of the landscape is similarly personalized. A variety of trees, meadow flowers and rocks come together in unexpected ways, providing the place with a real sense of nature.  Other details, like sounds of waves and birds, and the movement of waves, birds, and gently rocking rowboats, add to an overall picture of this being a Summer island. Many bloggers have already visited this place, here are a few posts I liked: What the Huck?, Ziki Questi’s Blog, Living in a Modemworld and Hounour’s Post Menopausal View (of Second Life).