Rowan Derryth's Virtual Adventures
First off, PARTY TONIGHT!
Like the sign says, tonight, 6-8ish, with Walt DJing the finest of my favourite danceable tunes. Expect U2, Depeche Mode, and New Order. Click the RoHaus logo to the right of this page for a slurl!
Tuesday was my very first rezday, how momentous!
I was pleased to be able to participate in the TwoThreeSixFive blog to commemorate the day, but I’d like to go into just a wee bit more detail about my first foray into SL, something I’ve meant to do for a while.
Basically, I was bored. I had known about SL, of course, and probably thought of it with the same misguided disparagement as many do. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a long time gamer, and adore geek culture. But an online world where you weren’t pretending to be an elf or a vampire didn’t immediately appeal (although I rightfully figured those options were available). Plus, my return to grad school precluded gaming or any other potential addictions, so I’d been avoiding those sort of activities for years.
But I had been hearing more about the educational and academic uses of SL, alongside some of the interesting implications for art. So, one cold wintry night, I decided to use a little google foo to see what was out there in terms of art and SL. Of course I pretty quickly found there was a thriving art scene, so I figured I should check it out – after all, it’s free!
I got very lucky that night. I know for many, their first experience involved being accosted by a naked Brazilian with an over-sized and scarily erect freenis (and yes, I did, in my early days meet this guy: “Portugues? U me love?”). But I guess because I knew what I was looking for, and am pretty savvy tech-wise, I found SL to be pretty intuitive, so after about an hour on noob island I perfected my ‘girl next door look’, and reading some signs, I found a teleport for the Dresden Art Gallery, and took it!
I arrived in the largely deserted virtual edifice, and was delighted when I was offered an audio guide! And so I toured the Dresden collection of old masters, absolutely amazed and impressed. If THIS was what SL was about, then I could definitely get on board. I wondered if any other large museums had virtual outposts?
Despite falling through floors and getting slightly trapped a few times, I didn’t give up, and found my way outside. And flew! I’d like to say my flying has improved from that first try, but I know some others would say otherwise. As I darted about, I spied someone standing at the entrance, and thought perhaps if I fell from the sky, that might be a clever entrance. Apparently I was impressive (or perhaps it was my pink polka dot noob dress), as this fellow was very friendly and helpful. Stephen Petrovic and I had a very nice chat, and as luck would have it, he was an architect and art lover in RL. And I still count him among my dearest friends. Here he is, and as well, this is the first picture I ever took in SL:
Stephen gave me an LM for Cetus, saying it was a great place to see art made in SL. So again I magically transported myself, and shakily flew around, getting my first glimpses of virtual art. I didn’t know at the time that the architecture I found strangely stunning was the work of DB Bailey, who I am pleased to now count amongst my friends. Here is me as a noob at Cetus:
But again, as I admired it all in wonder, I saw another lone figure standing below. I decided to try my ‘drop out of the sky’ luck a second time. Lady luck was SO with me… the other figure was non-other than the fantastic Ragamuffin Kips (well, ok, it was his dashing business manager alt, but I met Raga himself very soon thereafter – introducing me to the very idea of alts). Raga was very friendly and helpful, and I soon learned he was an artist with his own gallery, then in Bay City (he is now an Avalonian like me).
So he took me to his gallery… showed me his work… and with the first sight of his gorgeous “Ivy with Blue Sky”, I was hooked. I adored his sense of line and colour, and then he began to explain concepts to me like prims, and how the virtual world was built, and how he put prim light into his work, which in those first few hours blew my noob mind. And actually, it still does.
With Raga as a mentor, teaching me the basics of rezzing, building, etc., I spent the next few weeks exploring. I found a little punk nightclub (crap, what was the name?) where I learned to dance, and tried out my new look:
I also hung out at Inspire Space Park quite a bit, which I quickly learned was just a new age singles bar, but I like the wild variety of avi’s one could spot. Some nice older gent took pity on me there, gave me some money, and took me to Redgrave for a skin. I also bought my first bit of couture at Mimi’s Choice, a little black & white dress by Jador that I adored. And that’s me… a freshly grown-up avi by about January, and starting to hit the art scene in earnest, via the weekly vernissage at Pirats. Here’s me at my first Pirats opening, at the Omega gallery on the 5th of January 2009:
That was a great night, and more momentous that I knew at the time. That night I met two people who would become dear friends: Cardinalwildflower Sommer, and the infamous Mister Scottius Polke. How I adore the otter! And at another Pirats opening, just over a month later, Cardi uttered words which for me will now live in infamy: “Hey Rowan, come over here, I want you to meet my friend PJ.”
And there is just too much to say about that, for this little blog. But I will ever be grateful to her.
PJ guided me down the… (primrose path? downward spiral? yellow brick road?) in the adventures of the Prim Perfect Empire, where I happily write away for Miss Widdershins (and a special thanks to Saffia, Ceejay, Bella, Ash and Gwen for the lovely surprise party this week!). And for me, of course, as I am passionate about my Ekphrasis column, though far and few between. But more than anything, I adore the amazing people who have supported me, and showed me the way.
And as a perfect wrap up for this tale, I just discovered an awesome gift left for me at my gallery. Raga has turned several of his pieces into graffiti which now adorn my walls, but I just found this kick-ass self-portrait – Banksy style – which is the perfect rezday gift from my dear friend. He left it playfully, but I will happily leave at there as an homage to the wonderful kilted Neko (with samurai sword), the amazing artist who first showed me how everything works.
Thank you Raga. And PJ. And all my other friends, for making my SL so fab.