Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Virtual reality in Second Life

The Second Life News Network has an article on a virtual reality art project of Emerson College professor John Craig Freeman. Basically, it‘s a 3-D video and audio expose about the community of Kamloops, British Columbia.

Upon entering Imaging Place in SL, an avatar lands on a global satellite image. Freeman has created six scenarios or locations an avatar can visit and listen to a story about that location. "It's all about narrative," Freeman says. To access these locations, an avatar follows a thin red line up to another platform on the sim. This reporter visited Kamloops, British Columbia. It was a place that Freeman says had been "contested" or affected by globalization.

Avatars stand on a satellite map showing where two rivers converge, on one side of the river is an Indian residential school, and on the other side is a Weyerhauser paper pulp mill.
The avatar can follow another thin red line up to a sphere, which exhibits three dimensional photos from the Indian residential school, and interviews with the Secwepemc indian people.
This project tries to explore how places are better internalized if experienced virtually. The project combines videos, 360 degree views and sound bites of the people featured talking about their memories of a particular place. "This project has been under development since 1997 and includes work from all around the world,? Freeman says.

To visit the project in Second Life go to the Klaw sim.

This is a really excellent example of what is possible in Second Life. If you aren‘t real familiar with SL navigation you might find it a bit tricky to get around at first but hang with it. Be sure and go into mouse view when you walk into the globes. When you get it just right you‘ll get the 3-D views with the audio playing. It really is quite good.

To read more on the larger project see: Imaging Place.

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