Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for the ‘Second Life’ tag

Playspace: A day of art and technology, gadgets and gaming

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The Playspace event at The Contact Theatre on Saturday seemed to span everything from dance to data.

Impossible to cover everything that happened there so this is a few notes and thoughts from the part of the day I was involved in – the unconference sessions where I joined a strand about digital storytelling.

I spoke briefly about the challenges for professional story tellers such as journalists in a landscape where everyone can, and does, tell stories using social media. I was followed by the Collette Curry from Manchester Metropolitan University who gave a fascinating talk about her work with artificial intelligence.

AI for storytelling?
Collette has been working with chatbots which use AI to stimulate an intelligent conversation making it possible to explore stories in a new way. Take a look at Inanimate Alice for one example of what’s possible.

The unconference format meant the sessions ran simultaneously so I was unable to catch the others which included my husband Julian Hartley and his colleague Steve Devine who talked about mixing museum culture with networked culture; Prof Keith Brown on 3D printing; Mike Cook on changing everyday objects with electronics and Suhail Khan on whether Seseme Street provided a new model for making and creating work for the arts.

I did catch the end of the talk by Dr Erica Wright from MIRIAD about curating art galleries in Second Life. As someone who gave up on SL a few years ago, it was interesting to see how things have been developing and to hear about plans to make SL available on the web. No more clunky downloads or avatar manipulation could well give the early virtual world a new lease of life…..

The rest of the day involved lots of geekery and amazing gadgets courtesy of MadLab, tons of energy and a heap of ideas. As people post their own summaries of the day, I’ll attempt to round up the links here for a fuller view of the event so please do let me know if you blog about it.

More images from the day at my Flickr stream here.

Update: Inside the M60 blog has written about the event here.

Written by sarahhartley

December 5th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Third Thursday, First Round, Second Life…

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Manchester Digital’s new monthly events programme kicked off at Rain Bar in the city centre last night with a stimulating couple of presentations badged as “No, but really!” Oli Aro from Manchester based Second Places revisited 2006′s platform du jour, Second Life. Had it, he asked, developed as predicted back then? Certainly the exponential growth of Second Life as a platform had slowed down, but more interestingly, a whole range of Second Life clones had developed using OpenSim. For those concerned about building their island in a world without barriers, for instance for those working on education projects or on enterprise projects, OpenSim has provided the answer.

Dave Mee, from Tandot and Manchester Digital Laboratory, then took us through 10 years of Augmented Reality in 20 minutes. AR “markers” were new to me – and it was fascinating to see some of the attempts to find appropriate applications for augemented reality – from a web cam mounted above a pool table helping you make perfect shots every time, to an online packing service where you can check if your items fit in different sizes of boxes.

There were regulars from the Manchester Digital community in attendance alongside some companies and individuals new to these events. In an admittedly packed digital calendar, these third Thursdays aim to cover a variety of topics throughout the year. The next event will provide advice for those wanting to enter this year’s Big Chip Awards.

Written by sarahhartley

January 22nd, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Second Lifers graduate

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News of Second Life activity across Manchester has been very light recently – in fact many of the city’s digital discussions seem to involve shrugs of a “so what” nature when the topic arises.
So it was interesting to see that Manchester Business School held a graduation ceremony on the platform this week.
The business school has been an enthusiastic adopter of the SL platform haveing previously signalled its intention to purchase its own island and holding events such as student and employer meetings there.
If you have an SL news story to tell – please drop me a line either via the comment or the contacts page above.

Written by sarahhartley

February 18th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

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Joining in with Tony Wilson Experience Online

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Nobody is quite sure what twists and turns are about to occur down here in Cathedral Gardens, but even if you’re at home you can join in.
Firstly, the website is now showing a live video stream and the more adventerous of you can join us in Second Life

Written by sarahhartley

June 21st, 2008 at 1:30 pm

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Two Terry Christians??

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As part of the Big Chip Awards ceremony, compère Terry Christian was digitally recreated as an ‘avatar’ to host the event in Second Life.
The award ceremony was due to be broadcast live in a specially created arena which would then be relayed in first life. Sadly this hook-up didn’t happen and had to be abandoned due to unexplained technical reasons.
Shame, I was looking forward to seeing what two Terry Christians in the same room would be like.
But it did leave me musing on whether this hiccup was typical SL all over – great concept but annoyingly poor user experience.
As I was attending in first life, I couldn’t make it to the SL date. If you were there and it happened – I’d love to know how it went.

Written by sarahhartley

May 23rd, 2008 at 12:43 am

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Is the SL school a waste of money?

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News that education chiefs in Manchester have spent taxpayers’ money on a school in Second Life seems to be predictably provoking some outrage at the news site.
The scheme to pay £5,000 for an SL plot of land and to pay designers to create a school which children can visit and interact with is coming in for a kicking because – “it doesn’t exist”.
I find the language here problematic. Of course it exists – it exists in SL, that’s the point.
Whether or not it’s a good use of money is another debate entirely. The idea of the project looks to be a way of children interacting and being able to shape a school environment for the future.
The fact that technology allows them to collaborate and express their views in an accessible way, while also providing them with a level of computer literacy they will need for later life, looks like a project to be applauded.
According to the article, “the school was created as part of the £500m Building Schools for the Future project, which will see every secondary in the city rebuilt or completely renovated over the next decade.”
So, for a fraction of that budget, the children who will actually be using these premises, or their brothers and sisters, will get some input into what will eventually be created.
How else would you achieve such a potentially high level of engagement?
Seems like a good use of technology to me. What do you think?

Written by sarahhartley

May 4th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

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Prize for bridging first and second life

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A museum exhibit that bridges real-life with Second Life has won its two Manchester-based creators a trip to America as part of a major prize.
Pete Wardle, 42, of Swinton and Alan Hook, 25 of Rusholme will be jetting off to San Jose in California in May to see their project Connecting Point become a reality.
The pair of MA students on Salford University’s creative technology course have been named as one of four winners of an international competition run by The Tech Museum of Innovation.
Their project provides a link between SL and the real world. Visitors to the real museum will see a large screen and be able to interact with avatars.
“The idea is that it’s a gateway between the two”, explains Pete, “The avatars will be six foot high but able to talk directly to the visitors and they will be able to talk back.”
At the moment the pair are working on overcoming the challenge of time lag between the two worlds in readiness for the installation of the project and Alan revealed that the choice of SL for the project wasn’t an easy decision.
“I was quite adverse to using Second Life to begin with because I thought it was just a 3D chat room and didn’t really understand its potential in terms of creativity,” he said.
“After helping on a project for Prof. Paul Sermon for the Urban Screens festival and discussing it with him and other artist it really opened my eyes to it’s creative potential.
“Maybe for some people it is just a chat room and it’s got a lot of bad press recently but it has great potential in terms of creativity and experience both for artists and the public.
“It is a very simple and open platform to use, it has and is developing a great supportive community to help people build their ideas. Its potential is massive and, because it is built largely by the users it is always growing and producing new ideas that make us think about the capabilities of the internet in the future.”
Find out more about the project at the Tech Museum here.

Written by sarahhartley

March 23rd, 2008 at 7:27 pm

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Go on a cultural tour of Second Life

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It seems everyone’s getting into Second Life but if you’re still not sure what it might house that interests you, then this weekend’s event at the Whitworth Gallery could prove useful.
The artist, musician and media critic Mathias Fuchs is offering a cultural tour of the virtual world tomorrow afternoon – but in the real world setting of the gallery.
Organisers say: “The tour will introduce some of the cultural highlights of Second Life and looks at the possibilities (and limitations) of culture and creativity in this online environment. This tour takes place in ‘real life’ in the Sculpture Court of The Whitworth Art Gallery. No specialist computer or Second Life skills are needed.”
This event coincides with the major retrospective exhibition Autonomous Agents: The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson who is currently working on a SL art work.
The sesion is free and runs from 2.30pm until 3.30pm on Saturday, December 1.

Written by sarahhartley

November 30th, 2007 at 1:26 pm

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Victorian pride in Second Life

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Urbis is holding another of its Second Life events this Wesnesday (Nov 28).
The eminent historian, newspaper columnist and TV celebrity Dr Tristram Hunt will be discussing the lessons of Victorian civic pride for the present day, the challenges of rolling out regeneration and the need for political bravery from the leaders of regional cities.
The evening will consist of a 30 minute lecture followed by an open debate with the audience.
For those not familiar with the virtaul world of SL, there’s some easy to follow instructions on how to join this event at this page on the Urbis site. If you are already on SL, click here to teleport to the event.
The first of annual Friedrich Engels Memorial Lecture series will be on Wednesday, November 28. 7-9 pm (uk time) 1200 – 1400 (Linden Time)

Written by sarahhartley

November 26th, 2007 at 11:16 am

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Have you been to Manchester’s Second Life yet?

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Written by sarahhartley

October 27th, 2007 at 3:43 pm

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