The Loneliness of Being in Second Life

If like me you have seen an image similar to this one for the past few days as you logged on you may have wondered just what it was.  I did but I wasn’t doing much exploring and didn’t try to get there, until this morning.

It may be that, because I have hardware and technology foremost in my mind lately, the thoughts this build inspired in me were not along the lines of those intended by the artist.  In fact I know they are probably the direct opposite of what he wanted.  However we’ve established over time that my mind is a little peculiar at best.

The Loneliness of Being↑ by Ian Pahute↑  is a contemplative work – one you can use to consider the transitory nature of life as it is reflected through technology, in this case as the “now” is defined on such things as Twitter.   He describes the installation as “a live cloud of a thousand ever-changing words. Drawn live from the Internet, the cloud is always evolving, always reflecting the now. Some see nothing more than foggy letters. Others see hidden meaning and personal insight.

I know the artist thinks “Technology can so easily become an onslaught of the novel and we need more than this.” but this installation really is a great example of not only what we can do with the techology available but also how it can facilitate aspects of the art that just isn’t possible in the physical world.  I’m not just speaking of the idea of capturing 1,000 words from sites on the internet and having them disappear when “now” becomes “before”.  I was actually more intrigued by this group of figures wandering another location on the island.

The figures themselves appear and then fade as they move past you.  When they are at the peak of their “presence” they even throw shadows.  As faint spectors they only hint at a memory of what they were.  This is using technology to do much more than throw up particles or impress us with design (not that I don’t enjoy both!).

Of course anything that winds up on the logon page will be a location new residents will visit and, for many, their first introduction to what is possible and available on the grid.  I saw many newbies on the island and they were exploring, not just popping in and logging off.  This is a good thing and Ian and the others whose works are included in that aspect of the destination guide may be responsible for their continued Second Life.

I suggest you go view The Loneliness of Being↑  but please do a better job than I did of ignoring the underlying methodology and enjoy the results.  You might get lucky enough to find the artist demonstrating the contemplation he hopes we’ll all pursue. :)

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