Back when I first ventured into Second Life I was fascinated by the idea that I could create something and have it be part of this world. There were tools available that I could actually use – they didn’t require a lot of technical skills or a degree in computer science. This consumed me for the first 6 months. Once I began to feel comfortable with the idea and less unsure of myself I began to explore and discover some of the other significant attributes of a virtual world. My journey and awareness of what’s out there was and is slower than that of many others but we all move at different speeds. :)
Shopping isn’t my thing but it’s certainly there. Live music and education cemented my love of the grid. The ability to “see” and “hear” people like Noam Chomsky opened my eyes to the immense possibilities offered. Meeting people from different cultures around the physical world without the barriers of language (hurrah for translators) or the preconceptions created by appearance or age was very liberating. Seeing the development of communities and being able to work in that area is incredibly satisfying. Then of course the amazing builds I could visit and enjoy kept me enthralled. At an early stage I started to blog and my posts reflect my growing awareness of what’s possible and what’s available.
It could easily be argued that all of the things that so appealed to me about Second Life were just a virtual way of doing something that we do in the physical world. Education, building, music and community are hugely important in the metaverse but it’s really a different, albeit enhanced, version of the same thing. Last July I had my “NPIRL* eureka” moment. I met the Papermakis↑.
Romy Nayar↑ created a world populated by beings created when ink touches paper. Papermakis are a curious and fun-loving life form. They each only know the letter of the alpabet from which they sprung and need each other to complete words and thoughts and make sense of the world. These beings are therefore very social with each other but shy and fearful of other species who can destroy them easily and without much effort.
This was art as story-telling, immersive and interactive and astounding to me. The experience could not be duplicated in a physical manner – it was clever and fun and sophisticated and I fell in love not only with these adorable beings but also with the technology that allowed them to exist in this space and me to enter their world.
I bring all this up now because the Papermakis are back. They have escaped to Rome and are living at Imagin@rium↑ hosted by MiC↑. Their world is rebuilt but with new and different activities and structures. Some things remain constant.
These creatures are still painfully shy and fearful when approached by other species. The way to avoid that tension and ensure you don’t cause them unnecessary stress is to assume their form while you visit. The artist has provided you with the avatar. Taking the teleport offered at the landing spot will ensure you arrive in the pre-visit lounge. Buy the box for free and get into disguise. One caution though – I received the items in a box which I couldn’t rez. This will require you to go home and get dressed and come back – I’m hoping they’ll change that to a folder but in the meantime it really is worth the extra effort to get prepared.
You can see the impact of those visitors who don’t take the time to consider the feelings of the Papermakis. If they are exposed to the terror of different life forms they transform into Animalispapermaki and require much love and attention from their compatriots before they absorb enough letters to revert to their natural form.
Once you have assumed your disguise use the chair in the lounge to take you to the world of the Papermakis↑. Listen to them and interact with them. Watch them in their daily activities and sit on the various (to us) bizarre chairs, climb their version of stairs, and join their party. They have created a world based on what they learn from our books – the ones which give them life. There is movement and humour and you can, for the duration of your visit, become part of their lives.
Uccie↑ teases me that I am overly enthusiastic about large interactive art installations. This work by Romy Nayar is the genesis of my passion for something I can’t get anywhere else. The opportunity to immerse myself in what is dreamed of by those with the talent to not only conceive but also realize their incredible visions.
You don’t have to see it as the major eye-opening experience I did. It works on many levels and you will enjoy this introduction to a world and life-form because of the skill with which it is presented. Maybe you’ll also understand why I fell in love with the virtual world rather than losing my enthusiasm as some do but it really doesn’t matter. Go visit the Papermakis↑ before we scare them off again and they hide – you won’t regret it. :)
* NPIRL = Not Possible in Real Life