Ordinary People Are Making The Metaverse
“It’s an attitude not a technology.”

Sat, May 12, 2007


These pictures are taken by Yanahin Wauja, the indigenous photographer and filmmaker who is featured at the beginning of my previous post Virtual Amazon and Metaverse Evangelism. He has a real eye for both the artistic and social relevance of photography. The women are throwing Manioc paste at the men, a very daring and provocative act at the entrance of the men’s house, a place that is usually restricted for women.


Yanahin does not have a Flickr page and shoots on an SLR camera as getting prints downloaded to CD is expensive in the nearest town. And, he does not have a way to easily share them once they are on CD or DVD.

He is co-directing a project with Marcelo Fortaleza Flores about the Wauja mask dance and its representation in Western cultures.


Yanahin and other Xingu media makers, and Xingu technorati, who got their own digital cameras with their own resources, like Yukai Wauja and Akari Wauja (pictured below in a photo taken by Marcelo Fortaleza Flores), or like Adalberto and Paulo Wakalitesu (the man in the picture who climbed a tree to get better cell phone coverage – see my previous post), and many other indigenous folks who own equipment, take many, many photographs. But, their work has few channels to the world beyond their community. They say, “Why is it foreigners are the only ones capable of distributing the photographs they take of our culture when there are ways we could do it ourselves?”


If nobody thinks that what you are doing is dangerous you are doing something with no power to change the world. Bruce Sterling

Since I have been blogging on Ugotrade, it has been suggested to me more than a few times that the possibility of indigenous communities being involved with the internet in general, and Second Life in particular, is “dangerous” for them.

“Won’t the communities become over-run with pornography?” was the concern voiced.

“But, I suppose 68% internet use in the UK is connected to pornography,” the questioner continued (I have no idea where they got this stat from?).

I haven’t heard many credible voices for preventing internet use in the UK lately on those grounds though.

No More Silent Things, Things That Don’t Blog, Things That Don’t Link!

If no-one is discussing you as hype. you are not being loud enough. Bruce Sterling


This picture is from the prize winning Virtuool Design for Reperes (for more go to SLAmbling.) And, for an amazing view inside the (reputedly) 3000 – something prim head go to Torley Linden’s flickr page and another gorgeous night view.

Bruce Sterling imagines how computers can help us find a way out of an industrial society that is not sustainable and is thoroughly inequitable. But, he acknowledges, “it is hard to dream up something that will actually work.”

Bruce Sterling imagines a time when the biosphere is no longer full of silent “dead things” – i.e. things that do not evoke any knowledge. These are “non spiming dead things.” The secret to sustainable development is to bring the “dead, non spiming” things of our biosphere to life.

To see “some kind of Spime theme song” – Royksopp’s “Remind Me,” go to Bruce Sterling’s blog.

Thing Links

Sterling’s “internet of things,” “geospatial web,” “ecology of things” – we must try and find the words along the way – may take thirty years to come to fruition. But, a working model, is beginning to emerge from virtual real world mash-ups.
If you want to see some examples, go to eightbar and get an insider’s view on how IBM Hursley’s Distinguished Engineers (DE) work on dreaming up the internet of things at every opportunity they get! Also, see TimeFrame in Second Life.

Web 2.o and Virtual/Real World mashups


I took the picture on the right of Buddahead performing for the event Canal Room, NYC, Friday, May 11th. I left a little early so I could go back home and see the the same event on Second Life. But, I arrived just as the show was ending! Fortunately, I met Earth Primbee who kindly sent me the picture on the left taken in Second Life and other great pictures.

Virtual and Real mixed mode events are the new frontier on Second Life. Morpheus Media is revolutionizing music marketing and liberating bands from record label bondage with simultaneous stagings of virtual and life concerts.

True hyper-linking has yet to come to Second Life and other virtual worlds. But, go to Metaversed to find Five Ways To Integrate Your Second Life Into The Web.

Metaverse Evangelist, Roo Reynolds in his presentation at the Eduserv Foundation Symposium in Second Life and Real Life pointed out that virtual worlds are set in the context of Web 2.o, and that Web 2.0 is not a standard you can adhere to. It is in the words of Ian Davis, an “attitude not a technology,”

Web 2.0 is a social world of social networking, user generated content, and people connected and connecting – “everyone wants to be loved.” see Roo’s brief notes from the event.

“Real” Dreams in “Virtual” Worlds


I took this picture when I visited the awesome and inspiring new sim by Virtuool for Amazon. For the full story on the soft-launch of this 2-sim Amazon Developer island, targeted at developers using Amazon Web Services, go to SLAmbling where there a number of great photos that give a feel for the overall design.

This is the conference center for Amazon Developer island. It is an amazing piece of virtual architecture that like the rest of Virtuool’s work really does live up to their trademark:

gravity free builders

When you walk through a Virtuool build it is like walking through a painting of light and space.

This picture seems to show what I was thinking, at the time. I was giving the, “What You Want Machine” a whirl and imagining all the dreams that could be built on Second Life!

A good way to get a feel for this gorgeous sim is to go to a rezzing kiosk and rez a tour boat to navigate along the river as this gives you a nice point of view of the island. Here I am taking a boat tour.


Second Life – Where Creation is Never Split From Experience


The Virtuool sim Celestial Isle is not only set up to show case their work, it is a collaborative design environment where they develop new projects.

Jim Purbrick of Linden Labs opened the Eduserv Foundation Symposium with a brilliant talk (Eduserve will be posting all the presentations soon) on how people have used the unique collaborative learning environment of Second Life to create business success out of ingenuity and a PC (also see Forbes story).

Purbrick brought up a number of stories of successful Second Life entrepreneurs who eventually quit their day jobs to live their entrepreneurial dreams on Second Life. Purbrick listed some of the unique qualities of Second Life that enabled people to leave often very successful, but not always interesting, Real Life jobs to build much more interesting, and more fulfilling, careers on Second Life.

Collaborative, On-demand, Situated Learning

Purbrick elaborated in detail giving many wonderful examples of how the collaborative, on-demand, situated learning environment of Second Life, where creation is never split from experience, created the conditions for so many virtual world success stories.

One of the amazing things about the learning environment of Second Life is there is always someone there to help you learn. And, in a world where to get started on building a dream you just point at the ground – dreams are being built everywhere you go. When I asked Joshua Culdesac to talk to me about Virtuool, not only did he show me around their fascinating builds. He and Virtuool’s other principal Piper Pitney (who dreamed up the head idea), also showed me how they created their builds.

Here we are in the sandbox on Amazon Developer Island.

“Real” Success in “Virtual” Worlds

There are many wonderful stories of how people have developed successful businesses on Second Life. And, I will cover more of these stories in future posts. But, in my travels on Second Life this week I met some interesting 3D Architects who discovered their talents and developed them on Second Life.


This is Washu Zebrastripe who began on Second Life in 2002 (she was 20 years old in Real Life). She found her husband and career on Second Life.

Washu is now a building team leader for Beta Technologies. She builds content and helps her ‘team’ build content for companies wishing to create a presence for themselves in SL with Beta Tech (see my earlier posts for more about Beta’s work on Xerox Innovation Island).


Here are Earth Primbee (left) and Grafx Newbold (right) 3D architects/artists on Second Life. They have built this wonderful sim, Inspire Space Park, at night while holding down day jobs. They are getting ready to make their work on Second Life more central. Earth and Grafx explore the borderless nature of Second Life. The picture on the right shows me trying out their “orbital fall,” one of the many innovative and fun parts of Inspire. If you can’t afford space tourism in RL check it out, and have some fun floating through the celestial spheres .

Earth has some gorgeous photos of the Inspire Space Park here. Earth is also a champion Kung Fu Fighter on Second Life!

For another nice example of someone making Second Life their life see Rinaz’s video (see my earlier post) that she has just uploaded to Ugonet.

The dEadly mOb is Researching Second Life

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Alice Springs, Australia! The dEadly mOb is currently researching Second Life with the idea of exploring how they can also participate.


The Internet Cafe at the Gap Youth Centre, Alice Springs (on left). The Ali-Curung crew (on right), digitizing video and making their own short films… Check out the Ali-Curung Pages.

The dEadly mOb “seeks to serve an Online Community of Indigeous young people who actively interact with and upload to the website, expressing their views, hopes, activities and talent.

I look forward to talking to them more, and hearing about their exploration of Second Life.

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categories: crossing digital divides, Second Life, social media, Virtual Citizenship, Virtual Worlds, Web3.D

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Lisa Stefanoff Says:

    Hi Trish!

    you seem to be moving so fast! I get dizzy just trying to read the stories… Who contacted you from DeadlyMob? It’s like you suddenly are tuned in more closely to what they’re doing than I am! VERY weird.

    Love you, love your work,

    xx Lis

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