The Mixed Reality Metarati and “Destroy TV”:
Merging Art, Technology, Politics and Play

Thu, May 24, 2007


The Mixed Reality Metarati came out to the Fuse Gallery/GHava{SL} Center for the Arts for the launch of Destroy Television Wednesday night. This ten day mixed reality interactive virtual/real “lifelogging” is an independent, art world foray from Jerry Paffendorf and Christian Westbrook of Electric Sheep Company, with collaborator and curator Annie Ok.

The MindBlizzard Blog posed the question “Who Are the Metarati?” and has begun a list on (Contact VeeJay Burns for more suggestions).

In the category of Immersive Worlds so far there is:

- Philip Rosedale (Linden Labs)
- Reuben Steiger (Millions of Us)
- Jerry Paffendorf (Electric Sheep Company)
- Ron Britvich (WebWorlds, Active Worlds)

I have become particularly interested in the work of a new category of Metarati – The Mixed Reality Metarati (see 3pedia for origin of term Metarati).

Mixed Reality events have been emerging everywhere lately. The millipedes are in the refrigerator now (see earlier post) and moving freely in and out of formerly sealed virtual worlds on many limbs.

MindBlizzard explains – The Digerati emerged from “the age of computers and internet, the age of information technology as we know it.”

And, now the days of the Metarati have come in – “a new era filled with Web 2.0 and immersive worlds.” (Metarati)

The Mixed Reality Metarati, are taking the next step as they begin virtualizing real life and augmenting reality in meaningful ways,” (virtualizing real life is a phrase I picked up on from CJ Chowderhead).

And, these new mash ups of virtual and real worlds, are bringing together art, science, commerce, popular culture, politics and play in new and interesting ways, to create hybrid worlds.

The title *rati, of course, has to be earned through a combination of uber geekiness and extraordinary vision


In the last few weeks, I have attended the corporate mixed reality showcases of Xerox and IBM Impact 2007, and popular culture mash ups from (Spin Martin (Eric Rice), Johnny Ming (Swords), Second Cast live podcasts, and And, I interviewed IBM, Hursley Park Senior Inventors, and RL/SL link creators, Epredator, and CJ Chowderhead.


But, there are a wide variety of the mixed reality projects emerging. Last night, at the Destroy Television launch, I had a chance to meet several other key innovators in the mixed reality field in person.
It was an incredible pleasure to meet Nathanial Freitas (a.k.a. nat mandelbrot). He is the creator with Will Meyer and Jon Oakes, of online media sites such as such as Cruxy, MUX, and ION. (and the Cruxy Player for Second Life). Cruxy has just been selected for:

UNDER THE RADAR CONFERENCE: Entertainment & Media, June 28, 2007, Microsoft Campus – Mountain View, CA
Meet the innovators that are not only shaping the future of digital entertainment and media but are also inspiring the most important audience to do the same: us. We edit the clips, mix the sound, airbrush the pics, animate the avatars, post the video and blog the masterpiece. This isn’t digital evolution. This is digital revolution.


But, also, Nathanial Freitas is a volunteer and Board Member to groups such as the Students for a Free Tibet, Mobile Active, and The Ruckus Society.

Nathan worked with the team that went to Everest to “turn up heat on Beijing Olympics.” He was responsible for all the video streaming over satellite technology that made it possible to get the photo below, of the protest at the Chinese Mt. Everest Base Camp, in the Wall Street Journal. The activists seem to have left a lasting impression on the Chinese Government (see here).


Baghdad Streets In Real and Second Life

I also talked to Mark Wallace of 3pointD and Rik Panganiban. Rik has blogged:

the powerful new interactive exhibit “Baghdad Streets” organized by PT Witte on Better World Island (teleport SLURL). “Baghdad Streets” is an extension of the PT’s real-life-work “bringing the truth of life in the killing zone of Baghdad” to the awareness of as many people as possible. Walking through the maze (I recommend using mouse-view) brings you face to face with the reality of the conflict and its effects on innocent lives. You encounter real stories of people caught up in the conflagration, their daily frustrations, and steps you can take to encourage peace in the region.


PT Witte is Mark Wallace’s real life father, who:

has been connecting students and teachers in Baghdad and New York City for four years via email. Excerpts of these moving communications are at Better World Island as well as the project blog at

Conversations Merging Art, Technology, Politics and Play

I had a long recorded conversation with Andy Fundinger. I will come back to some of the ideas we talked about. The topics ranged from the development details of SL/RL interfaces (see his blog for more), to how different cultures on Second Life would want different things out of RL/SL interfaces. And, how at this point “it was difficult to say what the widely used apps will be” (this was the message I also received earlier in the day direct from Philip Linden’s Blackberry!) But, Andy (a.k.a. Ciemaax Flintoff) and his co-developer on some SL/RL interfaces, William Ward, said they might be ready to push a few new apps out to the world, and see how people picked them up and used them.


Their project, “Weather Wisdom – RL Weather in SL, was in the
NMC Connect art show.

Here’s the finished in-world build:

Weather Wisdom Build

And the finished real world controller:

Controller in place in the windowClose up of the controller

Also, at the Destroy TV art and technology, SL/RL, mashup/meetup were Marshall Sponder artist, blogger and web analyst for IBM, and Matthew Rodriguez. I met them both at MobileCampNYC. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Derek Lerner. But, we met briefly. And, when I checked out later, I wished we had talked. Ghava is an artist collective and agency that explores the collaborative process and its effects on commercial and fine art projects.

And, in the picture below (on right) the award winning machinimist Pierce Portcarrero talking with artist Ryan Ford.


Check out PierceP’s cool mixed reality machinima here.


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categories: Augmented Reality, Bar Camp, crossing digital divides, Metarati, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Second Life, social media, Virtual Worlds, Web 3D, Web3.D

1 Comments For This Post

  1. VeeJay Burns Says:

    Thanks for the Credits Tish

4 Trackbacks For This Post

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    [...] first met Nathan when I interviewed him about Cruxy in 2007 (see my post, The Mixed Reality Metarati and “Destroy TV:”  Merging Art, Technology, Politics and Pla…).  Nathan recently announced that “the fat lady has just uploaded her last song.” [...]

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    [...] Television” opening @ Fuse Gallery in NYC Image by ArtCenter. Tish Shute from UgoTrade (her post on the opening). A meta meta moment. [...]

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    [...] Television” opening @ Fuse Gallery in NYC Image by ArtCenter. Tish Shute from UgoTrade (her post on the opening). A meta meta moment. [...]