Fostering Creativity in SL: Orange Island

I managed to catch the last few minutes of the Orange Ball (and one dance with a nice gentleman who works for Orange the company).

Then I moved on to the rest of Orange Island. Starting as I did from the dance pavilion, it took me some time to find detailed information about this sim. That is, it quickly became clear that I was looking at art installations (I wandered around for a while thinking, This is Art), but the who what how and why took a little longer.

Eventually, though, I turned up a notecard about the Creative Programme of Orange, a British media company, which informed me that

As part of an ongoing endeavour to share and collaborate with the Second Life communities, Orange launches the Create Programme, an initiative that aims at encouraging creative expression on Orange Island.

The idea is quite simple: Orange offers to support artistic and/or innovative projects by granting land and tools to residents who show promising material in order to help them achieve their project.

Orange is apparently the British equivalent of the US’s AT&T. The sentiments are nice – and they seem to be trying to back them up with real action (not the mention the $ they’re spending on these sims – and their staff, which is undoubtedly the much larger cost). They held a selection process that closed February 15, 2008 and resulted in three projects being announced on March 7. (These are the three installations I ran across after I left the Pavilion.) In theory, they will hold another round of applications and selections at some point; if you’re an artist interested in this program, keep an eye on their website , or even better – join their SL Group.

Here are views of the three projects they selected (please note, I am not in any way qualified to critique art … this is a layperson’s view of these things):

Sugar, Spice, Snails and Tails: The Human Element by Fallopian Fighter Productions (love that name!), a team led by Strawberry Holiday. Details about the project can be found through the link.

Snips, Snails installation exterior

For my purposes, it’s enough to say that wandering through those tunnels (many of the apparent walls can be stepped through; start in the bottom cube) was an experience. Occasionally, an interactive one! Here’s an interior detail (with me):

Suger, Spice interior

I think the design could be better – it was very hard to figure out what to do – but this is experimental stuff, after all. We make allowances.

ETA:  And then there’s the fact that – as Strawberry Holiday tells me – the project is not yet finished, so of course it’s still a bit hard to figure out.  Which is GREAT!  That means there’ll be a formal opening of it that I might be able to get to!

Next was Particle House by Cezary Fish, a much less complicated endeavor – except for the fact that it really is made of particles, all them moving all the time:

Particle House

Apparently not all projects need to be designed on the scale of “large.”

Finally, there was The Primal Forest by Soror Nishi, a psychedelic experience if there ever was one:

The Primal Forest

Eventually I happened upon what’s probably the main teleport point, and beyond that, a very large island containing a variety of small installations, another set of further information kiosks …

… a gathering place called La Cantine, and a musical performance/practice venue called The Cliff:

I took a lot of pictures on the gallery island, which are all up on the Orange Island album I mentioned before.

Now listen – this is seriously a place for SERIOUS artists. Which I know I’m not – this is the kind of stuff that makes me confident in my decision to stick with words (and the occasional photograph). This work is the REAL THING. I strongly suggest you go and visit – look at the big installations, and wander around to look at the smaller items placed on the gallery island.

And let the owners know if you think all this is worthwhile. I sure do. I think they could do a bit more to foster an ‘artists’ colony’ kind of atmosphere (smaller places for artists to work on projects – studio residences available for a set period of time – encouraging SL builders as well as straight-up actual Art – and I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to seeing a writers’ workshop or other text-related resources, being something of a writer myself), but this is a good start.

We’ll have to see how it goes, of course. But I went to a fine concert there on Friday, and it was very well-attended, so their group must be pretty big and their events well-advertised. Definitely a promising and ambitious sim.

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