Crash and Burn III: The Princeton Sims

Farewell to the Voids concerts
Farewell to the Voids concerts

The fallout from the Open Space sim debacle continues.

In publicising Winterfaire, Linden Lab used images of The Quiet to illustrate the kind of winter beauty and experience they were looking to showcase.

But if you had ever intended to see The Quiet or the other beautiful art installations that have formed part of the University of Princeton, go now. This weekend. For after that, they will be gone.

Gone: Princeton West – AM Radio: The Quiet

Gone: Princeton South – Douglas Story, Desdemona Enfield, Dizzy Banjo & Poid Mahovlich: DynaFleur

Gone: Princeton North – Poid Mahovlich: Triptych and  and the installation by Juria Yoshikawa: Liquid Light

Gone: Princeton East – Scope Cleaver, AldoManutio Abruzzo & Poid Mahovlich: Ludovico’s Lament

That’s right. Princeton North, South, East and West are going. The sims that housed the art installations that have given so much pleasure and enjoyment – and positive publicity for Second Life and Linden Lab – will be removed.

The Quiet
Princeton West: The Quiet

A series of concerts over the course of this weekend will celebrate the sims – and mark their loss.

Well, you might feel, what of that?  Art installations come and go in Second Life.  Things are created and destroyed remarkably quickly.  SL5B was with us for two weeks.  Not Possible in Real Life lasted a month.  Look at the work that went into RFL installations – and that was over in three days.  And surely the whole point of Burning Life is the knowledge that all this will be destroyed in a great conflagration?

Dyna Fleur
Princeton South: Dyna Fleur

All this is true, although I think I am not alone in regretting the transcience of so much creativity in Second Life.

And, yes, some of these installations may have a virtual life after the passing of the voids.  For example, on his Flickr group, AM Radio says, “The Quiet is not all lost. Look for a redux soon!”

But for me, a key point of the loss of the Princeton voids is not the disappearance of the installations, stunning as they are.

Triptych and Liquid Light
Princeton North: Triptych and Liquid Light

It’s the loss of the exhibition space and, underlying that, the fact that one of Second Life’s most prestigious institutions and supporters is quietly scaling down.

The reason for the removal, given by Persis Trilling, sim owner and Princeton University representative in real life, is a simple one.

“Because of the new pricing structure announced by Linden Labs, Princeton is unable to sustain its current void islands. The new pricing takes effect in January.”

Ludovico’s Lament
Princeton East: Ludovico’s Lament

And so, without fanfare or fuss, Second Life loses a valuable platform for the Arts.

Even though educational budgets are squeezed these days, it seems unlikely that cost alone has dictated this scaling down.  Once again, it reflects the fact that not only individual but also institutions are losing faith and trust in Second Life and Linden Lab.

And that should worry not just the Lab, but all of us.

Concert Schedule:
Saturday 27th 6pm SLT – Paisley Beebe Trio
Alexander Beach

Sunday 28th 12 noon – AldoManutio Abruzzo
Alexander Beach

Sunday 28th 6pm SLT – Grace McDunnough
Alexander Beach

Mon 29th 6pm SLT – SpaceJunky
Princeton Aspire

From a notecard I’ve received:
“…This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper …”

Not  Aldo … AldoManutio Abruzzo refuses to go quietly in to the Not-So-Good Night in a farewell to the Princeton Void SIMs .

So come you all, set your world to total darkness (“In darkness let me dwell”) and enjoy an uninterrupted passage of time, as I say a musical goodbye to the work of Scope, Poid, and me … ’cause once it’s gone, it will never return.

Sunday 28th 12 noon – AldoManutio Abruzzo
Alexander Beach


  1. They should definitely get a copy of Second Inventory and back up the assets to a local drive. Rather than spending the money here, they could fairly easily set up the installations in OpenSim so they aren’t lost to the winds of time!

  2. What a loss. I wish/hope for a Second Life historian to archive and catalog the wonderful builds that, for whatever reason, become lost in the sands of time.

    Lindens, would you mind sharing your business model with us? Creating an environment in which your competitors will thrive is not generally thought of as a good move.

  3. From my perspective, I am deeply grateful that Princeton was willing to host our Dynafleur for almost one year.

    We had 11,000 visitors (~ 30 per day), provided many people with a memorable visual experience, received a great deal of publicity and attention for this project, and have since been happily and productively engaged in new and interesting projects.

    Thank you, Persis and Princeton for your generosity.


  4. As a musician/audio artist, the saddest part of the Princeton Voids going away has been that it was one of the few sims where the concept of a permanent audio installation was being attempted.

    And by that I mean the use of an audio stream dedicated to the installation. Both “Liquid Light” (which was NOT simply a visual sculpture, but Juria and I conceived it as a audio/visual experience) and “Ludovico’s Lament” were the beneficiaries of Princeton’s largesse that allowed for the creation of extended audio components. And by extended, I mean longer than the 10-second maximum that so many of us have grappled with in SL (the original soundtrack for Liquid Light can still be heard, I think, over on Alexander Beach and runs nearly 2 hours in length).

    As for Diva’s comment above, there has been little interest outside of SL for truly documenting the cultural heritage being created inside. I personally tried to pique interest in the problem this past Fall at the Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts conference at Cambridge University, but the session was lightly attended and fraught with unbelievable technical issues. It’s not going away and I, for one, intend to keep pushing on the academic side.

    But LL do not make it easy for us to capture the essence of these creations and Second Inventory only goes so far, especially as it is ONLY available on Windows (HINT! HINT! We’d spend our money, if you guys are listening!). Sure, Open SIM is a possibility, but you still need to have back ups and the more platform-neutral those can be, the safer in the long run. And by long run, I mean more than a year.

    Persis Trilling is to be commended for her vision of what COULD be done … wake up, Linden Labs and quit killing off your gold-laying geese.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s