Live from East 3rd Street

Johnny stopped poring over the blog statistics just long enough to suggest that I do another piece about vampires, or Star Trek, or, ideally, vampires and Star Trek. So we beamed up to the Enterprise sick-bay to recreate this touching scene from “The Man Trap“, the first-ever episode of the original series:


Johnny is Dr McCoy and I’m his long-lost love – or so he thinks. I’m actually an alien salt-vampire, who lures her victims to their doom by assuming the form of their deepest desire. It ends unhappily for one of us, you can probably guess who.

With that nonsense out of the way I was free to sample some rather higher culture with a visit to “@“, an exhibition curated by the Ars Virtua gallery, that I had read about a month or so ago. The preview on the gallery website promises an examination of “the nature of space, place and the observer, the interplay between the observer and the observed, and the way in which location and “placeness” define or conscribe experience”, which sounded interesting. The show is (or was) presented simultaneously in Second Life and in real life, at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, with visitors at each location able to see into the other gallery in real time:


Or not as the case may be – by the time I visited the non-virtual part of the show had already closed, and I think the video feed from LA must have been frozen, since there was no sign of life.

I ended up spending about an hour at the show, but I came away a bit disappointed. As I have often found in Second Life, the concept outlined in the preview worked a lot better than the actual realisation. For example, here’s the description of one of the pieces: “Oberon Onmura creates, destroys, and re-creates a megalithic tower or beacon which hints visually at the works of Donald Judd. The work creates a rhythm for the space that is pleasing to watch from afar but possible to participate in from up close”, and here’s how it looks:


To be fair, this picture doesn’t really give a sense of the impressive scale of the work, and you can’t see how it dynamically constructs and deconstructs itself, but even so I think that comparing it with the work of Donald Judd is a bit hyperbolic.

I didn’t feel my hour was totally wasted though, which isn’t something that I can always say after spending time in Second Life. Even if it didn’t fulfil all my expectations the show did, as it promised to, make me think about the nature of virtual space and its relationship with the real world.

After the exhibition I wandered around the neighbourhood, and right next door to the gallery was the House of Night, a vampire-themed dance club. There’s just no getting away from them.

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