Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Looking for Second Life help and community.

I've been sitting on a parcel of land in SL since February. Sarah M (Valerie Danes) has done some wonderful building in that location for me: she built a "Virtual Peace Chapel" as a sanctuary, placed messages of peace, put up a bulletin board so visitors can leave their own message, and she scripted an interactive memorial for victims of stoning. She is still working on streaming some video. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teaching%2015/210/150/22

I am looking for additional builders who would be interested in bringing other projects to fruition.
The Peace Chapel and its features came out of a graduate class that explored Greg Ulmer's Electronic Monuments. Other, not yet built MEmorials include a burning car to remember children who die in overheated cars, a computer desk built out of books in remembrance of print culture, a happy meal box and comic book in remembrance of global capitalism's victims, a clothesline with money clipped to it, in remembrance of those without enough water, and a globe with oil flowing over it in remembrance of our environment. The course work and projects can be found at the Virtual Peace Garden website:

If you are a Second Life builder, and want to bring some of these MEmorials to life, please contact me. I will also be getting another set of proposals this fall from architecture and landscape architecture students. If you are a MEmorialist youself, and need a patch of land to work with, please also feel free to contact me. Ideally, a community of builders and users might emerge in the Virtual Peace Garden. I have been working on developing a list of days that could be celebrated at the VPG. Yesterday was International Peace Day--we should have been there.

I realize that many people have already declared Second Life dead, but I was recently introduced to the concept of a "defiant garden:" gardens grown in World War I trenches, German prison camps, Japanese internment camps in the US, green spaces among urban blight, etc.. I'm going to try to stick with SL and the Virtual Peace Garden as a defiant garden because it has proven to me to be an effective space / image to think with. I'm learning a lot about gardens--a kind of public / private space I had not thought much about--and I am starting to see just how important they have been to individuals, groups, the peace movement, the world. Gardening and war, Winston Churchill said, are two defining human activities. I'm hoping to encourage more of the former.

Kevin (dot) Brooks (at) NDSU (dot) edu for those who want to garden.


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