Thursday, July 2, 2015

SciFi Film Festival (Machinima/Animation) - CLOSING 29th AUGUST 2015

UWA is pleased to announce that the partnership with SciFi Film Festival continues.  Details for machinima and film submissions are on the main SciFi Film Festival Website. CLICK HERE. You will see that there are entry fees for all categories of film, HOWEVER for any machinima filmed in Second Life, the entry fee is covered by UWA, so you will be able to register without cost!


Check out the amazing list of cash prizes here (in Australian $)

You should be eligible for the Animation and International Film categories as well as the overall prizes.

Do note the more stringent rules and requirements as per their website, this is due to the fact that it is not an exclusive machinima challenge, however we are seeking to bring machinima into the mainstream and as such will be viewed alongside all other types of film. As for prize categories there is a special prize for best Animation, and any type of animated film will be eligible for that award, however only the SL machinimas will not be subject to the entry fee.

We feel that in a SciFi category, those filming in Second Life have a huge advantage over those using conventional filming methods, and we hope that all of you machinimatogtraphers and filmmakers of SL use this advantage fully.

Best of luck to anyone intending to participate. UWA will not be directly involved in the judging process for the challenge, and we would be glad to be sent a note should any of you wish to submit a film (email to or contact jayjay zifanwe in world).

Film Submission rules etc can be found here:


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An opportunity in Australia

Having recently returned home from my four-month Endeavour Fellowship at UWA in Perth, I wanted to share a little bit of my experience. I also want to encourage international artists to apply for the Endeavour program. It's substantial money and, in my experience, not that hard to get. It's certainly worth the effort to apply. Complete information is available on their website.
I was able to rent this sweet little cottage near campus
The program I applied for was the Endeavour Executive Fellowship. This provides up to $18,500AUD for travel and expenses for a residency for "professional development." (Four months is the maximum. It's not necessary to spend that much time there.) This means my program was not part of a research project or academic degree. They have other fellowships for those (with more money associated with them for longer periods). The "program" I described was not a formal conference or classes. I described my program as generally wanting to make personal professional contacts with colleagues I've worked with for the last several years.

If you've ever considered an extended trip to Australia, this is a great way to do it. If this is something you want to try, do contact Jay Jay and/or myself. I can happily advise you about the nuts and bolts of applying. But Jay Jay is the guy who would be your institutional sponsor.

I tried hard to arrange my fellowship to coincide with the worst part of winter at home in Kentucky. Since they don't notify people of their application results until late November (guidelines say December), it was a mad scramble for me to get my life together enough to be away for four months beginning in early January. As it was, there was a brief delay in getting my visa approved, so I did not actually leave until 18 January. Just in time to avoid what would be a pretty brutal winter, arriving in Perth in Australia's hot mid-summer. I returned home in mid-May, just as Australia heads into winter and the nights were getting cool. I now get to enjoy a second long summer at home.

My stay in Australia was definitely a learning experience. The first thing I learned is that everything there costs about double on average what it does at home, even accounting for exchange rates. And since they are on the metric system, I was a bit taken aback to see chicken for sale in the grocery for $18 a kilo. Despite that, the fellowship is sufficient to live on if you live frugally, as I do normally anyway. I was fortunate to find housing within walking distance of campus, but I paid a lot for the privilege. The alternative would have been relying on bus schedules and the associated costs of transportation. I thought about buying a cheap bike while there, but ultimately I decided I needed the exercise and I enjoyed the walk to the office every day. But a bicycle would have made going to the grocery store a lot easier.

Aside from the mechanics of getting the grant, arranging transportation and housing, and figuring out day to day living, the experience of being in Perth for an extended visit was an awesome opportunity. I connected with JayJay pretty much daily and he was an outstanding host. He provided me with a very good computer in a nice office space that I shared with three physicists (who spent most of the time writing arcane equations just like on the Big Bang Theory show). I joined his family for the kids' swim meets, Scrabble tourneys, etc.

The UWA campus is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I've ever seen. It was a joy walking to work every day through the gorgeous trees and other foliage, listening to the birds, watching the peacocks mingle with the students on the lawn at noon. A stunningly blue sky that yields to the equally stunning Southern Cross at night. I often walked home late at night when the campus was basically deserted. The place never failed to awe and inspire me.
The back side of Winthrop Hall at night

And most of all I met some wonderful friends from SL who basically adopted me as one of their own and who I'm sure are now lifelong real life friends. Everyone I met there was generous and kind and seemed generally happy to be living in such a wonderful part of the world.I''l be blogging about some of my experiences later, either here or on my own blog.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Opportunity Knocks? Win A Fellowship to Visit UWA in RL

The University of Western Australia’s ever diligent SL Art Curator, FreeWee Ling has just returned home to USA after a 4 month paid, real life sojourn in Australia.

How did she do it?
FreeWee applied for one of Australia’s Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, supported by a letter of recommendation from UWA. To her great surprise she was awarded an Endeavour Executive Fellowship from the Department of Education and Training.

The Fellowship provided Freewee with financial support (up to $18,500AU) towards professional development opportunities at UWA for 4 months!

“It was an amazing opportunity to live in Perth for four months”, says Free. UWA is one of the most beautiful campuses on the planet!”

Australia’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship is open to international applicants from participating countries who are considered high achievers in business, industry, education or government. The Fellowship focuses on learning and building skills and knowledge through a host work environment in the applicant’s field or area of expertise, rather than through formal enrolment in a study program. It’s a genuine credit to Freewee that she was awarded the Fellowship. FreeWee explains the steps she followed:

“The Endeavour application process was fairly easy, all done online. You need to describe what you want to do, get a couple of people to write recommendations, get certified copies of transcripts, etc. But it's all carefully laid out in the online application. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about it. You can't win if you don't enter!

"Once I was notified that my application was approved, the program turned me over to a caseworker who supported me from leaving for Perth to arriving back home. My caseworker was great, always responded quickly to any concerns I had and monitored my progress throughout my stay.”

There are a number of different types of international grants available for 2016, including the Endeavour Executive Fellowship that FreeWee got. You can learn more about them here.

UWAinSL is happy to support SL residents, artists or virtual educators who’d like to apply.

Submissions close on the 30th of June so you’d better get started on your application soon! As FreeWee said, “You can’t win if you don’t enter!” Good luck!

  • Second Life: Freewee Ling (IM or Notecard)
  • Second Life: Jayjay Zifanwe (IM or notecard)
  • Real Life: Jay Jay Jegathesan, Manager of the School of Physics, UWA

Friday, May 8, 2015

Second Life Features in Major UWA Rebranding Exercise

Was pretty remarkable to see that Second Life features at the 1:38s mark of the above video, which captured the key moments of the major rebranding launch of the University of Western Australia (UWA) on the 5th of May 2015.

Jay Jay Jegathesan, founder of the UWA SL presence is seen describing the moment he met Diane Elton of the Centre for ME & CFS in SL (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrom).

The exercise took place in Winthrop Hall, which has been recreated in SL by FreeWee Ling. Click HERE to teleport to the hall.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

FreeWee's Musical Instrument Exhibition


I've been in Australia since the end of January on an Endeavour Executive Fellowship at UWA. I'm here until mid-May and boy has time flown by. Amidst goofing off and seeing the sights, I've been working hard on several projects, especially a number of demonstration installations on my LEA27 sim (SLURL) . A lot of it is old stuff, but there's also a lot of new things and even the old has been refurbished. And I'm continuously working on things there. Everyone is welcome to come see what I've been doing.

One of the major projects is an exhibition of virtual musical instruments I've made with my close collaborator Oriscus "Oz" Zauberflote. We are both musicologists with a passion for musical instruments of all kinds. As we finished the installation I was able to document it and I have just published an online exhibition catalog. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

March LEA Full Sim, Rebeca Bashly's When Life Gives You, a review by Victoria Lenoirre

This month at LEA 6, is a brand new work by Rebeca Bashly. This is also the last month that there will be monthly full sim grants at LEA 6. So it's fitting that Rebeca's work is also the last in the series. Her first installation here at LEA 6 was the Inferno. The name of this work is When Life Gives You Apples...Run.

At the arrival area, you'll see a small, green info with an info hover text.
Arrival point

Click it and you'll get the following info:

Looking at various myths, legends and fairy tales, apple seems to be pretty misfortunate for a woman.
When an apple appears in a story, you know that something will go bad.
From Eve, thru Greek mythology to Snow White there was always a catch with an apple.
It is beautiful, delicious, tempting, seductive. A Perfect disguise for all bad that can come.
I use it as a symbol for the monstrosities that woman too often dont recognise as such in its early stages.
This installation is about domestic violence and eating disorders, on first sight two very different things, but violence against someone and violence against oneself are the same thing, a violence.

Standing inside the apple, looking up

Rebeca's work is always so intense and dark. It's that darkness that highlights the beauty in it.

Even in the seed, you see the women huddled in pain but you also see a beauty in their posture. There is a sort of beauty in pain. That may sound weird. They have each other and they are taking comfort from the physical closeness. The way they hold themselves together is beautiful, I suppose.

As you go through the apple, you will find teleport points to go to another location in the sky. The Dollhouse is one of those locations. Do read the store of the Dollhouse. It tells the story of 2 girls who overcame their circumstances to become a success. It reminds me of the saying about how suffering makes you stronger. The human spirit is strong, our sense of survival is inherent. Even babies know that they want to breathe and eat; they want to live.

The stair inside the apple spirals around until the top of the apple, it's a square door to the stem of the apple and the leaf on top.

The mood inside the apple is ominous. It is simple, unlike the Inferno or other builds I've seen by her. The ominous mood is felt just by how dark it feels and then you see the seed hanging from the ceiling. And perhaps you feel a certain dread when you see the teleport signs. You want to see where they lead, but you feel like the destination won't be cheery and happy. You may wonder how sweet Sweet Home is...see for yourself when you rezz here.

It's an intriguing build. It seems simple but the overtones are mood are not simple. The theme is definitely complex.

Here are my questions for Rebeca:

In fairytales, the bad apple is red. Why did you decide to make your apple green?

- It was suppose to be blue, but while I was painting it I fell in love with this shade of green.
Generally I always have green in my builds, it is personal.

What can we learn from fairy tales?

- Kids are learning from fairy tales in a safe environment about many things like human nature,values,how to deal with adversity in life,
they enhance imagination and creative process... I could go on and on about benefits of fairy tales.

Why do you think the apple is used to tempt people and lead them to unfortunate events?

- Well, it is not really certain that the apple was the trouble maker.Till late 17th century
word "apple" was used for all foreign fruits, except for berries and nuts.

What are your feelings on pain? Do you think there is some beauty in pain? 

- I don't find being beaten up with leather belt  or stomach ruptures caused by binge eating beautiful.
I don't find humiliation,despair and fear beautiful.I don't find Jesus nailed on cross beautiful.I don't find being stung by the bee beautiful.
It is human ugliness in its purest form,except for the bee stung ofc. There have always been  people that are skilled to present pain in a way that we can render
 it as beautiful - Artists. Otherwise probably half of us would just turn away our heads.

How do you fight against violence towards women? Is it a personal cause for you?

- It is personal, i am a woman, i am a human.

Thanks for answering my questions, Rebeca! Great build at LEA6!

Come see her London build at FFL, open until the 29th of this month!

Best regards,

Victoria Lenoirre

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

UWA Delivers Closing Keynote Address at VWBPE Conference 2015

It was wonderful and humbling for UWA to be afforded the opportunity to present the Closing Keynote Address at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference 2015 which wrapped up on the 22nd of March.

The honour was even greater given that it was none other than Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab who delivered the Opening Keynote Address.

The Avataric Website carries a summary of the talk.

A more polished version of the talk itself is in the works, with the currently available version linked as above, which is hosted on the SLArtist Website.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Final LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES: Rebeca Bashly's 'When Life Gives you Apples...Run"

REBECA BASHLY, takes the lead at LEA 6 for the final round of the  LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES with WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU APPLES...RUN. This brings the LEA Full Sim art series full circle, as Rebeca helmed the very first LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES event, which was also the very first LEA Art event way back when the sims were created.
Please note this is not the final round of the LEA. It is the final round of the LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES in its current format, curated by Jayjay Zifanwe on LEA 6.

A full list of the LEA Full SIM offering since inception in 2011 can be found HERE.  This final round of the LEA Full Sim series in the current format runs across March and April 2015.
 In Rebeca's Words:

When life gives you apples ... run

Looking at various myths, legends and fairy tales, apple seems to be pretty unfortunate for a woman.

When an apple appears in a story, you know that something will go bad.

From Eve, thru Greek mythology to Snow White there was always a catch with an apple.
It is beautiful, delicious, tempting, seductive. A Perfect disguise for all bad that can come.
I use it as a symbol for the monstrosities that woman too often don't recognize as such in its early stages.

This installation is about domestic violence and eating disorders, on first sight two very different things, but violence against someone and violence against oneself are the same thing, a violence.

Installation starts at the bottom of an eaten apple from where path with teleports develops thru inside.

From ground level only apple is visible,rest is settled in the sky.

Every time visitor gets teleported he has to come back into an apple to continue the path. There are notecards and stories to be collected at each level


Thursday, March 5, 2015

February LEA Full Sim Speculum by Giovanna Cerise, a review by Victoria Lenoirre

On February 18th, Giovanna Cerise's Speculum opened at LEA 6.

I apologize for finishing this review late.

Speculum is an intriguing piece of art. She always gets you thinking and gazing in wonder at her creations, at least to me her work does that.

In Giovanna's words,

The mirror, as multiplicity and continuous playback.
The mirror, where the invisible overlaps the original and the hidden appears suddenly.
The mirror, as an illusion of which you can not do without.
The mirror as a projection in an unreal dimension.
The mirror that opens the door to ....
The visitor can interact with the environment simply going through it, resulting in different visual impressions.

The recommended setting is Sunset or Verdigris, to appreciate the nuances of the installation.

The sim feels like a speculum forest. If it was enclosed and not on open water, some might feel claustrophobic. There are a lot of them.  Has anyone counted how many there are?

Some of the mirrors made me think of satellites.

I set my world to Verdigris. It gives it a somber, eerie dusk look. The idea of being surrounded by speculums is strange. How does it make you feel? Do you feel like you're in an alien world?

I am just awestruck by it all.

Here are the questions I asked her:

Why did you choose to use speculums?

My choice was motivated by watching once again “The Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan van Eyck. It is an oil painting on oak panel dated 1434 by the Early Netherlandish.

Have you ever felt like life is an illusion? Have you ever had the feeling that you have to look deeper into life to really see what is happening?

I think that sometimes life is a beautiful illusion, but it is always worth living. I always look behind appearances even if the mirrors can be broken in look beyond.

Verdigris created such an interesting glow effect on everything. What was the effect that you wanted to create?

I like to play a lot with the effects of light. Verdigris looked like one of those that did stand out a little dreamy atmosphere. My choice was dictated primarily by the intuition of the emotional moment.

It certainly was dreamy. I loved the dusky effect.

Speculum is no longer up at LEA 6. But stay tuned for the next installation on LEA6, coming soon!

-Victoria Lenoirre

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Linden Endowment for the Arts: LEA27 - FreeWee's Laboratory v.8.0: Music, Myth,...

FreeWee Ling is escaping the brutal northern winter in the warm sunny antipodes during a four month Endeavour Fellowship from the Australia Dept. of Education. See info about new exhibits open at FreeWee's LEA sim! SLURL:

Linden Endowment for the Arts: LEA27 - FreeWee's Laboratory v.8.0: Music, Myth,...: