Sunday, November 24, 2013

November LEA FULL SIM Art Review of The Machine at LEA 6 by Victoria Lenoirre

Hi UWA Art Enthusiasts! Sorry I'm late submitting my review, real life has gotten a bit crazy. I am so pleased to be reviewing the full sim installation called The Machine by Lilia Artis and Moeuhane Sandalwood!!!!

Here's what it says in the notecard I was given:

 What if a society sets progress through technology as their top priority? Perfection above everything else?

   In “The Machine” by Lilia Artis and Moeuhane Sandalwood visitors are greeted by a possible result of that strife for perfection. An ethereal world that comes alive through the extensive power of the joined minds of its inhabitants.
 The visitors are subsequently invited to pull out their inner archeologist and ethnologist. And go on an exploratory trip down through several sublevels of history. To unearth the secret behind that seemingly perfect world.
 Because: What we see on the top floor is just a blink of an eye. It is a depiction of the everyday life of a people in a distant future.
 Even though that population on the top level does not seem to care about their past, it still remains integrated into their “machine” – hidden in the lower levels. The encumbrance of the past might one day reappear to haunt them. It might just become a burden on their next generation – once it breaks through the floors of time.
 How to visit the installation: On every “generation’s” level there is a spot where a former generation found its way to the new level. Sometimes it’s a bit hidden, because nobody used it anymore for decades or even centuries. Look for stairs, elevators, holes in the ground, etc.

The creatures have created a perfectly functioning world. They live in the ever present. As a sound community. With joined minds and spirits. Interconnected. Completely. They run the machine – and are run by the machine. They are the machine. The peak of innovation. The end of evolution. Their creation.
They are a society without memory. Their history a mere shadow. Because there is no need to remember. Why remember what is of no value. They are perfect.


The landing area is in an area like a courtyard. The walls are textured with a mixed violent, lavender and light blue shade. On the floor is a poster that says to click it for hints to find the four levels of the installation. Sounds like fun!

The first level is accessed by a broken elevator. You fall down through the floor and you're in the second level. A bright pink arrow directs you to step into the opening. Down, down, down you plummet until you touch the ground.

Broken Elevator on the landing level

The second level is a large maze. You need to find your way through it to the back wall to reach the third level. It reminds me of an engine room.The floor texture is a thick strand of wires in yellow, red, and black. The light blue animated texture on the wall makes me think of an electric current. Entry is by way of a grey staircase.

The grey staircase reminded me of a subway staircase that leads you underground to the subway station. This third level made me think of a stone quarry. Everything is grey, except for the shiny railings on the staircase. In the middle of the room is an empty chamber with bars on the window. It looks like an empty jail cell. The door is open and the hole on the ground leads you to the fourth and final level. Hand and legs cuffs are still hanging on the back wall. On the roof are two satellite dishes and antennas. The area looks so deserted and empty, devoid of life. The freight elevator's door is slightly ajar, like someone forgot to close it.

Third level/Third generation

So let's descend to the fourth level. You fall down a hole, a stonewalled hole, like an excavation site hole. The wall at your back is constructed with solid stone. This last level looks decrepit and decayed. A pile of bones lie to one side, on your left. You find yourself standing in brown water and wow, what is in the water? A closer look reveals that they are dead bugs. I identified dead ants and dead spiders. This level is so deadly that not even the bugs can survive.

Old, vacant houses are up ahead. The houses are squished into huge boulders. The water is now an unearthly green. It glows like toxic waste chemicals. When you walk past two of the houses, the water reverts back to the brown bug-filled water.

Fourth level/Fourth Generation

Here I go with my questions, but first a prelude from the artists:

- Our intent was to present the history of a society in a far away future. We decided to tell the story of that society backwards. Which means the visitor takes up the role of an archaeologist or ethnologist. On his or her journey down through the 4 levels he or she discovers more and more of the history of the mysterious society.
Our installation is basically a game of search and discovery. Like if you were an archaeologist discovering the city of Troy. The visitor is basically part of one big historic novel.
The artistic twist in our 'Troy' is the paradox that the 'futuristic' people don't care at all about their past, yet integrated their whole history fully into their 'machine'.

We worked with colors and lights to underline that paradox.
We painted the present and the early past of that society in bright colors. It could depict their view of this fantastic future - or maybe be a lure for the people to give up their lives, bodies and free will to technology.
In the lower levels - the darkness and shadows underline the problematic nature of their 'progress'.

We gave the world this monumental feeling. Every level is grand and vast. It should represent the complexity of this society, the enormous amount of achievement through technology - and also, subsequently the enormous amount of (sociological) failure.
Because in the end the visitor will discover that the 'perfection' of that people was achieved at a very high price. They ruined the environment - and took the free will of the people. Their 'perfect' society - that is depicted on the top level in such delicate and ethereal colors - in fact bases on a fascist regime.

Why would a perfect society not want to be remembered?

- Oh, it is the other way around. Because this society thinks it is perfect, the peak of evolution, it sees no point in remembering its own past. They see no point in learning from the past, because they think they don't have to progress anymore.
We, Lilia & Moe, on the other hand think it is vital to always integrate the past in the thoughts about the future. Because past mistakes might just come back to haunt you some time in the future. So this 'perfect' society might in fact run into big problems some day. But we don't know yet. When we encounter them on LEA6, they seem to be doing fine.

What happened to cause all the things like the elevator to break?

- Please think of the 4 levels as many generations of history. The ground level, which looks like a memory of our present times, presumably lies many hundred years in the past of that society's history. The people left this level behind many generations ago.
This is also true for the second and third level. And because they left these levels several generations ago - things there weren't used and not kept up anymore. So these things - like the elevator you mentioned - eventually broke.

What do your creatures wear?

- The creatures on the top level are just heads with big brains. Apparently there's no need for clothing. Through their history they first got rid of their arms and legs and replaced them with artificial ones (Level 2). Later they seem to have merged into complete cyborgs (Level 3). We cannot find any of those in level two. But the alcoves (that may remind us of the Borg-Cyborgs in the Star Trek Universe) give a hint in that direction.
On ground level - the level that may remind us most of our present time, the people probably wore clothes that were similar to ours.

Is the machine the thing that keeps the creatures alive?

- That has not been completely discovered in our story ... But yes, it seems that way. The creatures say 'the only thing left to do is to keep the machine running that keeps us running'. It is believed that they are in a kind of symbiotic relationship with the machine. Their brain-waves seem to feed the machine's energy source - at the same time the source seems to feed them back. So its kind of a self-sufficient system. But more research is needed, because the people seem to have no interest in talking to strangers (Other than the few words that are known from the poem).

What / Where is their life source?

- The machine is their life source. And it appears that the whole thing is considered as being 'the machine'. Even they themselves. They are part of it.

Will there be a destruction ceremony like we saw with Haveit Neox's Second Libations? Walking through your sim and reading about what your work is about, really reminded me of it.

- No, we're sorry, there will not be a destruction ceremony. Due to an extremely busy RL we unfortunately won't have the time to even think about such an event.
- And no, we did not have a build of another artist in our mind when we built it. In fact Moe has never visited Second Libations. Whereas Haveit's world was three different segments in one time, our build goes back through several centuries, showing four stages of its history, it gives the visitor the ability to time travel: you arrive in the future and go back in history and try to find out like an archaeologist what happened, following the hints we hid in each level. We always wanted to install a whole world giving the visitor a sense of time and space.

Where else do you have work set up for viewing?

- Moe's work is presently displayed in his own Gallery on Mainland (􀀀) as well as on Timamoon, Chelsea, Kelly Yap's and is hung in many galleries and homes across the grid.
- Lilia presently shows at Timamoon. - I had to close my gallery Flapping Dog recently when due to a few very demanding months in RL we had to give up our sim half Artwood on the Space 4 Art sim. Some of my installations and pictures are shown on ACC Alpha and Sparquerry, info is available in my picks.

Both have been present at more than one SL-Burn and UWA Challenges. Moe has shown on UWA-Full-Sim before as part of the Aeonia Artist group (which doesn't exist anymore) - and has been part of many festivals and invitationals across the grid.

What are your favorite sims in SL?

- Lilia: ACC Alpha and Sparquerry. Though there are no doubt lots of wonderful and interesting sims throughout the grid, but these two are the ones where I keep coming back, where I feel connected and somehow at home.
- Moe: It's hard to name any of the countless sims by great builders I have photographed in the past. Maybe Pteron, where I always loved to wander about. But: I especially love all the short-lived projects that show great artist's talents here in SL.

Who are your favorite artists that inspire you?

- Lilia: Haveit Neox and Nessuno Myoo, Yooma Mayo, Scottius Polke and Bryn Oh. I love their imagination, their eye for details and above all that they tell stories with their art and often enough with a fine humour included. Actually there are many more artists who's work I love but naming them all would be a blogpost on its own.
- Moe: There are so many great artists in Second Life - and I can learn from almost all of them. I will settle now for the wit and playfullness of Scottius Polke, Yoa Ogee and Yeti Bing, the precision of Harter Fall, the rich colors of Fuschia Nightfire, the layerwork of Sledge Roffo, the primperfectness of Nessuno Myoo, the strong lines of Ally Aeon, the delicacy of Giovanna Cerise and the loving detail of Claudia222 Jewell.

I'll let you know if I have more questions. Thank you so much!

Victoria Lenoirre

You are always welcome to ask in case you have more questions! Thank you for taking the time!
Moe & Lilia

Moe and Lilia would like to thank the many people who have made their work possible.

Our sincerest thanks go out to:
   - Jayjay Zinfanwe and UWA for having us here
   - The LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES committee for giving us the chance
   - Harter Fall and Haveit Neox for their words of support, encouragement and feedback
   - Derek Michelson for his mindblowing mover-script (we’d still be setting up if it were not for you!)

Related Information:
   - Brain Machine Interface Conference 2013:
   - A Brain-to-Brain Interface for Rats – The Scientist: (Video:
   - A Brain-Machine Interface Enables Bimanual Arm Movements in Monkeys - Science:
   - Menschenversuche – Eine Anthologie (1750 – 2000), Suhrkamp 2008, ISBN 978-9-518-29450-5 (
   - Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man:
   - Locutus of Borg (
   - Inspector Gadget: (
   - Environment: Waste production must peak this century - Nature:
   - Greencross - The world’s worst 2013: The Top Ten Toxic Threats:

Additional Sources:
   - Trash-Textures on ground level are derived from pictures taken by Wolfgang Sterneck and shared with CC license on flickr:

A great big thank you to Moeuhane Sandalwood and Lilia Artis! Come see The Machine at LEA 6 now! It comes down at the end of this month! Come visit here!

Have fun and enjoy the art!

~Victoria Lenoirre

Friday, November 22, 2013


Machinima by Haveit Neox

The Nov round of the LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES sees the dynamic duo of Lilia Artis & Moeuhane Sandalwood   bring us 'The Machine'.  A full list of the Series 3 offerings for the LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES can be found on the blog: LEA FULL SIM ART SERIES (click here for full year schedule).

GRAND OPENING: Sunday, November 10 @ 1 pm SLT

"The Machine" by Lilia Artis & Moeuhane Sandalwood :

We have solved all our problems. Thanks to our ingenuity.
We have cured all illnesses. Thanks to our technical savvy.
We have cheated death. Thanks to our code.
We invented the machine.
The only thing left to do:
Keep the machine running that keeps us running.

The creatures have created a perfectly functioning world. They live in the ever present. As a sound community. With joined minds and spirits. Interconnected. Completely. They run the machine – and are run by the machine. They are the machine. The peak of innovation. The end of evolution. Their creation.

They are a society without memory. Their history a mere shadow. Because there is no need to remember. Why remember what is of no value. They are perfect.

What if a society sets progress through technology as their top priority? Perfection above everything else?

In “The Machine” by Lilia Artis and Moeuhane Sandalwood visitors are greeted by a possible result of that strife for perfection. An ethereal world that comes alive through the extensive power of the joined minds of its inhabitants.

The visitors are subsequently invited to pull out their inner archaeologist and ethnologist. And go on an exploratory trip down through several sublevels of history. To unearth the secret behind that seemingly perfect world.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

In Focus: The Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses and The Freedom Project

Hi all! I want to share with you my conversation with Dianne Elton.

As you know, The Freedom Project is an art event hosted by the University of Western Australia in the name of disability and debilitating illnesses.

Freedom Project Kickoff ceremony (from left to right): Gentle Heron, Freewee Ling, Dianne Elton, and Jayjay Zifanwe

The Freedom Project is co-organized not just by the UWA and Virtual Ability but also by the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses.  The Centre for ME/CFS group in SL was founded by Kirsty Bearfoot.

At The Freedom Project opening ceremony I met Dianne Elton, a representative of the Centre for ME/CFS in Second Life.

Dianne Elton at The Freedom Project opening ceremony

Hi Dianne, it's Victoria from UWA blog. I'm sending you some questions about Centre and Freedom Project.

What is the Centre for ME/CFS all about? Who founded the organization and when? Is it a RL organization as well?

DE: The Centre for ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and Other Invisible Illnesses was founded by Dr. Kirsty Best, of the School of Media Communication and Culture at Murdoch University, Western Australia, as part of a research study entitled, “Illness, Isolation and the Internet”.  The study aimed to discover whether Second Life might help people with ME/CFS, and other invisible illnesses, overcome some of the isolation that illness causes.  I was a participant in this study.  It was my introduction to SL. 
The study ended some time ago and although only a very few of the participants of that study have stayed in SL, other people with ME/CFS and other invisible illnesses currently using SL, have joined the group and it remains quietly active (as befits a group of chronically ill peopleJ).

Murdoch University closed its presence in second life and the Centre for ME/CFS then transferred to Curtin University, (yet another Western Australian University with a presence in Second Life), and is now generously supported there.

Whilst we do not have a real life organisation, there is a web page where members can post articles, and make comments.  The website was set up for those who cannot participate in SL, due to poor internet access, or because of their symptoms, they cannot tolerate the graphic stimulation of the virtual world.

Activities at the Centre are based around helping and supporting fellow sufferers in managing and coping with their illness.  Guided relaxation sessions are held every day to help manage pain and symptoms.  These sessions are very popular and well attended.
Once a week there is a meeting open to all members, for companionship and to discuss anything new in the research of ME/CFS.  There is also a gallery of creative work done by sufferers.  It’s an inspiring and heartening collection of art, prose and music showing the strength and creativity of people living day to day with chronic illness.
We also have a book club, where we are reading an inspirational work by a woman living with ME/CFS.  The approach is to live a good and happy life despite illness.
There is a resource centre with information contributed by members on such topics as “treatments which have helped me”, “treatments which have not helped”, places to visit in SL, tips on using sl and many other resources. 
Games are included on the sim to help members suffering cognitive dysfunction and brain fog.
Everything at the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illness, was suggested by the members themselves.  The centre was redesigned based on the requests and needs of members after extensive worships.

Relaxation Centre photo courtesy of Dianne Elton

What is your role in the organization?

DE: It was always the desire of the researchers who set up the project, that group members would eventually take over the running of the group.    Myself and Traskin Snakeangle, try, within the limitations and ups and downs of our health to fulfil that responsibility.  As all members are chronically ill, organisation of any event depends on the current state of health of those willing to “give it a go”. 
I also set up the Guided Relaxation Centre and facilitate this with three other members of the group.  We have about 100 guided relaxations to choose from, including:  to aid sleep, to cope with pain, guided imagery and relaxation, stress management, nature sounds to name just a few.  We also have guided relaxations available in different languages.

What is your education background and work experience from real life? How does your life experience help you at Centre for ME/CFS? How has Centre for ME/CFS improved your overall quality of life in either real life or second life?

DE: I was a teacher.  I have been in local politics and even ran my own business before falling ill.  Now I am housebound and often bedbound.  I don’t know that my education and work experience particularly helps me at the Centre for ME/CFS.  I enjoy the social contact and I tend to facilitate groups which help and work for me in coping with and managing my illness.  If it helps me, there is a good chance it will help some people with similar health issues. 

Where is the SL headquarters?
The Centre is located in Curtin University in Second Life.

Is there a website?

There is also a Facebook page where we post information about activities at the centre in SL.

What do you enjoy most about working with others in the community? What do you dislike most from your time spent working with others and being in the community?

DE: I think that what I like most about working with others in the community, is the social contact and friendship with people right around the world.  I am housebound with illness and often bedbound, so if it was not for my computer I would have almost no social contact.  What do I dislike about being in the community?  Well, nothing really.  The only thing I don’t like is that my health can suddenly get much worse at any time and this can make it impossible for me to do anything on sl for months at a time.

Does the Centre host yearly events, seminars, conferences, contests, raffles, or fund drives?

DE: As previously mentioned we are all hampered by chronic ill health, so organising any event is particularly challenging.  We try to hold an “Open Day” on May 12th, which is ME/CFS Awareness Day.  We have managed to host a visiting speaker, and one group member has, in the past, created some wonderful builds for us to enjoy at Halloween and Christmas. He also DJs on these occasions which is a treat for us.

An Australia Day party was also a highlight for members.  With most of these events we have been lucky enough to have healthy, able bodied people, such as the researchers and the builders do a lot of the organising for us.

We were supported firstly by Murdoch University and now by Curtin University and are extremely lucky not to have to try to raise funds to keep the group going.

Are there any special events in the fall and winter?

DE:Sometimes, if he is well enough, one of our members will organise a Halloween party and a Christmas party for us.

How can people contribute to the Centre?

DE: The Centre is funded by Curtin University, however contributions of time and effort by healthy volunteers would be most welcome particularly in organising events.

How did you become involved in The Freedom Project? Who approached you to help? How do you know Jayjay?

DE: I have known Jayjay since my first days in sl.  I had read in my local paper (The West Australian), that UWA had a presence in SL with a wonderful art project.  I teleported there and Jayjay came over to help me. We have been friends ever since.  I have particularly enjoyed visiting the UWA 3D art challenge over the years.  In real life, I live relatively close to the actual UWA.

What is your hope about the Project?

DE: I hope that people without illness or disability  will gain a new perspective, respect, admiration and understanding of what it’s like to live with illness and disability.

What are you hoping to see or looking for in the art and machinima?

DE: I hope to see people with illness and disability expressing themselves freely and creatively, (and giving themselves plenty of time to do so) and thoroughly enjoying the creative process.

Thank you so much, Dianne! You have been most kind. We look forward to seeing and enjoying all the art that is part of The Freedom Project. Success and happy creating to all involved with this lofty endeavor!

Have fun and enjoy the art!

Victoria Lenoirre