Monday, February 24, 2014

LEA 6 February 2014 Sea Mizin's California Redwood Forest Review by Victoria Lenoirre

Hi everyone and welcome to a new full sim exhibit here at LEA 6.

Sea Mizin has taken over with California Redwood Forest. The sim opened on February 16th at 1pm SLT.

It is such a magnificent forest. The trees look huge. There is a brook as well as rocks and some wood fences. I was so astounded by the size of the trees and the textures on the trunks. There were even fallen tree trunks. It feels like a forest wonderland.

Walk along the water's edge and you'll see lizards scattered throughout. You will also notice the rocky terrain. That element really added more realism to the sim. I felt like I was there. I could feel the roughness and almost feel the coolness of the rock.

In Sea's words:

If you want to know what's growing in the mountains near Linden Labs? See for yourself. Walk among the California Redwoods. They live and grow to a mystifying age ranging on the upside of 2000 – 3500 years. Respectively known as Coastal Redwoods and Giant Redwoods. Researchers studying these forests remind us how little we know. Such as how many hundreds of years it takes for a mature forest to provide bedding for their sprouts and seedlings. Canopy science reveals an affinity to unexpected creatures. Be sure to visit, relax and enjoy the sights, especially our visiting critters; and, of course, don't our very own baby redwood grow to full height! Take photos, use the stage. Once you've seen these forests, go 
see a real Redwood Forest, Enjoy!

Sea Mizin's California Redwood Forest

Be the Music and Performance Event!
Walk up to the highest peak through the Clothespin tree where our SelfServing Stage for performers is located – It's a delight. Just hop onto the stage floor, not the edge, and you'll be prompted for your stream. You'll know by seeing the yellow prompt for your stream information. The stage is automated - ready to use - without fuss. When you leave the stage, it reverts back to the SIM's music in 30 seconds. Use the stage when it's available. Planned events are the only exception. It's available throughout the remainder of February. Ask your friends to join you, making this your time. Contact Derek Sienkiewicz for more information about the music venue.

Credits and Permissions

Vicki Firecaster, Watch her magical scripting grow a Redwood Tree 
  • Nintin, Critter creator and scriptor of salamanders and banana slugs
  • Arrehn Oberlander, Dance Machine, and his latest, The SelfServing Stage
  • rockmccool, Critter scriptor
  • Harter Fall, Misty clouds
  • Derek Sienkiewicz, Music, DJ, and for space to work, a whole year...Bravo Derek!
  • Kay Garaguru, Hours of lessons in patience and sample builds
  • Johnas Merlin, Awesome help on build approaches
  • Kurk Mumfuzz, Many many reference photos of Muir Woods, 2013
  • Mel, Extra photos of Henry Cowell Redwood Park and a place to sleep, 2012/13
  • Carlos & Lauren, All their photos of Mariposa Grove, Yosemite 2013
  • Motoko Oanomochi, Redwood Tree entrance at LEA5 using 3D&Dreams
As always, I asked the talented artist of the LEA full sim some questions, which she happily answered and expounded upon. Thank you, Sea! :-)

Hi Victoria, Thank you for the opportunity to talk about the California Redwoods LEA6 full SIM installation. I'm happy to answer. This is the first time I've been asked, so I'm a bit unsure if I wrote too much or off point. To preface your questions I'd like to add the following. Life, and everything we don't call life is related, having equal influences on each other and on ideas I'm entertaining. As an artist, when I focus on a topic, I like looking at all these relationships as though they are a singular being thriving on the planet. Education teaches us to compartmentalize in order to focus on a particular topic. It's a good way to learn. 

As an artist I try to refit the world together as a whole organism.  For example, respiration is a process consisting of plants consuming carbon dioxide and producing oxygen; we animals thrive by consuming oxygen and producing carbon dioxide, which the plants live off of. I've simplified the process and left out a few anaerobic players. There is a synergy and symbiosis in us and in the nature we are part of. We are not outside of nature! We live in an species-rich environment, alien rich even, if you see our planet as an extraordinary biosphere. Life is the one experiment that we cannot repeat or test. It is original from the Big-Bang birth of this universe we live in.

Contemplating this always begins a process leapfrogging from the last thought or build in my case. Symbiont Host was such a build. I'm only getting started exploring building from what I've read and thought about. I enjoy researching. I revisit a place when I can, read journals, books, research papers, and use my local library extensively to obtain copies of scientific articles. This activity takes a lot of time, yet it is how I enjoy experiencing learning, letting my mind wander through all the information. It provides a happy, peaceful contentment I find irresistible.

me: Have you been to the Redwood forests in California? Any fond memories?

Oh Yes! I have been to several Redwood forests in California. The first redwood forest I visited was when I lived in San Francisco, and on the spur of the moment decided to go up to Humboldt and stay the weekend there. I had to beg the park ranger to let me camp nearer the redwood forest saying I promised not to walk on the trees' shallow root systems. Years later, I lived along the San Lorenzo river just outside of Big Basin Redwood State Park. We had many coastal redwoods, the Sequoia sempervirens, on our property. They propagate from roots or a stump, not so much by seed. These trees are formidable survivors and it's why Vickie Firecaster's script to grow a baby into an old growth redwood is an important feature of this show. You can see it growing near the landmark.  In real life I've seen baby saplings shoot up to 20 feet in less than two summers. 

Another fond memory is a bike ride I took up Waddell Creek road from Highway1 at the beach to Big Basin and Skyline. Along the way, there were two old camp pools that had what I always thought were California Giant Salamanders swimming. Campground barriers prevented getting close enough to identify these large salamanders other than size, spot shapes, and their vibrant two-toned redwood colors. They were so jam-packed in the pools scrambling over each other, I couldn't stop watching them. It was a hot Santa Cruz day with hundreds of them frolicking in the water. In this show, I created a natural swimming hole near the landing site where Nintin put a bunch of her California Giant Salamanders a-swimming after telling her this story.  She has created the most commonly seen salamanders and the ubiquitous banana slug. The swimming hole is alive with vibrant salamanders. 

me: Where are you from? 

I've traveled a lot as a child, always playing in nearby woods, rivers and ponds, I don't consider where I'm from too much because I didn't stay in one place too long. The only exception was my time living in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California amongst the Redwoods. That area will always be home to me, no matter where I am. 

me: What do you like about Redwood trees?

Everything, I like everything about these two trees, the Coastal and Giant Redwoods. I am fascinated by their rareness, the oddity of their age, sheer size and structure, bark, canopy, mosquito-free zones, genetic make up, along with what is yet undiscovered. They are an enigma with few comparisons in age. Bristlecone pines are another age-defying species. There is much on the internet that people can readily read. But until you've walked in a Redwood forest, there's no way to experience it. Its sheer quiet, its height and girth, its filtered light, the engulfing fog, and so much more is the experience I want to share with those who have never seen such a forest. LEA6 begins that experience.

Two of the most recent advances in understanding either redwood is canopy science and genetic research on paternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (pmtDNA). Canopy science shows us baby redwood trees grow straight up off massive lateral branches with circumferences greater than trees on the ground. Researchers are just beginning to identify species living and thriving up there, including the Marbled Murrelet who lays its eggs high in the canopy. Wandering Salamanders find water in the tons of soil located on canopy branches, such that they can live and thrive and be at the top of the food chain with virtually no predators. Plants usually located on the ground are blooming and propagating in the in the canopy. These include the Douglas Fir tree, Huckleberry's, and ferns. 

The biggest anomaly and surprise to me is the inheritance of pmtDNA in the Coastal Redwood, the Sequoia sempervirens.  Yet in the Giant Redwood, the Sequoiadendron, mitochondrial DNA is inherited maternally. This fascinates me! And it's a huge bit of knowledge but understanding its nature is yet to be revealed.  What caused this particular event?  By the way, petunias and tomatoes have inherited pmtDNA.  Now that's more interesting than ever, because most life is maternally inherited. And there are some one-celled organisms that don't even have mitochondria. Mitochondria are the power houses of each of our cells. Respiration, energy, and survival are inherent from this little organelle with its own DNA, usually handed down from the mother. What separated the two Redwoods' inheritance?

me: How long have you had this idea to build a forest in SL? 

Not that long really. I had returned from a winter visiting with friends in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains when Jayjay Zifanwe announced there was only one day left to apply for one of the available months of the LEA6 Full SIM Monthly Art Series. I felt a sense of wonder about my visit and was refreshed with all the tall beauty still in my mind. I had taken a lot of photos, drew a bit too, thinking, “Hey, this could be a fun build.”  I quickly wrote Jayjay, requesting a far-off month knowing I'd need a lot of prep time and there'd be plenty to do. I was excited about sharing an exhilarating experience with others who'd never seen or walked among such majestic scenery.  Of all the redwood groves in the area, I had never seen this one when I lived there, except as I drove by traveling toward Trader Joe's in Santa Cruz. I always planned to visit on the drive home, but by that time of day, I was too tired from shopping all day to stop.  But during the winter visit, my friends got me going for my walks in that park. It was then I reconnected with the beauty of the trees and the San Lorenzo river, and the people who walked and ran there. I needed to connect with them. Each tree had its own story as did each person. I was glad to be in the woods again. Its ancient nature created a constant sense of well-being. 

Vickie's growing tree, Nintin's 'manders and banana slug, and Arrehn's SelfServing Stage are normal sites at any coastal redwood forest in central California. Music thrives in these woods the way Derek's expressive Djing created just for these redwoods do. I couldn't have duplicated the fullness of this forest so quickly without their help, or those who took photos of their own walks and runs during the prep time and gave me rights to use their photos and who also provided input for this event. Support from each one listed in the Credits and Permissions was needed and appreciated. I could not have done without anyone of them. My thanks to all and to LEA and Jayjay for this opportunity and the pleasure of building such a pleasant site. 


Her build is truly stunning and majestic. Come see it before it goes away!

Come see this colossal forest at LEA 6!

Thank you to everyone who makes LEA 6 and other art sims possible!

Have fun and enjoy the art!

- Vic

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