I've been gazing, clueless, at my screen for some time now, wondering what to say about this. As I start to write, I still have no real idea how this will end up, but here goes...
A couple of days ago I got an email from Hidenori Watanave, Associate professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University and CEO of Photon. In the mail he wrote:
We have developed "Archidemo" Project in Second Life. "Archidemo" is experimental demonstration and research for the possibility of the architecture and environmental design in Metaverse.There was also a link to the Archidemo blog. Intrigued, I went to have a look at the blog and found a couple of movies and a SLURL to the NikkeiBP sim, where the Archidemo is housed. Google informs me that NikkeiBP is (or may be) Nikkei Business Publications, a book and magazine publisher, based in Tokyo and specialising in the business and technology fields. Quite what the company has to do with a series of art installations in Second Life is a mystery that currently remains unfathomed.
In "Archidemo", the field crossing collaboration was achieved. Trial of inworld (virtual space) photograph exhibition by photographer and metaverse-architect's collaborations, installation of media art, scientific visualization, trial of Realization of world of S-F novel, chatbot space, and so on.
I went to have a look at the sim and - as you may gather from my strange collection of photos - found it a somewhat baffling experience. There are several installations here, most of which involve high-definition real world photographs mashed with Second Life objects and scripts, to create a dizzying and often disorientating visual experience. Giant photos and image cubes slip and slide around inside giant spaces, at times sliding through one another, at others times shimmying around the space. It is not long before you lose all sense of direction and orientation. In another installation you are teleported to a skybox in which a collection of cassette tapes and vinyl records move ceaselessly - and on which you can hitch a ride. Elsewhere there is a column of perpetually rising, rotating red squares. I can't claim to have any insight into the purpose of the build - but it is fascinating, and if you fancy a bit of brain befuddling, why not pop along for a look. It appears to be in a state of continual development, and there are some areas closed to visitors. But there is more than enough there to give you a virtual nosebleed!
Here's a few stills - but you may get a better flavour from the videos. Though really, the only way to get a handle on the place is to go and look for yourself: