Friday, 15 February 2008


Phew! In my last post I basically arrived a few months too early for the island in question, whereas this time I have arrived a few months too late. I'm just back from my first visit - the first of many, I suspect - to the Avatarc sim. The name, as far as I can make out, is a melding of "avatar" and "architecture" and is closely bound with a website of the same name.

According to the website: "AVATARC is a team made of highly qualified professionals who have the expertise to develop projects inside the virtual world with architects, programmers, videoproducers, and communications and marketing experts. In the real world, Avatarc exists in Milan, Rome, and Siena; in the SecondLife virtual world it is located on Avatarc Island! A laboratory, born with the objective of applying creative research methods to the language of the virtual worlds, Avatarc utilizes interaction and communication design studies to three-dimensional planning. Avatarc constantly seeks to apply new technologies; because of its experimental character, the team develops original communication solutions that can transfer cutting-edge experiences in communication, production and cultural markets."

Ummm... if I am hacking through the hyperbole correctly, this seems to be saying "Avatarc is an [8-person] innovative Italian virtual world design and build company." Damn... I now need to add return trips to the website to my "to do" list, as well as return trips to the island.

You will gather that I rather like the island. My problem now is where to begin. Perhaps with the tour. In one corner of the island you will find a trio of tall spike-like platforms, faintly reminiscent of golf tees. The platforms provide all you need to get started - including a map of the sim, an outline of the main exhibitions, and the "cloud shuttle". This does exactly what it says: it's a cloud that acts as a shuttle between locations on the sim. If you opt to stay on it, you will get the full tour, which takes several minutes (a long time in SL !).

The sim is dominated by 3 great floating spheres, currently labelled: Visual Art Section; Meeting Ball and Competition 07 Movie Theater. Each sphere provides a sizeable auditorium and display space. Along 3 sides of the sim you will see a number of coloured hemispheres, each containing a slideshow. These (I think) provide the main permanent exhibitions on the island: Friends for Water; Surreal Architecture and The Making of An Island. The fourth side of the island seems to be taken up with resident builds and a beach, for that all-important socialising. Elsewhere you will find all manner of items, including a rather fine giant chess set.

The last feature of the island is the Visionaria 2007 film festival. You will find this at ground level, and comprises a number of booths (some now shut) each screening a different short movie. The festival was held back in October, hence my comment about arriving too late. As far as I can tell, movie-goers would move from booth to booth and at the end make their votes. Further discussion would then take place in the Competition 07 Movie Theater sphere.

Here's my portfolio of snaps:

And here's a movie from the company:

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