Thursday, 31 July 2008

Back on the Blue Pills

I first wrote about Belgian virtual world build company bluepill GROUP last October. Now, following one of those odd pieces of synchronicity, I am writing about them and their sim again. Synchronicity? Well... I re-discovered this sim some 4 or 5 days ago, while looking for somewhere to write about. I had a brief look around, but to be honest, couldn't see that I could do a quick post on something I found a tad baffling. So I consigned it to my "Maybe Later" pile, in the almost certain knowledge that I would never get around to it. And there it would have remained if it wasn't for an IM from one Paco Zagato, who suggested: "you might be interested to check out an Intercultural Learning Space. Curious to hear your opinion." Said space being on the Bluepill sim. Incidentall, a quick search told me that Paco is the owner (or co-owner) of 4 bluepill GROUP groups in Second Life, and would thus qualify, perhaps, for the title: "Mr bluepill."

So what's this Intercultural Learning Space all about then? To explain I will need to copy and paste liberally from the many informative notecards available at the site. The SIETAR Intercultural Learning Space is brought to you by the bluepill GROUP in collaboration with DIVERSOPHY.COM for SIETAR - The Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research.

The most immediate feature of the Space - apart from the fact that it sits inside a giant, transparent sphere on which are displayed the faces of young people from around the globe - is the set of 19 quizzes., that are there to help you "explore different cultures and learn how you can deal with the challenges of living and working with people different from yourself in ever more diverse and multicultural places." I took the British test, and while I am pleased that (at the time of writing) I lead the table, I am also a little disappointed at scraping only 80%, given this should be my specialty! I could not get the American one to ask me anything - but I have captured a couple of snaps of the tests anyway. The Space is actually intended to tie in with the SIETAR Global Congress 2008, to be held in the rather wonderful setting of Granada in Spain from 22nd - 25th October. As well as being interesting and entertaining, participation in the quiz qualifies you to win a pass to the Congress, or other (as yet unspecified) prizes.

In the St Gery Contemporary Art Museum on the sim you will find a related photographic exhibition, The Face of Tomorrow, by Istanbul based photographer Mike Mike.

Asking the question "What does a New Yorker, a Londoner, a Parisian look like?" he has photographed 100 people at random, and generated a set of composite images for a range of cities. As the photographer put it, as a result of the merging process: "You end up with a new person. Someone who didn't exist before. Someone who doesn't exist now. But someone who is nonetheless quite real."

And now for my take on the site. Well, as I intimated in my opening paragraph, I initially found the Space rather busy and confusing. While the giant, transparent globe looks striking in the publicity shots, I found it made the background too fussy for my tastes. I'm not usually one for minimalism, but with so much happening in the foreground I think a quieter background would have been good. The quizzes are fun and - for all I know - illuminating, though the English is a little quirky at times; I don't normally refer to people from the USA as "Usians" for example. As well as the quiz area, you will find a wealth of information about SIETAR and a small auditorium. The Face of Tomorrow expo is fascinating.

Here's my photoset - I have covered most of the sim, in fact!

Incidentally, I am also reminded that the bluepill GROUP logo is curiously similar to my blood pressure tablets.

No comments: