Sunday, November 21, 2010

L1 in CYBERFEST 2010: Domestic Technology or, Never Alone

CYBERFEST 2010 is happening now in St. Petersburg, Russia (see) and also in Second Life at the Cyland sim (slurl). My installation, which plays a new machinima and lets you reenact moments from it for yourself, is called: Domestic Technology or, Never Alone.

When I first heard the concept for Cyberfest 2010, "Housebugs," exploring technology in everyday domestic life, I knew I had to take a comic angle. The tools of domestic technology, like vacuums are great, but what I could really use...

All the promises of technology for improving domesticity, like so many of the images of domesticity in culture, are idealized fantasies very distant from my everyday experience. In a virtual world like Second Life, representations of homes and homelife are even more idealized than on film or television, and the necessarily messier reality beyond the computer screen conflicts with the idealized images on it.

Domestic Technology or, Never Alone: Cyberfest 2010, Housebugs from Lori Landay on Vimeo.

Click on Vimeo link above to watch larger movie.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm editing a new machinima for my installation for Cyberfest 2010, and pulling together music for it. Yes, I know a lot of real film composers, but I am always working so close to deadline, I am usually pulling things together from recorded sources, or bodging my own music in GarageBand (my screwball comedy, which has been in the works for a long time, will be a notable exception, with a live piano score by Dan Gross). I've licensed great music from Moby, and used pieces from Kevin MacLeod, and this time I think it might be from
Free Sound Effects Download thousands of free sound effects from And if you, too, put this link on your site, you will get a free sound effects library :)

More about CYBERFEST 2010: HOUSE BUG: see & the Cyland blog

Friday, October 15, 2010

Caerleon Museum of Identity: "Somebody"

Machinima of my installation, seen on Viewer 2 (see previous post below for details about that). Watch in full letterbox format on youtube.

The Caerleon Museum of Identity, and my installation, "Somebody," best seen with, yes, Viewer 2, with media enabled to play automatically, opens Saturday, Oct 2, at 12 pm PDT. SLURL

Download Viewer 2 HERE
Feeling even more experimental??? Download newest beta version of Viewer 2 HERE

Friday, October 8, 2010


I was editing machinima I filmed during the last days of one of the loveliest surfing sims in Second Life, Friends Beach at Mori Pwani, which I had already set to a reggae cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" (Alpha Blondy's "I Wish You Were Here") when I saw the announcement about the discontinuation of the discounted pricing for education and non-profit sims. I wish it would not signal an exodus, but I fear it will. I hate seeing creative and innovative people depart, and beautiful builds dissolve into nothing but memories and machinima. I guess it is time to move on to a new beach, hopefully to meet up with friends there, too.

UPDATE: Linden Lab sent a letter to its education and non-profit customers offering them a grandfathered price extension for up to two years, which may or may not make a difference.

Mahalo, Mori by L1Aura Loire from Lori Landay on Vimeo.

Filmed during the last week of Friends Beach at Mori Pwani in the virtual world Second Life, this video is for the places--and people--we wish were here, wherever here may be.

A virtual world is impermanent, ephemeral, and as quick as it is to create entire environments, they can vanish in an instant. People come and go, as well. And then there are the places and people you wish were really here, wherever you are, not only there in a virtual world.

Mahalo, in Hawaiian, means thank you, and also has some of the same connotations as peace or namaste.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"I, too, dislike it" or, Why I Built My Caerleon Museum of Identity Installation for Viewer 2--

Why I built my installation at the Caerleon Museum of Identity even though I know you probably don't use it, and why I hope you will log in with v2 to see it.

The short answer: I am in Second Life to experiment with what is new, and to keep changing and evolving. Shared media in viewer 2 means being able to play more than 1 movie file on prims on a parcel as well as having a media stream for the parcel.

Here is the longer answer: I started to build for v2 for SL7B in the summer, but in the end, built for the classic viewer, because hardly anyone I know (that means you!) regularly uses v2. The way v2 can handle video is much easier and versatile than the classic viewer. It has more possibilities. As artists, we should see what those can do, even when the tool feels uncomfortable at first in our hand/on our screen/as our interface, or maybe especially then.

My piece for Caerleon is a video art piece, and the prims are screens showing video, and also a short mixed reality gag, as video installation. It plays with the idea of still and moving images by using video of an Emily Dickinson poem poised over Boston Harbor outside the Institute for Contemporary Arts and putting it on various prims (in addition to some other things going on in the installation.)

I turn your attention to the poet Marianne Moore; her poem about poetry, a poet's response to poetry: "I, too, dislike it" kept echoing in my head as I used v2 to create "Somebody," my Caerleon piece, and not only for the toads (that will make more sense when you see the installation.) If we think of "poetry" as any art we are trying to make or experience, with its limitations of form and just of any representation, then once again Marianne Moore has a lot to say to us, this time about v2 and the interfaces with which we experience and create the virtual world.


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against 'business documents and

school-books'; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
'literalists of
the imagination'--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

The Caerleon Museum of Identity, and my installation, "Somebody," best seen with, yes, Viewer 2, with media enabled to play automatically, opens Saturday, Oct 2, at 12 pm PDT. SLURL

Download Viewer 2 HERE
Feeling even more experimental??? Download newest beta version of Viewer 2 HERE

Thanks, Torley, for the great photo of my installation! See Torley's flckr

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Video: CLICK: Immersive & Interactive Virtual Art

This machinima video showcases some of the prize-winning entries in the year-long University of Western Australia Imagine 3d Art & Design Contest held in Second Life. It focuses specifically on "clickable" art, that is interactive and immersive, to highlight a unique aspect of virtual art. I plan on using this in my classes as a quick way of introducing them to virtual art, so I put in a list of the formal elements of art: line, shape, value, form, color, space, and texture. In some of my classes, we'll go into a virtual world and have a workshop on how to build/basic scripting, but in some of my classes, machinima and slides have to suffice. I hope others might find this video useful, too.

To see the video in full size, go directly to youtube:

Monday, April 12, 2010

10 Questions to Ask about Technology

Here is a post from my two course blogs this semester, for Approaches to Visual Culture & Digital Narrative: Theory and Practice. Both classes are now focusing on new media (Digital Narrative always has), and I worked up these questions more for the Art History class, to help us get our minds around how a new cultural form changes everything. Of course, as we've seen in our exploration of 20th century visual culture, this is nothing new, and as each medium was new, and then not, it was a lightning rod for cultural discourse. In order to understand the virtual art we'll be exploring and making next week, we have to dig into the opposition between "reality" and "artifice" that we've seen questioned all semester--in I Love Lucy even! (sly plug for my new book, available April 15 everywhere!) It is fascinating to think about SL in reading through these questions . . . and I'll be asking my students to do that in the coming weeks.

Here are Ten Questions (ok, there are more, because some questions are kind of nested) to ask about a new technology tool that help us think about it in its wider cultural context. I am working off of, as usual, Cultural Studies founder Stuart Hall's idea of the circuit of culture, in which production, consumption, regulation, representation, and identity are all mutually informing. When we combine this with the historical trajectory perspective I am always harping on--which puts any given cultural text (game, device, app, film, dvd menu, etc) in a lineage of antecedents, looks for its peak if it has had it yet, and then speculates wildly on what might come next--we will always have a lot to talk about when we talk about any new aspect of technology, beyond the thumbs up/thumbs down reaction from which we might start and then come back to at the end, perhaps more thoughtfully.

Ten questions to ask about a new technology:

1) What is its purpose?

2) What was its analog, if there was one? How does a mediated, digital, or networked version of the tool or technique change it?

3) Who uses it? How? When? Where? Why? Does the use change over time? Do different users use it differently?

4) How does a user learn how to use it?

5) Who makes it? Who profits? How?

6) How is it regulated?

7) How does it spread?

8) Does it create or fill a need?

9) What is the interface? Is it also an object? Or a practice? Both? (think cell phone)

10) How does the user change the technology as he or she uses it? (mods and hacks and appropriations) How does the technology change the user? How does it become part of a person's sense of self?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rethinking Virtual Commodification--Machinima in JVWR

The new Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is out and it is a special issue on Virtual Economies, Virtual Goods and Service Delivery in Virtual Worlds. I have a machinima piece in it, "Rethinking Virtual Commodification, or The Virtual Kitchen Sink."

The link to the machinima [used to be on the front page of the JVWR but that link no longer works now that there is a new issue. Here it is on youtube.]

The link to the pdf with the text of the narration AND then some Notes with some more writing about each of the four virtual commodities I focus on in the piece, Alexith and Shirah Destiny's plants, Maya Paris's burlesque items, Filthy Fluno's actual and virtual paintings, and Rayzer Haggwood's guitar animations is HERE.

This piece picks up some of the ideas I explored in an earlier JVWR piece from 2008. It is also the machinima I was working on when I deleted my SL office/house!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SL Viewer 2: Media on a Prim!!

Here is some machinima video I shot of my first attempt with putting web media content on a cube in Second Life with the new viewer. One on face, I am playing a broadcast I streamed on UStream from my iPhone, and on the other I have Twitter. I think this is amazing. I haven't really experimented with Flash on a prim yet, but that is next.

You may notice that yes, L1 is still in the non-house. I like it. Soon (I think), the piece I was filming when I accidentally deleted my SL office/house, which is about commodification and place and, um, houses in virtual worlds, will be published in The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, and I will post that link when I have it. Maybe it is a comment on that work, but I have not really felt the need to put a house back around all my virtual stuff and the new sculptures I am working on there. It's all still in a moon. :) See machinima of house deletion here:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Falling for the MMIF Global Machinima Festival

The Falling Woman Story is one of the movies in the 2010 MMIF Machinima Festival, starting Feb 20!!

MMIF 2010

MaMachinima International Festival
Saturday Feb. 20th , 2010
MMIF sims (SL) + PLANETART, Wibautstraat 150 Amsterdam (NL)

‘MMIF 2010′ is the second edition of an annual film festival in 3D cyberspace with a screening in physical space (‘RL’). A seven hour movie marathon with a two hour afterparty. MMIF 2010 can also be followed on the web via live stream broadcasts.

The MMIF is a celebration of ‘Machinima’: a new cinematic art form, created with virtual worlds and video games. On 3D Internet platforms like Second Life®, any kind of movie sets can be build for very low costs. The MMIF aims to bring machinima to a wider audience, online – and offline. Machinima artists from all over the world are present in real time at the virtual MMIF Theatre. They present over 50 short films and have talks with other machinimatographers and an international audience.

Audience in Amsterdam can follow the MMIF event projected live on a big screen at the PLANETART Medialab Artspace. They can bring their own laptop computers to interact with the show on the big screen. Free wireless Internet and electricity is provided. No entrance fee at PLANETART, however tickets are required - reservations must be made via email. Details at

The MMIF is a volunteer-run non-profit collaboration of MaMachinima withPLANETART , Volkskrantgebouw, Meta.Live.Nu, Pop Art Lab, VMax, AviewTV,Ystreams.TV, Metaworld Broadcasting, MetaMeets, Gallery Fermate, Museum Of The Bohemian, and many volunteers. MMIF 2010 is financed by donations and gifts. Virtual land sponsored by Linden Lab®. The MMIF was initiated by the Dutch film maker Chantal Harvey.

MMIF 2010 info, promo video, full programme, live streams, contact and latest updates and changes at

Gala Charron – Ogogoro - Lainy Voom – Draxtor Despres – Bryn Oh - Rohan Fermi – Toxic Menges – Tara Yeats – Phaylen Fairchild – Pooky Amsterdam & Russell (Rosco) Boyd – Poid Mahovlich – CodeWarrior Carling – Evie Fairchild – Graham Miami – Kronos Kirkorian – Osprey Therian – Chaffro Schoonmaker - SaveMe Oh - Dulci Parx – Chatnoir Studios – Paisley Beebe – Rysan Fall – Sol Bartz (phil Rice) – Rocksea Renegade – Cisko Vandeverre – Nitwacket (Pyewacket Bellman) – Chantal Harvey – Lowe Runo – Pia Klaar – Al Peretz – Halden Beaumont – Kolor Fall – Binary Quandry – spyVspy Aeon – Animatechnica – Miles Eleventhauer – Lizsolo Mathilde – Delgado Cinquetti – L1aura Loire – Iono Allen – Pyewacket Kazyanenko – Fort Knight – Luca Lisci – Larkworthy Antfarm – Beans Canning - Gtoon Jun – Tutsy Navarathna – Hadji Ling – Colemarie Soleil – Xineohp Guisse – Lorin Tone – Ian Friar – Suzy Yue – Claus Uriza / Emily Hifeng – Meta Lord, and others.

Saturday 20th of February
19:00 CET (= SL 10 am PST) – DOORS OPEN
20:00 CET (= SL 11 am PST) – Opening ceremony + Machinima film screenings
03:00 CET (= SL 6 pm PST) – THE END + After party online in SL

PLANETART Medialab Artspace
Wibautstraat 150
1091 GR Amsterdam (NL)

MMIF 1, 2, 3, 4
Second Life®

Teleport links via

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If You Are in SL, Go See this Sim: Lemondrop's Forest

I've seen a lot of amazing builds in SL, and had a lot of fun, but getting a tour from Lemondrop Serendipity, a fairy even more delightful than her name, of the imaginative, super-fantastical sim she and Photon Pink (also a name indicative of good things!) have built at Lemondrop's Forest was one of the most fun experiences at the most amazing places. (slurl) Lemondrop is one to run, not walk, and trying to keep up was a blast. The huge tree at the center of the sim has wonderful leaves, and the colors and phosphorescence if your settings are at Midnight are glorious.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I will try not to neglect this blog, but I am pretty excited about my new course, Digital Narrative Theory and Practice, and will be posting on the blog for that a lot this semester. For the past 4 years, I have been teaching a course in the Film Scoring Department at Berklee that I designed for the film composing students, to help them better understand the movies that they will be scoring and be better able to communicate with the directors with whom they will be working. Now, with the explosion in audio for video games, reported on by the Boston Globe (with a great picture of my student Nazer who is President of the Video Game Music Club!) and picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education, I've created a new class, Digital Narrative, to explore gaming and other forms of new media in their wider contexts, to provide the students who are working in this new field with a stronger background in storytelling and to start to think about what the people who make the games, DVDs, and immersive environments they will write music for are thinking about. In the Fall, we'll start having minors in the Liberal Arts, and Visual Culture and New Media Studies will be one of them, and I am completely thrilled to be developing this area at Berklee.

The Second Life component of Digital Narrative is something we are going to evolve together as a class. It is an easy platform for us to use as a group, to try out some gaming, computer-mediated communication, ideas about immersion and interactivity, synthetic camera, virtual subjectivity, etc. We can of course also use it to make machinima or for screen shots for comics for the the projects. We want to do some gaming together as a class, so I am trying to figure out the best ways of doing that, without only doing what I already know. Should all be very interesting, and I invite you to see what we are up to on the class blog, and later, if all goes well, to check out the wiki we are going to make. I'll be using the blog to post things for students, and also projecting it in class as lecture/discussion resource.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Berklee Mixed Reality Panel on Music in SL

Here are some snapshots from the mixed reality event last Monday at Berklee College of Music. You can see the live video feed of Pathfinder and me in the actual room behind the inworld panel. Thanks to Joyce Bettencourt/Rhiannon Chatnoir for running the mixed reality tech and for the use of the Vesuvius sim. Note the twitter garden showing tweets with the hash tag #BTOT10, which is a good example of how something on the web is flat and textual, but can be 3-d and more interactive in a virtual world.

L1 Had a Busy Week at Berklee Last Week!

Last week, on Monday at Berklee College of Music, I was really thrilled to bring together an amazing panel of Second Life musicians inworld while Pathfinder Linden and I held down the fort in the physical venue at Berklee's annual faculty development conference, BTOT (Berklee Teachers on Teaching).

Then on Wednesday night, I was just trying to show the new students what L1 looked like while I was welcoming them on behalf of the faculty at the Spring Entering Student Convocation, but you know her, she is not one to keep quiet . . . .

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Virtual KinoEye

My "Working Theory" piece, an essay with machinima and images, that pulls together much of my sabbatical work on Second Life, is now published in the Journal of e-Media Studies!! See

Virtual KinoEye: Kinetic Camera, Machinima, and Virtual Subjectivity in Second Life