Inspired by my fellow writer Thorsten Küper aka Kueperpunk Korhonen, I’m active in the 3d Internet world of Second Life for several years now, first as a writer and electronic music performer, now also as an event organizer and a builder of my own projects. Second Life, originally designed by Philip Rosedale after reading Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk classic Snow Crash and today operated by Linden Lab, is the most advanced and widely used virtual world created so far. Often underestimated as a pure multiuser online game, it has been utilized as a tool for education, research and artistic creation. Renowned artists such as Bryn Oh or legendary French filmmaker Chris Marker have experimented with its possibilities. I’m active in SL with two projects of my own. Have a look at my homepage for regular updates about new content.
The World Culture Hub
While working at the international science fiction magazine InterNova – created to present science fiction writing mostly from countries outside of the English-speaking world – I became first interested in contemporary literature from all over the world and then in the artistic and cultural accomplishments of other cultures in general, especially those notoriously neglected by Western-centered mainstream media.
For years he has been playing with the idea of creatíng a central information source about world culture in the web, to be called the Internet World Culture Repository. Part of the concept was to build kind of a subsidiary of this Repository in Second Life, an event location and museum called the World Culture Hub.
As it happens, the World Culture Hub could be realized first, while the Repository is still in its prototype stage. The first World Culture Hub was built in late 2013 on the Kreativdorf sim, a German community of writers, artists and musicians active in Second Life. With several life music events and participations in SL culture festivals, the World Culture Hub 1.0 was well-received. After a major rebuild and several relocations the WCH has now found, I hope, a permanent home at the artist sim Space 4 Art.
As you will see when visiting the site, the World Culture Hub combines architectonic styles from various cultures. The idea behind the World Culture Hub is to be three things in one:
- An event location for readings, life music, lectures, etc. related to World Culture, always against a stylistically fitting backdrop. If you want, for example, to present fiction by a Japanese writer, consider to do it in the Japanese house in the World Culture Hub.
- A place for permanent exhibitions about general or specialized areas of world culture, be it Chinese paintings, Indian music, Carribean poetry or whatever seems interesting.
- A library with e-books, essays and other textural information regarding World culture. Here you could contribute your knowledge too.
Visitors of the Hub in its current stage may notice that the buildings are more or less finished and present plenty of space for events and exhibitions – including a Japanese style landscape garden adjacent to the main building -, but it’s still missing content. That’s right! As a starting point I’m about to contribute my own knowledge in world culture in the form of life events, exhibition pieces and library texts. But such an endeavour will be nothing if it remains the work of one person alone. So you are invited not just to come, visit and watch but to contribute if you have any knowledge in world culture that you want to share with others. Or if you’re an active writer, artist and musician interested to present your work to a receptive audience.
On the limited space that the World Culture Hub occupies right now it’s not possible to really represent the whole world, so I have selected several main cultural regions of the world to be symbolically represented by sections of the building. If the World Culture Hub is accepted and supported, it may be possible one day to move it to an own sim and expand the basic concept. For now the World Culture Hub includes the following sections that can be explored walking or accessed via the teleport panels in the entry hall:
- The Chinese House
- The Japanese House
- The Zen Garden
- The Library
- Main stage and club
- The Main Hall, devoted in one half to the Arabic/Islamic world, in the other half to India and South East Asia
- The African Hall
- The Native American Long House
- The Maya Temple, representing Latin America
- The Lagoon on ground level, devoted to several Asian and Oceanic cultures
So far the World Culture Hub is the work of an enthusiast, not an academic or scholar. Any criticism and proposals by people with dedicated knowledge or simply by other enthusiasts are welcome. I hope many visitors will like the basic idea and join in to help building-up the World Culture Hub to what it could become.
If you’re interested, feel free to contact me as maikelkay inworld or to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The landing point to explore the World Culture Hub is at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Space4Art/68/223/1000
The Turing Galaxy
The name of this project is an allusion to The Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan’s famous media study published in 1962, and the title of a book I plan to write. As McLuhan depicted the transition from the culture of writing to the culture of electronic media, The Turing Galaxy is about another transition we have lived thru in the last 25 years, the rise of a new culture dominated by computers, networks and digitization.
The goal of this Second Life project is to present some of the intermediate results of my researches for The Turing Galaxy. It will also be a exhibition place for cyber and media arts and for science fiction related readings and exhibitions.
The landing point of The Turing Galaxy is at