Here I am on my beloved home grid Craft, standing in a sweeping, desolate ashen landscape strewn with gracefully arched feminine torsos and translucent soaring birds of prey, directly under the flies on a genuinely mountainous boy cow’s muzzle. In between hoping he doesn’t have any sort of salivary scripting, and rechecking the address to affirm that I have actually discovered the worst name in art since the 30 seconds before 16th century Florentine siren Swoozi Gherardini cancelled her edgy Roman orgy themed portrait sitting, forcing a furious Da Vinci to cancel the cabana boys, and accept a far less lucrative contract from her more demure cousin Lisa; my train of thought is -why the fudge I didn’t know all this was here!
Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous, here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent grids, many of whom choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, making friends from the entire planet, having all kinds of exciting experiences, and amassing enough free content to make you just dizzy; not dizzy in a bad way, like when you realize that you have committed to so many online projects there is no way in hell you can make half of them without squeezing an unprecedented show of maturity and support from most, if not all of your immediate family; but the good kind, when it dawns on you that if you can just manage to write a reasonably straightforward and concise narrative for once in your freaking life, you can not only put those cannisters of liquid Rohyphenol back on Taiwanese ebay at a tidy profit, but make all your various deadlines to boot!
If you are not sure how to get on OpenSim,( and you are not alone believe me) please see my “How to get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps”page at the top of this blog. And don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”, also at the top. Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!!!!
For today’s adventure we will be staying on Craft-the Friendly world, a mid sized, international( emphasis Italian) grid I have been living on for 2 1/2 years. It is a great place to call home, with a fun and formidable creative community, wonderful, caring owners, and oodles of neat to really impressive stuff to see and do. I started out writing about OpenSim on Craft, I have written geography guides about it and documented everything from major art festivals to Groundhog Day hoot a nannies, but this time I am taking a hard look at Craft as a whole, due to the constraints of living on a round planet.
I made an online friend in Australia! Well, really, what the heck else would it be? Laura Ess and I have been Facebooking and G+ing for months; a long time on the internet! She is really interesting; her politics, her art , her nutty Second Life comics, I got so excited when she started dipping her toes in the hypergrid!! The intial forays were not unexpectedly the “getting used to OpenSim” cluster duck of song and legend, but between the technical chops of the G+ community , Lara’s own considerable computer savvy and my wooting like a howler monkey at anything even vaguely numerical, she eventually made it into Craft World and began to explore!! Which is when the whole opposite sides of the planet thing became a real pain in the ass. I wanted to show my friend around, but there was no freaking way either of us was getting/staying up at the god awful times needed to meet, soooo I thought I would quickly throw together a little sightseeing list! Snapping open the handy world map on the Craft website, I was shocked at how many new sims there were- and after going inworld to zap around,I quickly came to the conclusion that I was TOTALLY out of touch!! I had been sick and or busy for months, which is a very long time on the internet.
So, this long overdue guide is for Lara, for me, and for anyone who who wants to share in an extraordinary virtual experience, which to my mind embodies the potential of OpenSim, and the hypergrid. Not that I am going to get to everything this time around!! Craft may not be the biggest grid, but pretty much every region has some kind of action!! Remember, Craft’s hypergrid address is:
If you put a colon : and any region name behind the 8002, you will have the region’s hypergrid address! And of course if you are already on Craft, you only need put the region name in the world map, press find and teleport!
Let’s get started!!
1) Hydra , 2)The Craft Store, 3)Aquarium, 4) Dune 5)Playa 6) Opera, 7) Onda 8)Pelago 9) Sinus, 10) Rainbow 11) Alba 12) Agra 13) Campos 14) Foresta 15) Montes 16) Uptown
Let’s start at Playa (5) beach, where you get a lovely view over the gentle surf of Craft’s famous welcome center, Hydra(1) which had a massive overhaul and now boasts beautifully organized teleports to a wide selection of Craft regions as well as an impressive external teleport array! Over the elegant bridge you can see the equally famous Craft Store(2), a stylish freebie department store with an excellent selection of avatars, and apparel! Just south of shiny modern Hydra in splendid clunky contrast is Aquarium(3), one of Craft’s funny old public builds, with a beach area above and a big honkin guess what down below. Which brings me to a big fat point; I would guess that places holding the memories of their virtual lives matter deeply to a lot of people, but in a rentlessly commercial environment, the past, with the emotional and cultural dimension it creates, are luxury items. But in OpenSim you can have that past beyond photos and stories, and on Craft Grid, her history, and the spirit it engenders are tended like a beloved garden. So now let’s turn around and walk north on the Playa beach path( if you take the eastern path to picturesque Dune(4) try to find the little golf area complete with clubs and golf nerd clothes!) to…
…Agra(12) the primtastic beating heart of the old Craft public mainland! I just love strolling through the sunflowers and vineyard, in fact this is where I was oohing and ahhing when I first met grid owners Licu and Tao! Now let’s go into the picturesque little village and turn west…
…to deceptively quiet region Alba(11)! The big green structure is the elevator! Get on, and turn your settings to night while you are going up!!
Named for Italian poet and early Craftian Ilyth Karu, to me this ebullient art exhibit/restaurant/dance hall, with the massive Babylonian towers and flashing neon of Pyramid OSIta behind , and a sweeping view of the Craft mainland laid out in front, combines European bling and big sky country freedom perfectly!! And of course check…
A friend of mine that I brought here recently said that she thought Craft looked like SL. And I suppose she is right; although the horizon is not obliterated by “FOR SALE” or “ABANDONED LAND” or massive walls of ban lines, in the staggering potential for spread out spaces with OpenSim, you don’t often see this type of continuous landscape on the hypergrid. I have always loved walking the virtual world, so the big mainland area with it’s winding footpaths was very appealing this newbie. At the top left you can see winter region Foresta (14) where there are skis waiting for you and your friends at the base of a snow covered trail. Not visible from here, to the north of Foresta is Ger Orsini’s fantastic role play freebie region Uptown(16), where you can get fabulous costumes and props for fantasy, medieval , Victorian, furry, Asian, pirate mermaid…forget it-Just go over later and have a look. But for now let’s just fly east over Agra’s ice skating rink, (free skates!!) past the fun fair and big conference hall looking thingy(it was supposed to be a library, but running the grid kinda ate that idea up) to…
…region Campos(13)! Behind me is the library that could still happen, and a small art gallery that just appeared when I wasn’t looking with lots of nice framed pictures for the snagging. To my left, nestled in the foothills of hiking region Montes(15) is Tao’s pretty pueblo ranch house. The conference hall looking thingie in the upper center of the picture IS actually a conference hall in region Sinus(9), which also contains a touching memorial to the third founding Craftian Ramon 123 Babenco, who chose to spend of his last days here with his friends. The link has more information, and some of his last poems. You will need tissues. Don’t believe me? This dying man refers to virtual life as a “game called love.” Now blow your nose and listen next time. Directly in front of me is region Opera(6). Although there are paths all over the place, for our tour purposes we will fly directly to the squat tower in the upper eastern corner of Opera.
…because of the panoramas!! Today we need the eastern balcony, where the lighthouse(climbable!) is in region Pelago(8), the harbor area is region Sinus(8), and the buildings that you see are A list freebie shops , with fashion, art, beautiful plants and home furnishings, you name it- and to the east behind Sinus is yet another region devoted exclusively to quality freebies,Rainbow(10)! I would have taken more pictures, but I suddenly got a teleport from…
…Craft Grid owners Licu and Tao, who were down in the bottom of the tower, gussying the place up; although those hanging knives are an accident waiting to happen ! I’m a Mom, and there’s no turning it off.
We wound up going on a little tour of Opera, which I found out was Craft’s first ever region, and Licu’s birthplace on OpenSim! The word “Opera ” derives from an Italian word I have forgotten, which means something like” industrious” or “so busy you forget you started a huge library”. Licu and Tao understandably have a lot of affection for the old girl, so she is getting a nip here and tuck there. Not to mention catacombs and tunnels with a secret entrance!! ( hint hint: ook-lay nder-uay,afe-cay anorama-pay) I also found out that Opera has …
… a rather swank den of inequity created by Craft artistic heavyweight and long time resident rumegusc altamura. The colors are vibrant, the detail is spot on; this must have been very cutting edge back in the day. It’s location may tee off any very devout Catholics; but as a comfortably lapsed one, I thought it was hysterical. Speaking of rume, she owns or was involved in building six of the next 13 regions!
17) Spirit, 18)Margye Dreams, 19)Time Travel, 20) PyramidOSIta, 21)Selvans, 22)Delta, 24)Rumlandia, 25)Anarkos, 26) Metaverso, 27)Il Piccolo Principe, 28)Mediterraneo, 29)Chimera
Central Craft 2 west of the mainland is also made up of oldish builds, and…
…region Pyramid OSIta(20), was it’s center. Why? Because it was the home base of a group of extremely accomplished Italian creators, teachers, artists and yet more poets who came from the university sponsored social experiment Pyramid group in SL, to found a brave new world on the hypergrid! Although the group is no longer really active, the members, like rume, and my buddy Salahzar Stenvaag have merged into other groups and projects, like the MdM. I wrote a post mostly about Pyramid OSIta, Margye Dreams (18), and Spirit(17) back in 2012, and if you don’t show up for any of the long defunct classes, the now historical post still holds aqua:)!
Time Travel(19) is a mostly empty group sandbox region, Selvans(21) is the old Craft Garden center which has a pet memorial garden on the ground (the white rat is my sweet Luna), and a really neat selection of plants on a sky platform- keep an eye out for MdM architect Nicola Reinerman’s delicate garden herbs!
Delta (22) takes forever to load but is worth the wait! The lush woodland literally shimmers, as stone paths wind their way around a friendly little campground, and the mysterious ruins of an old tower.
The surrounding sims add some fantastic backdrop mojo, like this building in front of me…
… in region Metaverso(26), a lovely fictional Italian coastal city.
Metaverso has a couple of rather high end porcelain and carpet shops, as well as cafes and an outdoor market, although you will probably be too busy taking pictures to snag much the first time around. Next door…
…is Il Piccolo Principe(27) meaning The Little Prince which has nothing desperately obvious to do with an elephant up on a pedestal in what is most likely an Italian square that I can see, which did not stop me from enjoying this build. 100% rume BTW.
This is Rumlandia (23), and like Anarkos(25) and Mediterraneo (29), they are all rume’s workshops, and the stuff she has laying around half finished can be more interesting than someone elses best effort. Not a unique occurrence in Craft:) Oh and number 24 is Mare II, a public water region, and 29 is Chimera, a reproduction of a Venetian Square Rume threw together a couple of years ago for a Carnival Ball, but I am not showing it because we have two more Venices , one with with free stuff that I’ll show you later. Don’t think of it as an Italy overdose; think of is as a very serious break from Californication.
Now let’s swing into South west Craft!!
These are regions Seal (30), Jubilee( 31) Volcano(32) Dade Catronis Islands(33), Riverford (34) Aqua(35). The empty squares are regions not online 24/7, which we will get to later. For orientation purposes I have included Chimera (29) up in the right hand corner, as well as Aquarium (3) in the top center. You may notice that a region has appeared to the right of Chimera, that is Jubilee(31) one of Craft’s event regions! Licu has probably brought her out for Craft’s Photo Competition! The deadline is June 16th, and everyone, from any grid is welcome to enter! Below Aqua is region Seal(30) a public texture bank!! Dropping down from Seal is a new region called …
…Vulcano(32) I have no idea either, but if you want to get really confused, go to this region and look way way the hell up. We will have to keep an eye on this place!
Which brings us to a real jewel in Craft’s crown…
…mesh master Dade Catronis ridiculously beautiful island chain(33). This is a huge area and every inch of it shows you why Dade is always the man to beat in Craft’s annual Building Competition! The northmost region is called Matamanoa , my favorite jumping off point!
On the eastern side is…
… region Aqua(35) where splendidly primmy maritime behemoth, Craft’s own cruise liner The Black Angel, is forever docked, waiting for YOU to come on board and get utterly lost!Which is all good as you could wind up in the honeymoon suite, or the sauna, or the Jungle Ball Room or the haunted…anyway the scale of this thing is unbelievable, every room has some kind of detailed theme, you will find something new every time you are here!!! Across the docks is region Riverford(34) with a huge freebie shopping center I mentally refer to as the “Mall of the Weird”. You can get everything there from smoking farts to Hindu statuary. Now let’s head east!!
Ta da!!Presenting Central Craft East! Monte Gordo, Slum City El Barrio(36), BeNess (37),
Daylight( 38), Exposed (39), Retourno al Eden(40),Lako(41),Lapsus( 42),Bella Verde(43),Elagon(44),Stromboli(45),Starlight(46), Victoria(47), Mojave(48)
As you can see we are just east of the mainland, there is Rainbow(10) jutting out. And there above is number 36, my three regions!! Yes, Craft has generously donated yet ANOTHER region to the Hypergrid’s first Arcadia Asylum Museum!! Monte Gordo, Slum City(formerly The Spirit of Arcadia) and the newbie, El Barrio. Monte Gordo was um, a bit overstuffed, so instead of confiscating my cheesecake stash, no wait, wrong reality; so instead of forcing me onto some hideous prim reduction program, Licu simply slapped down a new region for a more relaxed fit, for which I am very very grateful.
The whole region is densely packed with a combination of pieces from all over the hypergrid and Susan’s own artwork, illustrating various spiritual concepts. She has done a good job, this region is fun to explore and I definitely learned:)
Number 38 is Daylight, which was very much under construction, 18, 19, 21 and 17 , were people’s homes, pretty and it seems open to visitors. Which brings us to…
…a skybox with a beautiful interactive exhibit of Avatars from the Meta Bodies project in SL, put on by region owner Quinten Umarov’s Art-Z group. Back down at the hub…
…THIS burning woman takes you to…
Well, for some of you a penny might be doing a definite drop- there used to be an art grid called Exposed- and this is it, running off dutch art buff Quinton’s home server, as part of Craft! Licu and Tao generously decided a while back to allow unlimited regions to people who were using their own servers, and boy is it paying off! Not all of them are on 24/7, but region Exposed most definitly is. Oh and you are not imagining it, the robot IS following you and calling you by name!
Most of the photos are Quinton’s, except I don’t think he met Dali. That room has a very cool surrealist exhibit, and across from the galerie, is a good freebie market with more avatars and useful stuff!
You have to love Louis Servita’s chirpy Lako(41) freebie region. I mean he just has so much crazy stuff up to zap around in on his teleporter system, ride the “space train”, then hit the freebie store and take a copy home, or hit his shop in Riverford’s “Mall of the Weird” for even more surprises!
Lapsus(42) belongs Lapsus Weinstein a psychologist who is interested in the healing aspects of art culture and virtuality. He has been on SL, the OS grid, and now has
this region on Craft, where he leaves most things set to copy!! And snagging that massive black train DID do my psyche a world of good!!
Stromboli(45) is owned by friendly Germans Bernard and Alysa, who are creating a colorful reproduction of their favorite RL holiday destination, the Italian island of Stromboli! They love having visitors, so feel free to drop by!!!
Numbers 43 to 46 are again, private residences that seem to be open to the public. Victoria (47) is a pretty Victorian themed region with really nice rent free housing, and Mohave(48) is one of 5 rent free island regions!!
Now onward for our last stop for this post, the central northwest!!
There are not so many regions here, but they pack quite a wallop: Thalion Outlanders regions (49), Venezia(50), Salahzar Stenvaags four educational regions(51), Brera Acadamy Virtual Lab regions (52), Ebla (53), Teti(54),MdM(55) Uqbar (56)Delicatessan and Canis Latrans (57).
Let’s get the five less wallopy ones out of the way first. Venezia(50) is actually empty , and as it wasn’t ever the one with the free stuff, we can all calm down. Sal’s four educational sims are kind of workshops sandbox things, for his various groups. and their meetings. Lotsa chairs.
Thalions Outlanders regions (49)don’t make a lot of overt sense in a way I find very engaging. There is a semi wiccan version of Lincoln cathedral, an English town, and now a kneeling giant shouldering a disco which I did not see coming let me tell you. These pictures are from regions Lincoln, and Tempura, but there are also Forrest, Singapore and Abyss Beach, equally full of the unexpected in rendered in finely honed detail.
The Brera Acadamy Virtual Lab regions(52) belong to a two hundred plus something very prestigious Milanese Acadamy of Fine Arts. The lab is part of a virtual architecture program thingy boo, where the students learn an almost surreal architecture, pushing it’s boundries to create the architecture of the future. The main Brera lab is a mega interesting sandbox for the students, who are crappy at terraforming(pothole alert!) but brilliant at everything else. Their experiments make for lots of great pictures which are somewhere in my hard drive, giggling and pointing. I went back to take more but this…
…had engulfed most of the lab and all the regions around it. Then I remembered! The professor who gave me a tour had said the students final projects were going to be put out on display over all their regions for grading, with the terraforming turned the freak off, and would be open the entire time to the public!! It looks like they are setting up now!! Keep dropping by all the regions in the next few weeks- Craft grid is NOT Brera’s first virtual rodeo! They have been using virtuality as a restoration tool for quite a while now, plugging the dimensions of huge pieces into a computer for virtual reconstruction, as the architects create additions and missing chunks, which are then plugged into 3D printers that can print them out in plastics, bronze or glass!! Region owner Giugiogia, who I call Professor because I cannot begin to even mentally pronounce that name, said they are trying to break down the barriers between the virtual world and the “real” one, making them a perfect circle. Whatever they do with those final projects, it is GUARENTEED to be amazing!!!
And last but not least, that jewel in the hypergrid’s crown…
… The MdM(55)! The Museo del Metaverso is a massive world class contemporary art museum run by the unstoppable Roxelo Babenco, who has managed to herd a sizable chunk of Second Life’s prestigious Linden Endowments for the Arts crowd out here into the black for the second time around.
Teti(54) is also part of the MdM, with, I think, three or four massive sculptures you can mess around in.
Uqbar(56), also part of the MdM has two great things going for it 1) lots of cool stuff by the truly brilliant Alpha Auer…
…and this awesome refrigerator fruit storm party whatever it is!!WOOOOOOOT!!! I adore this thing; I crashed the main MdM main building with it a couple of days before the grand opening, and then they took my babies away! But I found them again, way the heck out on the edge of Uqbar!! I haven’t managed to crash anything, but it’s early days yet!! Oh yeah, there is gonna be a Body Painting event thing on Uqbar June 16 at 22.00. CET (That is 1pm SLT). We are gonna all paint our avatars and become a work of art! Again, Craft style, everyone is welcome!
Here I am on Ebla(53) with MdM architect Nicola Reinerman, and Roxelo. They had sent me a teleport just out of the blue, and I was all geared up to improvise some lame ass legalese horseshit how there was no court in the world that would make me pay for those refrigerators, before legging it into the hidey hole under the Slum City sewers that nobody kno- anyway, I could see immediately they were in a great mood, and with the sim lacking any content, much less anything in a uniform, I felt confident enough to ask if there was something I could do for them!
Well THAT was the right question! Roxelo had asked Nicola to build this space, for a fashion exhibition! Not something with a catwalk, but a proper exhibit of fashion as art. She is very passionate about the whole idea-
“Fashion, how big a stage for beauty, and not without the artistic touch that will open the doors of places of excellence of beauty, where beauty is preserved and displayed”
However the Museums in real world not welcome fashion, unless you are exhibitions of great artists! I want it to be a “virtual museum” such as the Museo del Metaverso to start this tradition of opening the doors to the fashion, with productions of artistic value, which enhance the beauty of the works on display.I consider it important that this signal from the virtual worlds we can send to the physical world, breaking a wall of prejudice towards a production that, in it’s highest expression, should be considered art.”
I cleaned up the translation a bit, but you see what I mean! She is planning a revolution! She also gave me a link to this article about an exhibition in the Victoria and Albert dedicated to late fashion designer Alexander McQueen called The Savage Beauty. I was glad for the link, because I was having a hard time picturing what it might look like in my head. I know squat about fashion. But I do know about OpenSim networking , okay shooting my mouth off, and THAT is exactly what Roxelo is interested in!!So I have facebooked it and googled it and fielded questions, and whined and shouted and the word is spreading that…
ROXELO BABENCO OF THE MdM IS LOOKING FOR FASHION DESIGNERS!!
THE SHOW WILL OPEN EARLIEST SEPTEMBER 2015!!!! YOU HAVE THE WHOLE FREAKING SUMMER TO GET YOUR WHATEVER IT IS TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WITH AN INTEREST IN FASHION, DESIGN, ART IS WELCOME TO APPLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE WELL KNOWN!!!
THERE ARE NO RULES!!! YOU CAN CREATE WHAT YOU LIKE!!!!!
IT COSTS NOTHING!!!!!
YOU WILL BE AN ARTIST IN RESIDENCE WITH THE CREME DE LA CREME OF VIRTUAL ART!!!!!!!!! THIS WILL SEND YOUR PROFILE THROUGH THE FREAKING ROOF!!!!!!!
CONTACT VIRTUAL CHRISTINE OR ROXELO BABENCO INWORLD!! IT’S ALL GOOD!! ROXELO IS SUPER NICE; AND I AM FAR TOO CRAZY IN MY DOTAGE TO HIT EVEN A REALLY MONSTER STATIONARY TARGET!!!
CONTACT ROSANNA GALVANI OR VIRTUAL CHRISTINE ON G+, FACEBOOK OR TWITTER!!!!!!!
Look it’s already started!! Here we are with multi talented RL artist Avia Bonne putting up her logo in her cube!!!!! She is now an official MdM artist in residence!! And I am an official big mouth in residence, swaggering around “our” regions with my own group tag, pushing visitors the hell off my fridges!
And here we are back at the beginning, number 57, “The Hills have Boobs” hell region is named Delicatessen, and the wobbly yellow monster stationary target in the background is Canis Latrans. Avia and I think that the birds, which are everywhere, are vultures, hence the name does make sense. This build is extremely impressive, and absolutely drips of Roxelo’s herding skills!
And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave you! I would like to thank Licu Rau and Tao Quan of Craft -the Friendly Grid, for providing such a splendid virtual environment for us to live in! I would like to thank my friend Lara Ess, for letting me give the actual reason I started going over Craft’s geography, Roxelo Babenco for the opportunity to be a part of something like the MdM, Susan Slade, Louis Servita, Thalion Outlander, Bernard and Alysa, Quinton Umarov, Dade Catronis,Nicola Reinerman, Salzar Stenvaag, GeR Orsini, Rume ,Professor Moioli of the Brera Acadamy, Avia Bonne, my dear friend Minethere Always for fusing the terms metaverse and hypergrid into hyperverse a brand new term that I will remember to use when Delicatessen freezes over, the entire Craft community, and of course all of you, for joining me on my small adventures!Your company means more to me than I could possibly say!! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time, adieu!