Interventions at I AM Columbia
Above: Intervention #1 (in three parts) installation images. Click to view slideshow or view on Flickr.
Interventions at I AM Columbia were a series of interventionist installations which occurred over a two year period at the I AM Columbia Simulator (InterActiVe MultiMedia Program at Columbia College Chicago) island in Second Life. The installations focused on ideas of place, space and identity.
Intervention #1 (in three parts)
The first installation, divided into three parts, explored presence within the space of Second Life, the place/space of Second Life and it’s representation outside of the ‘virtual’ world. This was undertaken by relating the space of the ‘virtual’ world to the SLURL map (http://slurl.com/); a web-based map which uses the Google Maps api to map and give a ‘gods eye’ view to ‘real’ life users of a ‘virtual’ space/place.
Part 1 consisted of a built sculptural text stating “I’m not here” on the upper floor of the constructed two-storey installation space. The text was scaled to be sufficiently large as to be visible from a high altitude in Second Life and so to the SLURL map which periodically takes snapshots of the terrain on a weekly basis. The installation was left in situ until it appeared on the SLURL map and then removed only to leave an image on the map of something that was no longer present in the space.
Above: Intervention #1 (in three parts) installation video.
Part 2 extended ideas of ‘place’ and it’s representation (the territory and it’s map) by reversing and confusing their relation to each other. While the sculptural text of part 1 was still visible on the SLURL map the map was imported as a web page into Second Life and used as a true scale 1:1 texture for the surface of the upper floor of the installation space, reproducing part 1 in low quality image.
The map becomes a part of the space, a representation represented within itself creating an infinite regress with a noticeable degradation of quality. This is only possible to view temporarily due to a time delay between Second Life and it’s mapping on the SLURL map and ultimately is erased at the next periodic snapshot of the terrain.
Downstairs a live map of I AM Columbia with the ‘gods eye’ view of the installation space as seen from ‘real’ life and some texts on space/place were placed.
In part 3 thirty-seven flags with the slogan “I am Garrett Lynch (IRL)” were added to the installation claiming the land as a new nation under its own rule. An enclave state ‘landlocked’ within the boundaries of another territory, the I AM Columbia Simulator as well as the virtual place of Second Life and it’s representation of the ‘real’.
Above: Intervention #2 installation images. Click to view slideshow or view on Flickr.
For Intervention #2 an astronomical observatory was constructed on the upper floor of the space. On entering the observatory allowed visitors to see a view of the sky as seen from the University of Hawaii’s, Institute for Astronomy, 2.2 metre telescope on Mt. Mauna Kea in Hawaii; the world’s largest astronomical observatory. The ceiling displayed the sky as currently seen from Mt. Mauna Kea while the walls and floor abstracted the light into patterns that illuminated the space.
Unlike Intervention #1 which explored presence and space/place in Second Life e.g. viewing our ‘location’ in Second Life from within Second Life but as if seen from outside, a map of the place as large as the place; Intervention #2 enabled users to see out of the ‘virtual’ world not just to their immediate physical environment but beyond to very distant spaces of stars and other worlds.
The ‘alien’ place of Second Life was effectively folded together with a visualisation of a alien or non-terrestrial place, placing a representation of the infinite into the finite. Alien in the literal sense due to distance the stars and other worlds are equally removed from our reality as the ‘virtual’ space of Second Life.
Above: Intervention #2 installation video.