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Photographer Absinthe Montenegro


Publisher’s note

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s part of our 5th Anniversary celebration, we are delighted to present you a revamped and refined version of AVENUE for your reading pleasure. Five years on and we are even more committed to upping the ante on providing you the ultimate lifestyle publication at your fingertips. This issue is dedicated to the rebirth of AVENUE and our fashion team takes the cue on bringing you styles that are based on black, white and red - colors that have always been associated with AVENUE. Black depicting the past, white the purity of the now and red, the power and passion fueling the future. AVENUE Magazine takes the lead in the relaunch, as it being our collective voice and a wondrous medium of collaboration for an amazing team of writers, photographers, stylists coupled with marketing and management that helps pull it all together month after month.

Each month, they never cease to amaze me with their creativity and commitment and I am sure they will continue to amaze you too. On behalf of everyone at AVENUE, I would like to extend our deepest thanks to all of you who have contributed to our coming of age with your love and support. Here’s to many more wondrous experiences and discoveries together of this wonderful world we call our second home, Second Life®.

Rusch Raymaker Rusch Raymaker Publisher

Do join us as AVENUE Models present a three day fashion showcase called CINQUE, boasting of twenty-four of the finest and most exciting designers to keep your eye on, as they create original designs that celebrate our rebirth on the 19th to the 21st of October. To each and every one at AVENUE, I am proud to call them my family - a formidable team and force to be reckoned with.

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Cover Story

28 Interiors

204

Arts Feature

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October 2012

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Fashion 28 36 46 56 66 82 90 98 112 126 140 154

Cover Story LeeZu Fashion Icon ICONIC Couture Clash Chic Couture Trends Featured Designer Diktator Trendspotting Succubus Fashion Forward Neo Minimalist The Details O Negative: Basics Edge of Style Revolutionary Rebirth Homme Flight Square Blogspot Mokatana Boa AVENUE Models CINQUE Fashion Agenda Vero Modero Miss Mutya 2013

Lifestyle 170 184 196 204

Interesting Sims Malignance Architecture Domineaux Prospero Perspectives Citizenship Interiors The Courtyard

Arts 222 236 248

Featured Artist Gabrielle Swindlehurst Arts Feature Metales Arts Feature Tower of Babel

Magazine cover Featuring LeeZu Baxter in LeeZu! Miss Mara Scarf, the Scarf Poncho, BDSM Diamond Addict and Jeanne van Dark Top Photographer Dantelicia Ethaniel

AVENUE Magazine is published and managed by AVENUE Inc which owns and operates AVENUE Models + Academy and AVENUE Marketing + PR. Online issues: issuu.com/avenue AVENUE website: www.avenuesl.com Visit us inworld at: Zenshi East 62.118.26 For exclusive updates, gifts, events and latest releases, join our inworld group: AVENUE Magazine Readers Press releases to: editorial@avenuesl.com Ad queries: ads@avenuesl.com Advertising and vendor requests: Absinthe Montenegro, Amazon Silverweb, Elyna Carver, Faith Aljon, Kerasia Hexicola, LisaJ Coveria, Xandrah Sciavo


Publisher | Editor in Chief Rusch Raymaker General Manager Xandrah Sciavo Creative Director | Photo Editor | Designer Paola Tauber Lifestyle Editor Umberto Giano Copy Editor Vivienne Graves Vice President of Marketing Amazon Silverweb Marketing Manager Absinthe Montenegro Marketing Executives Elyna Carver, Faith Aljon, Kerasia Hexicola, LisaJ Coveria Writers Augusta Carver, Breezie Noel, Cajsa Lilliehook, Huckleberry Hax, Imani Enzo, Isadora Fiddlesticks, Lexie Jansma, Louise McWinnie Roundel, Prad Prathivi, Quan Lavender, ShaiLi Alex, Silly Avro, Spruce Canning Stylists Absinthe Montenegro, Boe Cortes, Brie Wonder, Dantelicia Ethaniel, Diconay Boa, Gabe Bookmite, Lulu Jameson, Miaa Rebane, Strawberry Singh, Thalia Heckroth, Winter Jefferson Photographers Annough Lykin, Eve Kazan, Natasja Schumann, Neva Crystall, Piedra Lubitsch, Priscila Orlich, Seashell Dench, Tillie Ariantho, Ziki Questi Contributors Kyrie Source, Mokatana Boa


Cover Story


LeeZu Baxter Barbara Nicholls Writer Cajsa Lilliehook Photographer Dantelicia Ethaniel

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ashion is always focused on the “next big thing”, and even more so in Second Life®, where that impulse is intensified by the natural cuttingedge sensibility of the technophile.


This creates a dilemma for older brands that need to find ways to hit the refresh button in order to stay current among the riot of the new. Some recruit new talent to their design team, some rebrand with new names and new logos, some burn out, and some fail. A very few, like LeeZu! dig deep and trust their clientele to recognize that new ideas trump new labels and fresh designs trump fresh faces. Is there any fashion-oriented woman in Second Life who doesn’t have a few treasured LeeZu! pieces that survive every inventory purge and spring cleaning because they are unique, exciting, vibrant; because they are LeeZu! Whether it is a daring, dynamic fetishist’s dream, a lace-festooned riot of femininity, or a whirlwind of bohemian prints, LeeZu!’s designs are celebrations of the joy of fashion. While real life designers John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood have been influential in developing Baxter’s orientation toward color and contrast, her work is uniquely her own. Her oeuvre could never be captured in one word, but here are a few that Baxter uses to describe her aesthetic: curves, asymmetry, colors, contrast, and harmony. One could add bold, expressive and fresh. Baxter described her signature design elements, saying, “I might also add details that others don’t do and separate myself then from casual designs. I also like unusual cuts or textures. I love to

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work around the female shape. It gives me so many possibilities to surround it. Also it’s kind of weird and even if I try, I don’t seem to be able to lose my signature on my creations. They’re always LeeZu!” Asked how LeeZu! keeps fresh after so many years, Baxter said she isn’t short of ideas. She stays motivated by the pure enjoyment of her work. She says: “I am not saying that I didn’t get tired in the past. This is normal and happens within any job you do. But I still love my work very much. It’s the perfect combination of working in a digital environment and creating things I like. I have the freedom to tap into my own creativity. And that certainly makes my life happier. So why should I stop?” Describing her creative process, Baxter said she tries to keep her real life colorful, avoiding the linear life that most people live. She tries to make every day special for herself, even if it is in a small way that no one else can see. “I am an experience collector,” she said. “I do fill in the days as I want to and travel a lot. I think these kind of things keep your creativity fresh. Sometimes I see a symmetry or a color which drives me to create or I just close my eyes and have a new design already in my head.” Like many designers, Baxter struggles most with meeting her own expectations, but also credits her “ultra high expectations” with much of her success, providing the impetus for the meticulous execution that sets her apart. She


also struggles to prioritize her ideas and find the time to execute them. When she has blocks, though, she has a strategy to get past them. “When I am faced with no ideas at all, wondering why I have forgotten each design I had in my head before. That is normal. Then I usually turn around and do something completely different, crafting, sewing or sports till the day comes where ideas flow in again,” she said, sharing advice that applies in so many walks of life, not just design. Brand longevity is a true accomplishment in SL®, but LeeZu! boasts even more singular accomplishments in longevity with the six-year partnership of Baxter and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Nicholls and the length of service of many of LeeZu!s talented and loyal models. Such sustained professional relationships and friendships upset the shallow stereotypes of fashion divas and fickle models and reveal a business that is built on values as well as talent. Asked if they can translate their own long-term success into advice for others, Baxter and Nicholls both emphasized trust and respect as integral to their success. Baxter added that chemistry plays a role in any good partnership, while Nicholls added that it was important to separate personal from business and to respect each other’s roles. She added, “f I were to offer advice to other working partners in SL, I would say that the most important thing they need to thrive is the trust factor. If you

don’t trust your business partners one hundred percent then you’re in for a world of trouble.” All Second Life residents have a short list of wishes for improvement in the SL experience. Not surprisingly, when asked what her three SL wishes were, Baxter’s wishes focused on design. She would love to see more realistic movement for garments without the difficulty in rigging it on the “insane avatar.” She wants more flexibility with layering mesh items. Being able to wear one mesh over another easily would allow people have more freedom to develop their own personal style, something she values deeply. She also wishes that the Phoenix viewer, her preferred SL client, would allow multiple alpha layers on an avatar. Recently she has branched into home and decor, releasing a house and a few furnishings. Asked if there was nothing she hadn’t made, Baxter pointed out that she had not made hair, though she said it with a suggestive pause and a “not yet.” Looking ahead, she thinks there are any number of avenues she could explore in the future. As she said with eager anticipation, “This grid with all these fantastic people and their ideas on it will always bring out new fields.” With that kind of enthusiasm and joy in her work, it seems LeeZu! will be hitting the refresh button for a long time to come. Visit LeeZu!

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Fashion Icon

Writer Louise Roundel Photographer Piedra Lubitsch

iconic


F

ive full years have passed since the first issue of AVENUE Magazine was published, inscribing a new page in the history of Second Life速 achievements. For the duration of those five years, AVENUE has been a beacon that guides the SL速 fashion community, striving to provide coverage that is not only accurate, but relevant. Many designers have come and gone; others have withstood the passage of time. Among those who have been featured in AVENUE Magazine in the past, we have chosen to go back and select three who have endured to become pillars of the fashion community. In this anniversary issue, Fashion Icon is honored to feature Raven Pennyfeather, Applonia Criss and Eshi Otawara.

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I

t was her persistence and her desire to create that have given Raven Pennyfeather the status of Fashion Icon. Since our 2009 feature on the House of RFyre, Pennyfeather says that her skills have continued to grow with changing technology. She continues to challenge herself by pursuing the same complexity in her designs and pushing her skills further, evolving as an artist. Due to the changes in the economy in and out of Second Life, Pennyfeather says that she’s had to make a transition into real life work, although her SL business continues as well, steered by her manager Vixn Dagger, who she describes as “incredibly strong and talented.” With an ever-present smile, Pennyfeather talked about the rise of mesh, which she says both fascinates and scares her. Despite some trepidation, she loves that there are new tools to work with, and she eagerly awaits the arrival of flexi mesh. As a respected and reputable designer, Pennyfeather reveals that her secret to success is singlemindedness and devotion to what she love. Her persistence and “the love and the burning desire to create” that have always fuelled her skill are ever-present, and they will keep spurring her on as she has no plans to stopwhat she herself calls a “positive addiction”. Eclectic fantasy with a touch of history is how she describes her own clothing, saying that she’s moved by the clothing and costuming of the past and the stories that go

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with them. The winter collection of the House of RFyre is strongly influenced by Renaissance Venetian sensibilities, with ornate patterns and shapes; however, Pennyfeather says that her muses have not yet whispered their secrets in her ear regarding future collections. When asked about changes in the SL fashion industry, Pennyfeather reveals that there is a mix of emotions, due to the rise of both new, original creators and the so-called “template” designers, or, as she calls them, “coloring book creators”. Acknowledging that this is no different from real life, Pennyfeather states that “I firmly hold to the belief that those who are discerning and appreciate quality will support those artists who craft their designs with care.” Outside of work, Raven Pennyfeather can be found searching for both virtual havens and art, and visiting friends. She admits that she still enjoys going dancing or listening to music with friends and exploring, although she confesses that she finds that the number of unique sims has dwindled over time.

Raven


Pennyfeather


Applonia


“I

have grown tremendously,” says Applonia Criss, referring to the years since 2009. Since then, she has continued to create clothing based on what she sees in real life, based in her personal shopping experiences, and also inspired by fashion magazines. This is what her brand, Chantkare is: a reflection of Criss’ personal style. Her designs consist, she says, “of things that are simple and timeless, not trendy”, and focus on creating a signature look for her brand. More patient and wiser, she talks about the changes in the SL fashion industry, finding them to have been both good and bad. Nonetheless, Criss embraces the inevitability of change in technology, admitting that “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. She also confesses that mesh designs are a challenge for her, due to the fact that, as she says, “I am not a mesh maker”, and as mesh templates are easily obtained in the market, originality becomes crucial. “I kinda miss the days when creators really built items or used sculpts to create something beautiful and unique”, says Criss, who also proudly reveals that she makes her own textures, trying her best to offer quality over quantity items, stating “That has always and will continue to be my mission at Chantkare”.

Criss

Unique and setting her own trends at her own pace, Criss remains humble and down to earth, hoping her energy comes across in her creations, although she admits to always keeping her ego in check. She also believes that it is the respect that she receives from people that keeps pushing her to do her best. “I’m just an average girl who’s a homebody”, and Criss also loves to shop, spend time with her close friends, and watch her partner, Long Pausch, perform. The future of Chantkare includes an awesome collection for late fall and, hopefully, mesh, as soon as Criss finds some time off from her busy schedule to learn 3D modelling. We will have to wait and see, so... “stay tuned”, says Criss with a smile and a wink.

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T

he Eshi Otawara we met back in 2009 was still in shock to have witnessed one of her creations being auctioned at Relay for Life for the sum of L$460,000. Today, Otawara feels “older, wiser, heavier and much less depressed”, she says with a smile. Her confidence grew and her SL experience transferred into real life, as she is now being mentored by the chair of the fashion design department at a local university, and hoping to create her second real life dress soon. “I’ve recently entered a local competition for recycled material dress design and I’ve done well so far.”, Otawara reports excitedly. As an artist who designs on impulse, when inspiration strikes, Otawara confesses she has no plans or sketches for future collections, and the arrival of mesh does not affect her work as it is not a threat to her creativity. Although she acknowledges that mesh is a great development, she states that she will likely never make any mesh dresses due to the time it takes to create, saying, quote, “If I ever do mesh I’ll make sure i am the person designing and not creating it. I still prefer to paint in RL”. But mesh is not the only change that most designers notice, and Otawara is no exception as she confesses that, to her, it seems that fashion in SL is now more about mass production and mass consumption; “It seems as if SL fashion has become somewhat of a hedonistic treadmill. I don’t see people wearing the same things more than twice anymore”. She

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also hopes that the fact that she doesn’t work with mesh won’t affect her brand, and that people will still find interest in wearing her creations. She creates as she envisions her dresses, not looking to follow any trends. When asked about the secrets that keep her on top, Otawara simply replies “I have never thought of myself as the best. I just do my thing and am generally pleased with what I have”. Keeping her two feet on the ground, Otawara continues “I respect and I am grateful to my customers for supporting me this long”. To find her doing something else other than designing on her platform is a rare treat: “It all depends on the persistence of friends to drag me off”, says Otawara, who confesses to sometimes playing Greedy and listening to live music. A real life painter, Otawara can’t find a single definition for her works; she says: “they are what they are - to each person they are an experience of their own”.

Eshi O


Otawara


Couture Clash

Skirt: Jahm skirt by Gasqhe, top with collar and hood: Jase outfit by Gasqhe, hair: Louise Brooks Hair by Clawtooth, face makeup: EllaBella Etch by The Plastik, circlet: Arachzis Circlet by The Plastik, lipstick: by Pididdle, skin: Lilac by Body Co.


Chic Couture Trends for Autumn & Winter 2012-2013

Writer Louise Roundel Photographer Dantelicia Ethaniel

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outure. A term that practically everyone who knows a little bit about fashion has heard at least once. Used loosely, the term “couture� has been applied to basically everything with a chic look or feel. Sad to say that this is incorrect.


Trendsetting, highly fashionable and tailored, these are three of the terms one should take into consideration when thinking about couture. Why is this important? Because this is the only way we can learn how to differentiate a regular and inexpensive label from a couturier. Let’s take a look at fashion outside of Second Life®. Ask yourself this question: Can you tell the difference between the labels “Marc Jacobs” and “Marc by Marc Jacobs”? You are can’t say that one is formal and the other is casual; they both have formal and casual wear--however, you can say “one is a couture labele and the other is prêt-à-porter”. There’s also a difference in the price tag, but the general idea remains: the Marc Jacobs label has the trendsetting, fashionable and custom-made clothing that isn’t accessible to just anyone and doesn’t come in every single size. They are couture designs. Whereas Marc by Marc Jacobs is a more affordable line, but does not come with the überchic elements that you find in couture: luxury and exclusivity. In the outside world it seems quite simple to differentiate if you know what to look for, the tricky part comes when you try and do the same with SL®. The purpose of this article is to present you, kind reader, with a short list of basic couture Autumn/Winter 2012 fashion trends from real life, which can be transported into SL®, so that you can recreate your favorite couture looks inworld. Overall, these are the cuts,

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patterns, colors and statement items that were present in a majority of the Autumn/Winter 2012-2013 couture collections, and this will work as a suggestion as to what you can do in SL® to achieve a look that is fashionable and trendy. Portrayed by designers who, in my opinion, build a bridge between runway and SL®, here are your Autumn/ Winter 2012-2013 trends.

Patterns Graphic. Although it was already a Spring/Summer trend, graphic patterns seem to have come to stay for two more seasons. You can take your pick in terms of the piece you want to stand out in, but if you find a way to get your hands on anything wool with a graphic statement you will most definately be in. Just remember, graphic patterns usually mean geometric patterns. Remember your fashion bible studies, keep your Vogue lingo up to date. Psychedelic. If you want to be trendy you better be causing some serious dizziness when people pay close attention to what you have on. Unlike the graphic prints, here you can be more risque with the colours you choose; think Seventies, but make it today: choose your cuts wisely. Brocade. When you think of brocade patterns, doesn’t it make you think of chic, opulent and Victorian or even baroque things? Then you would be correct. Find a pretty-pretty brocade dress to


Pants: Harem Pants by Bliss Mesh, top and hat: Maleficent by Fashion Monster, skin: Lilac by Body Co., lipstick: Leah by Glam Affair, eyeshadow: Glossy Eyeshadows by Kosh.


Jacket: Brocadence by Mimikri, skirt and hat: Flling dress by AD Creation Aliza Karu, hair: Milano Hair by Vanity Hair, earrings: Studio Roma Earrings by Glow, skin: Ivy by Body Co., lipstick: by Pididdle.


add the chic element to your cold wintery evenings. Tartan. It’s back, but did it ever really leave? This time, all is fair: pants, jackets, skirts, jumpers, you name it. Just make sure that something in your closet has plaid on it.

Cuts, fabrics and statement pieces In the previous seasons we have watched the rise of the skinny fit and any sort of fitted trouser; well, for the upcoming Autumn/Winter you can relax, baggy pants are back in. Loose and comfortable, but there’s one catch: make it leather. I am sure that there will be great mesh pants to be found on the grid. Keep your eyes open and your purses at hand. If you’re thinking Autumn and Winter were boring seasons when everyone wears boring things, you’d bewrong. For 2012-2013 your closet should have at least one super shiny piece. You can pick anything from shiny leather trenchcoats to rubber boots, just bring out your chic with a bold statement shiny piece. Big overcoats are in. It seems like the idea to steal boyfriend’s jeans and wear them is now translating into more men’s clothing robberies. This time the trend is to do it with coats, something that you can comfortably wrap yourself in. Gentlemen, be afraid, we are coming to raid your closets.

Faux hips. This travelled all the way from last year right into this season, and gladly so. It all comes down to one word: silhouettes. And you’ve seen this happen with peplums, for instance, it was like an explosion. Accentuating your hips with a padded skirt is great way to give add a little extra oomph to your shape. Accessory wise, this is the season of the big waist belts. Practically every single runway show I have seen have had at least two shockingly beautiful and equally large over-belts. Find a stunning coat and wrap your waist in a luscious leathery over-belt and you won’t go wrong. Not everything is about loose overcoats, accentuate your femininity with this wonderful accessory. Go big or go home. Remember when people said “that is too matchy-matchy”? Well, this is the season you can prove them wrong because matchy-matchy is back. Pick a nice print trouser suit and get yourself noticed. I must confess I haven’t seen this particular item done many times in SL, however it’s a seasonal trend so one can always hope that this is the year it will happen. Velvet. Velvet is something that has been seen on the runways, worn from head to toe. Shockingly smooth. Now is the time to get your puffers out of your closet, you

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know, the jackets people thought to be so casual that they would only wear them to go grocery shopping. Not-any-more. Puffers are big this season and they can be found in a wide variety of materials. Pick your poison, find one that suits you and then proceed to rock it.

Colors Enough of patterns and pieces, it’s time for colors. You have a lot to choose from the seasonal palette; it’s all about the way you match it up. You have the vibrant tones from autumn, such as tangerine, ultramarine green, blue, rhubarb, honey gold and bright chartreuse on one side, and on the other side you have your neutral basics: the deep brown of dark-roast coffee, titanium, fog, whitecap gray. All these are common to both ladies and gentlemen, but then we have some additions for the ladies, and those would be pink flambé, lavender and smoky rose. This means two pastels and one matte pink. The suggestion would be to combine them in pairs, one neutral and one vibrant, or one vibrant and one pastel. This also works with patterns, you can combine a pattern that has a neutral base with a vibrant basic turtleneck. However, if you are brave enough, you can have a go at combining two vibrant colorsjust remember, don’t go crazy; autumn and winter are seasons for clean looks, not clown looks.

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At the end of the day, an affordable couture look is achievable as long as you know what is happening on the runways of the world. Just remember that whatever you do with your outfit, keep it chic, simple and you. Make a statement with a signature piece, add a dash of confidence and rock your outfit anywhere you go. Keep it trendy!


Dress: Deauville by Sonatta Morales, coat: Artica Voluminous Cropped Coat by Osakki, belt: Bindi Belt by Molichino, hair: Libby by kik, hair flowers: part of Kimono Blossom by MiuMIn, eyeliner: by Kosh, skin: Ivy by Body Co., eyelashes: Catwalk Lashes Extravaganza 02 by Miamai.


Featured Designer

Shoes: DARE by Diktator, skin: Shyla by Belleza, hair: TYU321 by booN, corset: Geometric Corset by ISON, bodysuit: Anja Bodysuit by House of Fox, headpiece: Bizarre Flower Headpiece by LaGyo, pose: by Del May.


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Shades of

Diktator Writer Cajsa Lilliehook Photographer Neva Crystall

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t would be easy to assert that Diktator shoes fail Frank Lloyd Wright’s dictum that “form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” That is true only if their function is purely ambulatory. Shoes have more functions than just walking. They also excite, captivate, flatter and fascinate. If they are very good, they function to incite emotion. Diktator shoes have the power to incite fifty shades of emotion.


Usermane Resident is the creative force behind Diktator shoes. A tall, striking dark-haired man with a relaxed manner, he has a mordant wit that demands reading between the lines and makes conversation with him a delight. An example occurred while discussing a technical point of noun and pronoun agreement when he said, “We would never want to break our agreements.” His use of word play and doubleentendre gives the maxim in his profile, “Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.” all sorts of possibilities. Diktator shoes combine two of the biggest trends in shoe design - a focus on the ankles and heavily embellished heels and heel counters. They also capture the fetish zeitgeist that has made Fifty Shades of Grey an improbable worldwide bestseller. Usermane, however, is not concerned with trends. He says, “The Diktator woman is open minded. She likes to be seen, watched and admired. She is not afraid to take on daring designs … making them her own completely.” In regard to trends, he thinks it is more important to choose what fits one’s personality and shape than follow the ups and downs of fashion trends. Asked what his three wishes for Second Life® would be, his desire is for others to be as unafraid as the Diktator woman. He wishes people would choose what is original and creative rather than

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Shoes: OBEY Spine Heels Booties by Diktator, skin: Shyla by Belleza, hair: KBO906 by booN, corset: Geometric Corset by ISON, bodysuit: Anja Basic Unitard by House of Fox, earrings and ring: Roho by Maxi Gossamer, pose: by Del May.


Shoes: DARE by Diktator, skin: Shyla by Belleza, hair: TYU321 by booN, corset: Geometric Corset by ISON, bodysuit: Anja Bodysuit by House of Fox, necklace: Rae Necklace Cold with Gold Studs by Glam Affair, pose: by Del May.

the newest trend imported from real life, that people judge for themselves rather than follow the dictates of the majority and that they choose what to wear based on quality, originality and their personal style. He works to avoid being influenced by particular designers. Rather, he explains, “I want to be influenced by what is missing from Second Life. I am a creative person and I want to create things never seen before. There are, however, definite elements in all shoe designers that are amazing. Those elements will always influence shoe creativity in general.” Like many artists, the entire world is his inspiration. As he remarked on a recent trip to the seaside, “I found inspiration in the nature there, the shells, etc. The use of natural inspired forms and materials is sexy: leather, bone, metal,wood.” While some have criticized his use of 3D renders rather than SL screenshots for close-up vendor ads, Diktator ads inspire a desire for more from Second Life, smoother mesh, better rendering and aspire to more realism and beauty. Demos guarantee every shopper will know exactly what she is buying before making that purchase and in-world ads show avatars wearing the shoes as they appear in Second Life. As Usermane said himself, he does not want to be judged by anything but what he makes—and what he makes are amazing shoes.

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Great artists do not have to sign their work. Their aesthetic is so strong that it is visible in every element. You can see that kind of focused artistry at work in Usermane’s designs for Diktator shoes. You don’t need to see the label to recognize the brand. When challenged to imagine applying his signature aesthetic to something different to his usual impossibly high heels, such as a pair of flats, he said he would “keep the essence of them, which is the simplicity. What would make them recognizable as Diktator probably will be the proportions and the attention to the details.” As to the future, he continues to improve his skills, looking for new methods to develop original concepts. When asked, he concedes there may be an accessory line in the future. As he says, “There are many things I would like to do. For now I want to concentrate on making amazing shoes.” Diktator: [Amat 245.27.2800].

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Shoes: DARE by Diktator, skin: Shyla by Belleza, hair: KOM372 by booN, corset: Geometric Corset by ISON, bodysuit: Anja Bodysuit by House of Fox, ring: Roho by Maxi Gossamer, pose: by Del May.


Trendspotting

Dress: Branislava mesh gown by Meghindo, jacket: Vinyl jacket by Epoque, hair: Baroque Hair by Vitabela’s Boudoir, lace mask: Obscure mask by Deviant Girls, shoes: Armadillo shoes by Fanatik, eye makeup: InColor#2 by La Malvada Mujer, lipstick: by Pididdle, skin: Ivy by Body Co.


uccubus

by Dantelicia Ethaniel


Dress bottom: Teyita dress by InMonster, blouse: part of Peplum dress by Tram, earrings: by Zibska, hair piece: I’m messy by Chappelerie MissMila, skin: Ojen by Kooqla.


Dress bottom: “O” dress by Solidea, coat: Funnel Coat by Saikin, hat: Noir Venezia hat by Solidea, skin: Secret Garden by Kooqla, makeup: Cinema Muto #5 by La Malvada Mujer, hairbase: by Unbra.


Coat: Lila Fur Coat by Belgravia, shoes: Selene boots by Lassitude et Ennui, bow: Bow Shirt by Coco, stockings: by Mona stockings, head piece: Demon Goddess crown by W&M Designs, hat: by Vitabela’s Boudoir, skin: by Kooqla, eye shadow: Cinema Muto #5 by La Malvada Mujer, lipstick: Layla by Glam Affair.


Dress: Dungeon mesh dress by Vanguard, bolero: Silver Beads Bolero by House of Beningborough, hijab: Hijab el Salasel by DG, hair: Wake Up Alone by Vanity Hair, antlers: Cernos Antlers by europa, eyeliner: by Nuuna, neck piece: Maleficent Neck corset by Belgravia.


Dress: Capriccio di Signora by Violator, mask: The Cell mask by AD Creation Aliza Karu, neck piece: Maleficent neck Corset by Belgravia, face makeup and head piece: Meta Bird by Meilo Minotaur, bangles: part of Desert outfit by Solidea Folies.


Dress, face and headpiece: Eternal Sleep by Violator, hair: Tubular hair by Vanity Hair, skin: Ivy by Body Co.


Fashion Forward

NEO MINIMALIST by Kyrie Source


Hair: Looking by Elikatira, dress: Mutiara by Drift.


Hair: Figure by Elikatira, shirt: Basic buttondown by Foppish, jeans: Highwaisted by Ricielli, shoes: Me Glamorous by ChaChaDee!.


Hair: Thrive by Elikatira, makeup: Glam Goth by Dead Apples, dress: Hedda by MichaMi, boots: Phoebe by Lassitude & Ennui.


The Details


Negative Basics

by Absinthe Montenegro

A “

ccessories are sizeless, and a smart stylist understands their fluidity. � Xi Zane

Hair: Amylee by Catwa, sunglasses: Studded sunglasses by NYU, necklace: Wassily necklace by Handverk, dress: Black mistress by Glam Affair.


Hair: Carmem by CheerNo, dress: Hedda Leather dress by MichaMi, watch 1: Hokusai by Mandala, watch 2: Savior by DDL, bracelets: Chunky bracelet by Auxiliary, bracelet 2: Omochi by Mandala, bracelet 3 & ring: Torque by 7891, ring 2: Mother’s pearl by LaGyo, ring 3: Melissa ring by BensBeauty.


Hat: Birth of a swan prince by Plank Couture, top: Fisher’s net bodysuit by Loovus Dzevavor, shorts: Tailored shorts by House of Fox, boots: Carazon by Ison, wallets: Continental by House of Fox.


Edge of Style

T

o mark AVENUE’s 5th Anniversary, I thought I would showcase a series of styles that encapsulate surreal elaborate designs from items past and present, inspired by the late real life designer Eiko Ishioka. Ishioka was highly acclaimed for her innovative and creative costume designs for many films. For those of you who have not seen the movie ‘The Cell’ it really is outstanding in terms of costume design and styling.

Look through the past and present to style for the future with plenty of highly creative and innovative items from designers such as ‘Elcat’, ‘House of Fox’, ‘Cheerno’, ‘Lelutka’, ‘Solidea Folies’, ‘Tableau Vivant’, many others alike. Don’t be afraid to venture to the women’s stores to try on a dress or two. Keep an open mind, and it can truly be an inspirational experience. “Timeless, Original, and Revolutionary.” - Eiko Ishioka. I believe AVENUE has also remained timeless and constantly strives to stay original and revolutionary.

y ranoituloveR by Boe Cortes


Rebirth


Skin: Jin by Tableau Vivant, hair: HairBase Blond 9.1 by CheerNo, jacket: GUIGU Saudade/Vest by CheerNo, collar: JacksonKnite Collar by House of Fox, dress: JacksonKnite Dress Base and Belt only by House of Fox, blindfold: Eye Wrap with Chain by Cobrahive, cuffs: Shima Wristband by Cobrahive.


Skin: Jin by Tableau Vivant, hair: HairBase Blond 9.1 by CheerNo, jacket: Eterna Chest Corset by Elcat, dress: Tuxedo Collar by Hoorenbeek, pants: Leggings by Emery, shoes: Jolie Pied for Men by SLink, belt: MICHELLE belt by Lelutka, tattoo: Face Tattoo Tears by White Widow, mask: Kao Mask Skull by Cobrahive.


Skin: Jin by Tableau Vivant, hair: HairBase Blond 9.1 by CheerNo, outfit: Red Sun by Solidea Folies, scarf: Editorial Scarves by Lelutka, face piercing: TV Piercing 10 by HoD.


Homme

S q t u h a g i r l e F by Winter Jefferson

F

ormal doesn’t need to be rigid. It’s worth dressing up for, so display your elation and suit yourself to match. Celebrate. Congratulate. Captivate. Coruscate. It’s your time to shine. You’ve come a long way, baby. Happy AVENUE.

fifth

birthday,


Hair: Adorable by Tuty’s, skin: Ryan by Tableau Vivant, collar: Prince Keane by Bare Rose Japan, waistcoat: Duke of the White Castle by Bare Rose Japan, jacket: Nigel by House of RFyre, belt: Clad Belt McCormack by Ladies Who Lunch, pants: Executive Chinos by Ispachi, gloves: Brilliant Gloves by CheerNo, jewellery: Archelon by Rozoregalia, shoes: Otis by Miamai.


Hair: Limbo by Tuty’s, skin: Ryan by Tableau Vivant, headphones: Twitterphones by Ladies Who Lunch, cravat: Ballet Scarf by RunoRuno, shirt: Yellow by Kauna, suit: Two Piece Suit by Kauna, gloves: Black Leather Gloves by LightStar, ring - Atratus by LaGyo, shoes: Christian Loafers by Entente.


Head: Octopus Plugs by LPP, eye: Doll Eye Patch by LPP, hair: Juicy by Tuty’s, skin: Ryan by Tableau Vivant, suit: Black Pinstripes by Hoorenbeek, stole: A Lil’ Foxy by Ohmai’s, gloves: Victor Gloves by YV, shoes: Otis by Miamai.


Hair: Adorable by Tuty’s, skin: Ryan by Tableau Vivant, tie: Bowtie by Epicostity, tuxedo: Etienne by Utopia, haori: Yukata Ojika by Bare Rose Japan, gloves: Black Leather Gloves by LightStar, ring: Wytelsey Signet by Alchemy Immortalis, sword: Katana by Miro Collas.


Blogspot

Nouvelle Vogue by Mokatana Boa - mokatana.wordpress.com


Skin: Lilith by Glam Affair, hair: Abbie II by kik, dress: 3021 Vestire di Piet by DUMANI, boots: Radical Boots by Maitreya, bag: Tote in Pelle by DUMANI, shades: Shades Metropolis by Swallow, bracelet: Eilyk Bracelet by DUMANI, ring: Sultan Ring by BenS Beauty, earrings: Drop Earrings by MONS, poses: by dfo.


Skin: Faith by PXL, hair: Tendency by Magika, jacket: Natalie Blazer by Elate, bodysuit: Bodysuit by epoque, skirt: Pencil by Peqe, glasses: Sixth Sense Sunglasses by Fleshtone, bag: The Daenerys by Fleshtone, shoes: Coquette Platform by N-core, necklace & ring: Cherub by LaGyo, cuff: Cuff by MONS, poses: by Glitterati.


Skin: Shyla by Belleza, hair: Again by Elikatira, jacket: AMEL Attire by DIRAM, pants: Inti pants by Glam Affair, shoes: Brera pumps by YS&YS, bag: Azealia Mini-Bag by Fleshtone, necklace: volume necklace by AtelierAM, rings: Melissa Ring by BenS Beauty, poses: by marukin.


AVENUE Models

A Flavor of Writer Winter Jefferson Photographer Leah McCullough

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he purest expression lies in absolutes. There are no prizes for half measures. For somber gradients. For the lackluster, the drab and the watered down. As AVENUE enters its fifth year as the watchword of Second Life 速 style, we beckon you to join us and be struck by the brilliance that is CINQUE. On these pages, our models will grant you a flicker of the light, a sounding of the shadows and a blaze of the fires that burn in-between. This is our portent as to what October will bring...

Ananya Mai Collar: Collar from Zara Top by Bliss Couture, dress: Emergency Dress by Lelutka Ultra, hat: Shaleesa Hat by Bliss Couture, earrings: Aliena Ruby Set by Donna Flora, necklace: Amarcord Ruby Necklace by Donna Flora, ribbon: Bold Ribbon by NYU, shoes: Barletta Stiletto Shoes by Similar, lipstick: Glossy Classic Red by PIDIDDLE, nails: #NS000 Basic Dark Red by Candy Nail.


Elle Ahren Bolero: Brigitte Mesh Bolero by DIRAM, skirt: Nikka Mesh Skirt by Celoe, hat: Pickering Top Hat by Illusions, gloves: Gloves by Mimikri, stockings: Feeshnetz Legging by Fab Pony, shoes: OBEY Spine Heels by Diktator, monocle: Royal Knights by Criestyle, hair: Limbo Wet Look Hair by TUTY’S, ring: Milky Way Rings by Mandala.


Jarl Soderstrom Horns: Horns by Lelutka, hair: Jerry by CheerNo, skin: Ryan Sent to Destroy by Tableau Vivant, boots : M Latex Boots by The Abyss, gloves: Minos Gloves by Tableau Vivant, pants: Chaos Leather Pants by The Abyss, belt: Deuil Mortifera by CheerNo, scarf: Deuil Mortifera by CheerNo, makeup: LaVita Pure11 by CheerNo, piercings: TV Piercing 8 Slide by HoD.


Leah McCullough Gown: Odessa Gown by Lelutka, gown top: Leira Ornament by Azul, bustier: Celyna Dress Bustier by Les Petits Details, earrings: Courtney Earrings by Cachet, shoes: Fairy Crystal Pump by Ison, gloves: White Gloves by Moved, hair: Twisted Sister by Loovus Dzevavor, hair: Simplicity (modified) by Loovus Dzevavor, lashes: lashes by je suis..., makeup: Diffused Makeup by La Petit Morte, lipstick: White Lipstick by Pink Acid, eye shadow: Smudge White Eyes by Lovely Mi Makeup.


Mavi Beck Skin: Amberly (out soon) by Glam Affair, hair: Magdelen Pony by Lelutka, top: Escher Wrap Vest by ISON, shorts: Hanalei Shorts by mon tissu, gloves: Rilla by Miamai, socks: Army Girl Garters by WWI, boots: Triumph by GoS, earrings: La Tour Eiffel Pierced Earrings by R, necklace: Bizarre Flower Necklace by LaGyo, ring: McQueen Ring by NSD, lashes 1: Catwalk Lashes by Miamai_, lashes 2: XGen Lashes Lust by Miamai, hat: Cat Beret by tram.


Angelik Lavecchia Pants: Skinnypants by Amerie, vest: Miguel Fur Vest by CheerNo, shoes: L’Equipe Kicks by Entente, necklace: Shaka Necklace by Mandala, belt: Mikoto Belt by Mandala, hat: French Hat by Elysium, gloves: 2 Finger Leather Gloves by CheerNo, glasses: Goggle Glasses by Ladies Who Lunch, skin: Leo by Elysium.


Fashion Agenda


Writer Isadora Fiddlesticks Photographer Villemo Inglewood

Vero Modero

The Jewels of

S

eptember 29th was an afternoon of glamor, grace, and high fashion as Vero Modero and AVENUE Inc. staged a fashion show/model contest , with the contestants vying to be crowned Miss Mutya. The Tagalog word “mutya” means “jewel”; it can also mean “beloved” and is sometimes used as a term of endearment. Vero Modero’s “jewel” was selected by the judges as the the face of the brand.


The stage was set simply, to place the focus on the models and the collection being presented. The musical ambience and sultry voice overs were by Seashell Dench, who was manning the DJ booth at the back. Hosting the show was Absinthe. The event started with AVENUE models appearing on stage to showcase Vero Modero’s collection, whose prevailing themes were Gothic couture and retro chic. Then came the judging of the six finalists, Nayomi Gartner, WrenNoir Cerise, Spirit Llewellyn, Lua Vendetta, Thayna Birk and Shanty Bookmite. The event was very well attended; supporters and luminaries of the SL fashion industry filled the sim.

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Vero Modero’s selection for this show was a study in contrast. Macabre and elegant chaos ruled in Gothic, with some of the model accessorized with horns to enhance the dark theme of their outfits. Makeup was dramatic, with darklined and shadowed eyes and vivid crimson lips, with hair in updos or heavily teased to stand up. The overall effect was reminiscent of a cross between Millicent, the evil fairy in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. As for the outfits, they ranged from elegantly formal to the fancy dress to haute couture. The retro chic models were less dramatic and more polished, and in contrast to the prevailing blacks and minimalist colors of the Gothic outfits, bright hues and polka dots were much in evidence.

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Both themes enthralled the audience. Bouquet Babii’s fashion sense, eye for detail, and texturing skills are evident in the collection. Babii’s designs are at home with the rest of the best in Second Life. As for the staging and the styling of the show, credit goes to the stylists who made the models stand out, and to the runway coordinator Cacilia McMasters, who ensured that things went smoothly.

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After the collection was presented, it was time for the judges to go to work and select three finalists, and from one of those, Miss Mutya 2013. The judges were Fuzz Lennie and Bouquet Babii, CEOs and designers of Vero Modero, and Rusch Raymaker and Xandrah Sciavo, AVENUE CEO and COO.

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Supporters and spectators were rapt with excitement as they waited eagerly for the result. The judges used the following criteria-Walk, Look, Runway Presence and Styling for their scoring. Applause broke out as the top three were announced: Nayomi Gartner; 2nd runner up, Shanty Bookmite; 1st runner up, and Miss Mutya 2013; Lua Vendetta. The audience was also given a chance to vote online for their favorite; the winner of the audience poll was Shanty Bookmite.

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Her selection as Miss Mutya 2013 represents another feather in Lua Vendetta’s cap as she the coming year as the face of Vero Modero. AVENUE wishes her and the other winners the best of luck and success. Visit Vero Modero [126.137.28].

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Interesting Sims


Malignance Writer Silly Avro Photographer Neva Crystall

“P

Tales of Port Kar

ort Kar, crowded, squalid, malignant, is sometimes referred to as the Tarn of the Sea. Her name is a synonym in Gorean for cruelty and piracy.” – Raiders of Gor by John Norman


Gor is an alternate world created by author John Norman with his first book “Tarnsman of Gor” which was first published in 1966. Norman has published a new installment of his series roughly once a year since then and the thirty-second book is due for publication sometime this year. Gor is characterized as brutal and carnal, it blends science fiction and erotica, and is not for those with delicate sensibilities. There have been many representations of Norman’s Gor in Second Life®, as his world has been a favorite of role players since before SL®. One of the newer, more impressive representations of Gor is the sim “Malignance: Tales of Port Kar.” Sim builder Eve Cartier has created many sims across the grid, and is known for her attention to detail as well as producing sims that function smoothly within the technical limits of SL. She works closely with sim owners from start to finish ensuring that the final product matches their vision. When creating a sim that is based on a book or movie, she is careful to include those special details that she knows visitors will be looking for. She works hard to draw in the visitor, with everything from the buildings to the landscaping, making them feel as though they have stepped out of mainstream SL® and into their favorite novel or film. “Malignance was based strongly off of Venice when it came to style.

This style, in particular, was one desired by my employers but I was happy with the direction they asked me to go. I was lucky enough to have visited Venice years ago so I wanted to make sure the maze like feeling was part of the build.” Cartier took a slightly different approach to building Malignance: Tales of Port Kar: “In some ways, at first, it felt like I was going backwards when I started building. I have been experimenting a lot with various levels in a city rather than just building everything on flat, straight land. Because of the canals of the city, I knew I would have to have it on pretty much the same level. But once I got building and with some excellent ideas from Dyce Boucher, I was able to make even a flat city like Venice have a few levels across it.” Cartier finds a great deal of enjoyment in building within the realms of fantasy and history. “Once I have been hired to do a build and I have a decent idea of what I am doing, it’s like a drug. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. I find myself scribbling ideas across any blank piece of paper.” From start to finish her projects are clearly labors of love: “I love finishing that first building in a build and stepping back and seeing, even for myself, for the first time, what the finished product will look like. And I love, more than anything, when I place that last prim, take a deep breath

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and know that everything that has been screaming in my head for the weeks is finally spilled out there for anyone to see.” Cartier strove to capture the almost claustrophobic feel of Venice while creating the virtual version of Norman’s Port Kar. “I love building cities that have tight, winding roads. A sim is surprisingly small when you start putting down buildings so if I can make a person feel like the city is bigger than it actually is, big enough to get lost in, that is a huge goal for me.” She enjoys using SL as a medium to bring places like Port Kar to life and allow players to develop their stories. “I try to incorporate a lot of small places in my sims. I want there always to be natural gathering spots, open places amongst the tight buildings where people can stretch and breathe. I usually outfit these places with greenery. Flowers and trees are usually a must. While flowers in Port Kar would have made no sense, I couldn’t help but put a couple trees and vines down. Outside of these larger gathering spots I like to have places where private, one on one roleplay can happen. I want small spots where players can hunt around and find them, and can almost think of them as their own spot. I want enough little surprises in a sim that for those that want to look and find them, and discover that my sims hold a lot more than what is obvious.”

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When asked to describe Malignance: Tales of Port Kar, Sim Owner Chaya replied, “When you think of Port Kar, you think of limitless opportunities for character interaction, character acceptance and dangerous conflict. Within the constraints of the genre itself, we welcome creative license, force self-moderation and have decentralized the government so that there exists more in character chance for rivalry on many levels and rise to power through ambitious roleplay. The caliber of player the location has drawn in can only be described as mature and creative. Any and all of the above can and does lend to a rich fertile ground for limitless storyline opportunities upon the backdrop of a fully metered combat sim.” The role players of Port Kar are what bring the sim to life. Chaya explains that there are five separate houses that drive roleplay and serve as leaders on an “out of character” (OOC) level. Those who roleplay there on a regular basis strive to weave stories together with others, drive conflict between factions, and keep a positive outlook on the whole. “As a sim owner, I appreciate beyond words the ability to spend time in roleplay with my fellow players without having to deal with a constant stream of IM interruption. And I think that’s due mainly to the self-moderation people take very seriously.” Chaya encourages visitors to make use of their “Welcome


Wagon” when visiting Port Kar. The “Welcome Wagon” is a group of individuals who are active on the sim and who can help the newcomer integrate. They are not the sim owners, but fellow role players who are happy to volunteer their time to assist those interested in becoming a part of the Tales of Port Kar. “Come with your creativity, your positive attitude and eagerness to have a great time and you won’t be disappointed.” Our sincere thanks to sim builder Eve Cartier and sim owners Dyce Boucher, Ethan (Ensiferum Dyrssen), and Chaya (Babybear Serenity) for their contributions to this article. Visit Malignance: Tales of Port Kar [Malignance 207.97.1001]

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Architecture

Domineaux

Effect

The


Writer Umberto Giano Photographer Piedra Lubitsch

N

eed a restful place to park your avatar? Looking for the perfect garden stepping stones for your inworld meditation space or how about a simple, peaceful dock for your boat? Then look no further than The Domineaux Effect (TDE). Owned by Domineaux Prospero, TDE is quickly becoming the go-to resource for those seeking housing, furniture and architectural elements that enhance their Second Life速 leisure hours and reflect an easy-going lifestyle.


While it’s widely believed that Prospero opened her eponymous brand around December 2011, the name goes much further back to the heady, hype-driven days of 2006. Prospero first dabbled in prims, building some furniture but mostly homes, and claims, “None of it was very good, but I had fun.” Reflecting upon the early days of The Domineaux Effect, she muses, “I tried to sell some of my house builds back in 2010, I believe it was, for about a month, and then I gave up until I started hearing about mesh coming into SL®. I didn’t know exactly what it was, other than it would open up all sorts of new possibilities.” Mesh did indeed prove to be a game-changer for Prospero, as she slowly and methodically schooled herself in building with mesh. Suddenly all the ideas and images in her head - the ones that couldn’t be realized with regular prims - began to take shape, from quaint, sloped-roof, wattle and daub medieval homes like the Cute ‘N Cozy Cottage to the realistically-textured Rustic Footbridge, to her fantastic Floating Islands. Consumers began taking notice, and The Domineaux Effect began to grow into something much more than just an inactive group. Prospero says, “Now here I am over 5 years later with my little shop and having a great time creating things under TDE banner.” The Domineaux Effect offers a diverse array of products to the

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grid from detailed reproductions suitable for historical or fantasy role-play, such as the Viking Longhouse and Medieval Market, to clothing like the Versa Boots, which, as their name implies, are versatile with texture and tint options in the laces, sole/heel, straps and main body. Prospero even sells a treat for hybrids: Mannys Neko Nook, a human-sized “carpeted cat condo for people with a little kitty in them.” While there is no set theme for The Domineaux Effect, some constants are the soft, muted textures and idyllic subjects— such as Domineaux’s Elegant Pergola. Definitely a place in which one can imagine spending a peaceful afternoon, The Elegant Pergola is roofed by mighty oaken beams draped in sprays of hanging ivy and supported by simple, white, fluted Doric columns. To reinforce the garden feel of the set, Domineaux includes classically shaped cast urns. Another tranquil architectural element available at The Domineaux Effect is the Cottage Dock Set, sold in rustic weathered wood texture or a new, clean look with Adirondack chairs in three matching wood texture options. Extra features include a retractable deck for entertaining, two different types of coolers, light and radio controls, and a vintage boat in a subtle, sun-bleached wood texture, softly grayed from


the elements. Domineaux is most proud of the little vintage boat, saying, “It was a unique challenge for me, the motor in particular. I learned a lot making that, as it is such a different style of modeling than I’ve become used to.” One of the hallmarks of The Domineaux Effect, along with playful lines and relaxing subject matter, is a deep devotion to detail. Whether it’s the engine on her vintage boat or the perfectly formed sash window lock in her soulful and charming new build, The Old Orchard Cottage, Prospero’s eye for detail is evident everywhere, and reinforces the verisimilitude created by her skill. While describing her floating island, Domineaux says, “There is something really appealing to me about a floating island up and away from the madness that we loosely refer to as ‘Civilization’.” These words might describe her entire brand… The Domineaux Effect offers all the elements of an oasis, a space free of stress and toil. It’s all about relaxation, leisure and escape. Whether you need that perfect low stone garden wall for the orchard behind your SL dwelling or are looking for a reading nook to finish off the meadow under your skybox, The Domineaux Effect is a great place to find what you’re looking for--uou’ll find that perfect Classic Patio Set or Park Bench waiting for

you. And who knows? You may even run into Domineaux herself, rearranging her parklike homestead or ranting about LOD to friends. Visit the Domineaux Effect in-world at Sunset Riviera [186.142.26].


Perspectives

Are you a metaverse citizen? Writer Huckleberry Hax Photographer Ziki Questi

A

couple of Facebook posts by friends of mine recently have got me thinking about the notion of Second Life® citizenship: that is to say, the issue of being an SL® citizen as opposed to just an SL resident. We’re all of us SL residents, I suppose; but which of us are citizens? What does an SL citizen do (or not do) that’s different from a plain resident? Is it even possible to draw any sort of meaningful distinction at all?

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Before political philosophers set about brutalizing me with rolledup copies of Hobbes’ Leviathan, I should add the disclaimer that the complex technicalities of whether or not it’s actually possible to be a citizen within an essentially nongovernment locality (let alone a virtual one) such as SL aren’t really of particular interest to me right now. I’m just assuming that it is. I’m sure there are arguments that could be mounted both for and against the notion that Linden Lab’s authority over SL is comparable to some sort of real life governmental structure. If it is, of course, it’s a decidedly non-democratic structure. In SL, we don’t reside in a world where we have any sort of say over decision-making at the top: so long as it doesn’t actually break the law, Linden can pretty much do whatever it wants to with its world and there’s no five-yearly ballot box for us to clobber them with if they get things massively wrong. For the purposes of this discussion, then, we reside in a virtual community, albeit one which few of us might seek out politically in real life. That said, in exchange for being able to fly, teleport instantly from place to place and create objects out of thin air, I might well be tempted to surrender my voting rights. So what would differentiate someone who was an SL resident and citizen from someone who was just an SL resident? In real world legal terms, the distinction is relatively straightforward: a resident simply lives in a place, whereas a citizen has numerous additional rights. These include

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the right to continue living in the place for as long as one wishes and the right to vote in elections. But neither of these elements have any relevance to SL: none of us have any right to reside there and – as I’ve mentioned already – we have no political system in which to participate. At an emotional level, however, it could be argued that citizenship is about more than just the possession of rights. Being able to stay in a place for as long as you want and having a say in its administration could be said to be fundamental elements to a sense of belonging. Perhaps, then, a citizen – fundamentally – is a person who both resides in a place and has a greater – a more valid – sense of belonging in it than someone who is just a resident. For sure, sense of belonging is a concept we can apply to SL. There’s something else we could apply also. Citizenship is often spoken of in terms of responsibilities as well as rights. Some of those responsibilities we are required by law to take on – jury duty, for example – whilst some are roles we voluntarily assume – charity work, perhaps, or school governance. When we hear the term ‘a good citizen’, we infer someone who has acted in some way selflessly and with the greater good of the community in mind. In and of itself, of course, the phrase bestows no particular virtue on the mere state of being a citizen – a ‘bad citizen’ would still, presumably, be a citizen – but the implication of this phrase is that a


good citizen is fulfilling their civic duty, somehow; behaving in a manner that citizenship expects. A good citizen ‘gives back’. There are, of course, many ways in which we can give back in SL. Countless people I know give and have given to so many, from building the beautiful sims we love experiencing to organizing and hosting free events to greeting new residents and helping them get their second lives established. I want to take this opportunity to name a few of them: Persephone Phoenix, for running SL’s longest ever open mic poetry event (and, on a more personal level, for teaching me how to write poetry); Jilly Kidd – who has to be perhaps one of the most consistent people I’ve known in SL – for dedicating friendliness and time every week to the Sounds of Poems poetry event and the Wednesday night Writers’ Circle; Philippe Pascal and Karli Daviau, for their work promoting art and the amazing job they did running the weekly ‘Predicate’ improv workshop; Flora Nordenskiold, for pouring endless time and resources into Nordan Art and the Nordan om Jorden blog, her mission to bring a wider audience to metaverse art. And Dizi Bergbahn, my oldest SL friend, for teaching me how to build.

mentioned; getting tied up in knots like that about who we might inadvertently upset, however, is one of the reasons why we so rarely make a fuss about Good Things in life. Recognizing good SL citizens, in fact, is a good deal harder than we like to think it is, a realisation that Linden came to when they abandoned their profile rating system in 2007. Alongside all the genuine positive ratings, came the manipulated ratings: ratings parties, I’m given to understand, is just one example of the way in which the Linden system was abused before it got pulled. It’s hardly an SL-only phenomena: soliciting popularity is something we see all the time on Facebook with those intensely annoying images that extoll some virtue of parents/siblings/offspring/ teachers/the military and then ask you to share if you feel the same way (usually with an added sentence or two to imply you’ll be some sort of heartless bastard if you don’t). Take a moment to consider how much energy, bandwidth and storage capacity is being squandered on these empty statements (a single 50k image viewed by 1% of Facebook’s 800 million users would use up 400GB of bandwidth; that’s 40 times a family 10GB monthly limit): all because people want to feel popular.

This is just a small list of people I know. If I worked my way through my friends list, I’m certain I could find many, many more examples. I did worry a few sentences ago, actually, that some of those people might feel left out by not being

There’s also to consider the old philosophical issue of whether people can actually be genuinely selfless. I give my SL novels away for free on my website, for example; to say I get nothing out of this personally, however, would be

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patently untrue. Getting messages from people who’ve read and enjoyed my books is one of my very favourite things in life. The strategy has also helped build me a small fan base and a reputation in-world – which, in turn, has helped land me such wonderful opportunities as writing for AVENUE. Is just doing stuff for free in and of itself an act of citizenship, or do we need to take into account the wider personal benefits of such actions? Does a cigarette company sponsoring a major sporting event ‘make up’ for the human and economic cost of smoking? When I say ‘consider’, the implication is that such considering would be part of a decision. We’re each of us entitled to our own decisions on whether the actions of a resident constitute good SL citizenship, of course. Beyond that, though, do we actually need any sort of system which decides on or measures positive acts? Or is the issue of SL citizenship not a debate about how appropriate recognition should be delivered, but one instead of highlighting our own responsibility to give something back if we are committed to the future of the metaverse? The recent story of Linden pulling the plug on its JIRA bug reporting system has caused quite a number of bloggers to speculate that the end is now finally approaching for SL. They might be right. It annoys me, however, when authors use issues such as this as a personal platform from which to seek attention and glorify themselves, such as the

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blogger who declared now was the time for everyone to cash in all their Lindens and leave. Angry mob tactics never did all that much for me. A far more intellectual exploration of this issue, however, came from Fleep Tuque. Tuque argues in this post that our personal responsibility lies not to SL, but to the metaverse as a whole; that SL is ultimately only the first step in an online evolution. There, after all, are lots of online worlds out there now. I’ve spent a little time looking around in InWorldz myself and was impressed at how far it had come since its early days. In fact, InWorldz is run by a company just like Linden runs SL. Of potentially far greater significance is the OpenSim project, a metaverse effectively run by the people who use it. Perhaps, then, the metaverse government we don’t have in SL is closer than we think elsewhere. The issue of SL citizenship, then, becomes one of metaverse citizenship. Whilst the decay of SL is something we will all feel sadness over, this could ultimately become the issue which forces us to look elsewhere and to broaden our consideration of what it is to be a citizen of online worlds. If you want to be regarded as a metaverse citizen, then, perhaps the best place to start is by asking yourself what you can do to help shape it. Huckleberry Hax writes novels set in Second Life®. You can download these for free from www. huckleberryhax.blogspot.com


Interiors

The Courtyard Urban Spaces in Autumn

Writers Umberto Giano and Neva Crystall Photographer Neva Crystall

U

rban living is all about lifestyle. It’s about the desire to live life in the fast lane - or at least in fast-paced surroundings – combining elements both trendy and traditional. Grand old brownstones with funky flats sandwiched between new construction and retrofitted warehouses offering contemporary, open spaces. While higher density urban lifestyles come with amenities like more shopping, culture and charm, along with character and views not found in the suburbs and large estates, there is also a loss of privacy.


Similarly, in Second Life, those opting for more compact living in edgier urban abodes sacrifice privacy and large open green spaces. The solution in both worlds, of course, is the courtyard. Courtyards provide privacy and limited outdoor space in situations where space is at a premium. They integrate the use and relationship of the exterior with the functions of the interior. Regardless of their size, courtyards are intimate spaces that are appreciated both from within the courtyard itself and from the windows facing the courtyard, so keep both perspectives in mind when decorating. This interconnectedness of indoor and outdoor space is a constant, and, since there is no “bad” weather in SL, all should take advantage of it, using a fun mix of indoor décor with outdoor furnishings. Instead of the typical weather-proofed wicker or wrought iron, why not an indoor table with linens? Surround it with assorted side chairs strategically placed in a quaint paved courtyard setting, and your outdoor space transforms into a delightfully unique dining experience for guests. The ultimate realism, however, is achieved from creating a “livedin” feel to your interiors… after all, who lives in a sterile exhibit where nothing ever changes, and clutter never accumulates? No one. A mug of coffee left sitting on the patio café table or a pair of gardening clogs left lying by back door gives your space character and the

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House: metamorphosis by vespertine (MODIFIED), trees: by Forest Floor, autumn decor: by artilleri, wood basket: by d-lab.


Monogram marquee light: by Commoner for The Arcade Gacha Event, animal spice shelf and spices: by Anya Ohmai for The Arcade Gacha Event, Oslo chair: by what next for The Arcade Gacha Event, winebottles and mesh box: by Dutchie.


feeling of a “lived - in” atmosphere. Imagining the lifestyle of the owner of the surroundings, whether it’s yourself or someone else, helps to make your decorating decisions easier and more fun. For example, if you have SL children, leave an overturned toy on the ground or a coloring book flipped open with crayons nearby. Just as they do indoors, plants also add life to your outdoor space, bringing the shapes and textures of nature to your courtyard. Choose furniture that makes your courtyard feel intimate, not crowded. A view of the night sky in the evening is wonderful, but don’t forget indirect night lighting, whether lanterns, recessed lights, even candles... anything that enhances the moonlight and stars without overpowering it. And finally, in autumn, the most important ingredient for a livedin, natural look to your courtyard space is the leaves… ground cover is everything. Create the perfect ambience for your courtyard with leafy carpeting in hues of yellow, orange, and rusty red. My favorites: • artilleri: Autumn leaves groundcover, part of artilleri Autumn decor by Antie Mae • New Trails: Autumn Oak groundcover, part of New Trails Lighted Oak Tree by Vitrail Illios • 3D Trees: autumn trees - fallen leaves by Nadine Reverie

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• 3D Trees: marsh plant summer ground cover (texture can be modified into fall color) by Nadine Reverie • 3D Trees: mossy ground by Nadine Reverie I’ve always loved the idea of giving SL a feeling of realism which is familiar to real life. There is no secret or special skill necessary for this. All you need is passion, love of the task at hand, and attention to detail. (And a certain degree of perfectionism helps, too.) Investing the time needed for a project is just as important as finding an appropriate work space. It’s a privilege to work in a comfortable space, and a real plus when exploring new ideas and styles. Anyone can decorate - what works in RL can also be applied and achieved in SL. It may sound like magic, but the secret is “rezzing objects with emotions and thought.” Selecting furniture and other home accessories that reflect your personality and have meaning for you will create that “lived -in” feeling. It’s simple. Just put your heart into it. Editor’s note: The courtyard and scenery photographed for the spreads in this article are located at the private Sky Village at Neva River sim. Neva Crystall describes the private Sky Village as “sister” community to her design showcase Neva River sim. “I made this as a place to live while Wendy and I work on our latest concept for Neva River sim,” explains Neva Crystall.

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BBQ grill: by RC, can light: by Dutchie, fag of logs: by The Loft, hamster home: by BB for The Arcade Gacha Event, empty bowls: by iTuTu, piggy bank: by Sway’s red for The Arcade Gacha Event, this old desk. white table: by ililo, bucket, broom, brush: by atmosphere works, adelines mysterious closet: by vespertine for The Arcade Gacha Event, Dolly washer, shelf, sink, dryer: by LISP, baskets: by Y’s HOUSE.


Ivy: by FG, Pandora’s wooden legs: by Art Dummy for The Arcade Gacha Event, The Levine radio: by artilleri, small wooden stool: by iTuTu.


“I am pretty amazed and surprised at how it has evolved and changed throughout the months. From what started as just a ‘humble’ refuge for me and my SL family, it is now a home for us with each house reflecting our individual tastes and flair. The Sky Village is never really done – most recently we’ve added a café and gallery – and the more we use it and live there, the more it feels like a true home away from home.”

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Featured Artist

Subject Object From

to

Writer Quan Lavender Photographer Gabrielle Swindlehurst

H

ow do you feel about your avatar? Is it you, or a doll you play with? Photographer Gabrielle Swindlehurst started taking photos during her roleplaying and socializing days in Second Life™. Swindlehurst believes that we naturally grow in this role: “My first picture, (as) must be the case for most of us on SL, had to be for my profile. We seem to feel some touching pride in our appearance, which is hilarious when we see how bad we actually looked a few years back. But if you get to see people’s RL portraits I find that often, people DO bear a resemblance to their avatars. The mouth, their eyes or haircolour, how tall they are... I remember in my early days on SL, I was so eager to have my avatar look her best that I decided to change to different shoes in the middle of a party. I accidentally hit “replace” instead of “wear” and I found myself naked and bald in red shoes in the middle of a crowd. And I panicked, I teleported out, my heart was racing. The SHAME of it!” Swindlehurst laughs.


Having fun with photography was only the next, natural step. But she doesn’t just post snapshots. Swindlehurst says: “The photos are often about 20% of the work. The real challenge is to take an imperfect picture and turn it into something that you like. Sometimes, they are so modified, you can barely recognize them. The snapshot is like my brute material. Like a chunk of wood for a sculptor. I like the idea that the picture could come out thousands of different ways once you start working with it. But somehow, by using this texture, removing this tree, adding this tinge of yellow or blurring this part, you end up having something that looks just right to you. Sometimes I go back to it for several days. Sometimes it wakes me at night! But it’s not obvious. I would say that I am only happy with 30% of all I do.” Swindlehurst is a very introverted, self-critical person. It took her some time to dare posting her photos, not only self-portraits, on Flickr. The positive feedback she received surprised her and encouraged her to do more: “It feels like my day has been well spent, you know? I get such a feeling of achievement when I create something I KNOW is good. And then of course the feedback; it’s like a drug, a confirmation and a reward. It’s hugely motivating and often the only thing that makes me feel special. Something more than doing what needs to be done, you know. I can’t be idle anymore!” But using the avatar as model changed her relationship to it. Nowadays she uses “her” when talking about the avatar: “I feel a certain fondness for Gab. She is not me,

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she is the doll I use to portray the “woman”. If someone wants to take pictures, they select a model that meets their aesthetic standards. Gabrielle meets mine, I suppose. I felt I could make her express what I wanted to. The poor dear has been looking horribly lonely, vulnerable and been subjected to all kind of things. She has also been naked a lot. But I have no problems making her look weird.” The growing success of her Flickr stream led to sales of her photos in Second Life and new experiences. She took part in Pitsch Parx’s project ‘Inspiration Book’. Vogue Italy accepted her as one of their few Second Life photographers. A couple of her works are to be seen on Vogue’s webpage. Still, she feels flattered by positive feedback for her work and keeps her prices low. And it amuses her to learn about the impact of her pictures in some virtual homes: A resident shared with her that she saw a picture of a nude avatar looking into the camera in her new boyfriend’s bedroom. She relaxed when she saw that it was taken by Swindlehurst. An old friend told her that he had brought a potential girlfriend to his skybox, where he had one of her works, depicting her naked avatar, over his bed. The woman had fallen silent and then said: ‘She must love you very much!’ Swindlehurst laughs: “I must be hated around SL!” From the beginning of her collaboration for the Gallery Gift Shop, her work has gradually changed from portraits to objects and neutral motifs: patterns, bodies, the back of an avatar,

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structures or landscapes. “I am not sure that people want other avatars’ faces behind their sofa, if you see what I mean. It is often too personal. I would not necessarily want the face of a stranger on my walls.” Swindlehurst has a passion for interior design and home decoration in RL and on SL. She likes creating pictures for virtual homes and loves the idea of people enjoying them. The current result is her first gallery exhibition. ‘Americana’ is a tribute to the sims of the largest community in Second Life. “I fell in love with a flag and suddenly, I thought of all the great sims I had visited that were themed about a location in America. And I started to revisit them. I was happy because they were all so different in colours and moods. And yet they fitted around the theme.” The exhibition found much appreciation with visitors. Some pictures are obviously influenced by the famous American painter Edward Hopper. But the range of motifs is broad, from urban to rural. Some reflect the mood of early American pioneers, and this closes the circle to art and artists in Second Life: “We are pioneers. I cannot help but I feel that one day the world will hear about us.” The exhibiton ‘Virtual Americana’ is open until the end of November. Virtual Americana [Shekhawati 215.28.35].

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Arts Feature

Photo by Anita Witt


Female Art at

MetaLES

Writer Quan Lavender Photographer Annough Lykin and Anita Witt

O

ur virtual lives can create fairy tales. Romy Nayar and Ux Hax are both Spanish, both live in Paris, and both are, in their real lives, connected to art – but they met in Second LifeŽ.

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Ux Hax: “I entered Second Life for which I was invited to play at a music festival called the Moebius Surfing Festival, which in 2007 was a very advanced music festival. It mixed through the audio-video stream, as both Second Life and real life, enjoying public in both worlds. I like this tool and resulted in the creation of Geometry of Sound.” Romy Nayar :” My entry to Secondlife was purely coincidental, trying something new from what I had heard. No doubt from the outset what caught my attention was the ability to build everything here could not do in RL, no limits, no gravity, the possibilities were limitless construction.” They love the boundless international cooperation. And they regard the mix of cultures as truly enriching both their first and Second Life.

Romy Nayar, Maya Paris, Shellina Winckler, Rebeca Bashly, Cherry Manga, Fuschia Nigthfire, Anley Piers and Selavy Oh. The idea behind the installations is to give one artist each month the chance to create a single environment with their work, undisturbed by other structures--which is fundamental to the aesthetics of the installations and a key ingredient in their success.

Both had separate projects in Second Life when they met, and still have. But it wasn’t long before they knew that they would want to work together: “We decided to put all our energy in Second Life using 3D as a tool, combining with external programs. What we really like is the creation of imagined worlds, where the viewer feels enveloped by the same magic of imagination. The compatibility of our characters has made teamwork a great pleasure. And we complement our various roles at work.” Together, Nayar and Hax run the gallery sim MetaLES, which features the work of female artists in Second Life. MetaLES hosts successful and well-received monthly installations, and has featured the work of Bryn Oh,

Romy Nayar currently exhibits her third installation at MetaLES. The first two were a huge success, especially “Papermakis”, a cute little world of paper, ink and letters. Her installations look playfully childlike, but there’s always a deeper subtext on closer viewing. Romy Nayar smiles: “Well, basically I think I’m still a little girl. I love to create childhood worlds; which often reflect…harsh reality.” Her current work “Tim’s Dreams” is, again, about the subject of childhood. “As for the theme, continuing in my line...trying to create an atmosphere a little childish, dark and magical. ‘Tim’s Dreams’ is the story of a small child who never liked to sleep…because he knew that someone was coming to steal his dreams.”

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Asked them if they believe there are any differences between male and female art, Nayar and Hax say that one can see if a man or a woman is behind the artwork, but in the end, our recognition of it is the same, and art itself has no gender—but for the two women, it felt natural to support the work of female artists.


“Tim’s Dreams” is Nayar’s first work in mesh; she says that she finds sculpts far better than mesh, with much more inherent possibility, while commenting that the steep learning curve and more advanced external software make it much more difficult to master. “For me, it is better to build in mesh for its quality. The technique of the installation is very well mixed between sculpts, prims and mesh,” she says. And as to fairy tales, Ux Hax smiles: “We met in Second Life. Quickly get along very well and slowly we realized that our interests were similar and there came everything else.” They became not a couple not only in Second Life – but also in real life. ‘Tim’s Dreams’ is open until October 30 at MetaLES [244.244.21].

Photo by Anita Witt

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Arts Feature


T Chouchou Tower of Babel An Experience with

Writer Isadora Fiddlesticks Photographer Piedra Lubitsch

hree years ago this month, Japanese duo Chouchou unveiled a musical art installation called The Babel. The name refers to the Biblical tale of a high and majestic tower that was built to reach the heavens. Chouchou’s Babel, in their sim Islamey, is also a tower and a staircase of sorts, but further meant to introduce another revolution in how we react and interact with music today.


The Babel as a structure is a free-floating series of stairs, making 90-degree turns around a central point, progressing upward toward the heavens, surrounded by black, floating boxes, set against a backdrop of radiant white. It is a curious and towering thing, and very interactive. When it was launched, it was wellreviewed by SL art and music critics, notably being singled out for praise by Bettina Tizzy of the now-defunct “Not Possible In Real Life” (NPIRL) blog. The sheer size of the structure is somewhat daunting; the towering scale of it means that ascending will take a while, but the upward climb of the stairs, and the interactivity, encourage exploration. The Babel consists in part of one of Arabesque Choche’s compositions, with each of the floating black boxes representing a single note from a given instrument, and blocks arranged in oblongs representing a longer section of the tune, all of which you can click at any order. The voice of Juliet Heberle, the singing half of Chouchou, also appears in snippets that you can play with. For a fee, you can buy the desired parts of the compositions, customize it yourself, and put it into your machinima or use as ambient music for your sim. Bettina Tizzy said in her blog that The Babel “marks a novel step” in terms of technical and musical possibilities, which is what Chouchou set out to do…and achieved with great artistry.

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Part of Chouchou’s motivation for creating The Babel was to unite people through music; they believe that while we’re separated by language and culture, music is universal. Their hope is that through The Babel, we can communicate through music and be united once more through it (a nice inversion of the story of the Tower of Babel, in which human languages were confused and made mutually unintelligible as punishment for daring to reach for the heavens). Juliet Heberle and Arabesque Choche are rare gems in music, using their art in an effort to dissolve the borders of cultural difference Because of this, The Babel is much more than an interactive art installation with fancy music. When you go to The Babel, you’re free to not only listen, but to create your own musical experience through the interactivity of the installation… and to communicate it to others. The freedom of creativity and the ability to share it is the reward of exploration, along with the knowledge that, through music, we are all one. Visit the Babel at Chouchou XVI [200.200.2000].


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AVENUE Magazine October 2012