Friday, October 26, 2018

Scenes From Burn2

By Bixyl Shuftan

 Second Life has a number of yearly events, but one of the longest lasting and best known is Burn2. The biggest art and music festival inworld, it's the virtual version of the Burning Man festival which takes place every summer in the Black Rock desert in Nevada. It has a noted place in Second Life's beginnings as some of Linden Lab's staff, including Philip Rosedale's staff attended in the company's early days, and had a partial inspiration on the concept of Second Life. The Lab would subsidize it's counter part event inworld, at first called Burning Life, by providing them the sims free of charge. But after several years, the Lab stopped, and the volunteer group began paying for the sims themselves, renaming the event Burn2.

The entrance to the event is in the Deep Hole sim, where one appears on a road with a few buildings nearby.

 Near the entrance was a memorial sign for Ladyslipper Constantine, whom was one of the more notable members of the Lamplighters group, until her passing in September 2016.

There was also a memorial to Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, whom died on April 28 this year. But the yearly festival he created, and it's virtual reflection, go on.

Burn2, as does Burning Man, has a different theme every year. In one building were posters of previous celebrations.

This year's theme is "I, Robot." The name comes from the science-fiction novel by Issac Asimov that has influenced thoughts about the idea of fully intelligent robots and computers and how humans might interact with them. Would humans treat them as slaves, give them the same rights as they had, or something in between? Would the robots eventually revolt and try to take over, justify their position of service to themselves and continue on, or something else? The artists were asked to make exhibits to express some of their thoughts, and there were a number that ranged from hopeful to cautionary to amusing.

"Welcome home," how Burners greet people dropping in.

It was a little late when I had finally dropped in, so the two greeters were dancing to amuse themselves. They still saw me and greeted me with a welcome.

There were some free gifts available, such as a translator.

The first exhibit I saw was of robots waiting at the repair shop to be fixed.

This artistic build wasn't quite with the robotic theme, but it was pretty. Relaxing music could be heard inside. Inside was a table with seats around it, where one could have some tea or a fruity drink.

 A few other builds didn't quite reflect the main theme either.

 But others did, such as this one showing automations taking items to work.

 This Ranger station had a few robots on guard.

"The Cavern," a DJ place that was empty when I saw it, looking like an abandoned area.

 The theme this place had was one of the cautionary ones.

The story behind this exhibit was of a future in which robots conclude humanity as a whole is a danger to itself and the world, and needs to be changed to become more like it's creation.

One place had dust clouds in the air, which would be at the real-life event.

Are these robots engaging in some kind of devil worship, or are they just fans of "metal" music?

 A robot wrestling match, where the contestants really do have nerves of steel.

This exhibit looked like a scene from a holodeck, or perhaps inside a computer, a digital robot half-sunken into a surface.

One of the club areas in Burn2: Organica.

It was late at night, but people were dancing away.

One girl was dancing with a neon hula-hoop.

DJ Pink Christole was dancing on top of the booth, encouraging the crowd.

"Eye Robot" is a build in which robots with eyeball-like heads are described as living as equals

 A maze with a spiderlike robot looming overhead.

 This build of robots building a "Mother robot" had a couple free robot avatars.

 And where would Burn2 be without it's "Porto-potties?" In the real life Burning Man, the festival simply couldn't be held without them. In Burn2, they're amusing works of art.

 Not a place to be if you have hydrophobia.

Looks like this one sprung a leak.

The Iron Giant's head and hand.

Probably the central exhibit of the festival is"The Man." This is a large man-shaped build that is burned on the day before the festival ends. This will be tomorrow, Saturday October 27.

This year, "The Man" was built smaller than it often is, though is on a very large base.

Second only to "The Man" is The Temple. It is burned on the final day of the event, this year on Sunday October 28.

It's orange glow inside, particularly under a night sky, give the impression of a huge firey furnace. Not a good place to be inside for either human or robot.

A friend ported me to this "interactive dancing" as she called it,"the women who created it put in a lot of work." Dead Kyra (Kyra Msarko) and Dead Cordie (Cordelia Cerise) led the crowd. "Killer moves!" Kyra told them, "I might have to hire you all!"

One of the more amusing exhibits, robots waving in front of a picture of the Paris Arch of Triumph, with someone placing half a toy in front so it resembles a robot's legs.

The "Metropolis Awakening" exhibit, based on the 1927 silent sci-fi movie of the same name and a sculpture made by J. Steward Johnson, Jr., "The Awakening."

"With respect to these artists I mashed their two ideas together to form 'Metropolis Awakening.' A giant robot inspired by the Metropolis original replacing the statue of The Awakening man, emerging from the Playa. The Playa itself bending in resistance to the emerging robot, becomes part of the sculpture. The back wall and 'Metropolis' sign is a stylistic rendition of the Metropolis movie poster.

Sadly, there is not enough time to post all the pictures I took, including some great ones. They will have to wait until the next article.

Bixyl Shuftan

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