Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More on Portfolios

Three New Things to Think about for Your Design Portfolios

1. NOTECARDS—As you move around Second Life, you will notice that notecards are one way to communicate a chunk of information. For example, when you arrive at the Clemson Teaching site, you usually get a note card asking you to create a note card listing your favorite sites in 2L. (Making a note card is very easy—Go into your Inventory, and click on CREATE and select NEW NOTE.) This is not an assignment to make note cards in 2L—instead I want you to think about what notecards should be made to inform people about the site you are proposing. The other class can make the actual cards, but you guys know what should be on them. SO part of your design portfolio should be to list the note cards that should be posted at your site, and write the actual text of them.

2. GUIDE FIGURES – Once these sites are built in 2L, there will be a certain amount of random traffic: people who don’t know much if anything about Woolf or Eliot. In additional to notecards, we may want to create guide avatars who can show strangers through the site. Who should be the guide avatar for your site? What would they look like? What information would they offer? What could they invite people to fo? How could they teach them more about Woolf and Eliot?

3. INTERACTIVITY – I am developing a theory that there are three levels of presenting material in 2L
a. POSTING—this s just like the web: you post information: on billboards, in notecards etc.
b. HOSTING – this is more interactive and 3-D. It involves createing actual 3D virtual sites such as the Sistine Chapel and the Globe Theater where people can roam about. Our sites were orginally convceived at this level.
c. QUESTING – this is the level where you create mini-games or quests that pull people into learning more about the concepts and history you are trying to present. The best examples of this I’ve seen are The Archetypal Cavern Site by Elioise Pasteur which sets up a quest through a cavern where youhave to read notecards in order to pass through to the next area in the cavern, and the Virtual Hallucinations site which teaches about schizophrenia by having your avatar actually experience hallucinations. Check these out and see if you can find other sites with this level of interactivity.
What I want you to do is to think creatively about what kind of interactive quests/ games etc could be invented to guide people through your site and teach them important things about it, about Eliot and Woolf, and about Modernist literary culture in general.

Assignment Design Portfolio

Here is the actual Assignmnet I gave to my students in my senior seminar on TS Eliot and Virignia Woolf:

Each member of the seminar will do research on and compile a portfolio of design specifications, including images of a particular location or aspect of material culture associated with Woolf or Eliot that will illustrate as fully as possible what the objects or location should look like in Second Life. You are not responsible for actually constructing things in 2L; that will be done by another class. But you will be providing the research they need to make their creations accurate and authentic. Depending on the size and complexity of your project, these may be done by individuals of teams. Possible class projects include:

  • The Omega Workshop – (a collaborative interior decoration firm founded by Roger Fry; we would use it in 2L as a storefront, display area for exhibiting and selling products designed by Clemson students) what did the building look like? What did it look like inside? What did the show rooms look like? What about the workrooms? What did the products look like: Furniture, fabrics, clothing? (each of these could be a separate individual project)
  • Monk’s House (Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s country home in Sussex; pictures are available of the living room, and I have maps and dozens of photographs of the garden)
  • Asham (Virginia’s earlier country home in Sussex, shared with her sister Vanessa. Now destroyed—replaced by a cement factory and chalk mine—building this in Second Life will allow Woolf scholars and students around the world to visit an important location no longer available in real life. Many pictures and paintings of the outside exist, plus a few interior photos. I have ordinance survey maps)

Parts of Second Life Project:

  • Avatar Creation (5%) get into 2L; create an avatar, get to the point that you can move around 2L without falling down all the time. Extra credit for avatars which look like Eliot or Woolf or other modernist figures or characters in their work. Due in-class W, Sep 17.
  • Site Research/2L Models (5%) Explore 2L and the Web. Make a list of landmarks of sites you find that you think may be useful models for aspects of what we want to do in 2L—this includes educational sites that are well organized to get students involved and thinking about topics, sites that incorporate aspects of Modernism or London, or websites that it would be particularly good to link to —anything that helps you think about the Woolf World project. If you are building a garden, this might include sites that have nice plants or sell or give away plants. You want to find sites in addition to the ones I have already listed on my blog. We will visit these sites together on Sept 17. You should have a write up of at least 7-10 sites, complete with SLURL’s and a brief paragraph (see my blog at: ) annotating each site. At least 5 must be from 2L.
  • Actual Design Portfolio (15%) This portfolio should contain an overview of your project, a written explanation of it significance and history, any maps or designs you found or made, a consideration of which features are most important to replicate, and as many illustrations as you could find that show what it really looked like. You can organize this anyway you want to, but it should contain at least 1250 wds (5 pages) or written text. You can also include any useful 2L models and speculations/suggestions about how this site could be used in 2L.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Some Models in 2L

I have been exploring sites in Second Life that would be particularly good models of what we want to do in WoolfWorld Here are some of my favorites:

Second Life Literary Sites:

·The SL Globe Theatre - Home of the Second Life Shakespeare Company (23, 37, 21)
This site reproduces Shakespeare's globe theater in London. You can walk around most of it.
They do performances you can see and even film. Cannot get on the stage, however. I was thinking this might be great for student to perform in costume. Bet we could contact owners.

Literature Alive! and The School Store
This site has a bunch of different sites with literary connections--the Archetypal Cavern site, another cave where you search for terms defining Gothic Literature, a site celebrating Gloria Naylor's Mama Day etc. etc. A number of sites built by Eloise Pasteur. Headquarters has some useful freebies, especially for neewbies. The School store also has some freebies.

· The Archetypal Cavern, Cevert (141, 88, 51)
The Archetypal Cavern is an excellent example of t he kind of interactive sites that Eloise Pasteur sets up. As you move through the labyrinthine cavern, there are open trunks, empty pots, and hidden scrolls with information defining aspects of literary theory and archetypal theory, a hero’s quest where participants can earn Linden$ by submitting notecards, and informative personifications of various goddesses, information about whom you need to know to get into each part of the cave.

The British Literature Classroom, Education UK (72, 73, 22)
This site has 14 different assignments on topics from Beowulf to Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets; 2L links go to web sites. Also a number of literary paintings with explicatory notecards.

The Willow Tea Room and Courtyard, Babbage Square (208, 226, 108)
This site is a good example of a gathering place designed to evoke a particular context in art history. This tearoom looks like it was designed by and exhibits the work of Scottish art nouveau artist Charles Rennie Macintosh.

Rachelville, Imagination Island (117, 179, 25)
This is a site focused on children and children's literature as well as bereavement info for those suffering loss of a child. It currently has lots of resources for teaching children about Mexico and Cinco Del Mayo, but that may be because I visited it on May 2. Here is a quotation from one of their note cards about other resources:
"Just west of the Plaza is the "Castle of Dreams." It is a place with resources on castles, dungeons and contains a large collection of resources on classic children's literature. Teleporting magic carpets within the castle will move you about. "

Second LifeArt Sites:

Sistine Chapel Re-Creation, Vassar (222, 96, 30)

This virtual re-creation of the Sistine Chapel is even more fun in Second Life because you can fly all around it, up to the architraves, and see every detail close up.

Virtual Starry Night - Vincent's, Luctesa (209, 181, 40)

One of the finest art sites in 2L, this collection of 70 VanGogh paintings from museums all over the world includes 3D renditions of a number
of works, including a pool hall and bedroom you can walk around in, a drawbridge you can walk across, an outdoor café in a plaza near the yellow house where you can sit, and at the top of a long stairway in the plaza, a view over the village in Starry Night.

Dresden Gallery - by Anshe Chung, Dresden Gallery (210, 175, 30)
This immense site collects a huge number of old masters in carefully rendered surroundings

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I've spent the last month or two coming up to speed in Second Life. Now that I've had time to look around and am beigining to learn how to make things, I am beginning to fold into Second Life not only my interest in Virginia Woolf, but also my long-time activity as a printmaker, specializing in color-reduction woodcuts. )*

My Second Life avatar (Brittomart Recreant)** has recently bought a domain and begun to build a web site: Displayed on that web site is a gallery of my prints, many of which incorporate ideas and images assoicated with either Virginia Woolf or Georgia O'Keeffe, or both. I have begun to upload some of these images into Second Life both as items for interior decoration (framed images to hang on walls) and as textures for making unusual clothing. Eventually, such items will be for sale at the Omega Workshop, but for now, leave me a message in Second Life if you'd lke to see/get copies of these. Some prints are on display in 2L on the first floor left of Tillman Hall, Clemson University, Teaching

*A color-reduction woodcut is made from a single piece of wood. You begin by cutting away anything you want to leave white (or the color of your paper). Then you print your lightest color, carve away anything you want to remain that color, and print your new darkest color. And so on. In addition to carving, you can make marks on the wood in a variety of ways: by raising the grain with a stiff wire brush, by pounding or dragging objects such as nails or chains or other metal shapes into the wood, or by using power tools such as dremels. Most of my color wood cuts have 4-8 layers. When you finish, all that is left on the wood is the surface for the very last color you printed.

**Brittomart is a character in Spenser's Fairie Queene: the hero of Book III, she represents the virtue of Chastity, which I see more as a form of autonomy than an injunction to be celibate. (One of the first things she does is fall in love with a vision of Artegal--the Knight of Justice and hero of Book V). For Spenser, the name suggested a warrior maid of Britain, ie. Queen Elizabeth I. I inadvertently misspelled her name when I created my avatar, adding an extra t--which turned out to be a good thing as it made her fairly unique -- on google as well as in Second Life.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

2L Group

If you are interested in this Second Life project, you may want to join my "Friends of Virginia Woolf" group in Second Life. We aren't doing much yet, just existing, but would welcome active members.