It’s both a treat and an inspiration when I run across creative and effective new ways of communicating in the metaverse, and musician Grace McDunnough has done just that, with her new Second Life “Musimmersion” experience.
Music by its basic nature is a communication medium that can touch a range of senses and ways of knowing, and the best of music moves us into interior spaces where the world takes on hues and dimensions that can cast fresh light on our everyday experience. Musimmersion accomplishes that in a Second Life ground-breaking way.
The idea of a more immersive musical experience developed as one of the more notable legacies of the 60s (Mal Burns’ review of Grace’s performance describes this aspect well), with the light shows done at live and often improvisational rock concerts. More recently, raves seem to attempt to recapture some of that 60s flavor, and there are also the more formal “performance art” pieces that combine diverse elements of spacial and performance arts in novel ways. Music videos and film both spin off the use of special effects – but lack the emotional energy and spontenaeity of live performance.
What Grace has done is to create a series of virtual “sets,” each reflecting a specific song (using a number of well-known cover tunes with strong visual themes, such as “Starry Night,” “Nights in White Satin,” “Whiter Shade of Pale,” and “Eleanor Rigby,” along with a few of her originals), through which the audience literally moves. Because it’s 3D, and because Second Life avatars can move their point of view at will, you can look at the setting from different angles and distances as you listen to Grace’s powerful interpretations of the music. Adding some tasteful use of particle and motion effects increases the surprise and engagement. The resulting synergy is, indeed, immersive, making for a lasting impression far beyond the hour-long show.
I was able to catch both a private preview show on Saturday, and a public show on Sunday – aside from soaking up the immersive experience a second time with a different group, I was able to catch some of the special effects that failed to rez on the first round, and to take a bunch of pictures… here.
Just like I can’t tell you what a strawberry tastes like if you’ve never eaten one, I can only encourage you to catch a performance over the next week or so, while Grace has use of the current location. I’d also bet she’d love to hear from you if you have open sim space coming up! Because of how it works, the performances are first come first seated, and limited toabout 20 people per show, so arrive early!
Hats off to you, Grace – well done!