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UWA Storms Second Life Arts Pantheon

by Metaverse Press
Published January 9, 2010

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3D Art, Building Design & Machinima Competitions

One week before the 21st August 09 launch on the 3 SIMS representing the University of Western Australia (UWA), the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge was conceived and set in  motion by Professor Ted Snell (RL – Director of the UWA Cultural Precinct) and Jayjay Zifanwe (SL – owner of the UWA Sims).

Audaciously planned to run for an entire year till August 2010, it was a huge gamble by relative  newcomers to Second Life™.  The competition started with a modest total prize  pool of just under $L50,000, a little over $L4,000 for every month for both the IMAGINE portion of the competition (3D Art) and the FLAGSHIP portion of the competition (Building Design).

From those humble beginnings, 4 short months saw the meteoric rise of the challenge such that the prize pool increased to $L450,000, the listing of the Challenge on the Linden showcase, and the CEO of Linden Labs becoming a member of the judging panel.

Incredible pieces have taken the monthly titles for this year long challenge, with ‘Our Souls Collide’ by Snubnose Genopeak taking the first of the IMAGINE prizes. Since then, SL Art luminaries Bryn Oh & Glyph Graves have taken the major prizes with ‘Willow’ and ‘Tendrils’ respectively. The top 2 finishers every month will go into consideration by the expanded judging panel for the Grand Prize, and so all these past winners can be seen here:

The number of entries have also steadily increased rising from 34 in September to 69 in December. Another crucial aspect of second life has also been brought to bear by this challenge, and that is the coming together of peoples from many nations. As of right now the competition has hit 6 continents with Artists & Builders hailing from Canada, the USA, the UK, Scotland, England, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Serbia, Tunisia, Germany, Japan and Australia. Commenting on this, Challenge founder Jayjay Zifanwe said, “If we get an entry from Antarctica, we will have circumnavigated the earth!”

There is a lot of time for anyone interested in this to prepare a piece of work for the challenge, as it runs through August 2010, with monthly prizes being awarded as a regular announcement party hosted at the UWA Sim. A notecard will full info to this challenge which carries a grand prize of L$75,000 for each of the IMAGINE and FLAGSHIP Challenges can be picked up at this location in Second Life™.

Commenting on the experience, co-host and curator of the Challenge, quadrapop Lane said, “I was honoured to accept the challenge of co-hosting the Imagine and Flagship Challenges. I’ve enjoyed the experience, building, promoting and most of all discovering the level of talent in the SL artworld. I’ve met some lovely people and learnt a few lessons along the way. I’m looking forward to this year – it promises to be busy!”

Encouraged by this success, and with the support of UWA SIM Artist in Residence, and Curator and Lead of the Burning Life Art Department, White Lebed, a machinima challenge (MachinimUWA) with a $L60,000 1st Prize was also launched. Closing date for entries for MachinimUWA is the 31st of January.

In a nutshell, the brief for MachininUWA  is to display the 4 main elements of the UWA SIMS, which are the Arts, Teaching, Research and Architecture. According to Jayjay, the scope of this challenge was decidedly narrower than that of the IMAGINE and FLAHSIP challenges as through MachinimUWA they are attempting to break through the divide between SL & RL in the university in particular and the education sector in general, in an attempt to have SL seen as a mainstream educational tool. To this end, Professor Alan Robson, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia has been invited to sit on the judging panel.

For full details of MachininUWA, contact Jayjay Zifanwe in-world or see visit the website here for more information.

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