The Palace Of Performing Particles

On arrival at The Particle Palace in Cookie, one can be forgiven for forgetting what Second Life® has long become famous, or notorious for, the free sex areas, the malls, the clubs and wondering, has Second Life® lost its way? By stepping into The Particle Palace and choosing the lift to all the different galleries and exhibitions, you are reminded of the purpose for which Second Life® was intended – content creation, as a forum for imagination, creativity, self expression. The Particle Palace hits the spot based on this criteria and is a fine example of what the mainstream media glare has been missing all this time in their coverage of virtual world’s to-date. The Particle Palace is reminiscent of a spectacular firework extravaganza with amazing attention to detail, with the world set to midnight there is a distinct feeling that nothing else exists while you are in the moment.

Aloah Oh, creator of The particle Palace, began experimenting in sandboxes in-world, like so many others, to learn scripting and building, particle scripting being of particular interest. There was also a level of texturing using Photoshop involved in Aloah’s work. From this came the idea of particle sculptures. “Years before in Real Life we made a series of fire sculptures. The same principles applied, the aim wasn’t to make, for example a huge bunny, and burn it, it was to explore the inherent properties of fire itself. After a few trials we found we could make flames any colour. We made red hot pits of coals and huge plumes of burning gas. We filled balloons with hydrogen and floated them up before exploding them. We toured the festivals dressed as firebirds and joined with fire jugglers and breathers… Back in Second Life® it was clear that the virtual world had numerous other possibilities too, and as a bonus I wasn’t handling noxious chemicals or getting myself burned.”

Aloah Oh was invited to Cookie, and has been there for the past few months. Space was a problem so the garden was created at ground level to blend roughly with the neighbours. An exhibition space was placed just below the clouds and would officially become the palace but there were not enough prims available to go as far Aloaha wished to go. Higher up, there is the dragon, an early piece, which if you befriend it will do lots of wonderful things for you, and then there are experimental galleries. Aloah’s latest pieces are the bottles, some of which contain over twenty different particle effects and respond to touch and movement. For Aloaha, it didn’t end here in Cookie, “As space has run out I am increasingly interested in taking part in Second Life® exhibitions, and the NPIRL (Not Possible In Real Life) Garden was the most unique and wonderful opportunity I have had yet.”

Josephina Bonetto

Written: 26 May 2008