Posts Tagged ‘Ragitake’
My first educational build in Second Life, “Ancient Tahitian House”, is based on the illustration “ A View near Ohamaneno Harbour in Ulitea [Ra’aiatea]”, which is an unsigned pencil drawing attributed to Captain James Cook, who made three highly documented voyages to the South Pacific in the early contact period. Tahiti and her islands were officially “discovered” by Europeans circa 1767.
I decided to go with two content areas I know quite well: ancient Tahitian culture and postmodern media theory/philosophy with a Continental European philosophical grounding. I am from Tahiti and my academic content focus (and master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation) have been on Ancient Tahitian cultural traditions and socio-religious concepts. In addition, I have taken a doctoral level course with Jean Baudrillard himself on thinking the virtual and the real.
I was assisted by my colleague Katherine Watson, who created the scripted stool and headrest in the Tahitian house (fare) based on an illustration I gave her.
They really add to the richness of the house and I had neither the time nor the skill to create those so quickly and perfectly. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Katherine for graciously sharing of her time and expertise. Katherine and I are colleagues at Empire State College of the State University of New York. Our registration at the conference was funded by the college under the auspices of a Charitable Leadership foundation grant to develop high interactive, adult centered online courses in math and science. They include a visualization component, and we have been exploring immersive learning design under this project. See the following website for more information on the preliminary work under this grant: http://www4.esc.edu/smart/.
I’d also like to thank Desideria Stockon and Eloise Pasteur for providing us with this wonderful opportunity to create, discuss, learn and reflect with a focus on designing immersive learning environments. This has been one of the most fabulous studio sessions I have taken (and I have done many) in both RL and SL. Brava, Desi and Eloise.
Due to time constraints, I simply tried to communicate as accurately as possible the gist of the buildings and space and a couple of artifacts. As you can see from the illustration, it is a passable rendering. However, some points to consider:
I didn’t have time to research building materials and methods, and either find or create accurate textures. There is extensive documentation, as well as archaeological findings, on early Tahitian material culture. If I were to do this right (which I hope to do in the near future), I would carefully re-construct the home as accurately as possible based on the writings and findings and use a number of other illustrations to guide me.
I also didn’t have time to research textural details, such as: is this the right matting style? How do I create the fringe? Where can I find something that resembles the appropriate materials? Is there anywhere in SL with some Tahitian style Tapa (bark cloth) or would I have to create it? How were these elements really placed in the home?
I did the best I could to quickly find a stone texture that looked somewhat like the stone used in photographs representing Tahitian builds. There are many of those available. If I were doing this “right”, I would also consider: what types of stones were native to Tahiti at the time, and what stonemasonry methods were used? How might I replicate that?
On using a flat drawing to create a 3D build: It’s difficult to ascertain scale and size from the illustration, as well is what is to the side and behind the building. I can’t see into the building, so the interior display is based on written accounts.
I relied heavily on Douglas Oliver’s Chapter 7 on “Buildings” from his trilogy on Ancient Tahitian Society, which is a phenomenal resource based on all primary and secondary sources on early Tahitian and surrounding Polynesian cultures. Due to time constraints, I did not apply the number of the written commentaries on building materials, methods and interior décor, relying solely on the illustration and a few key points.
Oliver, Douglas L. Ancient Tahitian Society. Three Vols. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
August 17, 2007
The Ancient Tahitian House is open to the public at the following slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Empire%20State%20College/40/33/22