Red and Hands

Red and Hands

I finally made something that just might be Archaeography worthy, so I abused my limited moveabletype knowledge and posted an entry over there about the wall paintings and Second Life.  Let’s hope I didn’t break anything in the process.

I’ve been banging away at the buildings in Second Life–they’ll be ready by Wednesday, but only just!  The event is being pretty widely publicized, so let’s hope the servers in Linden world aren’t acting up that day.  I love that I’ve been able to get so much research for my dissertation finished, but I think I need a computer/media black-out week someday soon!

Burning Çatalhöyük

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Burning Çatalhöyük: A Virtual Public Archaeology Event hosted by UC Berkeley Students and Faculty
2PM-4:30PM Pacific Standard Time (10PM-12:30AM GMT or Universal Time)
December 10, 2008
Location: Okapi Island
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0
(You must have the free Second Life browser)

Join us for Burning Çatalhöyük, a project developed by OKAPI, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük, and the UC Berkeley DeCal program. Çatalhöyük on OKAPI Island, in development since 2006, is an exploration of the past and present of a 9,000 year old site located in present-day Turkey.  In this demonstration we intend to burn the existing models down in order to better understand the use of fire in Neolithic settlements.  In consultation with fire experts Karl Harrison and Ruth Tringham, and architecture expert Burcu Tung, a team of undergraduate apprentices have replicated the burning sequence of Building 77, a structure excavated in the summer of 2008.  OKAPI island also hosts reproductions of modern developments present at the site, including a water tower, Sadrettin’s café, the Chicken Shed and the nightly bonfire.

Remixing Activities:

(2-2:15)
Guided Tour of OKAPI Island by Ruth Tringham, (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.
(2:15-2:30)
Niema Razavian will introduce the work that the Fall 2008 Decal class has done on the island, and how this fits in with a broader UC Berkeley education.
(2:30-2:45)
Roland Saekow will demonstrate his teleportation system, to guide new visitors around the island.
(2:45-3:00)
Kira O’Connor will show the site datum she has constructed, and talk about how datums are used at archaeological sites in general.
(3:00-3:15)
Clark-Rossi Flores-Beyer will demonstrate the skeleton model he has managed to manipulate into a crouch position, in accordance with how people were buried at Çatalhöyük.  He will briefly discuss burial practices in the settlement.
(3:15-3:45)
Garrett Wagner and Raechal Perez will discuss their own reproductions of the interiors at Çatalhöyük, and how they decided to configure the space on their own.
(3:45-4:00)
Colleen Morgan (UC Berkeley PhD Candidate, excavator at Çatalhöyük) will wrap-up the program with a discussion of why virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites are important, and what Second Life can do to increase our understanding of the past.

What is Second Life?
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world created entirely by its residents. Okapi Island is owned and build by the OKAPI team (that’s us below!) and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk.

Getting Started
To visit Okapi Island, you will need to create a user account and download the client software–both free.

To create an account, visit www.secondlife.com, click on Join (in the upper right corner) and follow the instructions. Note: You do not need a premium account to use Second Life or visit Okapi Island.

Next, download and install the Second Life client for your computer:
http://secondlife.com/community/downloads.php

Launch the Second Life client and enter your password. You will likely begin in Orientation Island. To visit Okapi Island, click Map, enter “Okapi” in search field and click Search. Alternatively, you can click on the following slurl (second life url) in your browser, and you will be transported there:

SLURL:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0

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Verisimilitude

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Y’know, as close as we can get sometimes, it’s just not the same as actually being there.

Çatalhöyük in Second Life – Mike’s Horned Platform

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I’m slowly getting better with the building tools in Second Life.  The platform’s texture is actually from the wrong building, and the horns are “concrete” textured, but it’s a start.  I have to make the features of the building before I can burn them, right?  Here’s Jason Quinlan’s photo of the real thing:

I spent a lot of the weekend writing about Second Life; it was nice to be able to actually do some building.

In other news, me and two of my friends (and fellow Berkeley graduate students) started a photoblog:

http://ancoda.wordpress.com/

Targeted Advertising

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It was a little strange to be reading the New York Times and realize that the targeted advertising was for the show at the Asian Art Museum that I helped to make a video for.  A video that was just (mostly) finished on Thursday.  We need to fix it up a bit still, but it works for now.  At some point I’m supposed to go and volunteer at the exhibit (pinch, poke, or prod a real archaeologist!), but I haven’t scheduled that yet.

I haven’t done much this weekend of the dead, a time when we should be honoring Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec protector of the bones.  If I finish up this article that I’m writing in time, I may hop on the BART to the Mission to go check out the procession they have there.
The article itself is about the work we’ve been doing in Second Life and it’s a little scary to write, as a lot of the virtual reality archaeologists take themselves Very Seriously while they are making their vacant little worlds and a few things I say in this article are pretty unfriendly to the concept.  I also wish I would have tried to publish on a slightly smaller scale first–but when do I ever do things like that?  My first conference presentation was during the plenary at the largest anthropology conference in the states.  Good thing I had no idea of the significance at the time!

I’m also not sure if I can ask if I can publish it in draft form online–more famous archaeologists have been doing that, but I feel a bit out of my league, obviously.  I’m also not sure of an appropriate length–supposedly it’s pretty open, but I don’t want to say too much or too little…so, no, I’m not worried about this at all!  Clear skies.

Çatalhöyük in Second Life – Update

As previously mentioned, while I’m not writing, I’ve been working on OKAPI island in Second Life.  I wanted an area where we could package and give away textures from our upcoming events so that people could recreate any part of Çatalhöyük in their own Second Life reconstructions.  Naturally, I chose to recreate Sadrettin’s on-site cafe, where excavators (and brave lab people!) go for an ice cream during the break between excavation and paperwork.  Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to create an adequate ice cream freezer, and the plants are off, but…well, it’s Second Life.

If only the ocean were really that close to the site!  Here’s a shot of the cafe taken by Mia Ridge (of Open Objects fame) for comparison:

Come and check it out, if you’re so inclined:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0

Efes Mastery

I’ve been working on the OKAPI island in Second Life pretty hard recently, with the addition of Sadrettin’s cafe, the water tower complete with little owl, and some cosmetic fixes that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.  I’m also happy to report that Karl Harrison will be helping us BURN Çatalhöyük DOWN at the end of the semester.  Good stuff.

More to the point though, is that there needs to be Efes in Second Life, as it is an integral part of the Çatalhöyük experience (for better or worse!).  I was looking around for good photos of the beer labels and found these masterful constructions:

There’s a deep and obvious kinship here, one that hits me right at home:

Because Art is a cowboy hat, made out of a beer carton, according to the headline of the Austin American-Statesman, flagship newspaper of the capital of Texas.

(this image is downright stolen from my brilliant friend Joolie, who has much more to say on the topic)