CHiSL

Last spring I started gathering information on cultural heritage sites in Second Life, in the interest of keeping track of the many projects ongoing in Second Life.  Out of this came CHiSL, or Cultural Heritage in Second Life, a loose group of projects and individuals interested in the topic.  I finally got around to creating (yet another) blog that will be a central place for news on these projects and developments with a class that I am helping out with, a Second Life DeCal (class by undergraduates taught by an undergraduate) that is based around OKAPI island, the Çatalhöyük reconstruction hosted by the University of California, Berkeley.

Here’s the link to the blog:

http://chisl.wordpress.com

Any other contributions (Electric Archaeologist, I’m looking at you) would be welcome.  Of course, I still need to put up the information from the WAC session, so I’m already behind.

Furnishing the Neolithic, pt 2

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I was able to nearly complete the Neolithic house by Cal Day, which was nearly a miracle.  I would still like to add more pottery, obsidian, bucrania, and the like.  I would also like to add embedded links to images of excavated materials like baskets and murals to show what the reconstructions are based on.

I found this exercise to be highly interesting and useful, once I understood more or less how the building tools worked.  As an excavator, I usually destroy rather than create, so building layers instead of removing them was nice for once.  I also got to see the house in different light–sunrise, sunset, midday, night–the colors changed astoundingly.  While the reconstruction isn’t perfect in that respect because there is ambient light that wouldn’t really be there, it was still educational.

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Ruth mentioned that she felt a little lost trying to identify the exact house where the reconstruction was.  How would you remember which house was yours?  How would an outsider figure out where to go?  Does this imply some kind of markings on the outside of the houses as identifiers?  I added a big column of smoke to help visitors find the house.

Anyway, I probably will not have enough time between now and my orals to do much to the house, but I hate to put it aside.  I need to make middens!  And houses in disrepair!  The list just goes on….

Furnishing the Neolithic

-or-

The Porno Baskets of Çatalhöyük

For Cal Day I’m furnishing the inside of one of the reconstructed Neolithic houses so we can change up our tour a little bit from our open house.  In a lot of ways it has been a great mental exercise–having to figure out if I thought the ceiling was plastered, move the ladder to the correct angle coming out the top, decide if I wanted to put a goat/sheep or three on top of the house, things like that.  I’m still not very good at the build tools in Second Life yet and we’re running out of time, so I’ve been getting things as close as possible on my own and then faking the rest with different purchases.  Of course, these purchases are a little…off from what we know about the artifacts, but I’m doing my best.

I went hunting for baskets the other day, with the lovely preserved basket impressions that we get in the middens in mind, and found a few serviceable examples.  The island where I got them was medieval themed and I thought nothing much of it until I found that most of the materials had some kind of action programmed into them.  The plates turned you into a serving wench, the bucket made you scrub the floor, things like that.  An interesting take on Latour, if I do say so myself.

Except…when I saw some of the other items.  And I’m not just talking about the bed!  I figured out that the whole island was themed after a series of science fiction books set in a world called “Gor” where the women are enslaved to the men as part of a “naturalized” social order.  Well then!

So, these baskets.  While they don’t have anything preprogrammed into them–at least I’m somewhat certain of that–they are basically BDSM set dressing.

I’m reclaiming them for the Neolithic.

Cal Day

Each year we try to have an outreach program for Cal Day with offerings for children and adults.  I’m actually double-booked–I’m supposed to help out with the Cheney House excavations AND with the Second Life demonstration.  Oh well.

Here is the schedule, if you happen to be in the Bay Area on Saturday.  It’s pretty star-studded, all things considered:

9–11 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Play With Clay

Learn how to make and decorate your own ceramics the way people did in the past. Clay available — bring your own kids!

10–10:45 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

A Llama Caravan in Southern Peru
Traveling with a traditional llama caravan bearing salt and tubers, archaeologists recently journeyed to the highlands of Peru to carry out an ethnoarchaeological research project. See a documentary of the experience and hear from the research director. For more information visit the project site online at http://www.mapaspects.org/caravans/2007_project.

Laboratory Manager Nicholas Tripcevich

10–11 am | 219 Dwinelle Hall

How the Vikings Told Stories
The Vikings are famous for many things, including their colorful, vibrant stories. Learn about the storytelling techniques they used, and then try retelling a Viking tale.

Professor Linda Rugg

10 am–4:30 pm | Hearst Museum of Anthropology, 102 Kroeber Hall

Open House at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology
Visit the museum and view its exhibits on Native California cultures, Rajasthan, Ancient Egypt, and more! For a better understanding of all the museum has to offer, take the docent-led tour at 1:15 pm, following the 1 pm Taiko performance.

11–11:45 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Marking the Landscape in Stone and Paint
What is rock art and what can we learn about the images produced during the Paleolithic era? Find out!

Professor Meg Conkey

11 am–noon | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Flintknapping
Have you ever tried flintknapping? Stop by to see Berkeley archaeologists in action and feed your curiosity about how stones are made into tools.

11 am–1 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Rock-Art Painting
Try your brush and hand — literally — at making paints and helping paint a rock-art mural.

Noon–12:45 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Bridging the Gap Between Real, Imagined, and Virtual at a 9,000-Year-Old Archaeological Site
Hear about the innovative archaeological research at Çatalhöyük, Turkey, and discuss the findings of that project.

Professor Ruth Tringham

Noon–2 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Rock-Art Recording
No, not with mixers and synthesizers, but with actual rocks! Learn how archaeologists record rock art in this hands-on activity at Berkeley’s very own rock-art site.

1–1:45 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Historical Archaeology and Hansen’s Disease: A New Perspective from Hawai’i
Hear about the ongoing historical archaeological research being done at the former Hansen’s disease (leprosy) colony on Molokai, Hawai’i.

Graduate Student James Flexner

1–2 pm | 160 Kroeber Hall

Anthropology of Things That Matter: Marking Nuclear Waste Sites Forever
Debate over nuclear waste raises the concern that buried waste might not stay in place forever. How could waste sites be marked clearly for thousands of years to come? An anthropological study suggests we should be skeptical of the proposals for marking such sites, and explains what people think about cultural continuity and the persistence of things we make.

Professor and Chair Rosemary Joyce

1–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Attention: Excavation in Progress
Don’t miss this chance to see Berkeley students working on their continuing investigation of the historic Cheney House archaeological site on campus.

1–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

OKAPI Island in Second Life
Visit OKAPI Island in the 3-D, virtual environment of Second Life, and explore the past and present of Çatalhöyük, a 9,000-year-old village located in present-day Turkey. The island, constructed by undergraduate research apprentices, features virtual reconstructions of the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data.

2–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Andean Ceramics of South America: A Journey Through Space and Time
Hear about the social and technological construction of Andean ceramics and how these artifacts can be used to answer important archaeological questions.

Graduate Student Andy Roddick

Open House at Catalhoyuk in Second Life

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Just a quick reminder that I’ll be around on Second Life for most of today (especially after 12) at Okapi Island (125, 93, 47) for Remixing Catalhoyuk Day.

We’re getting some neat coverage; a writer for Archaeology magazine was out a couple of days ago, and I talked to the editor of the Second Life architecture blog today for a bit.

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

My name is “Clementine Glass” on there, for what it’s worth.

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day – Nov 28

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day
9am – 5pm PST
November 28, 2007

http://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/remixing-catalhoyuk-day/

Join us for Remixing Çatalhöyük Day, a public program sponsored by OKAPI and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük. Visit OKAPI Island in the 3-D virtual environment of Second Life (see Getting Started below) and explore the past and present of Çatalhöyük, a 9000-year-old village located in present-day Turkey. OKAPI Island features virtual reconstructions of the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data. The Island was constructed by a team of undegraduate research apprentices during the Spring and Fall 2007 semester. The Remixing Çatalhöyük program includes lectures, guided tours, games, and much more. Mark your calendars!

Activities Include:

(10-10:30 AM, 3-3:30 PM PST)
Guided Tours of OKAPI Island. Tours will be conducted by Ruth Tringham (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.

(1 – 2 PM PST)
Lecture: “Cultural Heritage Interpretive Videowalks: Moving Through Present Past Places Physically and Virtually” Presented by Ruth Tringham to the UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Colloquium and simulcast in Second Life.

(2 – 4 PM PST)
Turkish Music Mix. Visit OKAPI Island, learn about Çatalhöyük and build your own remixes in the OKAPI Island Sandbox while listening to DJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Burcu’s eclectic mix of classical and contemporary Turkish music.

(4-5 PM PST)
Remixing Çatalhöyük Video Festival. Nine video producers will share videos about Çatalhöyük. The Video Festival will be hosted by VJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Colleen Morgan.

(5 – 5:30 PM PST)
Remix Competition. The public is invited to use the OKAPI Island Sandbox or Graffiti Cube to build and share reconstructions of Çatalhöyük or “remixes” of archaeological research data. At 5pm PST, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük team will review and select top entries for virtual awards and exhibition on OKAPI Island.

For more information on the event and how to enter Second Life, visit:

http://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/remixing-catalhoyuk-day/

We hope to see you there!

Emplaced vs. Virtual Interpretation

Oof, gotta take a break from negotiating the “visual turn” in text. Sometimes I wish I could just make a film to show at my orals this spring. Anyway, I was chatting with a friend about the recent virtual worlds conference in San Francisco about the world of Second Life and other recreated experiences and both of us expressed some scepticism about the utility of the concept. Admittedly, I am more interested in emplaced interpretation–giving people the tools to better understand the place that they currently inhabit, rather than a virtualized interpretation of a different place, but there is a lot of overlap between the two concepts in new media.

To illustrate, Vassar (a college I actually almost went to, had I not nearly failed out of high school out of boredom and distaste) has brought the Sistine Chapel to Second Life:

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It’s apparently a proof of concept by Steve Taylor for experiencing art and architecture virtually. Neat idea, especially in that you can fly, and aren’t hurried through by crowds and guards. And, apparently, you can sit next to some guy with black wings. I’m curious to see if there is any interpretation, like text boxes explaining the art or the building material.

Lower tech, and closer to home (physically not virtually, I guess!) is the recent Helena Keeffe project which involves drawings of actual San Francisco Muni drivers, along with their stories AND their interpretations of their own routes. While I am interested in the Second Life project, these art installations are exciting and inspirational. First, for the non-Bay Area readers, riding the Muni (bus/train system in SF) can be a full-contact sport, and I’ve always thought the drivers must have near-heroic capacities for putting up with craziness and general mayhem.

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Second, Helena Keeffe puts a face on these drivers and brings their interpretations of the route they see every day to the thousands of people who ride public transportation every day, not just to a select few who go to a gallery (in real life or online). I love that there are maps, annotated by the driver, along with drawings of different incidents which stand out in their minds.

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As an archaeologist, I’d love to harness this interaction with place. As I was riding home from the Pamuk lecture with Burcu and a couple I had just met, Pamuk’s commentary on buildings came up, and the woman (I’m criminally horrible with names) mentioned that she’s now looking at the buildings in a different light, wondering about their histories, wondering who lives/lived there. Yes.

Back to work!