Thursday, February 6, 2014

What dreams may come: FrancoGrid

         Pixel for pixel, Francogrid is probably the most beautiful grid in the metaverse. If you enjoy art or are involved in education, or heck, just want to be somewhere with a gallic flavor as deliciously diverse as baguettes, Chanel number 5 and Veuve Clicquot, then this may be the grid for you.
          Praline Barjowski is an artist, researcher and curator. She works with African artists, getting them involved in digital creativity, and was based in Dakar when she first learned about SL via an artist she met at a conference in Marseilles. That was in 2009. The jump from SL to Francogrid was a natural one... for a researcher.
Praline B: I realized that the most resources were in English and I'm in a French zone, and my students are French speaking, and also I'm involved in open source system, so I did a research and I found OpenSimulator and FrancoGrid. I came here for the first time in 2010 and at the same time I discovered hypergrid. Open simulator is a very different way to move but very interesting. I feel me more free here to create, it's also more experimental and that adds something more pepsy !  and yes, I feel more at home too. And I have this mad dream, lolol, that Linden Labs decides to go to open source, to liberate their code and to be a part of the huge metaverse.
         Dream on.
         It's very attractive, this businesslike approach to art.  Everything above board, designed for low levels of pointless drama and high levels of real world exposure, with a strong sense of respect for creator's rights. The goal, one guesses instantly, is to be taken seriously in a world where playing about online is still often viewed with derision and suspicion. The whole grid is that way, and it came as no surprise to find that Praline is a bit of a tech person, as well as an art person.
 Praline B: Well, here I'm studying code, I'm learning how to manage a Linux server. It's funny but not so easy for someone who is always dreaming! The first time i got a pc, I de-constructed it immediately. I think I'm very curious, I love to know how things are inside, so naturally now I want to know how is the backstage of a virtual world. For now here, I don't have artwork, I have an archipelago of regions.
        The regions are going to be home to a number of virtual artists, principally coming from West Africa, via her MetaTrame project. Diversity, and a different 'look' are the hallmarks of Francogrid, and that's obvious from your first arrival at Accueil sim, seen above, recently re-worked by Cherry Manga and the wonderful, beautiful DJ Phil who you can see in the last picture as a very adorable white bunny!
         The the big blue blob is a cave that contains TP machines and a 'Guide to the regions' that owners can update  with their latest developments. It also shows if a region is offline, which in opensim, is a handy tool, since teleporting is a little bit hit and miss.
         So, which is better, SL or FG?
Praline B: I think both are good. Diversity is a very great thing  disadvantage is definitely the closed side. Its like a frontier. Also the fact that your art , your objects are not yours. that is a mistake from LL. You have to let people improve new system, new territories and they will learn how to be nice and ethic. I always think that we have to be trusty there will be always bad people but SL is always a very amazing place for artists, creators, because they can have a feedback quickly they have a public in opensim, this is the disadvantage, population is less you may feel sometimes alone but you may experiment more things here, you may push the limits Here at FrancoGrid, this is a community very newcomer friendly and people help participate to your projects you don't have to be good in script or all the stuff.
This is monsieur le president, ssm2017 Binder (no, I'm too shy. You ask him!)  He was on his way to the weekly grid get-together on LeVillage sim, which if you're planning on coming to check out the lie of the land, would be a good thing to attend. It's every Wednesday evening, French time - that's 9 pm in Europe and midday in California - I leave you to do your own math. And it's village life, but not a grey concrete arena or hopelessly huge theater that dwarfs rather than embraces the group. It's another Cherry Manga build.
          OK it is grey, and it is huge. But in good ways. No rows of samey cinema seats. No stale poses.  That alien is the lovely Gill. Wave! No, not the giant figure below, on the box, which is actually a building. LeVillage in its various incarnations has inspired machinima by people you've heard of like Morlita Quan and WizardOz Chrome. Sounds like a cleaning product, actually a film maker.  Which raises the question - where does Francogrid stand in relation to the SLuggernaut?

ssm2017 Binder: in FrancoGrid, there are some people from the art, from education, from research etc... actual FrancoGrid residents are in a sharing point of view instead of mercantile.
         Which is the sexiest way ever of saying they're not in it for the moolah.
         Now, you may be thinking, sheesh Cherry Manga is all over that grid like a rash. Is there room there of other artists? Or has she kind of bagged the big stuff? Well, she knows you might think that, so - let's ask her - " Hey Cherry, is there room for other voices on Francogrid?"
Cherry Manga: Of course there is, see, I just gave the opportunity to JadeYu Fhang to try opensim by giving her my region, childhood, and there are other projects like Praline's, Metatrame which will involve African artists. I personally think that artists bring something important to any grids- candies for the eyes. They make us think about how combine visual effect with ideas. I am not here to be THE ONE Thirza, you know, if I was looking for art lovers recognition, I would stay in SL. Here most people don't care about my art :)
         So there. Speaking of other art, Praline was keen for Katia from Parc des Arts to show her stuff, and immensely impressive it is too. The organization is based in real life Bordeaux, France, and it is all about real working artists showing their stuff both in virtual and physical environments. Katia is a stunner in palest blue. 
         This is their clubhouse and the photos behind her are the founding members. They have that whole 'this is serious stuff' down at the Parc des Arts (unlike artsparks, yeah yeah) and these two sims are just stuffed with things to see and spaces for performance and exhibition. 
         Don't be alarmed if your French isn't up to much. This is an International grid, and they are very accommodating; Katia's good at Italian as well as French, and of course many others like Praline and Cherry are perfectly fluent in English (and typonese).
          Again, everything is designed with panache. Here in this beach-grunge outdoor hangout, last year, they had an evening with a two-handed performance piece called La Planque (watch it here on youtube) by Arlette Fétat with Myriam Douhi. The playwright came into Francogrid to talk to the audience, how cool is that. 
          Katia also showed us the work of engraver and painter Julien Schuster whose March 2014 art show in Honfleur Normandy will be echoed by a parallel exhibition in Francogrid. 
         There's a neat little news stand on Parc des Arts where you can pick up more info about all the events here, and tp to regions in different parts of the metaverse where art rules supreme.
         Praline is right, it's this kind of organization with room for diversity that makes the difference. Katia actively encourages independent artists on the grid, and they make a point of showing up to see exhibitions, and offering landmark links to shows and installations, wherever they may be in opensim.
Praline B: What I love here is this mix between reality and new creative territories. Also, its very important , to feel you are not alone, to feel friends around you. You may stay alone and work and you may have them around you for all discussions around your doubts! I really enjoy the spirit around Frangogrid, people here knows what they want, be happy in their projects and share this happiness and in the build, you have always people to help you, to push you more further.
         Another aspect of Parc Des Arts is the big AIDS memorial. It's a reminder, as Katia said, of the people who haven't made it, love ones lost... but also a celebration of the ones still fighting, still fighting in elegant clouds of red. Extremely effective. On the other side, the 'protected' obelisk that reminds us all that this is a very French grid. I totally love it.
         Terra Mater is Cherry's home sim, scroll through in this blog and you'll find a post about it ages back. It's another great feature of Francogrid, well of open sim in general. You've got the space to keep up builds that in SL would have to come down for reasons of space. 
          Here, Cherry can maintain a big install like Red Riding Hood (built for SL in collaboration with soror Nishi and Fragile Fanou, as well as her Collection, and still have room for more. Cherry's latest venture is learning anough Blender to make all her own mesh and leave the full perm sculpties and mesh of the past behind her. But art breeds art, doesn't it? Perhaps more installs, and photography, or machinima?
Cherry Manga: I think la collection is one old work I like still thinking it's like wine, goes good with time lol.  I don't want to inspire art, but creativity, I want people imagine they can be free from reality here, physics, imagination, there's no limit. I wish people creative and dreamy, not specially arty.
Praline B: Cherry Manga absolutely has a great impact on the grid. She is very strong and her artwork talks for her.  think that opensim and Francogrid  gave Cherry a new boost. Here she has the time to learn more technical stuff and with her talent is amazing. 
omg DJ Phil he is such a hot bunny
         So, what is the future for Francogrid? More art, more fun, more family! They also encourage all to make an avatar here, so you can enjoy Voice in all its splendor. There are some things hypergridding doesn't quite do right. 
Praline B: I think that is the magic side of this grid if someone is a true one a real creator, all the grid is under the charme. That gives to the community the desire to put the level more high and that is a very good thing, that is what i was expected here.  I think we will see the same phenomena in opensim now because of LL politic for one part and in another part because open simulator is now more efficient. ssm our President confirms that he would love that we have here at Francogrid one region for permanent exhibits and one devoted to the artist in residency; a season for exhibits and artists in residency here.
         So might that be you, the 'artist in residence?' Might be worth a thought.... and in the meantime, drop in on this exquisite grid and its happy denizens.   

1 comment:

  1. Io capisco poco l'inglese, ma abbastanza per capire che hai amato FrancoGrid e il lavoro di artisti e residenti! che ci ha riempito di gioia!
    Grazie per la visita e il tuo articolo Thirza, speriamo di vedervi presto!