July 1st, 2010 by Marianne McCann
I’m awful late at getting this prepared. I was hoping to do it before the event, but time just got away from. Anyway, while there’s still a couple days left to see it, let me introduce you to “Unexpected Childhood,” my build at SL7B.
The theme of SL7B is “Unexpected Collaborations,” and while we did tie a lot of the work to that theme – s well as just empathizing the birthday aspect itself – we wanted to look at how unexpected our Second lives have been. Few come to SL thinking “I’m going to be a kid!” So we decided to call it “unexpected childhoods” and focus on how we can to be kids on the Grid.
I wanted to get away from the whole, political, “having to defend the existence of child avatars” stuff that had to be done a bit n the past. We exist. Some don’t like us. Others do. To me, the arguments are largely done since the last Terms of Service update. Rather the defense, I wanted to take the opportunity to educate and have fun.
We – myself and Pygar Bu, who did a lot of the heavy lifting – decided to build it out of oversized blocks to really make any avatar feel a bit smaller, and see the world a bit like how a child avatar sees it already. Also, we used items like blocks and tinker toys and legos to try to emphasize the creative aspects of both SL kids and Second Life.
The crane in the build, BTW, was a happy accident. I had originally put it up during the build to show that it was “under construction.” But we all liked it. We tried a tinkertoy crane or two, but they all ended up far primmier and not as effective. So it stuck. Besides, it was made by Arcadia Asylum, who was no stranger to SL children as it was.
The build has four distinct parts to it. First, on the back of the “Happy Birthday Second Life” blocks are different photos child avatars, and clicking their block gives you a notecard with their story and reasons for being a kid in SL. Myself and Sage Kostenbaum, who put together a similar display at Kids5B two years ago, decided that the best way to talk about our SL childhoods is to let our community speak.
Second is a tunnel through the large architectural blocks. It displays words and phrases that came to mind when we asked on the Second Life Children group for their description of what life as a kid in SL was all about. Some are funny, some are thought provoking.
Behind the build you’ll find the third section, which is resources. Weblinks to various kids blogs, a Second Childhood Network kiosk, and other good to help further the information about kids in SL. Finally, hidden towards the top of the tower, is the adult to kid transmogrifier – for those who want to explore their *own* unexpected childhood.
Also, you’ll find numerous “little people” throughout the build, each with a thought bubble, answering some of the more common questions about child avatars. They’ll even speak to you if you click the “voice dot” over their head.
I hope you get a chance to visit and check it out, and enjoy the rest of SL7B’s builds and stuff. It is up ’til the end of July 3rd.