As you may recall, in 2020 we had a slight disruption in the usual course of human activity and many of us were forced to stay inside. In search of a way to escape the grim realities of living in a house full of people and pets during a pandemic, I ventured back into the virtual world known as Second Life. I had been a minorly famous virtual celebrity there back in its heyday, 2006-2010. I was heavily involved in the music scene in Second Life, both virtually in-world and in the "real world," by performing at the 2007 Second Life Conference and participating in academic studies in SL.
But I'd drifted away for various reasons. But as previously mentioned, in 2020 I ventured back and quickly became enamored with the avatars that the residents of Second Life created to be the external projection of their internal selves. I began taking portraits of moving avatars, capturing them using the rudimentary camera system built into the application’s viewer. Once I reached 250 portraits, they were displayed in Kultivate Select Gallery’s February 2021 Portrait Exhibition. A slideshow of the portraits are also available on YouTube as Virtual Reflections.
The Portrait Project still continues and can be followed on my Flickr page, which currently features portraits of 394 Second Life Avatars. My goal is to reach 500.
Once restrictions had been lifted enough that we could all return to work, school, and public places, my time in Second Life began to decrease. My interest turned to other things, in particular writing. In November of 2021, I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). That culminated in The Baby Thieves, which was released as serial fiction on Amazon’s Kindle Vella.
As the summer of 2022 began, my interest was peaked in the rising use of artificial intelligence in the creation of various types of art known as Imagines. That is the name given to the creation of art via artificial intelligence. It was coined in part because the most popular AI-art-generator, MidJourney, uses the command prompt /imagine to initiate the process. It is preferable to refer to the images as imagines rather than drawing or painting or digital photographs because while the output of the AI can mimic these quite amazingly (and sometimes, quite atrociously), those other terms bring in a lot of other connotations–including, but not limited to, something that the human artist actually made. In the case of the imagines, it is the AI which is making them. The human artist simply imagined it.
While I enjoying working with MJ to make all kinds of imagines, my favorite ones are in the form of haiga--which is a merging of a haiku/senryu and an image to create something new. I've been posting them to my Flickr page but that didn't really give me the space I needed to write and discuss all things related their creation. So I created a magazine, Haiga Magazine, the first episode cover Burning Man. That culminated in an art installation in the official virtual Burning Man regional, and my giving a tour of it while being interviewed for their YouTube channel. The second edition has been published. The third... is on the "things to be done pile."
In November of 2022 I self-published my collection of 99 Haiga making it free for everyone. You can see it on the front of this website, and can click on it to view on your computer.
Then, in December of 2022, I discovered ChatGPT 3.5 and have been doing a lot of work with that. I started writing stories and articles about the experience over on Medium. I recently cross-posted the articles to my blog since not everyone has a Medium membership. My apologies for the wonky formatting, but I'm not sure how to fix it.
Finally, with the start of the new year I began work on a new collection of haiga. That goal date is April 1, 2023. I'm also doing live shows online. More on those later!