On the SLED list, the listserv for Second Life Educators (join here but know that it’s time-consuming), an announcement of the dismantling of St. Catherine’s Monastery reminds us all that, like dead links on the Web, some SLURLS cease to transport us to favorite places. In this case, it’s a see-it-soon-reminder before the dismantling begins. There could be some behind-the-scenes wrangling to save the build or move it to a sponsored region, as with the terrific Dante’s Inferno and Linden Hills build, but just in case, I returned to the Monastery this morning and took some snapshots for us. I hadn’t been there since early in its construction, and was pleased to see the full build. See for yourself, then read on.
Someone on the list suggested that we should not expect permanence in SL, that it should be transitory in nature. In that case, some of us SL elders (I will be two next month) will have had experiences that we can only share in picture and memory. Read about ephemera and think about SL as a space where change is a constant. I wouldn’t want to think of great builds like the Monastery as something to be thrown away, but maybe we will decide to turn some items into SL Collectibles.
In terms of higher education campuses, I’ve never been much for the idea of recreating identical SL representations, because they suggest that what occurs in SL is identical to what occurs on the RL campus. We ought to expect more.
But in terms of the recreation of historical spaces, like the Globe Theatre on Renaissance Island, the Sistine Chapel on Vassar Island, and the Monastery, just to name a few, they offer us and our students the opportunity to walk through history or through the spaces of imagination, such as Van Gogh’s paintings or Dante’s Inferno. I heard recently that the Van Gogh site was gone, and that’s a pity. Luckily, I have a photo of my avatar sitting in his Café Terrace at Night to remind me of the experience. If you’ve been hearing about places to visit, better not put it off too long.