Monday, August 13, 2007



This is the lower-resolution YouTube version. If you cannot see this embedded video, click here.

This video probably looks like a blank black screen to you but this is because Google-Video insists on picking the intro still-image as the very first frame...sigh! Anyways, this video is actually at a slightly higher resolution than YouTube. If you cannot see this embedded video, click here.


Here is the official info about the video....

Second Front is a pioneering avatar performance art group in the mainstream, virtual world, Second Life.

This video is a machinima document of a live performance by Second Front.

For this performance, Second Front members transformed into zombies and ventured out on a quest to eat and therefore, infect other avatars.

Eventually the zombie horde climaxed in an intense suicide pact.

This video was edited by Great Escape (Scott Kildall) in the style of George Romero.

The footage was recorded by Gazira Babeli and Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty).

The members of Second Front are:

Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty)

Wirxli Flimflam (Jeremy Owen Turner)

AliseIborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne)

Tran Spire (Doug Jarvis)

Lizsolo Mathilde (Liz Solo)

Great Escape (Scott Kildall)

Tea Chenille (Tanya Skuce)

Gazira Babeli (classified)

Cameo appearances included the SLebrities: Fau Ferdinand, Rubaiyat Shatner (Ars Virtua Curator) and Olga Wunderlich among many others...

"28 Avatars Later" - More Zombies!

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Here's some close-up footage of Second Front zombies in action.
Video footage by AliseIborg Zhaoying a.k.a. Penny Leong Browne.

"28 Avatars Later " - More Raw Footage!

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Second Front recently transformed themselves into zombies. Here's footage from "28 Avatars Later" where Second Front and other infected avatars joined together in the final act at Rausch's Combat Sim in a phantasmagorical dance of the undead. Video footage by AliseIborg Zhaoying a.k.a. Penny Leong Browne.

"28 Avatars Later " - Raw Footage from Zombie Garden

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Here's some excerpted raw footage of Second Front zombies, biting and infecting other avatars at Zombie Garden. Video footage by AliseIborg Zhaoying a.k.a. Penny Leong Browne.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Photo by Great Escape. This pic illustrated well the disciplined nature of Second Front. Even with only 5 of us there at the very beginning, we managed to rid ourselves of any healthy flesh and got straight down to the nitty gritty task of infecting new zombies to act as SF cameo-appearances....


Hey there splEEn-spOOks, thriller-seekers and other blood guzzling hobbyists,

About a week ago, Second Front drank some bad blood and turned into zombies en masse.

Always suckers for more popularity, the motley crew of avatar performance artists decided to turn their particular crisis into an opportunity and seize the Day of the Dead...

Consider this blog posting to be kind of like a photo-essay - you know, the kind that TIME magazine might publish or something ;-)

Ok, no point in describing everything in excruciating theoretical detail, here are some more pix from our performance called "Zombie Attack! 28 Avatars Later"...

Photo by Great Escape. Without a moment to waste, Second Front congregates at the "Stuff on Pikes" graveyard and gradually chomps the masses of flesh-filled nOObs in their group pursuit of the Quest for Brains...

Photo by Great Escape. Left-Right: Great Escape, Macky Oh (an infected nun with a groovy sk8board), Olga Wunderlich (stunned like a deer caught in headlights and waiting to be infected), Gazira Babeli (background) and Wirxli Flimflam.

Photo by Great Escape. It looks like Olga is pretending to hang around Great Escape and Macky Oh as if nothing unusual has happened. She was probably hoping that no one would take notice that her flesh was full-figured and her brain was still intact...ooops! Great Escape (the zombie with the most brain cells still in his head), saw opportunity knocking! ;-)

Photo by Great Escape. Olga is the very first victim of the evening. Great Escape has the pleasure of getting first dibs on her supple pixel-flesh. Perhaps this is Great Escape's form of gratitude for being interviewed by Olga a few weeks ago...heheheheh!

Photo by Great Escape. The infection works! Olga is Second Front's very first cameo zombie!

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a revealing pic of AliseIborg Zhaoying, Wirxli Flimflam and Macky Oh.

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a close-up of Lizsolo Mathilde as a zombie.

Photo by Great Escape. This pic was taken the minute Man Michinaga joined us. This moment was important as Man Michinaga's Aons-old arrival signaled the rest of us to officially commence Second Front's zany zombiefest.

Photo by Great Escape. Second Front members shown from left-right: Man Michinaga, Wirxli Flimflam, Tran Spire and Great Escape.

Photo by Great Escape. Great Escape's next victim apparently ownes the Graveyard (according to "reliable sources") so it is likely that she was eager to be victimized as soon as possible.

Photo by Great Escape. Ok, this pic shows that the "chaos" of our zombie dance was in fact perfectly choreographed. It would not be suprising if Ulrika Zugzwang would be pleased with our thrilling coordination.
Left-right: Great Escape, Tran Spire, Wirxli Flimflam, Liz Solo and some cameo zombie with some fancy blue shoes.

Photo by Great Escape. This might look like a scene straight out of an Ulrika Zugzwang machinima movie but actually, this pic shows Second Front getting enough blood and guts to channel the legion of cacodemons from the Doom Trilogy.. You might know the Ancient saying, "We are Legion for we are plenty".

Photo by Great Escape. BRAAAAYYYNNNZZZ! WE NEEEED MOOOREE NOOOOOB BRAAAYYYYNZZZZ! The zombies begin to look desperate so Second Front sends forth a scavenger scout (Wirxli) to hunt down more nOObs in other designated land-plots.


Photo by Great Escape. Gazira Babeli and AliseIborg Zhaoying have gleeful fun coordinating the feasting activities of the zombie horde.


Photo by Great Escape. The Unholy ritual is complete! Ars Virtua's curator Rubaiyat Shatner has been successfully infected by Great Escape. From this point onward, Institutions and Performance Artists will forever be bonded in blood (and brains, of course)!

Photo by Great Escape. We think this winged zombie used to be Olga Wunderlich, but now we are not so certain.... I think we missed the missing link in this part of her evolution towards full-blown zombiehood...sigh!

Photo by Great Escape. Finally, we found a zombie training basement where we could test out our newfound brainlessness.

Photo by Great Escape. Here we are practicing our devious dance moves for MUNCHFEST 2007.


Photo by Great Escape. At this point, we had teleported to The Devil's Playground where we were able to locate more brains and innards for our cause...

Photo by Great Escape. Here are some cameo-zombies having a field-day with each other in the Devil's Playground. Great Escape is doing a great job of micro-management here. Who says zombies are incapable of efficiency? ;-)


Photo by Great Escape. At this stage in the "game", we had entered New Paris in order to find the Eiffel Tower. The French are always sitting ducks waiting to be consumed by Performance Art! In the foreground from left-right are the Second Front members: Great Escape and Tea Chenille. Yes, most of the pictures feature Great Escape this time and this is because he was in charge of taking the!

Photo by Great Escape. If you look above, you will see that our friend Fau Ferdinand is one of the poor infected souls forced to make an appearance as a cameo-zombie for Second Front. If you look a little more closely, you will also noticed that we use teddy bears to lure in our prey...Mwua-hahahahahaha!

Photo by Great Escape. Here is another pic showing Great Escape faffing around with our zombie cameo-fodder.


Photo by Great Escape. Here we have Second Front members Liz Solo and (yes, again) Great Escape playing in the sandbox when they should be on the hunt looking for fresh nOOb blOOd. At least they were dancing the authentic zombie dance since they were adhering to the measured grid-lines of the local venue. Context is everything when it comes to Second Front performances, even when one has to resort to line-dancing!

Photo by Great Escape. Either it is photographic propaganda or Great Escape appears to be the most successful with hunting down fresh meat! Perhaps, his grid-dance mentioned above was a way to focus his leftover virility and brainpower in a calculated effort to seduce more avatar bodies? Long Live The nOOb Flesh!

Photo by Great Escape. Some of the nOObs in the sandbox were genuinely afraid of us and tried to flee from this performance artist epidemic.


Photo by Great Escape. The Monster Mash! Here we are in some packed (and therefore, laggy) bar in Dublin full of drunken Irish rowdies who were really cheery and pleasant (what's new?) fact, some of them were even brave enough to get close to our infectious (s)pores!

Photo by Great Escape. As you can see, there was plenty of tantalizing Irish nOObflesh to be had...YUMMY TREATS! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM....BRAAAAAAYNNNNNZ! NEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDD BRRAAAAYYYYNZZZ!

Photo by Great Escape. Some of the more well-accomplished table-dancers managed to avoid our infectious grooves entirely and stick to their own non-sticky shimmy. I guess in a way, anytime after midnite is fair game to pretend you are undead!

Photo by Great Escape. Here is another view of the Irish dancefloor... Zombie Bloody Zombie! I will follow!

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a great aerial view of the Irish party bash!


Photo by Great Escape. Finally, we decided to re-visit our old "haunt" (pardon the pun) - the Rausch combat sim where we once performed our Martyr Sauce intervention many (full) moons ago...

Photo by Great Escape. Left-Right: Tea Chenille, Great Escape, Man Michinaga, Liz Solo and Wirxli Flimflam.... MMMMMM! Some freshly rezzed brains just begging to be eaten in the safe zone of the combat sandbox! Hmmm..which side to eat first, the left side or the right of the brain? Oh well, all this sort of theoretical thinking was too lively for us so we figured it was best just dance our hearts out (in some cases, literally).

Photo by Great Escape. Here we are again dancing further and further into conceptual Goth oblivion...Hmmm...I guess we had too many brains for our bite, eh? Sigh!

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a good aerial pic showing you the kind of mayhem-sauce we were dipping into for dinner. We had a surplus of brains that day which might explain the epic length of our performance.

Photo by Great Escape. Finally, we decided to try some suicide sauce with our brains to enhance the flavourless flavour and sure enough, it was Second Jonestown without the snipers! I mean, we were in the safe part of the combat zone after all, right? Mass suicide is the best way to gain mass appeal so we figured we would try this method for a change..usually, we act like real martyrs and just re-enter the space but....uhhhh... it is all for the sake of art-stardom, right?

Photo by Great Escape. Most of us are dead at this point but you will notice Tran Spire (standing in the center with the turquoise hair) seems to be gaining weight from all this liquid gluttony. Oh wait, maybe it is the vodka that is keeping him alive and supersizing? He did die by the end of our performance, this much is guaranteed.

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a good shot of the bulk of us who have successfully opened Heaven's Gate to see yet another banal safe zone in a combat sim, sigh!

So much for the White Light! SIGH! Adios, performance art fans! Stay tuned for the up and coming "Zombie Attack: 29 Avatars Later" movie coming to your blog-theaters soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

To read more about this performance to also read the full chat-transcript, click here.

To watch BREAKING NEWS II and read more about this prequel, click here.

To read about the original BREAKING NEWS performance from 2006, click here.

And now, a description of the third installment of this BREAKING NEWS miniseries...


Official Video info:

Second Front is a pioneering avatar performance art group in the mainstream, virtual world, Second Life.

This video is a machinima document of a live performance by Second Front for Interaccess Gallery in Toronto. For this performance sequel, Second Front stormed the Reuters News Building in order to deliver their own breaking news headlines.

This video was edited by Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty).

The members of Second Front are:

Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty)

Wirxli Flimflam (Jeremy Owen Turner)

AliseIborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne)

Tran Spire (Doug Jarvis)

Lizsolo Mathilde (Liz Solo)

Great Escape (Scott Kildall)

Tea Chenille (Tanya Skuce) - absent

Gazira Babeli (classified) - absent

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Photo by Man Michinaga. A still from the upcoming Breaking News III machinima video currently being edited by Man Michinaga has just been released to the public for this blog posting. Pictured from left-right: Wirxli Flimflam, Man Michinaga and Great Escape.

Man Michinaga is working hard on the Breaking News III machinima Video!
Details to follow...

DEVELOPING STORY: Man Michinaga and many others are also working hard to archive, edit and upload the most recent Second Front performance, "Zombie Attack: 28 Avatars Later".

JUST IN: Great Escape has produced a re-edit of Second Front's Border Patrol performance at Ars Virtua. This edit is based around the unique point of view of the videographer avatar, Dante Mistral.
To watch it on Blip TV, click here.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Inter-Access Summer Workshop Reflections...

Photo by Miulew Takahe.
True to form and within a matter of milliseconds, Second Front quickly transform what was meant to be a formal workshop series at Inter-Access Gallery in Toronto (Canada) into a surrealistic performance art arena...This workshop series took place on July 23rd, 2007.

NOTE: Ian Daffern from the Globe and Mail (Toronto) made a special video-report about this workshop series featuring Second Front. To watch it, click here.

"Second Front members recently participated in the summer workshop series held at the Inter-Access Digital Media Centre in Toronto (Canada) that had our avatar performers, Man Michinaga (Patrick Lichty) and Great Escape (Scott Kildall) making Real Life appearances at InterAccess and the rest of us, Tran Spire (Doug Jarvis), Liz Solo, AliseIborg Zhaoying (Penny Leong Browne) and Wirxli FlimFlam (Jeremy Owen Turner) giving workshops online that were projected into the gallery space itself..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe.

"... For the RL workshop event, Second Front banded together and performed 'Breaking News III' a text-based performance in which we stormed the Reuter's building in Second Life announcing 'Breaking News' headlines about Second Front's clandestine operations and notorious affiliations in-world.

The online workshops that were projected into the RL gallery space of InterAccess were held at Second Life's Columbia College which turned out to be a challenging space to present. With exception to Tran Spire's workshop, the Avatar's Way, the rest of us had to contend with technical issues that was largely due to an overloaded prim count (Columbia College is a sumptuous space with floating sculptures, murals and intricate architectural elements)..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe. After awhile, the workshop venue begins to look increasingly informal and constantly in a state of perpetualizing Fluxus.

"...Crashing, frozen avatars, major lag, and tools that produced crazy errors demanded a Second Front response to the unpredictable nature of the event. How did we respond? The only way we know how - by improvising our way through our workshops that produced some wonderful surprises and reactions from the participants. One can say that we didn't so much present our workshops, but performed them!"

- Foreward by AliseIborg Zhaoying a.k.a. Penny Leong Browne.

Here are our individual reflections about the workshops we gave:

Tran Spire - A self-help workshop for creative avatars

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Here is Tran Spire beginning his extremely "hands-on" self-help workshop/lecture/seminar...This was the very first workshop presentation of the day...

"There was a gallant turn-out for the first workshop of the evening Self help for avatars. Participants and friends were eager to unfold the onion skins of their virtual psyche's to unleash the self confidence and creative potential that each avatar relies upon for entertainment and self preservation. After the logistics of handing out a grab-bag of debaucherous goodies, we settled into the participatory program exercising the three guiding principles:

Intoxication - being an avatar can feel similar to being intoxicated all of the time, get used to it.

Fashion - the surface between the inside and outside world needs to work for you.

Responsibility - defer this to others, let them worry whether you are a consistent individual or not."

Photo by Miulew Takahe.For most of Tran Spire's workshop, avatars helped themselves (in true "self-help" fashion) to all sorts of goodies including fashion accessories and SL drugs.

[16:55] Tran Spire: This workshop will start as a hands on, activity based session where we will be playing with some objects and scripts. This will give each avatar a chance to exercise some of the more indulgent aspects of Second Life and self / avatar manipulation.
[16:56] Tran Spire: Section 1: Intoxication will involve some moving around
[16:56] Tran Spire: we are going to test the lagginess here in the auditorium
[16:57] BubbleGum Canning: thanks :D
[16:57] Tran Spire: In the folder that I have provided you will see an assortment of libations and other essentials for avatar delight
[16:57] Tran Spire: Personal Ban Zone, Placard/Black - Self help for avatars, Absolut vodka, Glass of Champagne, Giger Bar Red Wine, LOTS OF TEXTURES, Flight Feather, Self help Cape, Roller Skates, Absynthe, Bored Dance, Spread Eagle, Tran Spire Blue Doo
[16:58] Zabeth Lilliehook: like the buckyball seats
[16:58] Tran Spire: Please grab a drink from this file, this part is very important
[16:58] Absolut vodka whispers: thanks
[16:58] Tran Spire: I personally enjoy the Absolut Vocka, it has a nice kick every once in a while
[16:59] Absolut vodka whispers: thanks
[16:59] Borisz Nagy: freaky, d00dz
[16:59] Fau Ferdinand: champagne and popcorn , an unbeatable combination
[16:59] sake whispers: watch that third sip
[16:59] Tran Spire: You will also see some cigarettes please wear those as well
[17:00] BubbleGum Canning: but i dont smoke :(
[17:00] Tran Spire: the object of this portion of the workshop is to experience Intoxication and the general affect of being an avatar
[17:00] Tran Spire: Performance art can be easier than you think!
[17:01] Tran Spire: Please attach what ever you can and start moving around
[17:01] Tran Spire: the idea is to get used to being intoxicated as an avatar
[17:02] Tran Spire: For the more advanced participants in the workshop, you might try to make your operator feel noxious operating the computer
[17:03] Tran Spire: ok, first exercise
[17:03] Tran Spire: spin around for 2 minutes
[17:03] Tran Spire: on the spot

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Towards the end of Tran's seminar, it was not apparent if all the avatar-empowerment was positive and tranquil. One such avatar (pictured here) seemed to be reacting to the drugs and guns in a somewhat aggressive manner...It must have been the drugs because as you will find out soon enough, the drugs seemed to be affecting more than one person in a hostile and homocidal way..

"...Based on an initial post-workshop analysis, I believe the group reached some very powerful and important insights into the complex and dynamic composition of an avatar self. With workshop tools and constructive criticism in hand all participants will now have some defense against any future dark-days dealing with avatar identity issues..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Hmmm..Was it getting hot in here or was it just that the avatars had helped themselves too much to some of the more corrosive party favours for the positivity-challenged?

"...I would like to thank all of the avatars who attended and made this workshop a RL experience (list withheld due to client confidentiality agreement).

Tran Spire" - Text reflections by Tran Spire.

Liz Solo – Frontiers of the Virtual Playground

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Here is a close-up of Liz during her presentation of her music machinima video, "Amazing".

"Liz Solo's workshop demonstrated how even the most customized tools in Second Life, the most well thought out plans will need to be adapted on the spot due to the ever-evolving and untamed nature of SL environments..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe.An example of the kind of drunken and drugged residue that resulted from Tran Spire's Self-Help workshop...this was the sort of leftover that Liz had to deal with when she began her presentation.

"...Amid the chaos of avatars still drunk from Tran Spire's excellent workshop, with a giant horse head and other props floating through the space Liz showed workshop participants examples of the unexpected. She demonstrated some of the limitations/boundaries of the technology - from multiple crashes, to being de-winged upon re-entry to displaying her avatar stuck in an uncompromising pose that could not be rectified.

After several futile attempts at opening the program containing part of her presentation Liz Solo then chatted with participants about the possibilities for interaction and collaboration that exist in the SL metaverse, including the notion of creating idealized communities..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Another view of Liz's presentation which further illustrated the kind of "virtual playground" she was referring to for the duration of her workshop.

"...Finally she screened two pieces of machinima to show examples of how Second Life can be used as a creation tool -
a music video created in Second Life and an experimental clip super-imposing Second Life video over Real Life video. Liz's workshop exemplified how presentation in virtual space is challenging, exploratory and immediate - one is constantly responding to unruly, hilarious and sometimes frustrating elements while actively seeking ways to communicate."

Personal reflection written from a 3rd person POV by Liz Solo.

Wirxli FlimflamWirxli Flimflam’s 15 Minutes of Fame:

Photo by Miulew Takahe. Here is a pic of Wirxli Flimflam sitting next to Fau Ferdinand. The snazzy shades conceal a Ava-Star that is completely drugged out of his/her mind and feeling the fleetingless fame of a genuine was only when Wirxli finally had to deliver a presentation was there any sort of stirring and yes, stylish stumbling towards the podium...

"Well, even though I prepared a formal lecture for the Teacher’s Pet auto-lecturn, I must admit that the nature of this realtime event lured me towards a more performative and hands-on (the drugs) presentation....ooops! Thanks to all the laggy SL drugs I took earlier in the day to relieve my virtual nerves, I was stuck practically passed out in my chair next to Fau Ferdinand for most of the lecture and could barely walk by the time it was my turn to present.

If you really want to succeed as a SLebrity in SL, you really need to feel the fame coursing through your pixellated veins, if you know what I mean. Even during the assassination attempt on my life mid-way through the workshop series, I barely stirred – how cool is that?"

Photo by Miulew Takahe.Just before Wirxli's workshop is about to begin, gunshots ricochet throughout Columbia College's virtual campus. Wirxli ducks (well, nods off) for cover in the comfort of his/her seat while his/her personal bodyguard du jour attempts to locate the perpetrators of this assassination attempt. At the end of the day, it turns out that Wirxli's colleague in Second Front (Man Michinaga) and his/her trigger-happy best friend (Fau Ferdinand) were involved in some sort of routine performance-art shootout.

"...I was originally going to say before the captivated audience that I hired bodyguards solely for optics and to enhance my SLebrity mystique but when the gunfire started spraying, I realized that I actually needed the service..."

Photo by Miulew Takahe. Here is a close-up of Fau with her big gun...

Photo by Miulew Takahe. ...and here is a close-up of Man with his big gun.

"...In conclusion, I guess you could say that I “led by example” and illustrated in detail to the Inter-Access crew the virtues (and vices) about how important it was to live out a drugged-up SLebrity was a good thing I wore shades as I became a real role-play role-model for the delayed and debauched ;-)"
- Text by Wirxli Flimflam.

AliseIborg Zhaoying - Collisions of Artifice and the Real:

"There were definite collisions in my workshop - collisions with technology - my Teachers Pet tool , problems rezzing, lag and crashing constantly causing my avatar to come to a stand still, literally. When my spot eventually came up, all I could do was improvise my lecture so I took to the lectern and delivered my topic in a series of 'Breaking News' sound bytes that resulted in a fragmented riff of theory and sensationalist news about Second Front's past interventions.

A further reprocessing of my original text came about through a Babel translator that make text appear in a thought bubble above my head.

Photo by Miulew Takahe. Here is a pic displaying Second Front's Tower of Babelfish example that being discussed in detail by AliseIborg Zhaoying in the final workshop presentation of the day.

We had used this tool in a previous performance, Tower of Babelfish, that interpreted what was entered in the chat window into a bizarre remix of semantics and morphology. Needless to say, theory and practice never looked more sublime to me! Also, I think there were definitely clashes of the 'Artifice' (critical theory and Second Front praxis posing as news) and the 'Real' (RL gallery turning off its lights!).

This juxtaposition between what was happening in RL and what was going on in-world, produced moments of ambiguity as to how our avatars should react and behave. I sensed that the avatars around me were definitely feeling slightly awkward, uncertain, even slightly dumbfounded at first - asking questions like 'What's going on here?' and some even adding to their own 'Breaking News'.

My workshop, in this way, turned out to be much more about performance, especially improvisation and ironically, created an actual situation in which social codes of conduct within Second Life were definitely challenged!"

– Text description by AliseIborg Zhaoying a.k.a. Penny Leong Browne.