Monthly Archives: November 2008

Press release: Swedish Lucia in Second Life – 2008

By the people of Sweden in Second Life (and funded by the Swedish Institute)

After last year’s huge success, Lucia visits Second Life again in 2008!

Every year on December 13, Santa Lucia arrives in Sweden to announce the Christmas season. This year, she will once again visit Second Life as well – and the festivities start Friday evening, December 12.

The Lucia celebration features a procession led by a woman representing Saint Lucia, who — dressed in white robes, with a headdress of candles — repels the darkness with a halo of light. The procession is accompanied by the singing of traditional Swedish songs.

The Lucia event in Second Life gives participants an opportunity to meet a real Swedish Lucia, listen to her entourage of singers, see a Christmas tree, visit Santa, receive Swedish freebie gifts, and dance to Swedish and international music, including live performances.

By tradition, the identity of this year’s Lucia is a well-protected secret until the December 12.

When: The procession will be held twice: First, on December 12, 1pm Second Life time (4pm New York time, 10pm Stockholm time); the procession is then repeated four hours later at 5pm SLT (8pm in NYC, 2am in Stockholm on 13 December)
Where: Second House of Sweden, on the Swedish Institute sim

Organizers of this year’s Lucia event in Second Life are Ika Cioc, Ewa Aska, Charlotte Rhino, Belze Fraker, Cur Waydelich and producer Tina (PetGirl) Bergman.

All residents of Second Life are very welcome to attend.


Press release: Virtu-Real goes Tokyo

By: studio un/real + TEAM
Commissioned by: The Swedish Institute


Quality of Life – the Design of Swedish Innovations, December 8, 2008 – January 14, 2009
Swedish Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, and Second House of Sweden, Swedish Institute Sim, Second Life

Tokyo, Japan – With their latest new media architecture installation, architects Daiki Kobayashi and Michael Matèrn, continue to stretch the boundries between real and virtual space. They will be part of “Quality of Life – the Design of Swedish Innovations”, an exhibition at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo, opening on December 8.

The young Swedish-Japanese duo, known by their alter egos of Mr Kobayashi & Mr Matèrn, together form the architecture firm studio un/real. They work together with +TEAM, a creative platform for architects, designers and other creatives.

“We really try to give the visitors an experience of a unique atmosphere of being in between the hard, vector- produced digital computer world and our soft and very tactile DNA-based everyday life,” says Kobayashi, the Japanese half of studio un/real.

The site specific installation, the second of four commissioned by the Swedish Institute, a public agency promoting Sweden abroad, plays with the perception of 2D and 3D space. Through an interface of body movements and mobile phones, visitors can interact in a space in between the real and the virtual.

“The Virtu-Real concept is basically about trying to merge virtual and real life in a spatial way. When you physically move in real life, you also move in relation to the virtual world, thus creating a new kind of spatial interface,” explains Matèrn, the Swedish half of studio un/real. By using the traditional methods of perspective painting as a textile 3D collage (instead of on a flat canvas plane), it is the inevitable continuation of concepts such as Murakami’s Superflat ideas and the post-modern database.

This 3D-goes-2D surface is then hardwired into an online virtual world. As visitors become the ‘Final Artist’, using both digital and analog tools and codes, the installation reassembles the whole event into a representation of the ultimate database: Virtu-Real.

Although only an addition to an existing exhibition space in the Swedish embassy in Tokyo, the installation creates a new way to interact with the virtual online world of Second Life and its users. By walking around this 4 x 14 meter interactive textile collage, visitors can not only look into, but actually through the online virtual space and back into the real embassy again.

Visitors can also send text messages from their mobile phones into the virtual continuation of this space and communicate with exhibition visitors inside Second Life, who can text back into real space. The messages sent into Second Life will be displayed as 3D objects in the virtual world, at the same time the text messages sent from inside Second Life will be projected onto the surface of the installation in the embassy. Video streaming will also allow visitors in both Second Life and the real-life embassy to see each other. With the use of traditional Scandinavian arts and crafts material, such as felt and paper, for the real life exhibition space addition, studio un/real + TEAM designed, engineered and constructed the installation on site in a true database spirit.

Press photos available for download as of December 8 at:
(preview 3D-rendering available for download as of now at:

Sponsor: Kvadrat Sanden
For more information about the members of +TEAM, see:
Press contact: Mr Matèrn
Phone: +46 (0)70 5511 441

Press contact – Japan only: Mr Kobayashi
Phone: +81 909 3535 682

Follow the US elections in Second Life

The world’s most important elections are upon us. In real life, the House of Sweden in Washington DC is being used today as the headquarters for Swedish media and its punditocracy, and they’ll be analyzing into the small hours of the night as the election results come in.

In Second Life, Second House of Sweden has just been given a similar function. With the help of Second Lifer Tina Dahl (thanks for the map and the megaprims!) and the fact that you can now render HTML with Javascript in Second Life, we’ve added a Google Map of state electoral results, updated live as results come in, to the facade of our virtual building:



So if you feel the need to celebrate (or commiserate) virtually with friends around the globe as the next president of the US is chosen tonight, feel free to use the facilities of Second House of Sweden:-)

Update: It worked! Google’s KML geospatial markup language loads well on web pages rendered in Second Life: