german version

Teleport to the Reuters island (This island has recently been deleted!)

Forschungsleiterin im Anflug auf verlassene Reuters-Insel.

Research Director before landing at the deserted island of the First-Life-News-Agency Reuters, abandoned in November 2008.

My stomach’s rumbling, my eyes are burning but my exploratory urge is stronger. On October 23 at 12:38 I am about to land at Thomson Reuters 126,100,25 – an area of 70,285 yd2.

Auf der Avatarrampe

Did crowds of avatars once shuffle onto the island via this ramp?

There is a panel indicating that something must have happened here at one time or that it was planned at one time that something should happen. But what? The green panel behind it and to the right is telling us that preparations were made for the landing of ‘newly born’ avatars that couldn’t even walk yet. Sprinting, I continue researching. After the Movement-Tips come the Zooming-Tips, the Chatting-Tips, the Instant-Messaging-Tips, the Appearance-Tips and at the latest here – in the case of many visitors – a small jam must have occurred when sprucing-up avatars were blocking the way. And we can assume from the next panel: “Where to Drive – Keep the road safe for pedestrians” that it had not been completely non-hazardous to tinker on ones appearance on a bridge, of all places.

Bank mit Aschenbecher, einem ebenso beliebten wie rätselhaften Kultobjekt in Second Life.

Bench with ashtray: a just as popular as mysterious cult object in the Second Life.

Those happy newly-arrived avatars reaching the island safe and sound probably rested on one of the many benches in the park that even today are still comfy in order to philosophize about the usage of the big ashtrays.

Noch voll funktionsfähig: Der Teleport im Reuters-Hauptgebäude.

Still fully functioning: Teleporter in the Reuters headquarters.

Or, they instantly stormed towards the headquarters. Its practical teleport still functions today. Why not use it then?

Ist Herr Top News wirklich ein First-Life-Wesen?

Mr. Top News: Avatar, First-Life-Being or what else?

It catapults me into the heart of the building and I recognize that it must have been used for the observation of strange beings of unknown origin.

Viele Forscher halten Herrn Entertainment für eine rein digitale Persönlichkeit.

Many explorers take Mr. Entertainment for a purely digital person.

Mr. Entertainment greets me from the other corner. Since there are benches everywhere I assume that avatars must have sat here reverently absorbing the photographs of these bizarre beings.

Wesen mit Hautproblemen?

Other beings seem to have suffered from skin problems.

Not all of them are named. Some only glitter. It is noticeable that they are all very big, much bigger than we avatars. So big that they must have hardly fit into this building. Therefore, it is very likely that they were never invited to just drop by.

Fahne mit noch nicht dechiffrierter Bildersprache

Flag with a metaphorical language not decoded yet

I have not been able to decipher a flag that is subtitled ‘Second Life’ yet. Trees, a wind turbine, a clock (does it maybe indicate that the lifetime of Second Life is running out?). Colleagues and explorer-friends – we’ll be working on this for some time to come. A sudden thought rushes through my head: Are we maybe marching through a giant book here in Second Life whose language we don’t know? I’ll have to write another report on this theory.

Etwaige Nachbarn hielt man sich während des großen Baubooms gerne durch extreme Insellagen vom Leib.

During the big building boom in Second Life possible neighbours were kept at bay by extrem island positions.

I’m looking out to the endless sea murmuring its weird questions to me: Why do these strange skyscrapers crane their necks into the sky here, in the midst of nothing? Why not over there where the land already is, where sometimes one avatar or another is hopping about? Good question, I call out to the sea, running away.

Ein Blick auf leerstehende Bürogebäude

Office buildings offer a partly protection from the tormenting sea view.

On the other side, the objectionable skyscrapers are looking into the window. Could a forgotten liquidator still be working somewhere inside?

Die Forschungsleiterin bleibt an Fensterscheibe hängen (natürlich eine gestellte Situation)

The research leader gets stuck at a too clean windowpanes. (posed situation!)

In trying to get out I realize for the first time that this seemingly recently-avatar-friendly island also contains a just-as-popular-as-perfidious avatar-trap, namely brilliantly polished windowpanes. I still pity the former visitors to this island, even today. Engrossed in a lively conversation with another even livelier avatar they try to jump outside and then – boom!, they are glued to the pane – while their partner happily twitches outside. How embarrassing! And thank god that today there is no longer anybody here to witness this.

Können Avatare im Sitzen besser Zuhören?

Can avatars listen better when they are sitting?

In another building I find the auditorium. Here the Office Hours have taken place at one time. OK. But what are Office Hours? Well. All we can see is that many avatars must have sat next to each other here and that they probably … well what? … maybe whispered among themselves? At any rate, for the last time on February 11, 2009. Then it was over.

Forscherin versucht sich erfolglos als Fensterreinigerin

Researcher on her way upward

Since there is no teleport, I am floating upward along the face of the building in order to search the other floors. One can’t see the inside through the windows, but all the way on top there is a small crack through which I can lower my camera.

Skandalöser Gebäudeeinblick

Scandalous building insight

The shot shows: The building to a large part consists of air. On one mezzanine, however, a big screen is installed. Maybe a television for the workers to watch soccer? Or a security monitor? Will I find more air in the other skyscrapers?

Schwindelnde Höhe

On the search for an entrance

That’s easier said than done because the other office buildings are hermetically sealed off- – no gap, no crack in the walls, no broken window, nothing.

Bleierne Büroatmosphäre im Innern der Wolkenkratzer

Leaden office atmosphere inside the skyscrapers

Doesn’t matter! I’ll drill a hole into the wall with my special camera. Click! But the pictures I get are completely grey. Was the everyday work in these offices here really so dull? Isn’t it much more likely that perhaps these buildings were filled with that grey mass only on that February 11, the day of the last Office Hour? Was a concrete mass poured into it – but by whom? And did this choke all the avatars toiling in there in the midst of their animated working? Were they cemented forever in a working situation? That would be something! We explorers could then salvage an incredible amount of knowledge if we could only chip free the contents of these buildings. Friends, that’s what we have to do! I am convinced of this. Because: That these buildings have been nothing but massive blocks completely and senselessly obstructing the view of the shining sea from the beginning – like that – like that it simply could not be true. Or could it?

Muji will telefonieren

Avatar trap 'public telephone'

In the heat of this discovery I race down and away and directly into another avatar trap: the public phone. I pull, I yank and click the phonebook. The world has to know what happened here and what is now swept under the skyscraper-textures! But nothing is happening. Even the receiver is stuck. What’s going on – am I having visions? One of these sordid dreams in which one is playing the paralyzed main character oneself, from which one is only hoping to finally wake up? Did this happen to others in this phone booth as well? And did they then wake up? Is that why they are gone? Am I the last avatar in this dream?

Translated by Brigitte Pichon and Dorian Rudnytsky