Sunday, September 17, 2006

MAYA Avatars in the Underworld - XIBALBA


First SL Maya Museum opens on Info Island II

Usu Ventura has just finished building the first stage of Xibalba, an
evocation of the Maya Otherworld. It features a Second Life version of
the Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, Mexico. Inside the temple
is a gallery of Maya art and architecture. Donations will benefit the
Hospitalito in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, which is rebuilding after
a mudslide destroyed it in 2005. You can visit at Info island II
41,217, 24

"After years of visiting the Maya region and working with
archaeologists, I wanted to convey some of the mystery and beauty of
the ancient Maya civilization" Usu says. "And the themes in the
artwork, showing avatars of mythic characters battling and tricking
the gods of the Otherworld, certainly have resonance here in Second

The exhibit will also offer information on the living Maya, who
maintain their traditional culture, art, and languages in Mexico,
Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. In addition it will support a
campaign to protect the Usumacinta River, the watershed at the heart
of the Maya civilization, from a planned hydroelectric dam.

In real life, Usu (Dave Pentecost) is a freelance TV and web video
producer, and technical director of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, a
non-profit in New York City. This summer, with help from Techsoup, he
started using Second Life in science, math, and design programs with
the girls. Usu quickly found an ally in Rain Noonan, of Second Life
Library and Info Island II. Rain also encouraged him to begin
developing the Maya museum.

"We are very excited to have this wonderful exhibit on Info Island
II," said Rain Noonan of the Second Life Library.

Usu notes that the museum is a collaboration with FAMSI, the
Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.
( FAMSI supports archaeological research and maintains a
large archive of study materials. In particular, Xibalba's exhibits
will feature the photography of Justin Kerr, and the drawings of Linda
Schele, who sparked a revolution in Maya studies – the breaking of the
Maya code.

"Palenque was ground zero for the deciphering of the Maya glyphs" says
Usu. "I'd like to show both the work done by scholars over the last 30
years and by the Maya over 1000 years ago. The immersive environment
of SL should inspire people to visit the Maya sites in real life."

The exhibit is open now but is still evolving. Future plans include
scuba diving from dugout canoes in the nearby lake, to retrieve
artifacts for the museum.

The real launch will happen on Day of the Dead, November 1, 2006, with
the opening of the first show, "Maya Avatars in the Otherworld."

IM Usu Ventura for more information.

Author Jon Klement to Speak on Superhero Writings

Author Greyfox Book (Jon Klement) in real life will present a program
at the Info island open auditorium at 6 pm sl on Thursday September
"Rush and the Grey Fox" is a series of super-hero novels published by Coscom
Entertainment. Volume One was released in November 2005 and Volume Two is
scheduled to release January 2007. Come and meet the author. Jon Klement is a
high school science educator and is passionately interested in encouraging
young people to read and reach their potential as well as crafting highly
entertaining super-hero/sci-fi stories for ALL ages.
For more information about Rush and the Grey Fox, visit

Book Discussion on Wednesday
Join the Second Life Library book discussion group on Wednesday at 7
pm sl in the main meeting room of the library for a discussion of
"Rusty Nail" lead by Maxito Ricardo.

Rock-A-Hula at Library Beach Club on Friday
Who said Elvis was dead? Join us at the TX950 Library Beach Club from
6-8 pm sl for fun in the surf and sand, dancing, music, and Elvis of
course. Librarians are a fun bunch and we want to meet you. (Info
Island 94, 49,22)

Info Island Orientation
There will be a tour of Info Island on Thursday September 21 at 5 pm
sl for 45 minutes.

For more information please contact Lorelei Junot.


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