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Monday, December 6, 2010

SL ARTS & LITERATURE: Get Wrapped Up In Stories at the 3D AIDS Quilt

Jenaia Morane believes in the power of stories. She believes in the power of stories to transform. Classic literature, new works, fiction of all sorts can do that, but that is not Morane’s passion. Her objective is the story of YOU – the story within you and how such stories can be used most importantly to heal. Morane herself would add that her projects are not about her. Morane’s gift, and her mission, is setting at liberty the stories of others and allowing them to soar in the open breeze where they can do the most good. Morane, along with partner Marty Snowpaw, are the creators of Story Quest – The Virtual World Story Project, and of Storybook Island. They have added a new chapter to the story of their work on the Second life Grid: The 3D Aids Quilt.
The Project launched on December 1, World Aids Day. It combines individual stories, and organizational resources (sometimes stories in and of themselves), into the kind of moving, immersive experience that the virtual world has such amazing potential for. The project location is “a brightly colored, patchwork quilt composed of dozens of lovingly crafted, three dimensional rooms that allow you to walk into the lives of those who lived with AIDS. Each room, each glimpse into an individual life, is a reminder of how much we’ve lost and how far we’ve come in our fight against HIV/AIDS.”

The main landing zone takes you to the top plain of the quilt: dozens and dozens of individual squares with telelpads in the center of them. The telepads take you each to a different three dimensional room dedicated to a single story from the AIDS epidemic. There are central information points on each of the sides of the quilt (see lead article photo) where you can get information about the quilt contributors, and telepads are located there as well to enable you to travel to the different zones of the immense quilt easily, as well as visit an auditorium/story circle area, and an area dedicated to the virus itself (photo above). From their website: “The 3D AIDS Quilt was born out of the realization that the key to eradicating HIV/AIDS lies in three basic principles – Education, Empathy and Empowerment. Education to raise awareness about prevention and treatment; empathy to debunk the stigmas and stereotypes associated with HIV infection; and the empowerment that results from having the knowledge and the tools to make a difference in the fight against AIDS.”

Back on the Quilt top, as a real world quilter might refer to the decorative surface of a quilt, you can wander from square to square and discover names and dedications. Like a real corporeal quilt, the heart of this quilt is what lies beneath the surface. I clicked on just a few and was moved beyond imagining. There was so much more to share in each room that what can be typed here – so much more that was said: “Bobby, The Best Brother Ever” lead to an open field and an airplane; “Sandra” lead to another field with a rocking chair and an enticing stack of books; “Steven” took me to a photo lined streetscape and a Burger Wagon complete with accompanying picnic table and sizzling fries; “Anna” brought me to information on the University of North Carolina’s Center for AIDS Research; “Buddy” to a jarring red and white striped room surrounding a simple tribute to a beloved friend; and “The Window Dressers” to a room with department store windows shining magically in their finery with these words – “ Dedicated to my friends, the beloved window dressers, who left our world far too soon. This is your season, and I will always remember you tenderly…”

Many of the telepads have names, and many are placeholders. There is room for more stories of the 25 million people who have died since the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was discovered almost thirty years ago. Though World Aids Day has passed for this year, the 3D Quilt remains and it invites you to explore it, be moved by it, and become a part of the stitches.

To Visit the Quilt in Second Life: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Storybook%20Island/195/60/26

For more information about the project and to be part of the Quilt:
www.3DAIDSQuilt.com

For more on the Story Quest: The Virtual Worlds Story Project:
http://tvwsp.com/

Additional Information available about the 3D Aids Quilt in Second Life and how you can get involved:

Recognizing that children between the ages of 10 and 18 are one of the most “at risk” populations when it comes to HIV infection, Karuna has partnered with Jokay Wollongong and educators working in the Jokaydia virtual world to bring the 3D AIDS Quilt Project to young people. Jokaydia Grid is the premiere educational world using the Opensim platform, and attracts a wide range of teachers and educational institutions from around the globe.

If you would like to know more about the Karuna Initiative in Second Life and its founding partners, please contact:
Jenaia Morane inworld or at Jenaia.morane@gmail.com

Educators and parents who are interested in participating in the 3D AIDS Quilt Project on Jokaydia Grid should contact:
Jokay Wollongong: jokay@jokaydia.com

* Karuna is a global initiative headquartered in the virtual world of Second Life. Its mission is to celebrate the lives of those who have or are still dealing with HIV/AIDS while providing information about prevention, treatment, support, and creative services across a wide range of media platforms. Karuna is a word taken from an ancient language of India and means to ease suffering.

~Caledonia Skytower, Reporting
"Any ink is good ink, even if it is virtual"
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