It seems that no sooner was the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Second Life getting its act together and establishing itself on more legitimate footing as I reported back in August, that by year's end it was then faced with a cease and desist order from the RL FLW estate -- this after attempting to work with the estate and obtain licensing, as the organizers tell us. Basically, the license isn't being renewed.
Jon Brouchard has some of the wailing that followed, and links to other wailing. It truly was a loss, because it was an aesthetic place as well as an educational place and place for socializing (perhaps more importantly) that was a cut above the usual SL club.
Even so, there's something about all this I can't quite put my finger on -- I feel we aren't getting the full story.
The Lindens began by feting this project (overly -- in an article by Pathfinder who has since been fired) and batting away concerns about copyright and exploitation of designs "inspired by" the FLW "look" by small businesses in SL -- then comments closed by Blue Linden, also since dismissd -- except new Lindens could come in their place and possibly do the same thing again.). They then had nothing to say that we know of, although the C&D might well have applied to them to excercise due diligence and remove all the other copies from SL.
Starting with the boxed prefab made by Ryan Linden (who also since left the Lab to start the Love Machine business with Philip) which was essentially a little replica of Fallingwater, and still found at freebie watering holes and infohubs -- and proceeding to all sorts of other knock-offs for sale on SL Marketplace or available inworld which are ignored by the Lindens.
What we're told (I believe Prim Perfect had the story originally) was that the RL FLW people didn't like being in a context where they saw knockoffs everywhere and therefore pulled their license.
That seems odd, that they'd pull the one license of the people attempting to work with them legitimately, due to the copyright infringement of others, over whom they have no control. It makes no sense, but I suspect we're not getting the whole story. I don't know where the Lindens were in all this. Possibly hiding, so as not to lose their artful construct, needed in various lawsuits facing them now perhaps, that they are a common carrier, or in a safe harbour, or whatever it is that makes them claim indemnification over the copyright violations of others on their servers (as indicated in their TOS which you sign to log on.)
FLW's RL estate is notoriously controlling and capricious, as indeed he and his third wife were in his lifetime (read up on it via Google). So that's not surprising. But what were their issues with SL per se?
Maybe they didn't like the sales of "inspired" furniture -- but the artists said this was made for coverage of sim tier. Maybe the FLW people never grasped all this, but apparently it wasn't for lack of RL meetings. Something went awry -- and I'm not sure we're not hearing everything, when I see various pious statements from curators. The SL FLW people are continuing anyway, dropping the elements they can't get permission for, and persisting with a Virtual Museum that they will use for other educational projects. So good for them. They went to all that trouble to get a 501-c-3 status, which is cumbersome and annoying, so might as well put it to work.
Meanwhile, I simply remain puzzled why *another* virtual museum, completely unrelated to this one, called "The Museum of Sacred Art" gets to have photographs, drawings, and replicas of FLW buildings including Fallingwater on display, and nothing is said to them and they (or LL) don't get any C&D letter. What am I missing here? (I'm also not quite getting why FLW's Fallingwater is "sacred" -- FLW and Olgivanna followed various cults, but I'm not sure if they claimed their buildings were sacred.)
I stumbled on the Museum of Sacred Art by compiling lists of sacred sites for the server "Sacred Places in SL" which you can pick up here for $20 and which is now all updated (and thanks to Rimpoche Kiama for help).
The Sacred Museum seemed to be the usual assemblage of buddhas and such, all perfectly fine, all lovely and nicely laid out. The managers were the usual company of opensim, Qwark, Ruby, etc. fanatics and educators (indoctrinators) with the usual vanity covered up by the usual elaborate self-deprecation. A little of this goes a long way with me, so my visits have been short in between gasps for oxygen somewhere else. But it's all good.
I had not heard of these people before -- Storm Nordwind,Pema Pira, Eliza Madrigal -- look them up, visit their "likes," and find some interesting educational and religious sites. To be sure, there are profiles like:
Sixty-six times have these eyes beheld the changing
scene of autumn
I have said enough about moonlight,
Ask no more.
Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars when no
wind stirs. -Ryonen
Which can often make me run away screaming in search of my sionchickens to feed (can one *ever* say enough about moonlight? How much is really *too* much?)
But which is better than a profile telling you that IMs cap, that the august personage doesn't accept TPs and unsolicited friendships, and whose BDSM RP preferences can be found in picks (and who draws the line on being pissed on). Yes, anything is better! Even the silent screaming of the pines!
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don't ever shine
I shivered the whole night through
You can read more here on the Museum of the Sacred if you aren't up for a laggy trip waiting for stuff to rez, although this site was better than most.
These are people associated with Gar Drolma Cho Ling, which I found to be a beautiful and inspiring Mongolian-style sim with yurts and Mongolian and Tibetan items for sale. I was inspierd to make My Mongolia which is decidedly eclectic and non-canonical. (I once translated a book about Buryat Mongolian Buddhist art.) It's a serious place and group if you want to practice this sort of Buddhism, not something I'm interested in; I find that there is nothing that attracts vanity and control-freakery like the Buddha practitioners of humility and self-abnegation in Second Life. While I've found some pleasant exceptions who do seem to embody the humility they preach, I've found others who are arrogant, controlling and imperious, banning you from their land at a whim. Even so, I can appreciate a pretty build that attempts to evoke a culture and a mindset.
(As I've noted in my past stories of my own little Free Tibet community, nothing attracts the snackers at the spiritual smorgasbord and freebie-hunters and Eurotrash like "Free Tibet". I often have to expel "Free" people from "Free Tibet" for the sake of them not getting charged the group fee which will make them howl, and because it clearly states it is only for tenants and event managers. I often find Free Clothes, Free Sex, Free Money, Free Everything on the same Free Tibet profiles. Apparently Buddha was like Jesus. He called unto himself the prostitutes and the tax-collectors. That doesn't imply that he expected that they remain in those professions, but apparently that memo has not been received yet lol.)
As an acknowledged snacker myself at the SL smorgasbord, I use these electicisms to contemplate. Would the Russian Orthodox find it sacrilegious to put up a White Tara (Tibetan goddess) shrine in a Russian Orthodox Church? Would the Tibetans find it odd or even sacrilegious to put up an icon of the Blessed Virtual Mary in the corner with the butter lamps and incense and water bowls? They might. I don't. So I don't include this in my own "sacred places" list because it's more a place for my own contemplation. How is White Tara different than Mary, the Mother of God? Tara often appears in a blue outfit and seems to be all about compassion and mercy and such, but she seems to have a sense of humour, as we learn from Wikipedia: "As John Blofeld expands upon in Bodhisattva of Compassion, Tārā is frequently depicted as a young sixteen year old girlish woman. She oftens manifests in the lives of dharma practitioners when they take themselves, or spiritual path too seriously." Say what you will about the Mother of God, Mary, a sense of humour doesn't really seem to be part of her narration -- although when she told the kids at Medjugorje to turn off their TVS, who does she think she was kidding?