The Monastery: A Dream Comes True
My name is Arria Perreault. I am a citizen of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, a democracy in the virtual world of Second Life. I am involved in the cultural life of the community, being curator of the Monastery — a place dedicated to spirituality, knowledge, and wisdom in Second Life.
In 2006, I came to Second Life because I was interested in experimenting with the concept of virtual museums. As I have a degree in Archaeology, I joined the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS) because it hosted the Roman city of Colonia Nova. There I opened my first exhibition in a tiny house, where I had only 54 prims. This proved very challenging. I thought about the need for another place to create better exhibitions.
I could have built my own private place. As my house was in a democratic community, however, it seemed more interesting for me to create a place open to everyone. In 2007, the CDS planned to add a sim between Colonia Nova and Neufreistadt: Alpine Meadow. This new sim would be between a Roman colony and a Bavarian city of the Middle Ages. I imagined that a monastery could fit perfectly there between them.
The project became to create a place named the Monastery. It would be non-denominational and dedicated to spirituality, wisdom and the transmission of knowledge. I organised a fundraiser to buy a parcel on the new sim. By this time I had experience building in SL, but my skill was limited for such a complex structure. I asked for help in the CDS forums, and several people responded to this positively. Beathan Vale offered his private land as a place to work on the Monastery building before the sim was available.
There I created a surface that corresponded to the future parcel for the Monastery and a few walls. Tanoujin Milestone, Samantha Fuller, Jo Sapeur and Sleazy Writer joined this project. Sam and Tan worked together on the tower, while Sam made the stairs and Tan made a wonderful bell. Jo worked in the Library, while Sleazy created columns with scultptie prims for the courtyard. After this work was done we finally could move the building to its new sim.
After this I cannot mention all who contributed to the Monastery’s further activities, because the list is too long. A few examples are: Popea Heron from the Roma SPQR community designed a great exhibition about food in ancient Rome. For the first Valentine’s exhibition, Alexicon Kurka made an amazing sculpture with the sound of a beating heart. For the exhibition «Second Mirror», Lilith Ivory took a series of snapshots with a mirror in SL and added reflections in it with photo editing software. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have contributed to the Monastery — even those I did not mention.
Eventually it became clear the Monastery could be on its own sim in the CDS, and a plan was created for it to move to a new sim named Monastery in 2009. This new sim was designed by myself and Ulysse Alexander.
Ever since then the Monastery has continually held exhibitions, and has featured such community events as Egg Painting contests in the spring and holidays Advent Calendars each winter.
By working on the Monastery project I got a great amount of experience in the management of a virtual museum. When I view the success of its activities, I believe the Monastery is also a contribution for the life of the CDS community, and even for Second Life. The Monastery could not exist without the help and generosity of CDS citizens and SL residents. It needs skill, time and money, and it cannot be truly successful on the shoulders of only one individual. Thanks to Second Life, we can make some of our dreams come true.