Messing around at Ouvroir

Interactive mosaic by Suzanne Graves

Messing around

That’s maybe the best way to describe how to act at the Ouvroir sim in Second Life. This place is known better under these names:

‘Chris Marker/Museum für Gestaltung’ and ‘There is a hole in my inventory’.

The  first name is the official name of the sim when it was created. The founders of this sim at sea level are no longer active in SL . The second name is in use by Eupalinos Ugajin who uses the sky to rez objects he likes, made by others. All these locations in the sky can be visited as well.

I could describe the sim as one big mess, because it is not very consistent in what can be found there, but it is more accurate to write you just have to mess around yourself to make it worth a visit. So do not TP in and out  again when seeing several primitive structures with old or no textures that seem to have missed updates to mesh builds with more advanced technics and looks, just take time to see what is actually there with no expectations of any kind and enjoy yourself.

I like to see it the sim in 2 ways: a tribute (to Chris Marker) and a playground for people who like to interact with (creative/playful) objects.

I messed around with dancing the Ghee, together with Eupalinos. I filmed it (errrrrmmmmmmmmmm, I mean screen captured it with demo software) and just for fun will show it. It is a watermarked ‘movie’ and totally crap, but I had fun dancing with Eupalinos, and it shows a bit the lightness of being at that place :)



Some history

Chris Marker, (29 July 1921 – 29 July 2012) was a French writer, photographer, film director, multimedia artist and documentary maker, who’s ‘La jetée’ – which inspired the 1995 Academy Award-nominated science fiction film ‘Twelve Monkeys’ – and ‘Sans soleil’, among other seminal works, made cinematic history in voice, text and associative media practices.

Chris was one of the most profiled figures in media history, and yet, he did not grant interviews or allow himself to be photographed. This legendary denial would suggest that he was predetermined as an avatar.  At the time of his entrance in Second Life he presented his exhibition which opened simultaneously with his real life exhibition at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich

The ‘Ouvroir’ sim was prepared for him by MosMax Hax aka Max Moswitzer. As avatar Chris played with his own work, in the company of his longtime guide, Guillaume-en-Egypte, a cat and a furry entity in Second Life based on his real life pet. When asked for a photograph of himself, Chris always would provide one of Guillaume-en-Egypte :-)

Marker’s impressively strong portraits of Simone Signoret, Akira Kurosawa, Salvador Dalí and Fidel Castro are evidence and emblematise his obsession of <<staring back>>. Visitors of Ouvroir are invited to also stare back.


Overview Ouvroir with the terraformed cat, Guillaume-en-Egypte.


With his first CD-rom project in 1997, Immemory,  Marker charts a haunting journey through memory, cinema, photography, war and literature, tracing an itinerary or map of an imaginary country. You can read more about that here:


Immemory by Chris Marker


A map as he meant it to be can be seen here (interactive webpage):
The cat you see at this picture is not Guillaume-en-Egypte, but Mr Chat.
A 2004 documentary, Chats perchés (The Case of the Grinning Cat), by  Chris Marker, used the phenomenon of M. Chat’s appearance across France as a springboard for a reflection on the state of the country post-9/11. More about this charater here: Mr Chat.

Guillaume-en-Egypte (GEE) and Mr Chat were buddies >>>>> GEE and Mr CHATThey can be seen in a little Tokyo bar at the sea level of Ouvroir.



If you don’t like cats you  have a problem at Ouvroir. The sim seems to be ruled by them, staring indeed and taking you for a walk or dance. The sim even has been terraformed in a way that shows  the shape of Guillaume-en-Egypte. It is not a coincidence or only a funny thing. Chris Marker had a very big love for cats and even is seen as the ‘inventor’ of the modern cat videos we now see everywhere. For more about that see this article please: The modern cat video was invented in 1994 by French multimedia artist Chris MarkerThere is much much more to be told about Chris Marker, but I suggest you use google for that and the link I share at the end of this blog.


‘The mess’ in more details

When you visit Ouvroir there is a Teleporter machine (with a cow above it) which you also will find at all locations you choose to see. The locations are:

  1. Ouvroir (the original sim on ground level) is the location where you can find the terraformed cat, a virtual version of the Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich and a cinema showing a short part of Chris Marker’s  La Jetée (1962) The full movie can be seen via Vimeo. For English readers the second link provides the translation of the spoken word: Translation La Jetée.
  2. Beacon by Oberon Onmura (see movie below).
  3. Cats: A funny Paris apartment dedicated to cats.
  4. Dance: Moai by Kikas Babenco and Marmaduke Arado. Click on the sculpture for your one minute of fame.
  5. Hangar: This is the ‘There is a hole in my inventory’ place where Eupalinos likes to rez his creations , many of them meant to interact. A funny collection for some entertaining moments.
  6. Suzanne Graves (a colourful interactive mosaic, read local chat to follow instructions)
  7. TaXY! (sit and use keyboard arrows for walking via X, Y (Z) axis. Go in any direction without breaking your precious bento skeleton, as if  you wear magnetic shoes)
  8. Altar: This is an object from Eupalinos’ first real place in Second Life, called ‘Someday my Cow will Come’. For a photo of that click here.  Eupalinos asked a friend, Dekka Raymaker, (not in SL anymore) to build something – no precise theme – with a max of 100 prims. He made this Altar. You can walk around on the middle level and you will hear different sounds he also created for this build.

At 2 locations in the sky you will find gifts: The bar in the hangar and the egg in the cat house. Just click one or more times to receive multiple gifts.



The good old days?

There is much more to see than the short descriptions I gave, and many more creators as well than I mentioned. It is a collection with all kinds of builds/creators selected by Eupalinos. You can see by editing the object if curious to know who created what :)

I like the sim because it offers a view to the early days of SL with pioneers who started to create and interact with RL. They discovered the creative possibilities of virtual worlds and motivated people to broaden their world. I was not there yet myself in SL, but listening to nostalgic stories of the people who were, it was a highly inspiring atmosphere that seems to be missed by many that were part of it back then. Maybe it is the usual nostalgic we have with the good old past, maybe it really was a more inspiring time then now, maybe it was just so inspiring because it all still was new. I will never know but fact is that Second Life does not attract that many special people anymore like Chris Marker, probably because the media have changed again and still are changing with many new creative options in a virtual space other than Second Life.

The sim at sea level is dead so to speak (no new additions, no one involved anymore). You can consider it a Second Life relic.The more recent part of the sim managed by Eupalinos Ugajin is different of course and sometimes will show new creations, so the sky is the part that offers a bit more action.


Eupalinos dancing in one of his many creative avatars.



Chris Marker:
Eupalinos Eugajin:
Pictures from Ouvroir in the past made during a visit and presentation of photos and ideas by Chris Marker  (the avatar in the center).

Chris Marker mai 2009 b


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