This performance, inspired by the impossible and fantastic library imagined by Jorge Luis Borges in his prophetic story, The Library of Babel, was staged entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. The performers and musicians were avatars who performed to avatar and real life audiences drawn from across the globe. Commissioned by Upstage New Zealand for the 121212 Cyberformance festival , Babble was presented in venues in countries ranging from New Zealand and Argentina to Italy and England where international audiences joined the online avatar audiences to view the work.

A scene from Babble
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Babble was staged within a virtual library constructed in Second Life in collaboration with design students from Birmingham City University. Spectators had to create a Second Life avatar and then travel through the library where they encountered various virtual performances. They had to complete a number of tasks in order to win a pair of wings which enabled then to eventually escape from the library by flying away from its rooftop. Inspiration for this performance comes from two impossible stories which were re-imagined for the virtual world.Borges’ The Library of Babel, tells of a huge library which contains every book which ever has been, or ever could be, written - the only problem is that none of the librarians know how to find any particular book. The Tower of Babel is a biblical story about the building of a tower designed to reach to heaven, but the tower is doomed when an angry God takes the words out of the builders’ mouths and replaces them with a multiple of languages so various they are no longer able to understand one another. BABBLE included music and interactive sound score and video. It playfully invited the audience to explore how ancient arts of storytelling can be experienced anew in the digital environment.

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