Author Archives: Inara Pey

About Inara Pey

Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life. My blog can be found below and I'm semi-active on Twitter and Plurk.

One Billion Rising 2016: Volunteers Sought

One Billion Rising (OBR) will once again be taking place in Second Life on Sunday, February 14th, 2016. The theme for 2016 if Rise For Revolution, with the organisers of the event stating:

Rise for Revolution 2016 is an escalation of the first three stages of our campaign – One Billion Rising, One Billion Rising for Justice, and One Billion Rising: Revolution.

We’ve danced. We’ve demanded justice. We’ve demanded changes.

This year we are enlarging, deepening and expanding the revolution.

And we need to focus on the most marginalised women and girls to bring about true, long-lasting change.

Change can happen if… Grassroots movements and marginalised communities are in the lead.

Change can happen if… We demand accountability – making sure our justice calls are realised
We will continue to demand justice, and we will continue to highlight the issues surrounding the social injustices inflicted on women, and to keep highlighting where these issues connect. We will continue to challenge institutions, governments, policies, laws – and make these systems, which are responsible for creating situations of poverty and violence, accountable.

Change can happen if… We harness our creativity and energy
We will keep highlighting, creating and envisioning new, brave and radical artistic initiatives to bring in the new revolutionary world of equality, dignity and freedom for all women and girls. THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN ART AS A TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION.

Change can happen if… WE ACT NOW. AND WE ACT TOGETHER.

In Second Life, we will be marking the occasion (as we did last year) with a twenty-four hour one day event that will allow women and men to gather. There will be music, there will be art installations and exhibitions, there will be poetry sessions, there will be storytelling events, there will be live dance  performances, there will be dancing – and there will be information kiosks that will share information about organisations devoted to promoting justice for women across the globe, and stories of events that will be happening around the world.

OBR in Second Life will once again focus on a four-region stage, all under a General maturity rating, allowing people to come together, and which will be surrounded by an area of art installations and informational exhibits on organisations that need funding. The stage areas will feature performers and music over the 24-hour period, enabling people all over the world to attend this virtual event no matter their time zone. Pictures are welcome on the event’s Flickr group.

The main stage at OBR in SL 2015

The main stage at OBR in SL 2015

About One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising was the biggest mass action in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

  • On 14 February 2013, people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women
  • In 2014, One Billion Rising for Justice focused on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and highlighted the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy
  • In 2015, millions of activists in over 200 countries gathered to Rise for REVOLUTION, to change the paradigm, demand accountability, justice and systematic CHANGE. We are rising to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

In 2016, the theme of Revolution continues with a call to focus on marginalised women and to bring national and international focus to their issues; to bring in new artistic energy; to amplify Revolution as a call for system change to end violence against women and girls; to call on people to rise for others, and not just for ourselves.

The campaign has been covered widely by media in all corners of world including The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and many more.

If you would like to be involved in One Billion Rising in Second Life, the OBR organisers invite you to do so in a number of ways:

  • By attending the event – watch for more details on the One Billion Rising website to learn more
  • By forwarding to them information about groups known to you that can be added to the informational kiosks. Email 1billionrisinginsecondlife@gmail.com or post on the OBR in SL Facebook page
  • By volunteering to help organise and run the event. OBR is seeking greeters, security, stage managers, media liaison and information processors, who will help build the information that will go into the OBR displays. Full training will be given
  • By adding your reasons for rising to the special Why I’m Rising page
  • By applying to be part of the OBR in SL Press Day
  • By helping  to sponsor the event – contact Samantha Ohrberg in-world to find out how.

Visit the One billion Rising in SL website to find out more.

Holly Kai Park: Caitinara Bar opens with Anthony

Music with Anthony, Wednesdays 16:00-18:00 SLT at Caitinara Bar

Music with Anthony, Wednesdays 16:00-18:00 SLT at Caitinara Bar

When Nber invited me to take over curating art exhibitions at Holy Kai Park, I had no idea where things would lead. As I’ve noted in various reports in this blog, the work offered a lot of attractive elements: working with artists, building on the foundations laid by Nber and Autumnx with Art in the Garden and Art at the Park, to further develop the park for all kinds of artistic expression, as well as establishing a new Art Garden, and also redesigning some of the park  as well.

Part of the redesign at the park saw the installation of a bar on the west side of the park, overlooking the beach. This actually hadn’t been part of the original plan, but when I saw the building on the Marketplace, I had to view it in-world, and Caitlyn agreed that, with a little modification and adjustment, it would make a good addition to the beach and park. Thus was born Caitinara Bar.

Which left only one problem  – what to do with it?

Music with Anthony: Wednesdays 16:00-18:00 SLT at Caitinara Bar

Music with Anthony: Wednesdays 16:00-18:00 SLT at Caitinara Bar

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by good friends, so when Boudicca whispered in my ear that Anthony Wesburn, her partner, a DJ with 10 years experience in SL, and whose music I’ve previously enjoyed at their home region of Hestium (which is itself an absolute delight – read more about it here) – I jumped at the opportunity. And so was born Music with Anthony, a new 2-hour set hosted at the bar by Boudicca, Anthony, Caitlyn and myself every Wednesday  between 16:00 and 18:00 SLT, with the opening event taking place on Wednesday, February 3rd.

I admit to approaching the evening with a little trepidation; as Caledonia Skytower is teaching us in these pages with If you just build it, they might not come, getting a venue established needs a lot of promotion, and that’s something that, in-world, I’ve not had much exposure to (and am still learning by mistakes with the park!). But, the notices and invitations went out, and my fears were quickly put to rest. :); the response was fabulous, and we were quickly into a thoroughly enjoyable two hours of great music from the 1960s, great conversation, great company  – and a lot of fun!

Music with Anthony (clockwise from top left): Anthony; Terrygold and Coittolina; Michelle; BK; Alicia, Kerena, Ty and Romie – pictures by Romie Vella (thank you, Romie :) ) and via the Holy Kai Park blog

Music with Anthony (clockwise from top left): Anthony; Terrygold and Coittolina; Michelle; BK; Alicia, Kerena, Ty and Romie – pictures by Romie Vella on Flickr (thank you, Romie :) ) and via the Holy Kai Park blog

Anthony’s style as a DJ is one of the most pleasant in Second Life, and his eye and ear for music are both superb. The playlist he put together, linked by anecdotes and jokes, and into which he neatly slotted requests from guests, was outstanding, with the music flowing seamlessly through the evening.

Hosting a music venue is a new experience for me, and I’d like to thank Anthony, Boudicca and Caitlyn for making the task so much easier for me (particularly when I was distracted by IMs and things!),. I’d also like to thank everyone for their feedback on the venue and support for the evening. We’re already planned some themed events as a result of the conversations!

I’d especially like to offer a very special thank you to CioTToLiNa Xue for her gift of a name plaque for the bar, which now graces the building and the deck and really completes the place.

Ciottolina's name plaques for the bar really add a touch of style, lit here using projectors.

Ciottolina’s name plaques for the bar really add a touch of style, lit here using projectors.

And finally, but by no means least, thank you to everyone who made the evening a success; we very much hope to see you back next week, and in the weeks to come – and to welcoming new guests and friends to Music with Anthony at Caitinara Bar :) .

High Fidelity: “VR commerce”, 200 avatars and scanning faces

HF-logoHigh Fidelity have a put out a couple of interesting blog posts on their more recent work, both of which make for interesting reading.

In Update from our Interns, the provide a report by Edgar Pironti and Alessandro, Signa two of High Fidelity’s interns who have been working as interns  on a number of projects within the company, including developing a single software controller for mapping inputs from a range of hand controllers, with the initial work involving the Razer Hydra, HTC Vive’s controllers and the Space Navigator. They also discuss working on recording and playback functionality, which is also expanded upon in the second blog post which caught my eye, the January newsletter, issued by Chris Collins.

This work has involved developing the ability to pre-record the data stream of an avatar – audio, facial expressions and body movement in a format which can later be played back on a server under the control of JavaScript. As Chris notes, this makes it very easy to quickly populate a VR experience with compelling pre-recorded avatar content, allowing life-like characters to a place or for use within a machinima film.

As their third reported project. Edgar and Alessandro discuss how they’ve been looking into creating a “VR commerce” environment. This combines elements of physical world shopping – sharing it with friends, actually grabbing and trying items, having discussions with sales staff, etc., with the convenience of e-shopping, such as quickly changing colours, seeing customer reviews and feedback, and so on. As well as explaining how they went about the task, Edgar and Alessandro have put together a video demonstration:

In the High Fidelity newsletter, Chris Collins covers a number of topics, including work on optimising avatar concurrency on a single High Fidelity server. While this work most likely used Edgar’s and Alessandro’s approach to pre-recording avatar  data streams mentioned above, the initial results are impressive: 200 avatars on a server, of which the 40 nearest the observer’s viewpoint are rendered at 75Hz when using the Oculus Rift, and with a very high level of detail, with full facial animations.

200 avatars on a High Fidelity server as the comes starts into optimising avatar concurrency (image: High Fidelity)

200 avatars on a High Fidelity server as the comes starts into optimising avatar concurrency (image: High Fidelity)

One of the things that High Fidelity has often be critiqued for by SL users is the cartoon like avatars which were first shown as the company gradually cracked open its doors. These are still in use, but there has also been a lot of work put into making the avatars more life-like should users so wish. However, there is a trade-off here, which has been discussed in the past: the so-called uncanny valley effect: the closer the facial features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural beings, it causes a response of revulsion among some observers.

This has tended those investigating things like avatar usage to express caution in pushing too close to achieving any kind of genuine realism in their avatars, and Philip Rosedale has discussed High Fidelity’s own gentle pushing at the edge of the valley. Now it seems the company is stepping towards the edge of the valley once more, using 3D scans of people to create avatar faces, as Chris notes in the newsletter:

We scanned our whole team using two different 3D scanners (one for hair and one for the face), and then used some simple techniques to make the results not be (too) uncanny … Although there is still a lot of work to do, we achieved these results with less than 2 hours of work beyond the initial scans, and the effect of having our team meetings using our ‘real’ avatars is quite compelling.

High Fidelity's staff group photo using scans of their own hair and faces (image: High Fidelity)

High Fidelity’s staff group photo using scans of their own hair and faces (image: High Fidelity)

Not everyone is liable to want to use an avatar bearing a representation of their own face, and the idea of using such a technique does raise issues around identity, privacy, etc., which should be discussed, by High Fidelity’s work in this area is intriguing. Although that said, and looking at the staff group photo, I would perhaps agree there is still more work needed; I’m not so much concerned about the technique pushing towards the edge of the uncanny valley so much as I am about the avatars in the photo looking just that little bit odd.

Also in the update is a discussion on audio reverb, a look at how the use of particles can be transformed when you’re able to see your “hands” manipulating them, and a look at a purpose-built game in High Fidelity.  These are all discussed on the video accompanying the January video, which I’ll close with.

Holly Kai Park: Music with Anthony

Wednesday, February 3rd marks the start of a new weekly music event at Holly Kai Park, and an invitation is extended for anyone so minded to join us.

Music with Anthony will take place on Wednesdays between 16:00 and 18:00 SLT, and will feature music provided by Anthony Wesburn, who has been a Second Life DJ for almost 10 years.

With a passion for music which is focused on, but not exclusive to, the blues, classic rock and jazz, Anthony describes himself as no walking jukebox. Instead, between playing the tunes, he loves to engage with his audience, sharing tidbits about the music and the artists he’s playing, and sometimes the eras in which they performed.

The venue for Music with Anthony is Holly Kai Park’s beach side Caitinara Bar, a cosy spot adjacent to the beach on the west side of the park, and with moorings available for those who wish to attend by boat (60 minute auto-return, and re-rezzing from the docks).

So why not make a note in your diaries and join us Wednesdays from 16:00 SLT through to 18:00 SLT, starting on February 3rd, for dancing, great music and great company? With Art at the Park just a short walk across the beach and along woodland paths, Holly Kai Park, Music with Anthony and the Caitinara Bar have a lot to offer!

We look forward to seeing you there!

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