Dido’s Minimal art in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

Dido Haas has slipped back into the smaller exhibition hall of her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – a place I’ve taken to calling “Dido’s Space”, as it was used to be reserved for her personal art selections prior to her offering it as a space other artists might use. On display is a selection of eight images Dido is exhibiting under the title of Minimal.

All of the images are, as Dido notes herself, a step away from her usual style of work on a number of levels. Noted for her elegant, posed avatar studies and art that offers a clear narrative or sentiment to entice the audience into it, Dido’s work also tends to carry with it a delicate hand with post-processing to offer works that are richly finished in terms of their photogenic depth.

With this selection, however, Dido present pieces that are lighter in the touch of post-processing (if used at all) that is minimal in its finish, thus giving us the first reflection of the exhibition’s title. Further reflections of the theme are found in the way each piece is minimal in terms of its setting and framing, together with the fact that the props, etc. used by Dido all come by way of the Minimal in-world brand. Finally, there is the placement of Dido’s avatar; for those of us familiar with her exceptional still life and avatar studies, the majority of the pieces within Minimal reduce her avatar’s presence to a minimum, encouraging use to consider the scene as a whole.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

And this is where the final take on the idea of the “minimal” theme can be found: each and every piece is of such a nominal nature that, a Dido herself states:

The images … depict several scenes which make you wonder ‘what is happening there’? Use your imagination and make up your own story. 

In other words, these are pieces framed without overt commentary by the artists (other than the title), leaving the audience totally free to consider each piece, thus making them pictures that should be viewed as much by our imaginations as they should be by the eye of arts appreciation.

Take Telephone Booth for example – what brought the woman to the public telephone? Is it an innocent chain of events – such as being in a remote coastal area where cell ‘phone coverage is poor; or is due to more clandestine reasons – such as trying to avoid any record of the call appearing on her ‘phones records? Is her call to a loved one or is there something more to the call? Indeed, is she even making a call – or was it chance that she was passing when the ‘phone oddly rang; or is she even interested in it at all? It sits on the hook, and her attitude suggests she has no interest in it. Is the booth a means of escape, a place to hide  – and if so, from whom or what?  So many potentials for what may have happened  – or what may follow, as each image need not be the end of its narrative, but the beginning or even the middle.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Dido Haas – Minimal

Intriguing and cosy in size, Minimal is an engaging experiment by Dido, one that exposes a different side to her work, one I certainly hope to see more of.

SLURL DETAILS

2021 SUG meeting week #43 summary

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting, where there is something to report; the video video should be referred to should full details of the meeting wish to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

  • Tuesday, October 26th saw the simhosts on the SLS main channel restarted without any update.
  • Wednesday, October 27th should see the deployment of  simulator version that includes a revised implementation of PRIM_PROJECTION.
    • For the time being, it will be write only, meaning it can used in llSetPrimitiveParams but not in llGetPP. The associated wiki documentation has yet to be updated.
    • This update will also include BUG-231158 Allow llGetNotecardLine to return more than 255 bytes (to a maximum of 1023 characters).

SL Viewer

There have been no updates to the current crop on official viewers to mark the start of the week, leaving the pipelines as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.4.23.564172, formerly the Apple Notarisation Fix RC viewer, issued September 24 and promoted October 15 – see notes below.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • 360 Snapshot RC viewer, version 6.5.0.564863, issued October 21.
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.5.0.564805, on October 20.
    • Simplified Cache RC viewer, version 6.4.23.562623, dated September 17, issued September 20.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer, version 6.4.23.564530, dated October 12.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.4.23.562614, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

Apple Notarisation Viewer Issue

With the release of the Apple Notarisation Viewer there were updates to many of the viewer’s third party libraries, and some of these updates have be found to cause issues related to playback of certain media types in-world including, but not possibly limited to MP3s and MP4s. LL are working towards a fix, but in the meantime, workaround are offered:

  • Windows:
    • Uninstall the Second Life viewer the usual way.
    • Navigate to your Program Files folder (Win 64-bit) or Program Files (x86) (Win 32-bit); locate and delete the “SecondLifeViewer” folder.
    • Download and install the Simplified Cache viewer (the previous release viewer).
  • Apple Mac:
    • Remove the Apple Notarisation viewer from your system.
    • Download and install the Simplified Cache viewer (the previous release viewer).
    • Read the instructions on this page to work through any occurrences of unwanted notarisation warnings.

In Brief

  • With the on-going work to analyse viewer performance using the Tracy debugger / system analyser (see my TPV Developer summaries for more), the simulator team are looking to try and leverage that work on the simulator side, once the current tools upgrade on the server-side has been completed.
  • There was a 10-minutes discussion around animated particles / revising the particle systems, but there is nothing on the card for immediate work.
  • The upcoming simhost operating system upgrade (also to follow the completion of the tools upgrade) was also discussed. Essentially there is a lot of work to be done, and the potential for regressions or other issues to occur. However, LL are planning things as carefully as possible; no overall decision as to how it will be deployed to the main grid come time for it to do so – mainly because the work has yet to start.

Grumpity Linden talks Second Life to Le Journal du Net

Second Life banner piece for the October 25th issue of JDN

Cube Republic pointed me towards an article appearing in the French on-line newsletter, Le Journal du Net (JDN), a reference site for corporate executives produced by media group CCM Benchmark. The interview is also referenced on the Lab’s official In the Press page. Entitled Second Life’s annual GDP is $650 million, the article is the banner piece for the October 25th issue of JDN, the piece in places makes for interesting reading whilst also covering ground with which many SL users may already be familiar.

The piece starts with a discussion of the recent rise of “the metaverse” as a catch-all buzzword among tech companies from Epic Games to Facebook, and outlining the fact that much of what is now being hyped was similarly hyped 18-20 years ago, with Second Life one of few platforms that actually attempted to achieve it, and which should now, by rights, be regarded as a forerunner and living example of what “the metaverse” might be.

From here, she draws on a key differentiation between Second Life and the vision Zuckerberg’s company is offering – and the barriers they may well face.

I think they themselves realized that the reputation Facebook has forged over time can be a barrier. This lack of confidence in the company exists and there will have to be a number of levers of confidence to allow those who wish to explore these virtual worlds. But it is still too early to get a clear idea. At Second Life, we ensure the privacy of our residents. For example, some assume their homosexuality in Second Life, but we know that some may live in areas of the world where their sexual orientation could lead them to prison. We are therefore extremely vigilant on this issue of data security. With the immense wealth of data in the hands of the digital giants, it will be necessary to ensure the protection of the privacy of the users of these virtual worlds.

– Grumpity Linden (aka Anya Kanevsky, Linden Lab’s VP of Product), talking to French newsletter JDN

Later in the piece, she goes on to make a key point that has helped Second life achieve its longevity and which seems to be a point missed in many of the discussions / statements by other companies wishing to stake their claim to a vision of “the metaverse”:

Everything in [Second Life] was created by our residents and not by Linden Lab employees. We just play the role of facilitator. This represents our vision of the metaverse. I don’t see how creating different games that would be connected to each other could be akin to the metaverse. In my eyes, this is content created by companies for users. For the metaverse to exist, it must be created and managed by the people who live there.

– Grumpity Linden talking to French newsletter JDN

The more familiar waters sailed by the piece include things like the 200,000 monthly unique log-ins SL enjoys, the uptick in engagement seen during the core months of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic (and that the Lab feel they are seeing many of those who turned to the platform to remain even as the freedom to get out and about in the physical world gets easier, even if at a reduced number of hours per session). It is in these discussions that the article’s headline – SL having a GDP of US $650 million – is references, and that in 2020, users collectively withdrew a total of US $73 million from the platform (potentially hinting at an overall rise in general revenue flowing into / through the Lab over 2019),

Whilst being cagey on the Lab’s overall financial footing, the point is made that it has been profitable for a long time. This sits alongside a comment on the way in which the lab has attempted to be responsive to changing economic needs by realigning where and how it generates its income from the platform. Tilia Pay is also touched upon, together with its importance to Second Life – if not its potential as a revenue generator for the Lab as a whole; an honest assessment is also given on Sansar and immersive VR – which also hints towards the Lab’s vision looking to a future that is broader than any reliance on VR headsets.

While a number of early adopters shared their enthusiasm with us, we also observed resistance from some users. Many were not thrilled with the idea of ​​carrying these VR headsets that are quite heavy and require enough space at home to be able to use them. If virtual reality allows for an immersive and incomparable experience, we observed that few of our residents were ready to wear these helmets for more than thirty minutes. So we plan to keep trying new things around virtual reality, but VR isn’t the only possible future for Second Life.

– Grumpity Linden talking to French newsletter JDN

In terms of this broader view of the future for SL in particular, Grumpity notes the need to provide access to it “on all platforms and on different devices,” even if the experience in accessing SL is not identical across all such platforms / devices.

The article itself is relatively short, but covers some good ground in a manner that will met the needs of JDN’s general readership. It provides a good “executive summary” approach, transmitting its core information without undue exposition. In closing the piece, the journalist, Adrien Tsagliotis, offers a quote from Grumpity that mirrors something I’ve long believed myself (and is actually evidence by the reality of SL’s user numbers), and which stands as something all those hyping “the metaverse” should perhaps keep in mind:

We have observed over the years that the population as a whole is not necessarily open to living this immersive experience in a virtual world. Once the hype around the metaverse is behind us, I think we’ll observe that not everyone is necessarily interested in experiencing virtual worlds.

– Grumpity Linden talking to French newsletter JDN

Mareea’s pastels at Konect Art in Second Life

Konect Art Gallery: Mareena Farrasco

Until I remembered the invite sitting in my inventory, I hadn’t realised it’s been over a year since my last write-up on art exhibitions at Konect Art Gallery, operated and curated by Gonzalo Osuna (Jon Rain). Why this should be the case, I’m not sure – but in that time, the gallery has relocated and downsized a wee bit. Nevertheless, a return visit was most welcome, as was the reason for making it – to see a further exhibition of Mareea Farrasco’s art, which is a couple of weeks into its exhibition time at the Gallery.

Mareea is an exceptional Second Life artist who has a talent for taking the pictures she captures in-world and turning them in elegant digital paintings through a gentle and considered use of post-processing. Her work encompasses portraiture, landscapes, and still life that can represent an image reflecting a moment in time, or offer the suggestion of a large narrative for the observer to create / interpret, and can even touch upon the metaphorical in tone and meaning.

Konect Art Gallery: Mareena Farrasco

Miscellaneous is a selection of 16 images that between them incorporate all of the above, and which also highlight other aspects of Mareea’s work I so appreciate. These include the way in which she can bring a sky to life in a landscape image, for example, to give it depth and mood; her eye for angle and depth of field; her ability to bring forth the subtle richness of colours present within nature without any sense of them being overblown.

Most clearly in this selection is Mareea’s love of pastels to cast a story and / or mood. Within the landscape pieces the soft colours speak to the calmness and beauty of a late summer field or the quiet of an autumn’s evening; meanwhile, her use of greyscale and blue tints provide a sense of winter and of a sea storm angrily reaching the shore. Then there is the use of soft focus / depth of field to draw the eye to a specific aspect of an image, in one place particularly married perfectly with a minimalist view (Bon Voyage) so as to offer an entire story through just a pair of walking boots, a shoulder bag and a hat.

Konect Art Gallery: Mareena Farrasco

Where deeper shades / colours are in evidence,, these again frame stories the mind is free to interpret, and metaphors of expression that can hold our attention, the colours offering a richness of expression without overwhelming the eye.

Poised, captivating and suitable for gracing any SL home, Miscellaneous is a rich sampling of art is an engaging exhibition that should be running for at least (I believe) the next couple of weeks.

SLurl Details

2021 viewer release summaries week #42

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates from the week ending Sunday, October 24th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Release viewer: version version 6.4.23.564172, formerly the Apple Notarisation Fix RC viewer, issued September 24th and promoted October 15th – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • 360 Snapshot RC viewer, version 6.5.0.564863, issued October 21.
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.5.0.564805, on October 20.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Radegast updated to version 2.36 on October 21.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A little corner of Japan in Second Life

Hasunohana October 2021 – click any image for full size

It’s been several months since I had the opportunity to jump into a build by Lotus Mastroianni and Fred Hamilton (frecoi), so when Shawn Shakespeare pointed me towards Hasunohana, I decided to start the week by hopping over and taking a look.

Occupying a 4096 sq m parcel, this is a setting that is not going to tax your feet (or camera!) when exploring – which is not to say it doesn’t have anything worth seeing. Rather the reverse, in fact, since the build makes good use of the placement of streets and buildings to give the impression of both being large than first appears, and a genuine sense of forming – as the About Land description states – a little suburb siting in a much larger metropolis. And also as the About Land description makes clear, and the setting’s name suggests, it is a setting with a lean towards Japan, something that is again liable to tweak my attention, given my love of the orient.

Hasunohana October 2021

A visit starts aboard a suburban monorail train as it arrives at the local station – something that adds a degree of depth to the setting, giving the suggestion that we are joining the locals in coming home after a day at work. From here, steps lead down to the first of the setting’s narrow streets, little more than an alleyway boxed on either side by the squat forms of apartment-style (at least in looks) houses mixed here and there with a little shop or store.

While the buildings are all façades, they nevertheless have a sense of homeliness about them: potted plans sit outside of doorways, together with shoe stands and benches, dustpans for cleaning down front steps hang from hooks on the wall, bicycles are parked on stands in alleys between houses – there’s even a thermos and steam mug outside one, suggesting the owner is not far away.

Hasunohana October 2021

Similarly, the balconies to the upper floors of some of the houses are rich in the floatsam of life: deck chairs for enjoying the Sun are folded against railings, toys clutter floors, clothes are draped over dryers – there’s even a washing machine clearly too big to fit inside a house that has been parked to one side of one of the balconies. Where balconies aren’t available, window railings and the tops of air conditioning units mounted outside of windows are used for various domestic purposes, whilst roofs that can be accessed have been turned into little garden spaces.

Although none of the occupants of the houses are to be found, this doesn’t mean the setting is deserted; curious eyes are to be found everywhere in the form of the local Feline Overlords as they sit on rooftops, balconies, sit in doorways and – in one case – carrying out an inspection of a cart of luggage.

Hasunohana October 2021

Finding your way around is a matter of keeping an eye out for the steps linking the streets that sit at slightly different heights one to another. Some of these steps are obvious, sitting directly at the end of one street to reach another that crosses it; others might not be so obvious; they might be hidden around a corner or at first appear to be stairways leading up into buildings.

Those who fancy a meal al fresco, one corner of the setting features a little street-side eatery. Tucked into another sits a little garden that offers one of those touches of green that can catch the eye in the most unexpected of places as we explore somewhere new.

Hasunohana October 2021

Small, richly detailed – if somewhat texture-heavy – Hasunohana is an engaging setting, neatly blended with its high-rise surroundings through the placement of the monorail, roads and mist. Rounded out by a balanced soundscape that fits it perfectly, it makes for a tidy visit whether or not photography is your thing.

SLurl Details