Avatars and humans, together in the same space

Rowan Derryth, writing on the LEA blog, brings word of a fascinating SL / RL exhibit which is taking place through until November 25th in both Second Life and real life, and which allows avatars from the one interact with humans from the other, and vice versa.

EXTRACT / INSERT is a collaborative effort involving Second Life and the The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, England. Rowan describes the collaboration thus:

We avatars often struggle to explain our existence to those that dwell only in the physical world. But now, a new exhibit at LEA 24 helps us do what we aliens do best: INVADE!


EXTRACT/INSERT is a unique installation in both Second Life and at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, UK. It is a collaborative effort between internationally renowned performance artist Stelarc, lecturer and actor Joff Chafer and artist and technologist Ian Upton. With support in SL from the LEA, and in RL from the Arts Council of England, they have been able to create an environment where avatars can co-mingle with real people visiting the Herbert!

The Exhibit has already involved volunteers from across Second Life spending time at a special installation at LEA 24 where they have been able to meet and talk to visitors entering the exhibit’s “other half” at the Herbert Art Gallery in the UK. Avatars are represented in 3D in the real world exhibition space, and appear to be floating among the visitors there.


The organisers are currently looking for volunteers to participate in the exhibit this coming week. The work involves being on-hand at the LEA 24 installation, where you can meet and interact with visitors to the Herbert Art Gallery’s installation in Coventry UK – so it does mean working to UK times as the gallery is open between 02:00 and 08:00 SLT (10:00 and 16:00 UK) Monday through Saturday and 04:00 to 08:00 SLT (12:00 midday to 16:00 UK) Sundays.

If you would like to volunteer and chat with Herbert visitors, you need to:

  • Be using an SL viewer capable of displaying shared media
  • Use Voice to interact with visitors at the Herbert Art Gallery – text chat and avatars names are not visible to visitors there
  • Have a suitable avatar appearance to meet the requirements of a “General”-rated audience which includes children

Creativity is welcome with avatars – there is no need to restrict yourself to a conventional human form, so long as your avatar isn’t too large (as it will be appearing life-sized at the art gallery) and dress and behaviour are in keeping with the General rating.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ian Pahute or Joff Fassnacht in-world in order for you to be added to the exhibit’s access list.

If you are in the UK, and wish to visit the real life half of the exhibit, you can find details on how to get to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on their website – booking for the exhibit is not required, and visitors are invited to “drop in” for a tour with the Gallery’s guides.

The Herbert Art Gallery’s side of the exhibit will remain open until November 25th, 2012.

UK-based performance artist Stelarc was present at the Herbert his last week, where he logged into SL from the gallery and gave a performance entitled “Involuntary and Improvised Arm”.

Related Links

 Images courtesy Rowan Derryth / Linden Endowment for the Arts

SL project news week 45/2: server news, viewer updates Steaming ahead, and surprises

Week 45 Deployments

The deployments schedule for this week (Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th November) went ahead as planned, namely:

  • Tuesday 6th: the Main Channel received get the code currently running on BlueSteel and LeTigre – release notes
  • Wedneday 7th:
    • Magnum received get fixes and updates to the code currently running there (including the Group Services code) – release notes
    • LeTigre and BlueSteel should get the next bug fix server in the pipeline, which includes the code currently on Magnum, and more – release notes (BS) and release notes (LT)

The main channel deployment now means that all regions are running on the same version of Havok with the exception of Magnum regions, which should be getting the update in week 46 (see below).

LeTigre and BlueSteel both have an additional “feature”: Linksets which have bounding boxes larger than 64m (in any dimension) are prevented from being rezzed if rezzing would cause the object to collide with an avatar excluding the object owner (BUG-166).

In addition, both LeTigre and BlueSteel include the following oft-requested bug fixes:

  • Script Time in the Statistics Bar now correctly shows 0ms when scripts are disabled in the sim (BUG-311)
  • Script error messages now include information about the object’s root prim, when certain operations fail due to the object’s pathfinding setting (PATHBUG-198).

A crash bug was also found in the Magnum code, and this has received attention, with the fix due to go out next week.

Week 46 Deployments

Things are gradually slowing down in preparation for the Thanksgiving code release freeze which will see a suspension of code deployments during the Thanksgiving week later in November. As it stands, the following roll-outs are planned for week 46 (week commencing Monday 12th November):

  • Main channel: should receive the code currently running on Magnum (including Baker Linden’s Group Services code – see later in this article)
  • Magnum: should receive the code currently running on BlueSteel and LeTigre, which will mean the entire main grid is now running the same version of Havok
  • BlueSteel, LeTigre and Magnum should also get the same additional updates (details yet to be specified).

Beta Viewer Update – Steaming Ahead with Project Code Merges

As indicated in Part 1 of this report, the crash issues impacting the beta viewer code have been resolved, and LL have been engaged in merging-up code into the beta and paving the way for the first of the 3.4.2 beta releases. These were always intended to have the code from some of the major SL projects which impacted the viewer, including Baker Linden’s Group Services code and Monty Linden’s HTTP texture fetch code.

The first 3.4.2 beta viewer was release on Thursday 8th November (, which includes a range of updates from the Lab as well as a number of contributed updates and improvements (see the release notes), although precisely which of the LL project elements are in the release isn’t obvious from the release notes themselves – the removal of JIRA numbers from the release note entries makes identifying updates, features and fixes that much harder, even though the JIRA items themselves are still open for public viewing.

One element that is clearly in the latest beta viewer release is the code for the steam link-up, as evidenced by the arrival of the new splash screen which I first reported on back in August 2012 – complete with a promotional piece for the Lab’s Pattern’s game.

Continue reading “SL project news week 45/2: server news, viewer updates Steaming ahead, and surprises”