The chaotic balance of a cosmos

Chaos, Kosmos
Chaos, Kosmos, LEA21

Chaos, Kosmos, now open at LEA21, is Giovanna Cerise’s latest full region installation. It offers a fascinating environment intended to reflect the idea of the relationship between the cosmos and chaos as seen through the lens of ancient Greek cosmology; the one (the cosmos) having arisen from the other (chaos), and which itself is still reflective of its origins, prompting generations of thinkers, philosophers and scientists to understand its structure and order, and impose upon it an order of their own.

This is an incredibly intricate – and at first glance, no pun intended, chaotic – installation. Structures exists on multiple levels, each comprising a mix of solid-looking and semi-transparent prims. All appear haphazard in design and placement – but all have an underlining organised structure, arising from the use of algorithms in their creation. Flowcharts representing these algorithms lie under, around and on the structures, further suggesting the orderliness of their form and design in contrast to their undisciplined appearance.

Chaos, Kosmos
Chaos, Kosmos, LEA21

Givanna describes this relationship thus, “the beautiful, good and rational order of the world, which always comes from a messy background. The Chaos is not definitely passed by the construction of an intelligible world and of the shapes, but it still continues to be as the foundation on which also the Kosmos stand.”

It’s a very visual representation of a complex concept  – one which, I have to say, works very well. So much so that I’d suggest that more than one visit will be required to understand all of the subtle complexities in the design, and that in doing so, the visitor is liable to have their perceptions challenged and challenged again – just as the cosmos has persistently challenged us to re-evaluate our thinking about it.

Chaos, Kosmos
Chaos, Kosmos, LEA21

Order from disorder – or at least the unformed – also arises in art, through all its many mediums, as Giovanna notes, “It could be understood as a creative act of the artist who derives a sense and an aesthetic and meaningful order from the formless matter.” Again, this is strongly reflected in the nature and style of this installation as a whole, and also in much subtler aspects of the work. One element of the piece, for example, features a design representative of a human hand on which neumes appear, a clear reference to music, reminding us of the link between music and mathematics, here forming almost tonal algorithms which echo the foundations of the installation itself.

The best way to observe the piece as the artist intended is to set your windlight to sunset or midnight, although other lighting works well with many of the structures; then use the teleport system (indicated by the compasses) to move around the elements of the build in the order Giovanna desired. Once you have completed an initial circuit, I’d recommend spending a little time flying and observing for yourself, as there is a lot to seen beyond the preset teleport destinations.

Chaos, Kosmos
Chaos, Kosmos. LEA21

All told, an intriguing installation – one which will open to the public through until the end of December 2014 as a part of the current round of the LEA’s Artist In Residence programme.

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SL project updates 46/2: viewer updates, miscellaneous news

Collins Land; Inara Pey, September 2013, on Flickr, on FlickrCollins Land, September 2013 (Flickr) – blog post

The following notes are drawn from the Server Beta user group meeting held on Thursday, November 13th, the transcript for which can be found here.

Server Deployments Week 46 – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest information and updates.

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, November 11th.
  • On Wednesday, November 12th, all three RC channels received the same server maintenance package, which comprises “minor improvements” to help configure the texture and mesh CDN, by allowing the Lab to reconfigure the CDN URL if they need to, with the intention of the of making it a more dynamic host name in the future.

SL Viewer

Snowstorm RC Viewer

A new Snowstorm contributions RC viewer arrived on Thursday, November 13th. Version 3.7.21.296724 promotes the viewer from project status, and brings with it the following contributed updates:

  • OPEN-215 kCGLRPTextureMemory is a deprecated function as of Mac OS X 10.7, replace with kCGLRPTextureMemoryMegabytes
  • OPEN-268 FFLOAD_XML missing on linux and darwin, FFSAVE_XML missing on darwin
  • STORM-2053 applicationShouldTerminate function returns NSApplicationDeligateReply when it should return NSApplicationTerminateReply
  • STORM-2056 Projector reflections do not respect the environment intensity parameter
  • STORM-2067 Glossy Projectors
  • STORM-2069 Delete key doesn’t delete first character of marked text on OSX
  • STORM-2070 Sticky modifier keys after OS window comes up on OSX
  • STORM-2071 Unwanted InputWindow comes up when typing Japanese on OSX
  • STORM-2072 Bad behavior of Input Window
  • STORM-2078 Editing an objects rotation with the rotation rings often causes the object to jump to position <0,0,0> on the region and rotation changes to <0,0,0>
  • STORM-2080 Dresses purporting to be Fitted Mesh stretch to 0,0,0
  • STORM-2081 Second Life 3.7.18 (295539) Oct 16 2014 08:19:54 (Second Life Release) crashes every time upon viewer Quit under OS X Yosemite 10.10

Attachment Fix and Maintenance RC Updates

The current RC viewers – the Attachment fix RC viewer and the Maintenance RC viewer both updated on Wednesday, November 12th as a result of the Benchmark viewer promotion to release status. The updates were as follows:

  • Attachment Fix RC viewer updated to version 3.7.21.296729. This viewer adds some fixes to previously released changes in the way joint offsets in rigged meshes are handled & fixes some issues found with adding and removing attachments after the recent AISv3 deploy, and improves the status information shown in inventory for attached objects
  • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 3.7.21.296734. This viewer offers a broad range of fixes for voice, privacy, rendering, texture animation, avatar distortion, inventory management, sounds, Mouselook in Mac, multiple UI fixes in script editor, Pay flow, chat, stats floater, edit menu, etc.

Release Viewer VFS Failure Issue

It’s still not clear how widespread the VFS failure issue on the current release viewer extends (see part 1 of this week’s update, and BUG-7776).  As noted in the first part of this report, I’ve managed to resolve such problems by manually deleted the viewer cache, and this worked for me in this case. Whirly Fizzle posted the same advice to the bug report, but at least one person has indicated it didn’t resolve the issue for them.

“Fast Pipe” Viewer

Monty Linden is working on further viewer-side updates to address reported problems being experienced in region rezzing times (such as reported in BUG-7698). There’s an initial release of the viewer available to those who can self-compile, and Whirly Fizzle reports that the fixes appear to work, commenting that, “Fast-pipe with pipelining enabled def works better for me on CDN regions. The long texture loading stalls have pretty much stopped.” There’s no date as to when this viewer will publicly appear as an RC or project viewer.

Other Items

Viewer Stats Ping Sim Data

There have been a few question in both meetings and in the forums about what the Ping Sim data in the viewer’s statistics bar actually represents. According to the wiki page:

Ping Sim: How long it takes data to go from your computer to the region you’re currently in. This is largely dependent on your connection to the Internet. If Ping Sim is high but Ping User is not, the server might be having problems.

However, this doesn’t paint a complete picture, as there can be a noticeable difference in the ping sim value given in the statistics bar of the viewer compared to pinging a simulator host directly. Responding to a question during the Server Beta meeting, Maestro Linden said:

As I recall, the ping number is your actual network round trip, measured by the UDP connection to the sim, *plus* some other time, like the time required to render the frame… So if you’re only getting 10FPS, that’s an automatic +100ms on top of the actual network round trip time… That ping time may also include the sim’s frame time (22.2ms if running at 45fps).

Answering a similar question through the forums in October, Oz Linden offered further clarification:

Looking at the code (I had not had occasion to look at this before), the Ping Sim measure appears to be based on a separate Ping message (our own message type transmitted over UDP, not ICMP). Those messages are mixed in periodically with the other UDP messages that are more or less constantly flowing between the viewer and the simulator. Because it’s the application that is turning that message around rather than a low-level part of the network stack, the fact that it is consistently higher than ICMP ping to the same host isn’t surprising. 

[ICMP, or Internet Control Message Protocol is the protocol generally used by ping operations.]

A couple of upshots of this is that if there is packet loss as a result of packet loss with increase ping rates as seen in the viewer, while no actual increase is occurring in the network connection itself, while increasing traffic within in region will cause higher ping rates within the viewer, simply because of the resultant UDP packet queuing in the server (hence a possible reason for BUG-7797, where the ping increase is seen as causing an increase in “lag”, rather than being indicative of an increase traffic load occurring). As such, Maestro commented that the viewer’s ping data is, “probably a more useful measure of latency than network ping.”