Lab confirms: Sansar is the new virtual platform’s interim name

LL logoOn May 3rd, I posted about the speculation circulating concerning two trademarks the Lab registered in April 2015 for “SANSAR” (US serial no 86593259) and “Project Sansar” (US Serial no 86593254), and whether there might be related to the Lab’s Next Generation Platform for Virtual Experiences.

At the time I indicated that I’d already approached the Lab on the matter, but has not received any feedback, I also pointed out that in October 2014, the Lab registered the domain name “”.

The Lab have now responded, both directly to myself, and via Twitter.

In is e-mail I received on Tuesday, May 5th, Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global communications said:

Hi Inara,

Project Sansar is the internal code name we’ve been using for the new platform, and we do plan to use that name externally in its early stages (like the invite-only alpha we begin this summer). However, this is just the project name, and we anticipate changing it prior to launching the platform to everyone.


Shortly after I received the e-mail, the Lab also tweeted:

Confirmation of NGP's interim name via a Tweet and an e-mail
Confirmation of NGP’s interim name via a Tweet and an e-mail

That the name might be more an interim measure than a final operating name seemed to be indicated by the fact the domain name registration took place in October 2014, around the time the Lab was starting to indicate they had an internal name for the project. However, speculation as to the final name was understandable, given the trademarks were filed in April 2015 – although this obviously also converges with the Lab’s plans for a closed alpha to start-up later in the year, and so also fits with the name being the codename for the product.

I do still have some questions on the matter with the Lab; should I gain further replies, I’ll of course publish them here.

Eyerotica: through the eyes of the voyeur


Erotic photography can be a difficult subject to present; there’s a tipping point where such work ceases to be purely erotic and slips into the pornographic. The problem is, bring any cross-section of a community together to view erotic art, and you’re bound to get clear differences of opinion as to where the tipping point resides.

Given this, there are bound to be conflicting opinions on the latest  exhibition Max Butoh is staging at his Dathúil gallery. Eyerotica, a series of images by Ash (Ashratum), is definitely NSFW, focusing (no pun intended) as it does on the issue of voyeurism; although it does so with a subtle twist.

“Voyeurs are often seen as male in cinema and photography,” Ash notes. “While females are frequently the observed subjects. My gendered and embodied point of view, a feminine point of view, is my small contribution for this  “other side” of the power of looking.”


The result is a charged but nevertheless fascinating series of images covering the wide variety of sexual encounters we might experience in life (physical or virtual), in which both the voyeur plays as much a role as the scenes which captured their attention and some of the many different aspects of voyeurism are touched upon.

There is for example, the study of the accidental voyeur, the individual happening upon a situation perhaps entirely unexpectedly; then there is a the voyeur-as-a-participant, a witness to unfolding activities, perhaps even for their arousal; and there is the voyeur unseen, chancing upon a situation through security cameras or while processing a roll of film, these and more are uniquely offered, the angle of the shot, the deliberate use of light and shadow, the blurring of subjects all serving to draw us into the tableaux we see before us.


And herein lies the power of these pictures: yes, they are erotic, yes some may well tip into waters pornographic; but each of them also has a story to tell. There is a depth of execution within these images that demands we frame a story around each one. At the same time the vibrancy each contains underscores Ash’s fascination with the subject, and she sees herself in such situations. “The keyhole, even though it is a frequent metaphor for voyeurism, doesn’t describe my personal spectatorial desire,” she states. “I’m more like a voyeur participant, a body whose presence simultaneously sees and is seen, someone who takes part and affects what she observes.”

Visitors to the exhibit can further share in the experience of the photographer – be it as a voyeur or the capturer of erotic images. Just stand at one of the cameras scattered through the gallery and click Peek in the dialogue box that’s displayed (you may need to tap the ESC key to free your viewer’s camera and see what the in-world lens is willing to reveal).

Eyerotica runs through until the end of May.

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