Dutch Masters at Holly Kai Garden

Paintings of the Dutch Masters - Holly Kai Garden
Paintings of the Dutch Masters – Holly Kai Garden

In October 2014, I wrote about the Dutch Masters exhibition curated and mounted by Drw (Drwyndwn Tyne) at his Gallery, Tyne’s Fine Art. At the time, the exhibition made quite an impression on me, such was the sense of presence one gained in being able to view masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, uniquely gathered together and beautifully presented in a single location.

I’m therefore extremely delighted that Drw accepted an invitation to display his collection at Holly Kai as the inaugural exhibition in our new Art at the Garden  series.

Paintings of the Dutch Masters - Holly Kai Garden
Paintings of the Dutch Masters – Holly Kai Garden

Opening on Wednesday, January 27th and running through until 28th February, 2015, Paintings of the Dutch Masters presents 40 painting by the likes of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Ludolf Bakhuizen, Gerard van Honthorst, all beautifully reproduced and mounted by Drw, and displayed within the two terraces at Holly Kai Garden.

Each piece has been reproduced in the precise aspect ratio of the original, with an additional 15% added to allow for viewing in Second Life, thus adding to the authentic look to each of them, and care has been taken to ensure any copyrights held by the museums hosting the original pieces have not been violated. Further, they are all mounted in picture frames which heighten the feeling of viewing the pieces in person. Click on a frame, it will offer two options: Museum Card and Examine. The former will offer you a texture containing the notes accompanying the piece as presented by the gallery where it is displayed.

Paintings of the Dutch Masters - Holly Kai Garden
Paintings of the Dutch Masters – Holly Kai Garden

Select Examine, however, and you’ll be invited to click the painting again. This will place your avatar in a seated hover position and focus your camera directly on the art; thus, you are able to examine the painting in fine detail, almost as if standing before it in a physical world gallery  (should your camera fail to orient itself after clicking the painting, tap ESC once to adjust it).

Paintings of the Dutch Masters presents a marvellous cross-section of art from the period: portraits, landscapes, studies, all of which help to understand why this period in Dutch History, spanning the 17th century, was so influential; the new Dutch Republic being the most prosperous European nation at the time, leading the way in European trade, science, and art.

Paintings of the Dutch Masters - Holly Kai Garden
Paintings of the Dutch Masters – Holly Kai Garden

More than that, however, it offers the means to truly appreciate magnificent artwork for some of the great masters of their craft, side-by-side and in a manner which could not be enjoyed in the physical world, where many of the pieces are geographically separated by museums. We look forward to seeing you at the garden.

To mark the opening, there will be a special celebration at the garden terrace, from 4:00pm SLT on Friday, January 29th, featuring the music of DJ Anthony Wesburn. Anthony brings a unique style to his music in Second Life. Covering multiple genres including blues, classic rock, and jazz, he not only spinning the tunes, but brings his audience little tidbits of information on the songs and artists he’s playing. Dress code is smart casual / semi-formal.

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SL project updates 16 4/1: server updates

Gates of Memories; Inara Pey, January 2016, on Flickr Gates of Memories – blog post

Server Deployments

As always, check the server deployment thread for the latest updates.

On Tuesday, January 26th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package,, previously deployed to the three RC channels. This comprises:

  • A simulator crash fix
  • A further feature request: llGetObjectDetails() functionality to get the parent_id of any task in the region (OBJECT_REZZER_KEY).

OBJECT_REZZER_KEY returns the parent_id of any task in the region. If the object came from an object rezzer it returns the ID of the parent object, while If it was rezzed by an avatar, it returns the agent ID of the avatar. The function only works for those objects rezzed in-world after the code deployment (objects in-world prior to deployment will return NULL_KEY).

On Wednesday, January 27th, the three RC channels should all receive a new server maintenance package,, comprising:

  • Internal simulator fixes
  • A fix for BUG-1313 “LSL llSetPos in root prim of attachment behaves differently at high altitudes – viewer does not show updates”, which can cause attachments to fail to update correctly at altitudes over approximately 1500 metres.

Deployment Slowdown

“FWIW, we’re likely to slow down on server updates in the next couple of weeks,” Simon Linden informed those attending the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, January 26th. “It’s not part of any evil plan, but I’m doing some internal maintenance work and travelling one week.”

How this plays out remains to be seen, but we should at least have one deployment to the Main (SLS) channel in week #5 (week commencing Monday, February 1st), assuming no issues are found, with the promotion of the this week’s RC deployment to that channel.

SL Viewer

no updates for the start of the week, with the current crop of viewers remaining:

  • Current Release version:, January 15 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • HTTP updates and Vivox RC viewer, version, dated January 19th
    • Quick Graphics RC viewer, version, dated January 20th
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version, dated January 20th
    • Oculus Rift project viewer, version, dated October 13th, 2015
  • Obsolete platform viewer (Windows XP and OSX versions below 10.7), version dated May 8th, 2015.

Other Items

Greater Local Region Control

A bug which has been getting repeated requests for attention, particularly by those engaged in SL combat activities, is BUG-8974, “Temp rez object are not rezzed in a timely manner”. It’s also one which hasn’t seem to be working its way to the top of the pile of things to be done. During the Simulator User Group Meeting, Simon expanded on one of these reasons this is the case:

“As I remember, it’s tied up with a larger idea: letting region owners pick different settings for the region based on the performance and safety you want.  Part of the problem is due to a throttle which was added for anti-griefing. So if you want temp rezzing faster, you might want that [throttle] looser, while a venue owner would definitely not want that [the throttle looser, due to the risk of griefing]. I can’t make promises but I hope to get to it soon.  It’s still on my list.”

Cica’s Beginners in Second Life

Beginners - Cica Ghost
Beginners – Cica Ghost

“I made these travelling houses, like migrating people,” Cica Ghost told me of her latest installation, Beginners. “And I was thinking, they are looking for new beginning. I didn’t want political thoughts, especially not in SL. So I think they are just moving., travelling. “Migrants” is such a heavy word.”

And it is, particularly in the current political climate and the situations occurring in Africa and the Middle East. Yet, with Beginners, it is in some ways hard not to see a reflection of what is happening in the physical world.

Across a rocky landscape, devoid of trees but covered in part by breeze-swayed grass, a caravan is slowly making its way up an incline. Pulled by gigantic snails, each with a house on its back, the caravan comprises two sets of wheeled houses, yoked one to another, the leading ones in each train harnessed to one of the aforementioned snails.

Beginners - Cica Ghost
Beginners – Cica Ghost

Progress is slow. the snails stretch and contract, the wheels on the house turn, but forward momentum seems non-existent. And all of this is watched by enormous figures standing on nearby hills or seated on the edge of the grasslands. Somewhat unkempt, their faces twisted, the sleeves of the jumpers they wear stretched and hanging over hands, Cica refers to them as trolls, and notes they mean no harm; they’re just there to watch.

Taken as individual scenes, the snail caravan and the huge figures offer a humorous study; the poor snails stretch and try, stretch and try, without ever showing signs of reaching a particular destination, hauling gaily painted houses (which show signs of wear), while the troll figures offer a clown-like face and look to the world; their oversized jumpers giving them a gentle charm.

Beginners - Cica Ghost
Beginners – Cica Ghost

Nevertheless, the echoes of migration and the displaced cannot be entirely put aside. It’s there within the caravan, where a closer examination of the houses reveals that their careworn look might actually be the result of being caught in strife. It’s there in the idea of people moving their entire home to seek a new beginning and leave the past behind. It can even be found with  the trolls, although this might not initially be obvious.

As tall as they might be – easily matching the wheeled houses in height – the trolls and their relationship with the caravan take on a new meaning as you cam closely around them. As the caravan on the rigid comes into sight, the trolls aren’t giants any more. They are instead transformed into figures in the foreground, watching the distant caravan roll by, their expressions now filled with pathos and bewilderment, perhaps a reflection of inner turmoil at being unable to go on the journey as well.

There are other subtle nuances as well. For example, the landscape is pockmarked with craters, giving it an alien look in places. And “alien” is often a term we use is respect of those arriving in our lands from elsewhere, or when referring to lands and customs removed from those we have lived with.

Beginners - Cica Ghost
Beginners – Cica Ghost

Beginners is again another marvellous piece by Cica, working as it does on several levels. Whether or not one is struck by the potential parallels with the dispossessed, this is an installation which is hauntingly beautiful in its presentation. There is also Cica’s trademark sense of fun: you can sit on the roofs of the houses if you wish as the snails struggle forward, or you can ride a balloon over the fields (and beneath the waters!), either on your own or with a friend. And if you do look hard enough, you’ll find a little secret spot where you can curl up and relax, leaving the world above you to get on with itself.

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