Linden Endowment for the Arts to officially close

Linden Endowment for the Arts: Eidola, 2019

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) is to officially close on August 31st, 2019. The announcement came via a notice came via a note card circulated via the Linden Endowment for the Arts Info group, and follows on from a contraction of the scale of the LEA’s operations in Second Life and an announcement made in November 2018 stating the organisation would be going through a restructuring.

The Committee of the Linden Endowment for the Arts regrets to inform residents of Second Life that the LEA regions will be closing at the end of August 2019…

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) was established to help create a centre of arts activity in Second Life. It was founded in 2010 and launched its first events in 2011. For the last eight years, it has been a collaborative venture between Linden Lab and the arts community. Guided initially by a board of renowned Second Life artists and more latterly also bringing in people with a strong interest in promoting the Arts in Second Life, the LEA has been committed to providing access to engaging experiences in the arts for the Second Life community. Over the last eight years, through its exhibitions, programs, and events, the LEA has fostered awareness of artists’ contributions to our virtual world and encouraged others to get involved and be inspired.

– from the announcement of the LEA’s forthcoming closure

Linden Endowment for the Arts: Exodus: A Trip for Life, 2017

Sponsored by Linden Lab, and with 29 regions at its disposal, the LEA was initiated under Mark Kingdon’s tenure as CEO at Linden Lab to function as something of a “arts council” in Second Life, run directly by a committee of residents. The core ideals behind the LEA – as expressed on the official website were to:

  • Provide a starting point for artists in Second Life, and for those interested in art to make connections and display their work.
  • Encourage and cultivate art and artists within Second Life.
  • Foster community, creativity, and innovation among artists and all residents interested in art.
  • Provide a way for artists to promote their art.
  • Collaborate with existing art regions, galleries, exhibits, and performance spaces to help nurture their valuable participation in SL arts.
Linden Endowment for the Arts: City Inside Out, 2015

The regions were split into two primary programmes: the “core” regions (nine in all) which could be used by artists from across Second Life for relatively short-term projects, and 20 Artist in Residence (AIR) regions that could be “booked” for six months at a time. Following the announcement of the restructuring in November 2018, the 20 AIR regions were wound down as the last batch of installations for 2018 came to an end. With the formal closure at the end of August 2019, the remaining nine core regions will be shut down.

The LEA was a brave attempt to try to help promote arts within Second Life, although its very nature was bound to be somewhat controversial. Indeed, following its formation, there was a certain degree of hostility directed towards it, a lot of which was unfair.

Linden Endowment for the Arts: Speculum, 2015

As was pointed out to me after I wrote the article on the 2018 restructuring announcement, running any organisation like the LEA is going to be a thankless task; there is no remuneration for time given, there is always going to be hostility over actions taken and the grants awarded, and so on; it really can be a thankless task. Nevertheless, there were times when the committee really didn’t help itself, such as failing to adequately act in accordance with its own by-laws after a committee member openly griefed a privately-held arts region in 2015 (other than hiding those by-laws when challenged under them following said incident).

However, there can be no doubting then when all is said and done, the LEA did a tremendous amount of good for the artists who participated in its programmes, offering many the means to express themselves and reach audiences in a manner that might never otherwise been able to achieve.

Linden Endowment for the Arts: Astral Dream Project – Leonardo 500, 2019. One of the last LEA core region exhibitions

For example, there have been collaborative projects too numerous to mention; there have been individual installations offered for use by a wider community (take Chic Aeon’s MOSP installations for example); there have been works embracing political and social issues (such as the 2LEI installations); investigations into matter of health (which through their construction and presentation may well have offered catharsis to the artists behind them). There have been installation that have allowed the many faces of art of be examined, explored and enjoyed music, song, dance, storytelling, the visual interpretation of classic works. And there have been those that have simply offered the opportunity for us to express joy and laughter – and so much more.

As such, and while the LEA many have had its warts and at times had to face undue criticism, it has through its nine years of existence been a force for good for those arts who have been able to make use of its facilities and it has certainly helped enriched art within Second Life and allow many to appreciate work and installations they might otherwise never get to see. So, it’s not unfair to say its passing will be missed.

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The Vordun: new home, new exhibits and some favourites

The Vordun Gallery and Museum

The Vordun Gallery and Museum, curated and operated by Jake Vordun, has relocated to its own full region, and as a result has undergone something of an expansion.

Connected to its former home on the region Jake has his Fancy Decor business, the new Vordun Gallery and Museum now boasts two floors, offering highly flexible display space with – at present – nine gallery halls (although some look like they could either be expanded or split, depending on the needs of individual displays).

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Pictures of the Floating World

As I discussed exactly two years ago just after The Vordun originally opened (see: The Vordun: a new art experience in Second Life), one of the attractions with this gallery is the care with which Jake and his team have striven to make a visit to The Vordun something of a an experience that mirrors a visit to a physical world gallery or museum – and this is certainly continues with the gallery’s new location.

I wanted to expand the non gallery areas. The lobby in the old build was a small cube. I think the newer big lobby with café, bathrooms, elevator, coat check etc, gives it a more real-life feel. Plus adding the second floor adds a ton of new space for more exhibits!

– Jake Vordun on expanding the Vordun Gallery and Museum

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Claude Monet

The realism element was particularly reflected in the initial exhibit at the Gallery, European Masters, 300 Years of Painting, offering as it did a scripted audio tour of the pieces on display. In the intervening years, European Masters has become something of a permanent fixture at the gallery, and I’m pleased to say this is still the case following the move as it continues to occupy the main ground floor hall.

The ground floor also sees three other exhibitions that were open at the time of the move also continue. Two of these, Pictures of the Floating World and Proverbs of the Low Countries, I wrote about in June 2017 (see: Floating worlds and Dutch proverbs in Second Life). Both of these are again exhibitions designed to not only reveal the art to visitors, but actively engage the visitor with the art. Sincerely Yours / Postcrossing, meanwhile, brings to life the fascinating world of postcrossing.com, which invites people to sign-up and send a postcard to a total stranger in another part of the world, thus joining a chain of sharing that has seen some 40 million postcards exchanged at the rate of 187 being sent per hour!

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Claude Monet

The rear hall on the ground floor is home to one of the new exhibitions at the gallery: Claude: Monet Impressions, a celebration of one of the founders – and possibly the greatest exponent  – of French impressionism Claude Monet. With something of a focus on some of Monet’s more famous paintings – notably those of his gardens at Giverny – this is at the same time a varied exhibition, featuring some of his portrait work and touching on the man and his life as well. All of which makes for an excellent introduction to Monet for those unfamiliar with his work.

The upper floor of the gallery holds the promise of the return of A Night to Remember, commemorating the loss of the RMS Titanic. This interactive installation had its début in Second Life at the Vordun as a part of the gallery’s original opening. It then travelled to the LEA where it was expanded somewhat (see: A Night to Remember in Second Life). Thus, the forthcoming its re-opening at The Vordun will be something of a coming home.

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Rembrandt

Also on the upper floor The Vordun offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves into the life and work of the great Dutch master, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn – but form an unusual angle. Best remembered as painter, Rembrandt was also a master draughtsman and printmaker, being a pioneer in the world of etching. It is this aspect of his art – for which he was perhaps most famous during his lifetime – that is celebrated here. Be sure to touch the images to gain deeper insight into each of them.

Alongside Rembrandt is another interactive, experience-driven exhibition, Musica Antiqua, a most engaging journey into music from the middle-ages to the Baroque period (the era of Bach, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Handel, Percell, Pachelbel and more). It features models of various instruments paints and  – most immersely – the music of the instruments themselves through audio and video.

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Musica Antiqua

As with some of the other exhibitions at The Vordun, this is a HUD-driven exhibition (the HUD should auto-attach on entering the exhibition space, providing you have accepted the gallery’s experience. If you haven’t, you’ll again be asked to do so). Audio can be heard by pressing the number on the HUD corresponding to the instrument  / painting you are viewing. Three additional button (indicated by the number with the video icons alongside them) will open a playback panel in your viewer, but note that a) you may have to click the panel to engage video playback; and b) playback is dependent upon HTML / Flash support in your viewer – an nearby chat link will help for those experiencing issues, and depending on their view of the security of Flash.

Across the hall from Musica Antiqua and Rembrandt is another unusual exhibition of physical world art – one perhaps at times overlooked outside of stately homes in Europe: that of tapestry. Threads of Gold celebrates this art through both wall hangings (perhaps how we most often think of tapestry) and upholstery embroidery – the latter again through the use of models.

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: Threads of Gold

The Vordun has cut a path of its own in terms of Second Life galleries, focusing as it does on physical world art. I personally find this one of the great attractions with the gallery; by doing so, it can bring the world’s art and artists to an audience who might otherwise never have the chance to experience the personal delight of what is to all intents and purposes a “first-hand” view of the art that the printed page can never really match.

That said, and allowing for the lean towards making The Vordun as close as possible to the feeling of visiting a “real” gallery, I did again find myself wishing in places that displays that do not provide auto-zooming used larger versions of the images they present (overall quality of the original image allowing, of course). This would potentially make them easier to appreciate by those less skilled in camera manipulation or who – more particularly – might suffer from poor vision.

The Vordun Gallery and Museum: The Great European Masters

Emphasising physical world art is something Jake would like to increase, as he informed me during a visit. “I’d love to have some Second Life artists showcase their physical world art.” There is nothing planned for this as yet, Jake has been focused on getting the gallery moved and the new exhibitions opened. However, we did discuss a few names, and SL artists who are not averse to displaying their art in-world might want to contact Jake directly to discuss their work and possible opportunities.

In the meantime, congratulations to Jake and his team for the gallery’s expansion and four new and very engaging exhibitions.

SLurl Details

2019 SL User Groups 29/1: Simulator User Group

Cherishville; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrCherishville, June 2019 – blog post

Server Deployments

As always, check with the deployment thread for the latest news.

  • There are no deployment to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, July 16th, on server maintenance package 19#19.06.14.528215, comprising internal changes.
  • On Wednesday, July 17th:
    • The Magnum RC should be updated to a new simulator package, 19#19.07.10.529179, this apparently contains internal fixes, described by Simon Linden as, “a tiny performance boost … one crash fix, an esoteric TP failure fix, update a system library … general fix-it stuff that isn’t likely to be visible.”
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre will remain on 19#19.06.14.528215.

SL Viewer

On Monday, July 15th:

  • The EEP RC viewer updated to version 6.4.0.529247 (dated Friday, July 12th).
  • The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.2.4.529302.

On Tuesday, July 16th, the 360 Snapshot project viewer was re-issued as version 6.2.4.529111. This brings the viewer up to parity with the current release viewer.

At the time of publishing this update, the remaining LL viewer pipelines were as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5, promoted June 18 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.2.3.527749, released on June 5. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

In Brief

  • Some are experiencing issues logging-in to Aditi (the beta grid), and fingers have been pointed at Firestorm, however, others aren’t encountering the same issues (myself included).
  • UDP and appearance issues: people on older viewers are continuing to report issues with their appearance (and in the case of Lumiya). This is most likely due to all UDP asset messages (including those related to appearance) have been deprecated on the simulators in favour of HTTP, but these older viewers / clients lack the necessary updates.
  • With the release of Firestorm 6.2.47588 there are reports that RegionCrossingInterpolationTime is acting more like a stop at region crossing within that viewer, sometimes with odd behaviour. One suggestion has been to set the debug to 2.00 seconds to stop the odd behaviour. I must admit that I’ve not been boating or flying with FS 6.2.4.57588 so hadn’t noticed any issues.
  • Summer vacations: the summer season means that vacations are rolling around at the Lab. Rider Linden, who had been digging into the script processing issues is currently out; Simon Linden is due on vacation (although SUG meetings should continue in his absence). And there is the SL “summit” among the developers, etc., so some development work is liable to slow down a little.