Peace vs Chaos in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

It’s not often that you come across Friedrich Nietzsche, Hafez, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes and Julie Andrews (among others) serving to give voice to items within an art exhibit, but that’s exactly what you’ll find with Peace vs. Chaos, which opened on Saturday March 14th at Artful Expressions gallery, curated by Sorcha Tyles.

The work of Kimmy Ridley, the exhibit feature nine images, four on the subject of chaos, as visualised by Kimmy, four on peace and the ninth a combination. The two groups of four are highly individualised. The four on the subject of peace are perhaps the most easily recognisable: scenes (for the most part) rich in colour, capturing what might be considered peaceful times: summer days, frolics in the countryside, delight in a falling feather – even the forth, an exuberant  throwing wide of arms while astride a bicycle, denotes joy – an emotion that we tend to display when we’re a peace in ourselves.

The chaos images are a little less straightforward, perhaps. In opposition to those depicting peace, three are in black and white, and one in colour. In this they sit as the yin to the three colour and single black-and-white yang of peace. With and blurred rendering of a face, two bodies sans head and the third with the slightly enlarged head floating above (ahead?) of a body out for a stroll.

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

These are all very esoteric, but it might be said chaos appears to be lacking. Whilst unusual, these images at first don’t appear to invoke a feeling of chaos; that is until we consider the personal nature of the peace images. these all suggest settings that, while they might be familiar to us as peaceful settings, are also very personal. And so it is with the chaos images, each of which offers a personal sense of chaos – of literally feeling that life has one losing one’s head.

The ninth image combines elements of peace and chaos – but perhaps not in the manner that might first be thought. While it would be easy to see the bright colours of the flowers as an expression of peace in keeping with the other peace images, and the skeleton representative of chaos, I’d suggest the reverse is true: the bright cascade of flowers might be seen as representing the natural chaos of nature, and the skeleton the peaceful slumber of death.

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

Thus together, these images present a personal view of peace and chaos, underlined by the personal selection of quotes offered as a part of the exhibition (just take the information board). These are ideas to which we can all relate times of joy and happiness, confusion and upset; in short, the Peace vs. Chaos that can so often be a part of our lives.

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Second Life: operating with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

With the world-wide concern over the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg blogged a message concerning the situation, social distancing and Second Life operations on Wednesday, March 18th. In particular he noted:

As concerns about the current coronavirus outbreak continue, we want to assure the community that we have taken steps to ensure that the Second Life operations stay steady while also helping our employees stay safe through this public health crisis. Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who have been affected by this unprecedented event.

Second Life will continue to be available without interruption as we get through this tough time together. Due to our previous crisis contingency planning and the flexible nature of our distributed workforce, we are not expecting any changes to response times for support inquiries and payment processing.

We know that Second Life serves a great purpose for our community as people seek ways to stay in touch with their friends and co-workers, as they grapple with new social distancing protocols, mandated remote work requirements, and other precautionary measures. …

Like many companies across the globe, we’ve put into action new remote work policies for our employees to ensure that they can take care of themselves and their families while continuing to work from home. Prior to this incident, a large percentage of our company was already working from the “Moonlab” (that’s what we call remote employees’ locations), so we have been able to transition quickly and efficiently to a fully remote setup.

The blog post also noted the recent reduction in tier fees that has been made for educational organisations and non-profits (see: Second Life: support for remote working & reduced education / non-profit fees – updated), and goes on to indicate that Second Life is seeing a resurgence of interest in the platform as a result of the outbreak, with an increase in new user registrations and in returning users.

As a pair of purely anecdotal comments on this latter point, out of the attendees at the Tuesday, March 17th SUG meeting, one indicated they were a returning user, brought back to SL as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, March 18th, I was able to assist a student trying to reach lessons at NOVA, the Northern Virginia Community College. He was on his first day in SL, his classes having shifted to being on-line / in-world and had managed to get himself somewhat lost! It only took a moment to look-up the college in Search, provide a link in chat and explain to him how to use it, and he was on his way! So, as the blog notes, it’s worth taking the time to make newcomers welcome and provide a little support to help them feel comfortable.