A musical Pony Box in Second Life

Pony Box, July 2020 – click any image for full size

Pony Box is a half Homestead region designed on Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fortherington) on behalf of the Pony Box group as a location for them to offer DJ and live performer music to group members.

We are a community of Music Lovers. Where music speaks to the soul. Underground electronic sounds is what we are about.

– The Pony Box About Land description

The setting is that of a stretch of coastline backed by cliffs from which dual waterfalls tumble, the water from them cutting a path through the lowland grasses and shingles to reach the sea, while sandy beaches lie to the south and north sit as book-ends to the land.

Pony Box, July 2020

The land between the northern beach and the stream is home to Pony Box’s main structure: a warehouse converted into a pub. It sits in the middle of broad wooden decking, one arm of which stretches out over the beach on legs that dip toes into the blue waters at the deck’s far end. This decking is home to two of the setting’s DJ music venues; one at the end of the pier-like stretch, the other nestled alongside the warehouse-pub.

Steps descend from the stream side of the deck, providing a way to reach the shingle bank, home to a set of white bleachers. These face a live music stage sitting on the humped back of crooked finger of shingle that reaches into the stream, partially blocking it.

Pony Box, July 2020

Two bridges span the lower extent of the stream, providing the best route to reach the southern extent of the land. This is a low, rugged landscape marked by the tall fingers of fir trees and the rounded, squatter spread of crab apple, oak and walnut trees that shade the island’s second major building. Empty at the time of our visits, this suggested it might be intended to become a club house or perhaps an indoor venue for music.

We aren’t open all the time for music. We currently have a DJ who spins tunes every Friday at 1:00 pm SLT. We also do parties advertised through our land group, which I organise. The best way to find out about events is through the group.

– Mr Frosty (JackFrosstt), Pony Box co-owner

Pony Box, July 2020

The highlands to the est of the land aren’t direct accessible, although there are also signs of old habitation on them to give a further sense of depth to the vista as the land rises to form a natural barrier between Pony Box and the rest of the region.

There are one or two rough spots in the landscaping – some of the lowland rocks have been stretched so that their physics shapes no longer match and so you can end up wading through them rather than walking on them, but on the whole, the setting offers good scope for photography and he beaches offer places to sit and relax, as does the pub in the old warehouse.

Pony Box, July 2020

So, if you’re looking for a place to visit or a new place to find music, why not keep an eye on the pony Box in-world group, and hop over to the island and take a look?

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2020 viewer release summaries week #27

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, July 5th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release viewer version 6.4.3.543157, dated June 11th, promoted June 23rd, formerly the CEF RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.4.5.544028 on June 30th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.5.544079, issued on June 30th.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Contemplating artificiality and the eternal feminine

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Ex Machina

Officially opening on Monday, July 6th at noon SLT at Dido Haas’ Nitroglobus Roof Gallery is an evocative, provocative and challenging exhibition entitled Ex Machina, created by Caly Applewhyte.

While her work embraces Second Life landscape images, Caly is perhaps primarily an artist focused on avatar studies, producing pieces that offer stories, and that can be both produced out of an underlying theme and / or nuanced in their content and message. It is in this latter area that the pieces presented within Ex Machina fall.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Ex Machina

As individual images, each of the twelve large format pieces stands on its own in terms of narrative. While each has an obvious transhumanist / robotic element to it (the artificial enhancement of the body in the case of the former, the outright replacement of the body in the case of the latter), this is not necessarily the focus for the individual narrative; rather, this comes from the overall framing: the very human tilt of the head, the position of the hand (human or artificial), the cast of a look, etc., all of which serves to offer a story in and of itself.

However, when taken as a whole, it is evident that the transhumanist / robotic element evident in each piece does have a significant role to play in the exhibition’s core meaning. They reside alongside and reflect deeper themes of identity (and/or loss thereof), subjugation, and the psychological / philosophical / religious archetype of the eternal feminine, particularly as it relates to the idea (or myth, as Caly rightly references it) of the idealised female form, something that in turn encapsulates a touch Freud – and perhaps a darker warning.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Ex Machina

The first of these ideals  – artificiality, transhumanism, robotics – are evident from the outset, as noted. Within them, we might choose to see questions as to humanity’s future; are we really simply the sum of our frequently all-too-frail parts? Or might our growing ability to manipulate technology, replicate our capabilities robotically and our evolving ability to create artificial intelligence one day lead to us completely transferring the human condition from that of flesh and bone to something we might see as more perfect, in whole or in part?

Such questions inevitably lead to the core focus of Ex Machina: questions of identity, subjugation and the idealised woman and what they may mean in a coming age.

For how better could the archetype of female beauty, grace, purity, and compliancy be expressed than through the creation of the flawless, artificial woman? And much easier might it be to relate to the potential widespread use of AI units than be giving them the idealised female face and form? After all, it is the female who is literally the mother of life, and the female ideal most often used to present the good and the positive.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Ex Machina

But – and here’s the rub that Caly expressly raises – the entire idea of the eternal feminine whether rooted in the philosophical, psychological religious, is a male construct, one that has – intentionally or otherwise – constrained women. As humans, we are by nature flawed, just as all men are flawed in one way or another – though looks, abilities, disabilities, etc. However, for women, these flaws so often leave us wanting in the eyes of the (male) beholder, as Caly notes:

This paradigmatic myth, which generates high expectations that will always be disappointing, and moreover tries to trap women in an impossible ideal image, denying their individuality. Real women are thus always perceived as burdens, unfinished business.

Thus, in embodying the feminine in the perfection of the artificial, is there not a risk of further constraining / denying female individuality and value? To put it another way: in giving machines a female appearance, we may well establish a sense of connection to them in their role as servitors and assistants; but might not this also risk a further degradation of the place women have in society – perhaps even increasing things like the Madonna-whore complex (again, it is no coincidence the pieces in Ex Machina have a certain erotic edge to them)?

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Ex Machina

Complex, nuanced and challenging, Ex Machina is an exhibition intended to get the grey matter working, and it is well worth allowing it to do so, and in taking the time to to peel aside its layered meaning.

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