The Scale of Love in Second Life

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Agape

The Scale of Love is the title of Milena Carbone’s latest solo exhibition, which is now open at The Carbone Gallery in Second Life. It is something of a refresh of her 2020 exhibition, The Nine Levels of Love, presented at Noir’Wen City, but which I failed to blog about at the time – so I hope this makes up for that oversight.

The central theme of the exhibition is a visual exploration of the various types of love as espoused by the ancient Greeks; but as with the majority of Milena’s work, the canvas she paints within this compact installation is – quite literally – cosmic in scale, and carries with it some religious undertones that indirectly link the piece back to one of Milena’s central themes: the nature of “god”.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Pothos

To address the art first – as this can be appreciated quite  independently of any more complex cogitations if one so wishes. This is set within a marble-walled structure stand nine large format images, each representing a state of love as defined by the ancient Greeks.

Each image interprets the selected ideal of love through a simple statement utilising posed avatars pictured against white backdrops and then processed to be presented in soft, neutral tones and / or monochrome (with a single notable exception). The result is a single frame encapsulation of their subject that has a depth of structure about it that is captivating.

Take, for example, Harmonia, with its two figures joined in form by dance both in the foreground and through their shadows (which in turn have amore nuanced meaning, to which I’ll return in a moment). It perfectly and simply encapsulates the idea of harmonious love – two souls united, able to move as one, sharing outlook and motion, a concord of expression.

The exception to the general approach of soft tones and monochrome – each of which offers a subtle statement on both the positives of love: gentleness, lightness of mood and touch, and the negatives: broodiness, possessiveness – is that of Eros, which Milena defines simple as “flesh love”, but which might be more correctly seen as primal lust, and the form of love the ancient Greeks saw as the most base and frightening, involving as it does a loss of control. To represent this, Milena utilises a sea of red washing around her two lovers, symbolising the heat of passion (and which may perhaps also be looked upon as having more subtle undertones).

The broader aspects of the installation revolve around the origins of love, both as a human concept and as a part of the cosmos as a whole.

The latter involves considerations on the universe as a whole, how everything we can see, everything we know, everything we are, is the result of particles coming together under the force of gravity, the one seemingly immutable and universal force of attraction. Thus, given that love – in all its forms, including its expression through our various religions – is an immutable part of human life, might it not be a continuance of that universal theme of mutual attraction?

Bound with this is a consideration of Aristophanes‘ speech from Plato’s symposium on the origins of human love. Intended as a humorous morality tale, the speech as referenced here is used to draw a further line through the idea of human love being part of the natural state of attraction found in the universe as a whole. At the same time, Milena perhaps offers a subtle reference to the speech through the positioning of the figures in Hormonia, I commented on earlier; note how they appear to be conjoined to form a double-headed, eight-limbed creature as imagined by Aristophanes whilst considering the nature of love.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Harmonia

One might niggle over Milena’s selection of types of love – where is Ludus or Pragma, for example? When considering their definitions, are not her Agape and Charis one in the same, both effectively referencing unconditional love? But the fact is, there are multiple ways to look upon the ancient Greek concepts of love; as such, it’s likely not advised to get too hung up on definitions or individual references.

What is worthy of appreciation is the art itself, even if you don’t follow the broader themes contained within it, because The Scale of Love is beautifully executed. The art is exquisite, while the setting offers a Greco-religious theme suggestive of both a temple and a church that are in keeping with both the focus of the exhibition and its broader themes: the marble and Doric columns echoing the former, the central hall and end rooms echoing the nave and crossing of a church. And in the latter regard, make sure you look down the “nave” from one end towards Agape at the other, and the marvellous way it has been framed (and consider the subtext within that framing).

As always with Milena’s Work, The Scale of Love engages the eye and mind on multiple levels, the art and setting alone making it visually appealing, the themes and ideas contained within them making it cognitively rich.

SLurl Details

2021 TPV Developer meeting week #29 summary

La Vallee, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 23rd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce these notes.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC viewer, version and dated July 14th, was promoted to de facto release status on July 19th. This leaves no current RC viewers in the pipeline and the official project viewers unchanged, thus:

  • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26, 2020.
  • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.
  • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, dated November 22, 2019.
  • 360º Snapshot project viewer, version, dated July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The next RC viewer that should be appearing is likely to have the next round of Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) media handling updates.

360º Snapshot Viewer

Work has now officially re-started on the 360º Snapshot viewer, and there will be some simulator-side updates in support of this will be going out in a simulator RC release in week #30 (commencing Monday, July 27th, 2021). it is to ensure the simulator sends the viewer all of the information it needs to correctly render a 360º field of view around the camera prior to the 6 snapshots being taken (which are then stitched into a completed 360º image). No date is available for when the updated 360º Snapshot viewer will be available.

Alexa Linden offered a peek of playing with the updated viewer via Twitter.

Graphics Work

  • The focus for the Graphics team continues to be on integrating the Tracy debugger / system analyser for cross-platform graphics development into the viewer.
  • This will be used to look for performance “hot spots” in the rendering code. This is liable to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks.
  • When completed, the work will be compiled into a static library within viewer repositories, but will not be enabled by default – it will require and explicit command line call during a viewer build process.

In Brief

  • Apparently, script-to-viewer messages sent via llRegionSayTo that start with “@” are never displayed in local chat. It’s not clear if this is by accident or design, but the request has been made to leave the functionality that way to assist with RLVa-specific commands send via llRegionSayTo not being spammed in open chat.
    • The broad response from Vir and Rider Linden was that the history behind the code in question (CHAT_TYPE_DIRECT) is unclear to them, but if changing it would potentially be damaging to existing content, then it is unlikely to be changed.
  • It’s again been noted that there can be a significant performance impact on the viewer due to the presence of Linden Water “that isn’t there” (that is, you cannot see it, because it is overlaid by terrain, for example). It is hoped that improved occlusion capabilities (i.e. “if you can’t see it, just don’t render it”) might eventually be a performance win in overcoming this.
  • Not strictly viewer-related, but Rider Linden proposed a new function via the forums – llIsFriend – on July 22nd, which sparked a lot of discussion via the forum thread, specifically around the question of privacy (having scripts from others – say a merchant or club owner  – able to read your Friends list) and the potential for abuse. Having had time to consider it, Rider noted the following during the TPVD meeting:
The more I think about it, the more a perms check is called for on that; [it is] probably not a perm that would be auto-granted in an experience, either. I’d set-up a new permission [that would] ask the person running the script, “may this script have access to your friends list?”
The more I think about it, the more I think it is not something that should be allowed invisibly behind the scenes under any circumstances … the added complexity does push it further back, tho. If a script wants to access your Friends list, it needs to be up-front about it. 

Next Meeting

  • The next meeting should be on August 6th, 2021.