Mila’s Perfectly Imperfect in Second Life

Art Korner Gallery: Mila Maesar

Occupying two rooms at Frank Atisso’s Art Korner gallery is an exhibition of avatar studies by Mila Maesar that opened on April 28th, 2022. Perfectly Imperfect marks the first time I’ve had the opportunity to study Mila’s work in detail, and while there doesn’t appear to be any liner notes to accompany the exhibition, this doesn’t diminish it at all; it actually enhances it, allowing the interpretation of the individual pieces and the exhibition as a wholly subjective exercise, driven by one’s own mood at the time of a visit.

The majority of the pieces are head-and-shoulder portraits, although there are some broader images to be found within the collection. At first glance, the images appear to be split between the two rooms simply through the used of colour or tone: monochrome pieces appearing within one room and colour in the other. However, things are not entirely that clear-cut; whilst the darker room does have predominantly black / white or monochrome pieces, there  are also hints of colour to be found; whilst in the lighter room, colour predominates, but monochrome pieces are also to be found.

Art Korner Gallery: Mila Maesar

All of the pieces carry a richness of narrative, stories in part suggested through their titles. Several are evocative of iconic images: Waves, for example, carries with it a suggestion of Neve Campbell and Denise Richards as seen in promotional posters and images for the film Wild Things; alongside of it, Honey Pie offers echoes of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.

Art Korner Gallery: Mila Maesar

Whether such touches are intentional or merely my own subjective response to these two particular images, I’ve no idea; but I found similar touches in some of the other images, and through them, a part of my own connection to them.

But if there is a theme within this exhibition, what might it be? I found myself driving to the idea of duality and self. Again, this is in part suggested by the title of the piece, and – obviously – by the images themselves and also the setting.

Most of us who come to Second Life do so in order to find a means of self-expression, a part of which is embodied through our avatars. For the majority of us, this gives rise to avatars that tend towards a view of perfection: an idealised view of who we are / would like to be. But while they might be perfect, we, as their operators remain imperfect, perhaps even conflicted.

Our moods and outlook change – hence perhaps the use of light and dark rooms to display these shifts – whilst our avatars remain constant throughout; perfect in looks, perfect in relationships, perfect in appeal. Even in situations where we’d end up a complete mess – or at least less-than attractive – such has being smothered in honey or splashed in paint, our avatars remain an image of perfection.

This dichotomy between this digital perfection and the imperfections of “real life” is perhaps most clearly represented within Open Up *(seen to the right of this article). It is an utterly startling and fabulously presented piece, with a depth of expression and potential for narrative that completely captivates.

But however you opt to interpret Perfectly Imperfect for yourself, make no mistake; these are visually striking and richly engaging pieces.

Finding The Forgotten in Second Life

The Forgotten, April 2022 – click any image for full size

The Forgotten is a Full region I stumbled upon entirely by chance whilst thumbing through the Destination Guide trying to remind myself of an entry I’d seen a while back but had failed to make a note of. I didn’t find it, but in coming across The Forgotten, I found a region that is quite fantastical and just slightly abstract and well worth a visit.

The work of Elfie Lionsheart (who has the delightful user name of Elfing Shenanigans), The Forgotten is a region that deserves to be seen rather than merely described; a place that is without a singular theme per se, but where imagination and reality intersect to present a place of beauty, mystery and depth.

The Forgotten, April 2022
A magical swamp born from sorrow, lighting the way for explorer’s to follow. A castle in ruin, gardens left to despair. Eyes of lost statues left only to stare. Whispers of sadness from voices long gone, dancing fairy dust left to sing its last song.

– The Forgotten, About Land Description

Sitting under a dome of stars  – or perhaps star stuff, given the fact the a massive full Moon hangs in the sky beyond – there is a sense of timeless age to the setting, together with a sense that it is a place where the tales of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien mix without being overly swayed by one or the other. Or perhaps mix is the wrong term – it is perhaps a place that combines the imaginations of both men to present a place they would both feel comfortable in walking through.

The landing point sits towards the north-west of the island where a huge plateau that rises above the rest of the region, a stone-and-grass table on which sets the castle ruin of the About Land description. A cavern on the opposite side to the path leading up to the ruins is the home of the landing point, fronted by wooden board walks that wind out from it over the swamp also mentioned in the region’s description.

The Forgotten, April 2022

This swamp is a mix of water, green growth, strange plants, giant tress and unexpected creatures – although finding your way free of it might take a little care (hint: look for the anthropomorphic street lamp on a deck and the log bridge to drier land (or alternatively, visitors can continue to follow the and lanterns board walks over the swamp waters to the places that lie within them).

The rest of the landscape comprises a mix of trees, rugged, low hills, overgrown paths, unexpected dwellings and the most engaging ruins and statues, some of which speak to elven influences, others to human while some provide pagan echoes – all of which again combine to add a depth to the setting that is utterly unique. More than depth, they suggest a sense of mythology for the region.

The Forgotten, April 2022

The most impressive of these statues is a great carved stag standing over the swamplands, a proud beast placed on a shoulder of the castle’s plateau, it is the work of Elicio Ember, and its presence marks the second time I have seen it within Second Life in the space of a week, and for me it suggested a spiritual link between the elven influences of The Forgotten and with Elicio’s Mythspire Ridge at the 2022 Fantasy Faire.

Away to the north-east a flat headland pushes a rounded snout out into the water, topped by a wild garden watched over by a dryad. South of this, across a shallow inlet that cuts into the land, sits a more human abode – a store in fact, where one of the region’s more unusual inhabitants patrols: a fat-beaked dodo (and it is not the only oddity perambulating across a part of the region). Not far from here, up a stone stairway, a trio of Romany caravans sit, although whether they belong to people or the cats that have claimed one of them is open to debate.

The Forgotten, April 2022

But as I said, this is a glorious region that should be explored rather than described – and I’ve left a lot of what is waiting to be found out from this article to encourage visits. It is a place that is, despite the sadness within its description, a genuine playground for the imagination.

SLurl Details

Second Life University: Land & Group Basics Class – Notice

via Linden Lab

As has been recently announced, Linden Lab has formulated the Second Life University, a programme to assist those who may be new to Second Life, and / or are finding it hard to get to grips with a range of aspects of using the viewer and Second Life as a whole.

The idea is to bring together information, tutorials and videos that are of benefit to both new and existing users together, making sure it is both up-to-date and gathered within one place for ease of reference.

This is clearly a major piece of work – particularly making sure all the information can be referenced from a single place (which we have yet to be notified about), which is an important aspect of the work given the range of resources it is designed to bring together. However, in the interim the Lab is pushing ahead with a new series of video livestreams of their own.

The first of these was streamed on Thursday, April 7th, and covered Viewer Basics.

Izzy Linden with be presenting the second in the Lab’s Second Life University video series

The next in the series will be streamed at 12:00 noon SLT on Thursday, April 28th, and will feature Land Product Specialist Izzy Linden, who will be talking Land and Group basics.

The aim is to walk people through a “best practices” approach to the basics of basics of land and group related activities / options in the viewer, offering a mix of tutorial and Q&A session. As such, it is something that may well prove to be a hand resource for rental estate owners to have as something they have point to help their renters (particularly those new to the whole idea of land rental in SL) in addition to the information they might supply to renters.

The livestream can be watched directly on You Tube, or below, depending on your preference.

Revisiting Ahiru in Second Life

Village of Ahiru, April 2022 – click any image for full size

Just about four years ago I visited the Village of Ahiru, a full region themed along Japanese lines with the About Land description indicating the inspiration for the build is the Edo period – although as I noted at the time of my original visit, whilst the core inspiration for the region – home to the Blue Lotus Okiya geisha group – might well be Edo, it is not actually set within that period, as the modern touches to the public areas of the region tend to reveal. Given that four years have passed, I decided to jump back and see what might have changed.

A mixed public / private setting, the landing point for the village is located in the sky, where general information can be found together with free male and female kimono outfits for those who want to dress more the part for a visit. A map of the region just across the landing garden provides both an overview of the region’s layout  – including the locations of the 15 private residences to be found within the village – and click-to-TP labels to the major public areas.

While 15 private residences may sound like a lot for a region, they are all located on the east and southern sides of the region and away from the majority – but not all – of the public spaces.

Village of Ahiru, April 2022

The parcels for the private homes come in a number of sizes, allowing them to be grouped together without feeling crowded, with the positioning of a couple of public spaces between the main groupings helping to give a further sense of space around them. Most of the houses sit behind hedges and fences, the entrances to them marked by green rental boxes, making them easy to identify (and avoid) – although some of the smaller units are directly approachable along the public paths, so keep an eye out for their green rental boxes on their walls.

The majority of the public areas for the region are located on the north and west side, where a large island is home to the Blue Lotus Okiya theatre, a garden area, the Osen / Oden and the Ochaya tea house, which still commands part of the high grounds in the region. The latter is a custom build for the region, and offers a classic Edo take on these traditional tea houses with their strong ties to geisha. It also looks down to where the Osen and Oden sit.

Village of Ahiru, April 2022

The main building of the latter appeared to me to be larger this time around than with my original visit, but this could just be my imagination. Certainly the familiar indoor and outdoor pools remain ready for guests. The grounds of the Osen form one of the areas where confusion between public and private areas within the region can occur: an open gate and path lead from the pools at the back of the facility and around a shoulder of rock to one of the smaller rental units – although it is hard to appreciate it is a private abode at first glance.

Reached via bridges, the major residential spaces are mixed with a pair of little eateries and are dominated by the Ahiru temple and shrine. This is located straddling the crown of the highest hill within the region. It is separated in part from the private homes by a finger of water curling around the base of the hill, helping to form it into a headland with water on three sides in part fed from the falls dropping from the hill’s cliffs. A single bridge provides the means to reach the temple.

Village of Ahiru, April 2022

On the west side of the region sits a largely artificial island nestled between the public spaces to the north and the residences to the south. It is connected to both via bridges, and I refer to it as “largely artificial”, as the larger potion of it forms stone terraces, one just above the waters and the other raised on arches which hide a small dock below them.

The terrace above is set aside for dancing, while the more natural part of the island forms a series of stepped flowerbeds down to the water that are mirrored across the water on the northern island as the land here also steps down to the region’s inner waterways. Facing the terrace island to the south and well clear of the private homes is a small commercial area sitting over stone quays and paths that end in more wooden wharves.

Village of Ahiru, April 2022

Camming around, I noted that at least one of hidden areas of the region remains, but appears to have been cut off from access. Whether by accident or design, I’ve no idea. However, whilst somewhat redressed since my original visit, Village of Ahiru retains its natural beauty and appeal, making it a worthwhile visit.

SLurl Details

2022 Raglan Shire Artwalk in Second Life: call to artists

Raglan Shire Artwalk 2021

The Raglan Shire Artwalk is one of the staples of the SL art calendar, and for 2022 the 15th Artwalk will take place between Sunday, May 15th and Sunday, June 19th, inclusive.

A popular event among artists and residents, the Artwalk can see over 150 artists displaying their work – 2D and 3D – across the regions of Raglan Shire. All the displays are open-air, with 2D art is displayed on hedgerows in and around the regions, while sculptures and 3D art is displayed in a number of designated areas, all of which allows visitors to both appreciate the art and explore the Shire regions.

A Call For Artists for the 2022 event has been issued for those wishing to participate, and key points about the exhibition are as follows:

  • It is a non-juried show.
  • Artists can display more than one piece if they wish.
    • 2D (“flat” art pieces will be awarded a maximum of 15 LI, and individual pictures should be 1 prim, including the frame.
    • 3D art (sculptures, etc.), will be awarded a maximum of 500 LI for up to three pieces of work. Artists are requested to state the LI per piece in their application.
    • Sales of art are allowed.
  • Types of art supported by the show are: representations of RL photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and digital fine art that can be displayed on a prim;  and SL photography, manipulated SL photography and SL sculpture.
  • Pictures of RL crafts, such as beadwork, leatherwork, etc., are not part of the show’s  definition
  • All the above art forms are welcome, but should be rated PG / G – so no nudity, please!
  • Group membership will be required in order to display work.
  • Tip jars and floating text are not allowed.
  • Questions and enquiries should be forwarded via note card to Artwalk Director Karmagirl Avro, or Artwalk Assistants Kayak Kuu, Linn Darkwatch, or RaglanShireArtwalk Resident.

Those wishing to display their art should complete and submit the Raglan Shire Artwalk 2022 Registration Form by no later than 21:00 SLT on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022.

Raglan Shire Artwalk 2021

Event Dates

  • Tuesday, May 10th: applications close at 21:00 SLT.
  • Tuesday, May 10th: Notification of exhibit space location issued to artists – note that hedgerow space for 2D artists is on a “first come, first serve” basis.
  • Friday, May 13th (after 09:00 SLT) and Saturday May 14th: Artist set-up days.
  • Sunday, May 15th: Artwalk Opens.
  • Sunday, June 19th: Artwalk closes.
  • Sunday, June 19th (after 21:00 SLT) through Tuesday, June 21st: takedown of works.

Related Links

2022 SUG meetings week #17 summary

Nelipot, March 2022 – blog post

The following summary notes were taken from the Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. It forms a summary of the items discussed and is not intended to be a full transcript. A video of the entire meeting is embedded at the end of the article for those wishing to review the meeting in full – my thanks to Pantera for recording it.

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment forum thread for the latest information.

  • Tuesday, April 26th saw the SLS Main channel restarted but without any new deployment, leaving all simulator on release 570305.
  • On Wednesday, 27th April:
    • The RC channel regions already on release 570936 (comprising under-the-hood improvements and fixes for some crash modes)  will be restarted without any deployment.
    • Those RC channel regions on simulator version 570305 will be updated to either release 570936 (above) or release 571166, which includes:
      • A new LSL function llGetVisualParams(). Returns a list of avatar appearance details for a given agent.
      • New options for llGetParcelDetails(): PARCEL_DETAILS_LANDING_POINT, PARCEL_DETAILS_LANDING_LOOKAT, PARCEL_DETAILS_TP_ROUTING, PARCEL_DETAILS_FLAGS, PARCEL_DETAILS_SCRIPT_DANGER.
      • New options for llGetObjectDetails(): OBJECT_MATERIAL, OBJECT_MASS, OBJECT_TEXT, OBJECT_REZ_TIME, OBJECT_LINK_NUMBER, OBJECT_SCALE, OBJECT_TEXT_COLOR, OBJECT_TEXT_ALPHA.
      • New options for llGetEnv(): “agent_limit_max”, “agent_reserved”, “agent_unreserved”.

Available Official Viewers

On Tuesday, April 26th:

  • The Makgeolli Maintenance RC viewer (Maintenance M) viewer, version 6.5.5.570983 was released.
  • MFA RC viewer, updated to version 6.5.5.571282, bringing it to parity with the current release viewer.

The remaining official viewers are as follows:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.4.570575 – formerly the Lao-Lao Maintenance RC viewer, promoted Monday, April 18 – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • Performance Improvements RC viewer version 6.6.0.570163, dated April 4, issued April 14(?).
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.5.4.569531, March 18.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.5.2.566858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

In Brief

  • The fixes for off-line Group and Friend invites should be going to an RC update in week #18. This will likely be on a dedicated RC channel.
  • BUG-4245 “Feature Request: Prim property for blocking client-side interpolation (positioning, rotating or scaling) plus LSL constants for llGetStatus() & llSetStatus()” has been on the books for a while, and have now been re-opened for further consideration.
  • The majority of the meeting revolved around building efficiency, textures, scalable vector graphics (SVGs), object faces.
  • Mostly general discussions on possible options and requested features (e.g. BUG-230904). Please refer to the video below.