Updates from the week through to Sunday, November 20th, 2022
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
Release viewer: version 18.104.22.1686223 – MFA and TOS hotfix viewer – November 1 – No change.
Release channel cohorts::
Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer updated to version 22.214.171.1246431 on Monday, November 14.
Jade Koltai has opened a new region design in the tradition of the work she started with the late (and still missed) Serene Footman. It offers a personal interpretation of Japan’s famous Blue Pond (青い池, Aoi-ike), located in the country’s second-largest island, Hokkaidō.
Occupying a homestead region, Aoi-ike presents the pond in the depths of winter, offering visitors a setting blanketed in snow to explore and plenty of opportunities for suitable time-of-year photographs. Pride of place is given to the pond itself, the waters the rich azure blue of the original, albeit caught beneath a cloud-laden sky.
The physical world Blue Pond is entirely artificial, the result of work intended to protect the town of Biei following the December 1988 through March 1989 eruptions of Mount Tokachi. These caused a series of pyrrolastic events and associated mudflows which threatened the town, so following them, a series of dams were built to prevent future eruption-generated mudflows which might use the Biei River as a root through the locale.
In doing so, the dam trapped the water of the Shirahage waterfall, a series of falls passing over a cliff rich in aluminium to reach the river. This aluminium, coupled with volcanic sulphates in the water which whiten the rocks on the bed of the pond and so heightening their light-reflecting nature, gives the water of the pond its distinctive blue sky colour.
This unlikely colour is not the only interesting feature of the lake; the plants present also participate in the surreal atmosphere of the place. While the pond is surrounded by living trees, in the middle there are skeletons of larch and birch that once grew on the ground before the formation of the pond. These trees are also present in Jade’s build, although the upriver falls are understandably absent.
Blended with a region surround that helps represent the surrounding mountains (the region around Biei is famous for a mountainous hiking trail that loops between Mount Tokachi and the (slightly) smaller Mount Biei as it sits between the Biei and Shintoku townships). While this loop is too big to recreate in a region, it is possible to circumnavigate the pond on foot along both trails and open ground – although if you have a wearable horse, the setting is also ideal for horse riding.
The lightly wooden and most flat land is heavy in snow and light on structures – the latter comprising a Finnish-style suoja, a metal watchtower, a covered bridge, a little Japanese hut, and a flat-roofed cabin. Cosily furnished, the cabin offers the best respite from the snow and cold, the décor continuing the Japanese theme very nicely. The souja offers a small retreat with a comfy bed and the bridge includes a trio of theatre-like chairs warmed by a heater and where those using them can have a hot cup of tea.
Perhaps the most unusual feature in the setting is located on its northern edge, a short walk from the landing point. It takes the form of a large stone sculpture of a cat seated on a stone plinth and backed by a lower stone wall. It appears a little shrine-like in nature (if a big shrine!), and adds an interesting twist of character to the setting.
Wildlife can be found scattered across the region – deer, owls, bear, cranes, weasels, and black swans – although some might need a little seeking out in order to spot. Also waiting to be found are further places to sit outside of those already mentioned: benches, deck chairs, and so on.
Easy to explore, reflective of the location that inspired it without being heavily tied it it, Aoi-ike presents an engaging winter setting for people to enjoy, entirely free from the more usual “seasonal” trappings generally found in winter-themed reasons at this time of year.
Chuck Clip has perhaps been most widely known as a tireless promoter and curator of art in Second Life through his Sinful Retreat regions, which have housed a stunning mix of personal art as well as exhibitions and a home for both 2D and 3D artists from across the platform and the world at large. However – and as I’ve noted in the past in these pages – he is himself an accomplished artist in the physical world and in Second Life (where he has also exhibited widely, if often quietly), working in a range of digital mediums, including prims, which he still sculpts today in preference to using mesh and external-to-SL tools like Blender.
I’ve long been attracted to Chuck’s work, particularly his 2D art, because of its powerful expressiveness, and his ability to take and mix a range of digital techniques to create pieces of art that are visually captivating and impactful whilst carrying messages of social conscience either directly or through more esoteric means using the surreal, the fantastic and the dark – elements which may be born in part out of his own life path – to offer insights into the human psyche, love, life, death, religion, and the (my term here) ambivalent nature of the human condition.
I went to Rochester Institute of Technology initially for medical illustration. After set backs with mental illness, I returned to school, graduating from duCret School of Art for graphic design. Aside from a few small shows in local galleries, mostly I freelanced to make ends meet … My 2D work is created mostly digital using a variety of methods, from photography, to digital painting, to compositing, and more recently, using artificial intelligence to enhance and evolve these pieces into something entirely new.
– Chuck Clip
Many of these aspects of Chuck’s work can be seen and appreciated at Elven Falls Art Collective, owned and operated by operated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Aires Hax, where the main gallery is currently given over to an extensive exhibition of chuck’s art across its two floors and which opened on November 18th, 2022.
Starting with the two pieces facing visitors as they enter the gallery’s foyer and progressing right throughout the seven halls (three on the lower floor, four on the upper, reached via the foyer elevator) this is a veritable tour de force of artistry at its finest. Each and every piece is layered both in terms of its physical composition and its meaning / interpretation. Some aspects of the pieces offer might disturb the sensitive; other might upset the deeply religious – but all will challenge and give pause for thought as to the statements each carries.
The narratives found within the offered works may be as direct as highlghting the role of formalised religion has often played fomenting war, death, and destruction (the entire upper rear hall of the gallery); or more subtle reflections on human nature – such as the mindset setting behind the avatars we encounter in Second Life (Behind the Avatar, within the lower floor, right-side hall) or the fact that as evolved as humanity might appear, we are as a race still prone to the drive of the primeval within us (Modern Man, within the lower floor right-hand hall).
Each of the seven halls in the gallery also offers a 3D sculpture by Chuck. Each offers something of a reflection of the core themes to be found within the 2D art presented within it (perhaps most powerfully through Holy War, again to be found in the gallery’s upper rear hall); however, they also stand as a statement to artistic expression in Second Life, as Chuck also notes in his biography:
As a prim sculptor I’m largely self taught. I learned by trial and error and by going to places where the works of the old prim sculptors are still shown, examining them for hours on end just trying to figure out what they did to achieve certain effects. I am forever indebted to the old prim sculptors, for they paved the way for people like me. It is their legacy that I try to perpetuate as prim sculpture slowly but surely becomes a lost art in SL. Second Life has provided us with this wonderful medium, and it is my hope that one day it becomes recognized again for the greatness it can achieve.
Bold, emotionally-charged, rich in narrative and marvellously enfolding digital and virtual artistry, Chuck Clip is a genuine maestro of digital art, and his exhibition at Elven Falls Art Collective stands as a powerful underscoring of this fact.