DiXmiX 2017-2018 retrospective in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Cecilia Nansen Mode (December 2017) and Uma Sabra (September 2017)

DiXmiX Gallery is one of the most prolific galleries in Second Life in terms of the frequency of exhibitions. With three halls available for art, the gallery can feature up to three artists a month on a rolling basis, sometimes with exhibitions in the respective halls overlapping one another in their duration, a move which further helps to keep visits to the gallery fresh.

For the four weeks from August 17th, 2018, curator Dixmix Source is hosting a slightly different exhibition from the “norm” at the gallery: it is something of a retrospective of exhibitions held through 2017 and 2018, with the work of some 30 artists on display across all three halls and within the basement gallery of The Womb. As such, it is an opportunity to both revisit memories of past exhibits and  – for those unfamiliar with the art displayed at DiXmiX – the opportunity to sample its scope of the art to be found there.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo and Magic Marker (April 2018)

The artists included in the exhibition are (dates in brackets refer to reviews in this blog): Elo (elorac Paule), Maloe Vansant and Uma Sabra (September / October 2017); Purple Leonis ONeill (Nel4481), Juris Bergmanis (JurisJo) and Imani Nayar (October 2017); Cecilia Nansen Mode (December 2017); Titus Palmira, Gaus (Cicciuzzo Gausman) and Burk Bode (February 2018); I’m A Magic Marker, Oyo and Mr. S (April 2018); Giovanna Cerise (May 2018); A. DeLauren (AlessaMendoza), Kimeu Korg and Kato Salyut (June 2018); together with Goodcross; Huckleberry Hax;  Vallys Baxter; Lou Shadow; Moon Edenbaum, Nur Moo, and DixMix himself.

The exhibit also incorporates  Bicycles (July 2018), relocated for this exhibition, a selection from Melusina Parkin’s Less is More (February 2018) and the Best of The Womb, featuring  Nath Baxton and Joslyn Benson, all of which can be found in the basement gallery, The Womb.

DiXmiX Gallery: Juris Bergmanis (October 2017)

DixMix is very much a gallery that leans towards avatar studies within the exhibitions it hosts – which given Dixmix himself is very much an exponent of the art of avatar studies, is an entirely natural bias – and this is very much reflected in this retrospective exhibition. As such, those pieces that focus on other elements of artistic expression, such as physical world art (represented here by Huckleberry Hax) and SL landscape art (notably, but not exclusively, Juris Bergmanis), tend to particularly capture the eye in scanning through the gallery. But don’t let this deceive you; there is a richness of narrative this is striking in every single image presented.

Several exhibitions at the gallery have been built around a theme by the artist, and capturing this in just one or two images isn’t really possible. Take Celicia Nansen Mode’s Within the Voice of Björk from December 2017, a captivating interpretations of female form, moods and feelings, beautifully through images and the music of the Icelandic singer (and still one of the most memorable exhibitions I’ve seen at DiXmiX). It was a stunning exhibit, but one not easily recaptured hen presenting just two of the images from the collection.

DiXmiX Gallery: Elo (September 2017) and Purple Leonis (October 2017)

However, Dixmix has sought to get around this issue where possible. With 12 Photographers and 1 Chair by Mr. S, and Bath Stories by Nur Moo, for example, the complete set of images for each are presented as a framed slide show, allowing all of them to be seen in turn. Sadly, due to the use of music with each of Celicia’s pieces, this approach wasn’t possible for With the Voice of Björk.

As noted, the exhibition is stated to run for the four weeks from August 17th, and offers an ideal introduction to DiXmiX gallery and the general style of art displayed there for those who have yet to visit, and a trip down memory lane for those of us who frequent the gallery.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo (April 2018)

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Bellefleurs and the House Sakura in Second Life

Bellefleurs; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrBellefleurs – click any image for full size

Bellefleurs is an Elizabethan-styled grand manor house, the grounds of which occupy an entire homestead region. It is a location I’ve visited on several occasions in the past, but it was its recent re-appearance in the Editors Picks section of the Destination Guide that prompted me to suggest to Caitlyn we pay it a further visit.

The house is the design of Indy (India Canning); it is both the seat of the Canning family and home to the Duchess(es) of Ominum. There is an architectural beauty to the house that puts me in mind of Montacute House, the fabulous Elizabethan Renaissance house in Somerset, England, now operated by the National Trust. I gather from speaking to Indy and Lynn Mimistrobell – who is also involved in the region’s operation – this is intentional; Montacute having been one of several places Indy drew on for inspiration.

Bellefleurs; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrBellefleurs

The house – and the Canning family – is the subject of a richly detailed backstory which is a simply marvellous read, and speaks to deeper elements associated with the region I shan’t go into here. Suffice it to say, never have I come across such a piece for a Second Life location that is so richly interwoven with real events from England’s history. So much so that the text reads not merely as a scene-setting piece of information, but a scholarly review of the genuine history of a noble family, one  – as so often was the way at the time – in which intrigue, politics and religion are deeply interwoven. Such the the quality of the writing, I’ll go so far as to say that a visit to Bellefleurs is incomplete without the time taken to read it either via the website or via the book presented in the entrance hall of the house – particularly if you have a knowledge / fondness / love of Elizabethan history.

Whilst Elizabethan in origin, Bellefleurs incorporates elements from other periods – notably the Victorian. This reflects the natural means by which family seats acquire elements and furnishings through the ages, and the Victorian influences mix easily with Elizabethan. There are also more modern influences to be found in both the house and the grounds, none of which are in any way out-of-place.

Within the grounds of the house are formal gardens to the north and south, with a grand water feature pointing to the west from the rear of the house. Broad paths guide visitors through the grounds to places such as the En Garde fencing area, an outdoor dance area and a walk overlooking the western coastline of the region.

Bellefleurs; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrBellefleurs

To the south of the house, beyond the gardens, sits a mausoleum containing the “tomb” of India Canning. Not that she has passed or anything; it was originally a piece for a Halloween party. But in remaining in place, it offers a hint to some of the deeper aspects of the region and its backstory. However, what these may be is perhaps down to your imagination, how you look upon the portraits of Duchesses (are their likenesses purely down to familial resemblance?) or how you look upon classical / romantic themes around love, loss, life and death. I’ll say no more here, but leave you to your own ruminations;  if only for the fact one of the quotes on the capstone of the tomb had me barking completely up the wrong tree, although Lynn and Indy quickly corrected me on that score! 🙂 .

Sharing the region with Bellefleurs is the House Sakura Companion Guild, which also has its own backstory.  Located in the sky over the house, it encompasses the more adult aspects of the region – with an emphasis on refined elegance.

It is based upon an amalgamation of the Firefly Companion Guild concept, the Venetian cortigiani oneste and the Parisian demi-monde, House of Sakura is located in the sky over Bellefleurs, where more adult encounters might be had – at the discretion of the Companions of the House (who refer to themselves as Blossoms).

House of Sakura; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrHouse of Sakura

Both Bellefleurs and House Sakura host a number of open social events people are welcome to attend:

  • Sunday –  19:30 SLT: Classical Music Salon at Bellefleurs, followed at approximately 20:30 by the After Salon Party at House of Sakura – cocktail attire requested for this event.
  • Alternate Tuesdays 19:00 SLT: Toxie Darkmatter sings live at the House of Sakura – cocktail attire requested for this event.
  • Thursday 19:00 or 20:00 SLT:  the Thursday Dance at Bellefleurs –  alternating weeks DJ Dee (19:00) or DJ Maddie (20:00); semi-formal attire requested.
  • Friday 13::00 SLT: the Friday dance with DJ Ellie  at House of Sakura – casual attire.
  • Saturday 14:00-16:00 SLT: DJ Dee’s time hopping weekly party – details via the in-world group; parties are come dressed for the period / theme or as you are.

Bellefleurs house makes for an intriguing visit, and offers a lot of scope for photography and for contemplation. For those with a sophisticated approach and outlook, House Sakura offers a unique environment for more Adult related activities, although as noted, it and Bellefleurs are also both settings for relaxed social events. For those who enjoy a place that give pause for thought and which offers its own story to tell, Bellefleurs can also be just the ticket.

Bellefleurs; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrBellefleurs

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Twist of Fate is rated Adult.

2018 viewer release summaries, week #33

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, August 19th

This summary is generally published on 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 test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 5.1.7.517973, dated July 30th, promoted August 3rd. Formerly the Quinquina Maintenance RC viewer. 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):
    • Second Life Voice RC viewer updated to version 5.1.8.518310, on August 14th.
    • Animesh RC viewer released 6.0.0.518579 on August 13th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

  • No updates

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • MetaChat – still suspended from download on iTunes; installed version work OK.  – read the MetaChat blog post for more. D/loaded + installed versions still work.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: exoplanets, flying crews to orbit and a movie

Could up to 35% of the Earth-sized exoplanets so far discovered be “water worlds”? Credit: NASA

Exoplanets between 2 and 4 times the size of Earth may feature water as a large component in their make-up, with many comprising perhaps up to 50% water by weight (by contrast, Earth has just 0.02% water content by weight).

This is the conclusion drawn by an international team of researchers who have being pouring (pun intended) over data from the Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia mission gathered on the 4,000+ exoplanets discovered thus far, many of which tend to fall into two categories: those with the planetary radius averaging around 1.5 that of the Earth, and those averaging around 2.5 times the radius of the Earth.

It was a huge surprise to realise that there must be so many water-worlds. We have looked at how mass relates to radius, and developed a model which might explain the relationship. The model indicates that those exoplanets which have a radius of around x1.5 Earth radius tend to be rocky planets (of typically x5 the mass of the Earth), while those with a radius of x2.5 Earth radius (with a mass around x10 that of the Earth) are probably water worlds. Our data indicate that about 35% of all known exoplanets which are bigger than Earth should be water-rich.

– Dr. Li Zeng of Harvard University, lead researcher on the study

The teams findings could have major implications for our understanding of the composition of Earth-sized exoplanets. However, if the team’s conclusions are correct, it doesn’t necessarily mean these are especially balmy places. Many orbit so close their parent stars their surface temperatures are liable to be in the 200-500o Celsius range (392-932oF), so the water on them is liable to be very different to how we find it on Earth, existing as saturating vapour in the atmosphere, then a world-girdling warm ocean with ice under increasing pressure below it, wrapped around a sold core.

Data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission was used by the researchers. Launched in 2013, Gaia is on a mission to take a “census” of one billion of the stars visible from its orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 position. And if that sounds a lot, it is actually represents just 1% of the galaxy’s total population of stars. Credit: ESA

The beauty of the model is that it explains just how composition relates to the known facts about these planets, and offers insight into how they were formed – most likely in a similar manner to the cores of the giant planets in our own solar system.

With a new generation of Earth-based telescopes capable of peering at distant planets currently gaining remarkable optical updates (such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope)  or under construction (the Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT), not to mention the James Webb Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (see below for more in this), the hope is that the findings presented by the team will soon be backed-up with hard data as atmospheres around these distant worlds are properly characterised.

TESS Starts Work

TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite launched on April 16th, 2018, has started its primary mission – taking over from the ailing Kepler mission in locating exoplanets. This initial primary mission will last for 2 years, in which it is anticipated TESS will pay particular attention to the 200,000 brightest stars around us in the hope of detecting planetary bodies in orbiting them. It will do this using the transit method of observation – looking for dips in the brightness of stars which might indicate the passage of an orbiting planet between the star and the telescope.

How TESS will survey the stars around it. Left: The combined field of view of the four TESS cameras. Middle: Division of the celestial sphere into 26 observation sectors (13 per hemisphere). Right: Duration of observations on the celestial sphere. The dashed black circle enclosing the ecliptic pole shows the region which JWST will be able to observe at any time. Credit: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Centre

The first data gathering element of the mission commenced on July 25th, and will continue through most of August before the data is transmitted by to Earth from TESS’s unique orbit, a “2:1 lunar resonant orbit“, which allows the craft to remain balanced within the gravitational effects of the Moon and Earth, providing a stable orbital regime which should last for decades.

As a part of the mission, the TESS science team aims to measure the masses of at least 50 small planets whose radii are less than four times that of Earth, offering the opportunity to characterise their likely structure and composition. Many of TESS’s planets should be close enough to our own that, once they are identified by TESS, scientists can zoom in on them using other telescopes, to detect atmospheres, characterise atmospheric conditions, and even look for signs of habitability.

In this latter regard, TESS will pave the way for detailed studies of candidate exoplanets by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), now scheduled for launch in 2021. While TESS cannot look for atmospheric or other signs of life on the distant worlds it locates, JWST will be able to do just that, which could see the 2020s a decade of remarkable extra-solar planetary discoveries.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: exoplanets, flying crews to orbit and a movie”

Wurfi’s Little Gallery: celebrating SL photography in Sansar

Visiting Wurfi’s little Gallery with Silas Merlin

A while back, Linden Lab offered Sansar users a free, basic gallery building space. It’s not overly complex or particularly big; but it remains a nice freebie to have. At the time I thought it could make a neat little studio gallery for showing off SL photography; all it needed was the right artist.

Step forward Wurfi, virtual worlds explorer, blogger and photographer.

Wurfi has  – entirely independently of my own thoughts on the idea, which were never passed on to anyone – done just that. Wurfi’s Little Gallery is exactly what it says on the label: a little gallery exhibiting some of Wurfi’s SL photography; eight pieces in all (at the time of writing).

Wurfi’s Little Gallery: the bear in his art!

It’s a simple, elegant approach, the gallery sits essentially as a skybox, a spawn point inside, and the four walls adorned with Wurfi’s excellent photographs. It’s fast-loading, fun to visit, and offers a nice reminder of Second Life from within Sansar. It’s also a great little place for those who may not have tried Sansar to try out the client and the basic movement controls without being distracted or confused by Things. Just go, practice walking and admire the photography!

I’m hoping Wurfi expands it with more images from his Flickr stream in the future.

Experience URL

Lovefest 2018 in Second Life

Lovefest 2018: H.P. Lovecraft watches over the town

Lovefest – the Second Life celebration of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft – opened its doors on Friday, August 17th, 2018 and will continue through until Sunday,  August 28th. The theme for the festival this year is The Path of Madness.

This year marks the event’s 7th anniversary, and marks the 128th anniversary of Lovercraft’s birth on August 20th 1890. As with previous Lovefest events, there is once again a wide range of celebratory activities – shopping, music and dancing, live music, film showings, open microphone events, live storytelling in voice, dance troupes and an adventure for people to enjoy.

A high point for event Lovefest is the associated adventure visitors are invited to join. This year, things are taking a slightly different route, taking a walk along the event’s theme.; although the opening of the adventure has been slightly delayed to dealing with some last-minute issues.

With LoveFest 2018’s Story Quest (Hunt) we are treading along “the Path of Madness” this year…

Lovecraft Festival is thrilled to take on this new and extremely intriguing theme – inviting our guests to visit the notorious Arkham Sanatorium in the spirit of HP Lovecraft.

Please forgive the delay, but we will have this fine mini-quest in order soon. Our merchants and staff have some fine things in store for this great little experience. Hopes are to have it in full swing by Monday!

– Runa the Wild Elf, on the Lovefest blog

Arkham Sanatorium awaits adventurers – hopefully open from Monday, August 20th

Those visiting the festival will find themselves in a New England themed coastal town where the streets radiate out from a central landing point presided over by H.P. Lovecraft himself, in the form of a giant statue of the man. Here visitors will find a rich tapestry of merchant stores, entertainers, dancers and more within the market and the waterfront wharves.

Event Schedule and Other Information

The 2018 festival website has a full (and final, at the time of writing) schedule of events, together with a list of entertainers, DJs, readers and live performers. The website also includes a list of the event’s participating merchants and sponsors.

Lovefest 2018

About H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20th, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life.

A child prodigy, he was reciting poetry when just three years of age, and writing his own poems by six. His grandfather – one of the adults who raised him – encouraged his reading, presenting him with a wide range of books and stories from the likes of One Thousand and One Nights, and the Iliad through to his own original stories of Gothic horror.

As an adult, Lovecraft was introverted, riven by a lack of self-confidence, was unwilling to promote his own literary efforts. Only published in pulp magazines in his lifetime, he was never able to support himself with his writing, and died in poverty at the age of 46 in 1937. It was only posthumously that his work gained recognition – notably the Cthulhu Mythos – and he was elevated to the status of one of the most influential writers of horror fiction in the 20th Century.

Rich in theme as well as narrative, his work has influenced generations of horror writers who followed after him, including the likes of Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Alan Moore, Junji Ito, Caitlín R. Kiernan, William S. Burroughs, and Neil Gaiman.

In addition, film directors John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, and Guillermo Del Toro have all acknowledged Lovercraft as an influence in some of their work, whilst artist H. R. Giger of Alien fame has also pointed to Lovecraft’s tales as a point of influence.

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  • Lovefest (Ravenheart, rated: Moderate)