A union of Art and Fashion in Second Life

Art and Fashion Union: Sisi Biedermann

Have you ever imagined a painting come to life? When the image from the canvas expands the frames and steps towards you? When do paints and brush movements turn into folds of fabric falling over a figure?

So reads the invitation sent to artists requesting they participate in Art and Fashion Union, and ensemble exhibition of art that opened on January 19th, 2020 at the Dragon Sanctuary Gallery. It was an intriguing invitation: to offer three pieces of art for display, with creators / models invited to use the art as inspiration to produce new fashion pieces that are to be featured in a special fashion show to take place on the last Sunday of January.

Art and Fashion Union: Alpha Auer

I didn’t have the confidence in my work to participate, but I’m pleased to say some 27 other artists weren’t so shy, and have come together to participate in the exhibition, with each – as noted – offering three pieces of art. The result is an intriguing selection of pieces from artists who may well be familiar to some, new to others and some of whom may not have exhibited that widely of late.

The complete list of artists comprises: Carelyna, Etamae, EvangelinaBurroughs, Jessamine2108, Lampithaler, LydiaFairmount, MTH63, Mylena1992, SecondHandTutti, ViktorSavior, Alpha Auer, Michiel Bechir, Sisi Biedermann, GeeJAnn Blackadder, Sheba Blitz, Zia Branner, Ilyra Chardin, Kayly Iali, Anibrm Jung, Silas Merlin, Saul Morigi, JolieElle Parfort, Melusina Parkin, Tom Prospero, Jamee Sandalwood, Talullah Winterwolf, and Callum Writer.

Art and Fashion Union: Kayly Iali

The display is presented across the two floors of the gallery, and given the nature of some of the pieces, it will be interesting to see the fashion items produced for the show. Will designers seek out an individual piece for inspiration, or see several pieces as a means to visualise a design, or will they be drawn to a specific artist rather than one or more pieces?

Thematically, the work of Sheda Blitz, Alpha Auer and EvangelinaBurroughs, as three examples, present pieces that might collectively inspire a fashion design, rather than one of the three pieces each presents forming a single point of inspiration. By contrast Sisi Biedermann, Lampithaler and Callum Writer – to keep the list to another three – perhaps offer pieces that individually encourage designs based on each of them.

Art and Fashion Union: Callum Writer

Exactly how designers will get to choose which work or works or artist they see as an inspiration is unclear to me. But regarding the art on display as potential incentives for design work isn’t the only reason for visiting the gallery during this month-long exhibition: each selection of three pieces by the participating artists offers a unique insight into their work and how they look upon art and Second Life.

Those wishing to attend the fashion show at the gallery can do so on Sunday, January 26th, 2020 at, I believe, 11:00am SLT.

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2020 viewer release summaries week #3

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, January 19th

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 version, formerly the Wassail RC viewer, dated November 5th, 2019 – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Xanté Maintenance RC viewer, updated to version, January 13th, 2020.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


  • Cool VL viewer updated to version (Stable) on January 18th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: commercial crew test flights & exoplanets

An artist’s impression of the SpaceX Crew Dragon IFA test as the SuperDraco pushes the Crew Dragon away from a malfunctioning launch vehicle. Crew: NASA / Mack Crawford

Sunday, January 19th, 2020 saw SpaceX complete a major test that should help bring their Crew Dragon vehicle much closer to the point where it can commence carrying crews to / from the the International Space Station (ISS).

The test, referred to as a in-flight abort (IFA) test saw an uncrewed Crew Dragon vehicle launched from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Centre atop a Falcon 9 rocket in what was primarily a test of the vehicle’s launch abort system, is designed to push the capsule and its crew clear of a malfunctioning launch vehicle. However, the flight also served as an opportunity to test a further update to the vehicle’s descent parachute system (marking the first time this particular type of parachute had been used on a flight) and for SpaceX to further refine its crew recovery procedures for meeting returning Crew Dragon vehicles.

All the early indicators from the test are that everything ran as expected. Following lift-off and ascent, and at 84 seconds into the flight and an altitude of around 19 km, the first stage engine cut-off triggered the simulated malfunction, causing the abort system to release the clamps attaching the Crew Dragon to the dummy upper stage of the Falcon 9, the SuperDraco engines simultaneously firing, each one generating some 16,000 lbs of thrust. These immediately powered the Crew Dragon clear of the booster, travelling at a speed of over Mach 2, just as they would when trying to get a crew away from a malfunctioning rocket during an operational launch.

The moment of lift-off: the thrice-used Falcon 9 booster with a dummy upper stage topped by the Crew Dragon test vehicle, rises from Pad 39A. Credit: NASA

With the capsule detached, the Falcon 9 continued its own ballistic flight upwards, but the open end of dummy upper stage effectively functioned like a large, open-mouthed air brake, putting huge stresses on the vehicle. These caused the booster to break up, the remaining fuel on-board igniting in an explosion the test team had been expecting.

The SuperDraco motors fired for just 10 seconds. However, this was more than enough to put the craft on its own ballistic trajectory, allowing it to reach a peak altitude of around 40 km three minutes into the flight. Shortly ahead of reaching that point, the service module – referred to as the trunk, and designed to provide power and life support to the vehicle –  was jettisoned. Then as the capsule reached the zenith of its flight, the smaller Draco manoeuvring motors fired, stabilising it as it started its descent back towards Earth, enabling the drogue parachutes to deploy.

This pair of small parachutes allowed the vehicle to properly orient itself and act as a trigger for the release of the four main parachutes – as the drogues are jettisoned, they pulled clear a hatch covering the main parachute bay, just below the docking port that forms the nose of the Crew Dragon, allowing them to deploy, slowing the craft and bringing it down to a safe splashdown.

2:24 into the flight and the service module trunk is jettisoned from the Crew Dragon. Credit: SpaceX / NASA

For crew recovery operations, SpaceX make use of two specially-equipped ships, GO Searcher and Go Navigator. Originally leased by the company from Guice Offshore (hence the GO in the name) for use in the recovery of Falcon Payload fairings, Go Searcher was extensively refitted in 2018 to manage recovery operations for Crew Dragon, gaining a new radar system for tracking incoming Crew Dragon vehicles, a new crew recovery area and medical facility for post-flight check-ups of returning crew, and an upper deck helipad for emergency medivac. Go Navigator completed a similar refit in 2019.

Ahead of the test flight, GO Searcher departed SpaceX’s facilities at Port Canaveral, and took up a loitering position on the edge of the expected splashdown zone some 30 km off the coast of Florida. Following splashdown, teams aboard rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) raced to the capsule to start the work of safing the craft and securing it ready for recovery. During normal flight recovery work, the recovery vessel and its crew will additionally have the services of Air Force Detachment-3 to call on, an emergency team of divers and personnel trained for astronaut recovery operations. For this flight, once the capsule has been recovered the the GO Searcher’s stern deck, it will be returned to SpaceX’s facilities along with the recovered parachutes for study.

While the initial response ot the flight has been positive, post-flight review is expected to take several weeks, and NASA has pointed out that there are still a number of additional tests that need to be completed ahead of crewed flights.

The GO Searcher, of of the crew recovery ships now operated by SpaceX, undergoing sea trails following her 2018 sea trials. the ship was used to to recover the IFA Crew Dragon capsule. Credit: NASA

There are some additional system-level tests of the spacecraft’s upgraded parachutes still needed to be completed, as well as other reviews of the spacecraft. [But] stepping through that [abort test] together and making sure that we’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s before our crew demonstration flight is very, very, important We’ve got work to do, but, honestly, getting this test behind us is a huge milestone.

– NASA Commercial Crew Programme manager, Kathy Lueders

As such, no date has been confirmed for the first crewed flight – officially called Demo-2, and which will see a 2-man crew fly a Crew Dragon to the ISS, where it will remains for approximately two weeks before they return to Earth. However, should the post-flight IFA test analysis prove positive, speculation is the Demo-2 flight could be staged as early as March, with “operational” flights starting later in 2020. In the meantime, the test flight can be followed in the video below, which has a start time set to just before the Falcon 9 ignites its main engine.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: commercial crew test flights & exoplanets”

A circus, a space station, tribes and secret doors

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, January 19 13:30: Tea-Time at the Night Circus

Caledonia Skytower reads selections from Erin Morgenstern’s 2011 tale about a circus that suddenly arrives without warning. One day a field is empty, the next the circus, with big top and paraphernalia is just there. Called Le Cirque des Rêves, it is only open at night and offers visitors a unique experience full of breathtaking amazements.

But behind the scenes, lies a fierce competition – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.

Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. But Celia and Marco tumble head-first into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons of the circus, hang in the balance, one as precarious as the swings used by the acrobats who entertain without a net.

Monday, January 20th 19:00: The Integral Trees

Dispatched on a mission of exploration, the Earth ship Discipline, operated by the the all-powerful State, encountered a strange phenomenon: a torus-like ring of gas and dust surrounding a neutron star. Within the torus, the crew discover a thriving ecosystem of plant and animal lifeforms that have evolved to living continually in a state of free-fall.

Despite being overseen by the ship’s AI system, Sharls Davis Kendy, from which they received advice and information, the crew abandoned the Discipline in favour of living among the plants and trees of the torus, which they call the Smoke Ring.

Now, 500 years later, the descends of the original crew have formed a tribal society focused around some of the trees of the system. Adapted to free-fall life, their societal structures are sharply divided, with “wars” common among them, as well as stronger tribes raiding or enslaving weaker tribes, whilst in all of them, artefacts from the original mission are sought-after and venerated. 

In the midst of a round of aggression between various tribal factions, one group find themselves aboard an original craft from the Discipline and caught in space beyond the Smoke Ring, where the Discipline and Kendy are still waiting – and Kendy is willing to provide assistance.

Join Gyro Muggins for more.

Tuesday, January 21st 19:00 The Space at Tinsori Light

Ktadhn Vesuvino reads a short story by Sharon lee and Steve Miller, set in their Liaden Universe®.

Former Scout Jen Sin yos’Phelium, recalled by Korval to serve the Clan, is ordered to discretely deliver a packet to Clan Sinan on Delium. It sounded easy enough, other than the fact that Clan Sinan was having trouble with their allies – a situation that puts Jen on edge and determined not to see the delivery leave him getting separated from his ability to remain alive.

Unfortunately, things do not go well, and Jens is forced to make an emergency star jump, his ship under threat. He finds himself arriving near the deserted Tinsori Light station. With his ship damaged and rescue dependent on his survival, Jens must board the station. In doing so, he discovers Old Tech, a reminder of the Legacy Systems left over from previous wars. Nor is that all, as he discovers the station might be haunted…

Wednesday, January 22nd, 19:00:The Starless Sea

Caledonia Skytower reads selections from Erin Morgenstern’s novel.

Deep beneath the surface of the Earth and upon the shores of the Starless Sea, lies a network of tunnels and rooms filled with stories and tales. The ways into this secret place are many, but hidden, and perhaps set for just one individual to find. They exist where least expected: on the floors of forests, behind doors inside private homes or around alleyway corners or within mountain caves – almost anywhere in which they cannot be anticipated.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place.

When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is…

Thursday, January 23rd 19:00 The Furies Part 1

Myths and Legends with Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI).

Bringing a little (Studio Skye) Zen to your SL garden

The zen garden at Isla Pey

While visiting JimGarand’s Grauland in January 2020 (see: Grauland’s touch of Japanese Zen in Second Life), I was struck by the zen garden included within the region design. An examination of the core elements in the design revealed them to be from the Zen Garden Building Set by Alex Bader, sold under his Studio Skye brand.

Alex has a reputation for producing excellent landscape building kits – and I’ve used several in constructing places like Holy Kai, although there are admittedly some that while mouth-watering in terms of my desire to put them to good use, such as his stream building sets, I simply haven’t (thus far) had the space in which to do them real justice. However, the Zen Garden kit was one that I immediately had a familiar “me want!” itch about, so that after a couple of days of pondering how it might work within Isla Pey, I snagged a copy from the Marketplace. And I have to say, it is simply superb.

The zen garden at Isla Pey  viewed from the house balcony

At L$899, the kit includes some 24 individual elements: rocks, gravel surfaces, gravel path sections, plants, shrubs, ground cover, ground pieces, stone steps, edging pieces (combinations of rocks and plants), and so on. All of this offers a comprehensive means to build a garden network of paths, plants and open spaces, which can both be used to provide places to sit or include additional features as well as being easily integrated into a broader landscape.

In addition, for those who might be daunted at the thought of trying to glue everything together themselves, Alex provides two “pre-built” and rezzer based examples of gardens: one 32m on a side (96 LI when rezzed) and the other 26x18m (46 LI). Also, a couple of textures are also provided for the purposes of blending any additional items – fillers and the like – that might be required to ensure a good pairing of garden to surrounding landscape elements.

The zen garden display at Studio Skye

Given they are “ready to go”, so to speak, the two example gardens are a good place to start with a design. As they are supplied in rezzers, also that’s required is a couple of clicks with the rezzers, and they can be put together in moments and the rezzer then used to position them as required. Just click the Finish option once placed, remove the rez box and then modify or extend the garden or blend it with a broader landscape using both the additional components in the kit and whatever else you have that you feel might work with it.

I opted to take this approach myself, using the 32mx32m garden as my starting point. To this I added some of the base, path and edge pieces to provide a basic design (one which currently uses the garden’s featured rock monolith seen in the photos here, although I’m debating swapping that out and creating a “formal” element common to zen gardens: an area of sand raked to resemble ripples on water). To this I added our selection of sculptures by Ciottolina Xue and Silas Merlin, plus trees by AzaleaBluebell originally offered as a Fantasy Faire hunt gift, together with a selection of shrubs to provide more of a garden feel.

The more extensive zen garden at Grauland

There are some additional nice touches with the set, together with a couple of “does” and “don’ts”. For example, the water elements include a volume control for adjusting / changing the sound being generated by their little falls. The edges of the individual paths are nicely “feathered” so that path sections can be more easily placed together and blended. Also, the kit is compatible with the Studio Skye 4-Seasons bolt on – although this is where the “don’t” comes into play. If you do plan to use season changing bolt-on, don’t link elements of the garden together, as doing so will adversely affect how textures get applied when changing the seasons.

Also, do take care should you vertically resize elements (e.g. so the base better connects with whatever is under it): many of the pieces have horizontal faces painted as edge cover, and resizing can leave these “floating” above the rocks / pathway section on which they are supposed to be growing, or no longer aligning with edges they are supposed to be draped over.

The zen garden at Isla Pey with the house behind

But, as noted at the top of this piece, this is a minor niggle. For those looking for a different look to their garden – one that can be unique to them whilst leveraging other plants and garden items they have, the Studio Skye Zen Garden Building Kit makes for a excellent purchase.


Note: the statuary, trees, large bushes and benches seen in the images here do not form a part of the Zen Garden Building Kit, but have been purchased separately.

Paying It Forward: Fortuna Hills Gallery in Second Life

Fortuna Hills Art Gallery

We received an invitation from Chic Aeon to visit her new Fortuna Hills Art Gallery, which is not your usual gallery, offering as a does an interesting take on the concept of supporting others.

Currently featuring some 42 pieces of art – Second Life landscapes, close-up studies, pieces processed to present faux art finishes, etc., – the gallery’s display is a rich selection of art by Chic hat she is offering free to anyone who would like to add to their collections  / have some at for their SL home.

Fortuna Hills Art Gallery

As a long-time Second Life resident and creator (as well as being active on platforms such as OpenSim and Sansar, Chic explains making the art free as follows:

I have just opened a gallery of free art. There are currently forty works of various styles … hopefully, a range of 2D items with something for everyone.

I plan to add to the gallery regularly and soon have over a hundred works for people to choose from. This is part of a “Pay It Forward” movement that I started years ago in Opensim. I am revisiting the theme and hope others do as well.

– Chic Aeon of the Fortuna Art Gallery

Fortuna Hills Art Gallery

All of the pieces are provided with a resizer script, and the mix of art presented is rich, although I found myself particularly drawn to the SL landscape photographs and her monochrome close-up shots of items, which make for a particularly eye-catching collection of pieces.

Those interested in doing something similar to Chic and paying forward to help others, should best contact her should they need advice (I believe she also has a logo she can offer people).

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