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 184.108.40.2069298, dated September 5th, promoted September 26th. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
Art By Nature is the name Ani (Anibrm Jung) uses for her physical world photography presented through Second Life. I’ve covered her work in the past (see here and here), as I’ve always found it a stunning tour-de-force of photography sans the need for post-processing; and I’m happy to be able to say that she has returned once again to hosting her own gallery space in-world, this time located on the mainland region of Gimchi.
Based in the Netherlands, Ani is an award-winning photographer who has been active in Second Life since 2006. She specialises in photographing nature – hence Art by Nature – and captures many of her images in her own garden using only her camera and natural light. Everything is framed directly through the viewfinder, and no cropping nor image manipulation is used after the fact. In this way, we are able to see each picture exactly as she did when taking it, allowing us to share her own sense of closeness with her subjects.
The result of this are images that are completely captivating in their depth and presentation, which Ani rightly displays in-world in a large format (although I believe her work is resizeable post-purchase). Split across two floors, her new gallery presents pieces that combine her marvellous work with the macro lens with her broader landscape work, offering the visitor a rich mix of her art.
Broadly speaking, the ground floor focuses on Ani’s landscape work and features some truly stunning photos of sunrises and sunsets, the majority making beautiful use of water and light to produce genuinely wonderful images. On the upper floor, the focus is towards Ani’s macro work – and this really has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It is in her close-up images of flowers and Ani captures the majesty of nature we can all too easily take for granted when captivated by the broader scenes of the world that nature presents to us.
From the delicate touch of a bee collecting pollen through to the beauty of trees and contrails caught against a sunset to the playful delight of a cat, there is so much here to capture the eye, making a visit more than worthwhile.
All of the images displayed are available to buy, and if you do visit the gallery, please consider a donation towards its upkeep.
At the start of September 2018 we visited Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, created by Paradox Ivory under her Dox brand (you can read about a past region design of hers here). It’s taken a little while to get around to writing about it, simply because immediately after our visit, I didn’t have the opportunity to hop back for photos – so apologies to Paradox for the delay in blogging.
As the name suggests, the scene is built around a street in Tokyo – one in which the old and the modern combine in what is very much an aural as well as visually immersive setting – one that absolutely must be visited with local sounds enabled (and perhaps played through headphones – just don’t have the volume set too high!).
Visits commence in a busy subway entrance. PA music pays in advance of trains arriving somewhere further within the station, echoing down tiled halls, the voice of an announcer chasing after the ping-pong tones, even as the rumbling hum of the electric trains adds a basso chorus to the cacophony filling the air. Anyone who has ever commuted on the subway of any major city during rush hour will instantly recognise the noises.
Turnstiles and a sign point the way up to ground level, where a surprise awaits. Rather than exiting onto the hustle and bustle of a busy city thoroughfare, the steps lead up to a narrow side street, more of a service road than anything, that terminates at the subway entrance. The majority of the building are between one and three storeys in height, surrounded further out by low-rise apartments, all of which suggests an older part of town. However, the sound of passing traffic weighs heavily in the air, suggesting a busier road is not too great a distance away – perhaps located on the other side of the tunnel at the far end of the street.
This isn’t the only street here, however. Running parallel with it are two more, each narrow enough to almost be classified alleyways. These are connected to the main street by covered and open walkways, which combine with them to offer multiple paths of exploration.
When walking them, care is strongly recommended; not because of anything untoward lurking, but because there is far more to see indoors and out, on the “ground” level and up assorted steps, than might appear to be the case. From cafés and snack shops to a little cinema and a roof-top baseball practice area, these streets and alleys present a lot to keep the local residents active and entertained. The detail poured into the scene is stunning; from the street signs to the little gardens and the wandering cats; the ambient sounds, the details tucked away inside some of the buildings…
Wander far enough, and you’ll find your way to a little shrine, passing typical aspects from a modern Japanese setting along the way. Further depth to the scene is added by entrances and stairways which, although they might not ultimately go anywhere, still give an extra feel that this is very much a place where people live and work. Travel far enough along the narrower roads and alleys, and you might find tennis courts Surrounded by little 2-storey apartment blocks that look as if they might have drawn their inspiration from American roadside motels.
By default, the scene is set under a night-time windlight, something that enhances the distant, haunting hooting of train horns, the scene also works under daylight and evening environment setting particularly well – as I hope some of the images here demonstrate.
“Vibrant” is a word that can frequently be used to describe a region, parcel or scene within Second Life; but usually when employed, it is to define the overall visual effect that has been achieved. With Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, however, the word takes on its fullest meaning: the setting is alive with the pulse of life wherever you go, sight and sounds working together to present something almost tangible while walking the street, alleys and passages.
Engaging, detailed, beautifully modelled and presented Tokyo Street Subway Entrance packs a huge amount into itself, making a visit – for those who take the time to look down alleys, peek behind doors (not all of them are façades!) and avoid rushing things, it makes for a rewarding visit.
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, October 14th 15:00 Stories at the Park
Join us at Holly Kai Gallery as Caledonia Skytower reads stories inspired by pictures on display in the Art of Lu, an exhibition of the remarkable art of LuAnne Anatine in Second Life.
A professional illustrator and digital artist in the physical world, Lu Anne produces some of the most stunning art to be seen in Second Life, producing her art through a fascinating mix of traditional and digital mix of mediums. For example, she produces a base drawing or painting in graphite or water-colour, then scan the images into her computer where she paints them digitally using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and a number of programs.
Stories at the Park allows writers from across Second Life to visit the exhibitions at Holly Kai Gallery and then write 100-word stories (“drabbles”) or poems on one or more of the pictures that inspire them, and which are then presented at the event, either read by the writer or one of the Seanchai Library team. All stories are then published on the Holly Kai Park blog.
So, why not join us at Holly Kai Gallery for the latest Stories at the Park? Come early and see Lu Anne’s painting ahead of the event, or stay later and explore them after!
Monday, October 15th 19:00: The Infinitive of Go
Gyro Muggins reads John Brunner’s 1980 novel about matter teleportation and dimensional shifts.
Dr Justin Williams and his collaborator, Cinnamon Wright, develop a form of instantaneous teleportation in which the departure and arrival points appear “congruent” with one another, allowing objects to be instantly moved from one to the other in a transfer process termed “posting”.
The system works flawlessly with inanimate objects, and when a situation arises requiring an urgent diplomatic solution arises, Williams is called upon to transfer a courier from the USA to an embassy in a foreign location. But something goes wrong: on his arrival, the courier is armed – yet he carried no weapon on his departure – and further demands he be given a countersign by those at the embassy – when no such arrangement had been made. Believing the mission to be compromised, the courier shoot himself, and the package he is carrying self-destructs.
In order to prove he did not sabotage the system, Williams has himself posted – only to find that while he feels unchanged, the world around him has changed in the most subtle of ways. As time goes on, Williams – with the help of a doubly altered Wright – realises that the teleportation device is moving its subjects between parallel universes. It is also apparent that some of those arriving in the dimension in which he now exists have far more knowledge about what is going on.
The question is, is it the system that is causing people to move between universes, or ir it something more subtle?
Tuesday, October 16th 19:00: Ghost Stories from Home
With Caledonia Skytower.
Wednesday, October 17th, 19:00: The Jennifer Morgue
Corwyn Allen reads the second volume in the Laundry Files by Charles Stross.
Bob Howard is an IT expert and occasional field agent for the Laundry, the branch of Her Majesty’s Secret Service that deals with occult threats. In this second outing, Bob Howard finds himself dragged into the machinations and conspiracies of megalomaniac multi-billionaire Ellis Billington, The Black Chamber and The Laundry…
Dressed in a tuxedo (what else for a globe-trotting British Secret Agent?) and sent to the Caribbean, Bob must infiltrate Billington’s inner circle via his luxurious yacht. His mission? Prevent the Billington from violating a treaty that will bring down the wrath of an ancient underwater race upon humanity’s head.
Offering a wonderful pastiche on both the world of James Bond and a wonderful mimicking of Ian Fleming’s style of writing, Stross produces a novel that also evokes Lovecraftian overtones that is delightfully entertaining to read. In true Bond style, Bob is (reluctantly) partnered with an American agent – in this case a stunningly beautiful woman who also just happens to be a soul-sucking succubus from another dimension. Which, being the case, marks Bob’s mission somewhat differently to those of Bond: not only must he stop the bad guys and come through this at best shaken, he must totally avoid being stirred towards getting the girl…
Thursday, October 18th
19:00: Doorbells at Dusk
With Shandon Loring. Also presented in Kitelyhop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29.
Opening on Saturday October 13th, 2018 on the mezzanine level at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is an exhibition of photography by oYo (Oyona). Offering a mix of landscape and avatar studies, it encompasses a sublime sense of “natural” photography that has enormous depth and, in the case of many of the images, considerable narrative substance.
For the exhibition, the mezzanine area has been converted so as to give a feeling of being outdoor – almost somewhere very close to the sea or up on moorland. Open sky forms the walls and ceiling, while the floor is a mix of scrub grass and shrubs through which sharp tongues of rock poke forth.
Within this space 22 photographs are arranged, mixing monochrome with full colour with the majority presented in softer tones and finishes that adds an extra dimension to them. What is striking about many of the photos is oYo’s use of camera placement and angle; the construction of many of the avatar-centric images are such that while carefully composed and comported, they actually have the sense of being spur-of-the-moment shots, pictures captured through happenstance rather than design and pose.
This is immediately evident on arriving on the mezzanine. To the left of the entrance sit What Do You Expect?, Take Care and Emo (all seen in the top image). All three have been composed to present a specific focus and emotional response. But through the use of lighting, shadow, angle, soft focus, it is as if each was caught entirely by chance: a camera being used and raised in mid-conversation or when the subject was least expecting it.
Thus the story within each of them becomes broader, encompassing the “person behind the lens” as much as the subject and setting: what was going on immediately before the picture was taken? What words were being exchanged? were both parties in Take Care aware that this was perhaps the last photo one would take of the other, a natural falling of shadow as the image was taken now serving to add to the stirring of emotion and memory whenever the taker of the photograph looks at it?
The landscape photos offered in the exhibition demonstrate a similar seasoned and skilled eye for composition, colour, tone and framing, all of which generates a narrative well beyond the photo itself. This is again evident from the very first image seen on entering: Le Rivage (again seen in the top image, on the left). A marvellous close-up of cormorants offered in monochrome and soft focus, the framing perfectly captures the moment at which some of the birds start to demonstrate agitation, wings spreading perhaps aware of the not-too-distant photographer. But so does it bring to mind the story of how it came to be taken: the careful manoeuvring downwind of the birds, edging over sand and rock or through wet marsh, constantly aware that push things too far, and the birds will take flight; then the use of a telephoto lens, perhaps crouched uncomfortably…
Time and again this storytelling comes to the fore in so many ways: the happy-go-lucky, out-of-the-window “holiday” shot of Saint-Martin, to the lonely beauty and pathos – again both in front of and behind the lens of Tout Refaire (second image from top in this article).
These are all images that are rich in life and emotion as well as offering an unforced guide to the art and artistry of photography. Most definitely an exhibition to be seen. The formal opening will take place at 13:00 SLT on the afternoon of Saturday, October 13th, and the exhibition itself should be open through the first half of November.
Opening on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 12:00 noon SLT is a new installation by Alo (Aloisio Congrejo). Black and Colours is being hosted in The Womb, the recently revamped exhibition space at DiXmiX Gallery. And I have to say, that it is a curious piece.
Lacking liner notes from the artist, the installation is a multi-faceted piece entirely open to interpretation. Within the darkened hall is a mix of 2D the 3D elements, some of which are presented more-or-less as “traditional” photos; others appear to be 3D images offered 2D images; some are strongly abstract in nature while others mimic a polarisation approach similar to that found used by 3D movies to present what appears to be 2D art in 3D. All of which adds up to a richly diverse installation.
As might be expected from reading the title of the installation, there is a deliberate play through between black and the use of colours – most notably red and yellow, together with that other neutral – white. This is itself highly effective in drawing the eye into the installation, while the linear aspect in much of the art adds a geometric dimension to the entire installation that allows the wall mounted elements (together with the figures that might be close to them) to both exist independently to one another, and yet also be bound together by the white-on-black pattern of lines on the floor.
This subtle linking may well not be initially apparent, the eye perhaps initially being drawn to a colourful, strongly abstract free-standing scene within the hall. At first looking like paper shapes patterned in swirls and lines of black-and-white or red-and-black, skewered by red, yellow and black pins forced into the floor, these shapes are transformed by camming around them into what might be dancing couples caught in a complex set of tangos performed to unheard music.
This abstract element is bookended on either side along the length of the hall by Alo’s photo images, which I confess to finding the most eye-catching. Furthest from the floor sculpture is a series of enticing white-on-black images of a near-naked woman. Marvellously lit, this series of images looks almost 3D in its execution, each of the images emphasising a different element of her pose: full body, booted legs, gloves arms with turned-away head between… In their midst is a further version of the image set behind 3D elements, all of which combine to suggest – from a distance, 2D art projected as a 3D piece.
The other display is a subtle and complex set of images of a woman’s head which I strongly recommend camming across slowly to fully appreciate them. Each is a layered construct, designed to mimic a polarised 3D effect, something which comes into focus (quite literally) as the camera faces them and glides from one side to the other. Not only does this highlight the “polarising” element, it also brings forth the subtle shift in colour tones used within the images.
I confess I have absolutely no idea how to interpret or quantify Black And Colours – or even determine if it needs interpreting in any way; I also admit there are elements to the piece that escape my ability to quantify. But this does not diminish Black and Colours in any way; it simply means this is a piece very open to personal interpretation throughout, and thus an installation that should be witnessed first-hand.