The Scale of Love in Second Life

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Agape

The Scale of Love is the title of Milena Carbone’s latest solo exhibition, which is now open at The Carbone Gallery in Second Life. It is something of a refresh of her 2020 exhibition, The Nine Levels of Love, presented at Noir’Wen City, but which I failed to blog about at the time – so I hope this makes up for that oversight.

The central theme of the exhibition is a visual exploration of the various types of love as espoused by the ancient Greeks; but as with the majority of Milena’s work, the canvas she paints within this compact installation is – quite literally – cosmic in scale, and carries with it some religious undertones that indirectly link the piece back to one of Milena’s central themes: the nature of “god”.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Pothos

To address the art first – as this can be appreciated quite  independently of any more complex cogitations if one so wishes. This is set within a marble-walled structure stand nine large format images, each representing a state of love as defined by the ancient Greeks.

Each image interprets the selected ideal of love through a simple statement utilising posed avatars pictured against white backdrops and then processed to be presented in soft, neutral tones and / or monochrome (with a single notable exception). The result is a single frame encapsulation of their subject that has a depth of structure about it that is captivating.

Take, for example, Harmonia, with its two figures joined in form by dance both in the foreground and through their shadows (which in turn have amore nuanced meaning, to which I’ll return in a moment). It perfectly and simply encapsulates the idea of harmonious love – two souls united, able to move as one, sharing outlook and motion, a concord of expression.

The exception to the general approach of soft tones and monochrome – each of which offers a subtle statement on both the positives of love: gentleness, lightness of mood and touch, and the negatives: broodiness, possessiveness – is that of Eros, which Milena defines simple as “flesh love”, but which might be more correctly seen as primal lust, and the form of love the ancient Greeks saw as the most base and frightening, involving as it does a loss of control. To represent this, Milena utilises a sea of red washing around her two lovers, symbolising the heat of passion (and which may perhaps also be looked upon as having more subtle undertones).

The broader aspects of the installation revolve around the origins of love, both as a human concept and as a part of the cosmos as a whole.

The latter involves considerations on the universe as a whole, how everything we can see, everything we know, everything we are, is the result of particles coming together under the force of gravity, the one seemingly immutable and universal force of attraction. Thus, given that love – in all its forms, including its expression through our various religions – is an immutable part of human life, might it not be a continuance of that universal theme of mutual attraction?

Bound with this is a consideration of Aristophanes‘ speech from Plato’s symposium on the origins of human love. Intended as a humorous morality tale, the speech as referenced here is used to draw a further line through the idea of human love being part of the natural state of attraction found in the universe as a whole. At the same time, Milena perhaps offers a subtle reference to the speech through the positioning of the figures in Hormonia, I commented on earlier; note how they appear to be conjoined to form a double-headed, eight-limbed creature as imagined by Aristophanes whilst considering the nature of love.

The Carbone Gallery: Milena Carbone – The Scale of Love: Harmonia

One might niggle over Milena’s selection of types of love – where is Ludus or Pragma, for example? When considering their definitions, are not her Agape and Charis one in the same, both effectively referencing unconditional love? But the fact is, there are multiple ways to look upon the ancient Greek concepts of love; as such, it’s likely not advised to get too hung up on definitions or individual references.

What is worthy of appreciation is the art itself, even if you don’t follow the broader themes contained within it, because The Scale of Love is beautifully executed. The art is exquisite, while the setting offers a Greco-religious theme suggestive of both a temple and a church that are in keeping with both the focus of the exhibition and its broader themes: the marble and Doric columns echoing the former, the central hall and end rooms echoing the nave and crossing of a church. And in the latter regard, make sure you look down the “nave” from one end towards Agape at the other, and the marvellous way it has been framed (and consider the subtext within that framing).

As always with Milena’s Work, The Scale of Love engages the eye and mind on multiple levels, the art and setting alone making it visually appealing, the themes and ideas contained within them making it cognitively rich.

SLurl Details

2021 TPV Developer meeting week #29 summary

La Vallee, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 23rd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce these notes.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC viewer, version and dated July 14th, was promoted to de facto release status on July 19th. This leaves no current RC viewers in the pipeline and the official project viewers unchanged, thus:

  • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26, 2020.
  • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.
  • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, dated November 22, 2019.
  • 360º Snapshot project viewer, version, dated July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The next RC viewer that should be appearing is likely to have the next round of Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) media handling updates.

360º Snapshot Viewer

Work has now officially re-started on the 360º Snapshot viewer, and there will be some simulator-side updates in support of this will be going out in a simulator RC release in week #30 (commencing Monday, July 27th, 2021). it is to ensure the simulator sends the viewer all of the information it needs to correctly render a 360º field of view around the camera prior to the 6 snapshots being taken (which are then stitched into a completed 360º image). No date is available for when the updated 360º Snapshot viewer will be available.

Alexa Linden offered a peek of playing with the updated viewer via Twitter.

Graphics Work

  • The focus for the Graphics team continues to be on integrating the Tracy debugger / system analyser for cross-platform graphics development into the viewer.
  • This will be used to look for performance “hot spots” in the rendering code. This is liable to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks.
  • When completed, the work will be compiled into a static library within viewer repositories, but will not be enabled by default – it will require and explicit command line call during a viewer build process.

In Brief

  • Apparently, script-to-viewer messages sent via llRegionSayTo that start with “@” are never displayed in local chat. It’s not clear if this is by accident or design, but the request has been made to leave the functionality that way to assist with RLVa-specific commands send via llRegionSayTo not being spammed in open chat.
    • The broad response from Vir and Rider Linden was that the history behind the code in question (CHAT_TYPE_DIRECT) is unclear to them, but if changing it would potentially be damaging to existing content, then it is unlikely to be changed.
  • It’s again been noted that there can be a significant performance impact on the viewer due to the presence of Linden Water “that isn’t there” (that is, you cannot see it, because it is overlaid by terrain, for example). It is hoped that improved occlusion capabilities (i.e. “if you can’t see it, just don’t render it”) might eventually be a performance win in overcoming this.
  • Not strictly viewer-related, but Rider Linden proposed a new function via the forums – llIsFriend – on July 22nd, which sparked a lot of discussion via the forum thread, specifically around the question of privacy (having scripts from others – say a merchant or club owner  – able to read your Friends list) and the potential for abuse. Having had time to consider it, Rider noted the following during the TPVD meeting:
The more I think about it, the more a perms check is called for on that; [it is] probably not a perm that would be auto-granted in an experience, either. I’d set-up a new permission [that would] ask the person running the script, “may this script have access to your friends list?”
The more I think about it, the more I think it is not something that should be allowed invisibly behind the scenes under any circumstances … the added complexity does push it further back, tho. If a script wants to access your Friends list, it needs to be up-front about it. 

Next Meeting

  • The next meeting should be on August 6th, 2021.

Leloo’s land of the sea in Second Life

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021 – click any image for full size

‘Twas off back to Leloo’s World, a corner of Second Life offered for public enjoyment by LeLoo (LeLooUlf), for me during the week, as I wanted to witness the latest of her designs following a suggestion from Shawn Shakespeare for the poke!

The last time I visited, a scant two months ago, the quarter-region parcel offered an inland setting that put me in mind of Old Mexico, with high canyons and desert environment. The new setting – Tierra Mer Mar – retains a sense of high rocky walls, but rather than being the walls of canyons, they are now the faces of the high cliffs of a coastal area that cup within their arms a small bay as they face a sandy island rising out of the blue sea.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

To the south, the cliffs are set far enough back to allow for a shelf of land to sit between them and the waters below. This shelf is home to the parcel’s landing point. It also provides the first area of exploration, with a gacha area tucked into the trees to the west, and narrow walk along the foot of the cliffs that runs to the east, the land dropping away along one side, the path itself eventually coming to a blunt end.

A set of rope steps runs down from the end of the path to offer a way down to a shallow bay that otherwise sits almost completely hidden from the rest of the setting courtesy of a low headland. Thee steps down to this little bay might be missed, thanks to clearer wooden steps and platforms leading the way down to the water’s edge at the head of the larger bay, and a floating deck topped by a shaded piano. A further route down to the water’s edge can also be found closer to the gacha / landing area, where stone steps offer the way down to another floating deck.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Those wishing to make their way to the north side of the bay can do so by following the track from the landing point and through the gacha before doubling back along a hanging footbridge that runs above the rocks of the bay’s edge and alongside a series of tanks in which sharks watch visitor progress. After turning to run along the base of the western cliffs, the footbridge provides access to the the north-side beach and headland.

As well as being an eye-catching setting, Terra Del Mar is home to a host of wildlife. Seals play in the shallows or bask on the shore and on floating platforms – the latter practically thumbing their noses (so to speak) at the orca swimming nearby. Dolphins also play on or close to the surface of the water, whilst the dorsal fins of sharks can also be seen cutting through the the waves in places.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

On land, bears are also enjoying the sun, and a couple of sea turtles appear to have been carried up from the water and unfortunately left on a deck well above the water. Birds and waterfowl are also much in evidence; gulls fly overhead, and pelicans and cormorants have found perches along the water’s edge, doubtless keeping at least one eye on the waves lest a meal swim into the shallows, whilst sandpipers scuttle back and forth on the sand.

There are more creatures to be found in the water as well – fish, sharks, rays, the aforementioned orca and dolphins, more turtles – all of which make spending time in / under the water strongly recommended. Indeed, swimming and puttering about on the water is encouraged: there’s a dive point at the end of a pair of logs extending from one of the over-water platform and float rezzers await use, while boats can also be found that offer sit points. If you have a swim option on your AO or a dedicated swimming system, then this a a place to put it to good use!

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Staying on land offers a lot to discover as well – such as the secluded bay mentioned above, where shoreline snacks can be enjoyed or a shark balloon obtained and played with. There’s also the various decks and narrow stretches of beach where seats can be found for sitting one your own or with a friend or friends, with more shaded by the inland trees and swings are awaiting passengers here and there.

Once again rich in detail and demonstrating you don’t necessarily need the space of a full-sized region to create an engaging and noteworthy setting, Terra Del Mar at LeLoo’s World is deserving of a visit and offers multiple opportunities for photographers.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

SLurl Details

The Borderless Project: immersive explorations in Second Life

The Borderless Project: Delain Canucci

Currently open within the region of Akimitsu, held and curated by Akiko Kinoshi (Akiko Kiyori) and forming a part of her “Akipelago” group of regions, is The Borderless Project, a multi-element, immersive exhibition that brings together a number Second Life artists known for their work in 3D spaces, and / or in using light, sound and immersion to create engaging and interactive spaces.

In the simplest terms, the Borderless Project is inspired by the work of Japan’s TeamLab, originally founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, and which in 2021 marks its 20th anniversary with an immersive installation in Tokyo entitled Borderless, billed as “a world of artworks without boundaries, a museum without a map”, and which is the latest in their globe-spanning immersive experiences.

The Borderless Project: Betty Tureaud

As with TeamLab, the Borderless Project team – Betty Tureaud, Delain Canucci, Gem Preiz, Thoth Jantzen, Mitsuko Kytori, Blaise Timtam and Akiko herself – have created an installation that stands as a “gallery without a map” so to speak, through which visitors can wander and explore. Each artist has at least one space, each with at least one installation within it, the majority providing multiple elements within them.

The “gallery without a map” element comes from the fact that the various installation spaces  – located at different altitudes – are all linked by a teleport portals (touch or walk through to activate), which also link to the ground-level location I’m using here as a landing point. However, none of the portals are labelled in terms of artist or destination; therefore there is no implied hierarchy or order to the installations in terms of which should be seen “first”, etc., – visitors have utterly free choice.

The Borderless Project: Gem Preiz, tribute to TeamLab

What is key to spending time at the Borderless Project, is that you have your viewer correctly configured.

Of the recommendations given it is crucial you have Advanced Lighting Model enabled, (Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked – there is no need to also enable Shadows), together with media (the button with the movie camera on it, top right of the viewer window) turned on – and note that there are times where you will need to toggle this off / on again in order to pick-up the sounds within individual elements (keep an eye out for the in-world text requests to toggle). Less important is having draw distance set to the recommended 250m+; given the size of the individual installations and the distance at which you’re seeing things, this is frankly overkill.

The Borderless Project: the gardens by Akiko

The “primary” installations are by Betty, Delain, Gem, and Thoth, with Gem and Delain offering the largest by area / content, including two “secondary” displays apiece (Gem proving a hat-tip to TeamLab via two reproductions of elements from their Borderless installation, and Delain a separate “dino cave” that comes with places to sit). The garden spaces by Akiko, Blaise and Miyduko also offer places to sit and relax, and opportunities to play with EEP and more.

Each of the installations is richly diverse in terms of elements, colours and sounds (both local and via media – remember to toggle this off / on as directed), with some of the artists including interactive elements that can be walked into / over or pushed around. In respect of the local sounds, it’s important you avoid running / flying, as the scripted object can take a second or so to fire-up and call the sounds to be played in the viewer, so if you run you could easily miss hearing them – and if you fly, you won’t hear them at all!

The Borderless Project: in one of Delain’s smaller vignettes

I’m not going into great lengths about the individual installations here, as frankly, they should be experienced first-hand, and people should approach them unburdened by my own perceptions and ideas. I will say that when visited the large cubist environment Betty Tureaud has created, make sure you follow the big white arrival at the arrival point and grab + wear the teleport HUD – you might have problems finding your way inside the cubes if you don’t! Also, keep an eye out for the poses within Delain’s vignette settings – they offer multiple choices for photography.

I admit to having a couple of niggles during my visit – notably as a result of the local environment settings within Delain’s main setting, where I found it so dark I walked back through a teleport disk when trying to leave the landing point (and no, I didn’t have Shadows enabled alongside of ALM). More particularly, the low light makes it hard / impossible to read in-world guidance notes in places. As such, it might be better to either make them Full Bright (if they are not) or to add a couple of point lights to illuminate them to make them more obvious.

But niggles aside, there is no denying the depth of content to be found within the Borderless Project, and I enjoyed the several hours I spent exploring, trying and poking (including playing god and shoving the solar system around!).

SLurl Details

Summer at Mimmo in Second Life

Mimmo, July 2021 – click any image for full size

Elise Sirnah is not only an established Second Life photographer, she also has an eye for region design, something she has demonstrated with Mimmo, the Homestead region she co-holds along with Grace Shade (graice2). It’s a place that I’ve visited on a number of occasions, although this is just the second time I’ve blogged it, the first being back in 2019.

I’ve no idea how many times the region’s looks may have changed since then, but July 2021 saw me hop back to take a look. What I found was an interesting setting that brings together mixes of tropical and temperate environments and public and private spaces – the latter placed in such a way that it is relatively easy not to confuse them as part of the public areas – into a single setting.

Mimmo, July 2021

At my last visit, Mimmo had the look and feel of a garden and extended grounds of a Tuscan style villa that occupied one side of the region, the rest of the landscape flowing outwards from it. With this iteration, the region offers far more of an island-like setting, offering numerous discrete point for photography, all of which more-or-less flow together as a continuous whole.

When looked at on the map, the region has an an intriguing look, resembling some kind of vast sea creature basking on the surface of the sea, its head to the north-west, three of its flippers outstretched and a bulbous tail to the south-east. Two of these “fins” are formed by headlands, one stumpy and sandy, the other sinuous and heavy in trees, with the largest of the off-shore islands forming the third, and another of the rentals making the bulbous “tail”.

Mimmo, July 2021

The use of smaller islands as homes for the rental properties helps minimise the risk of accidental trespass, the private spaces they represent only reachable via stepping stones through, and bridges over, the coastal waters. These smaller islands, together with the southern end of the main island give the region that more tropical feel, with sand and palm trees much in evidence. North and east, the rest of the main island is far more temperate in looks.

The north-west of the main island is dominated by a curtain of cliffs together with a large body of fresh water below them. A stream proceeds from the lake, forming a “spine” through the region as it runs south and east to reach the sandy coast and a fallen lighthouse that once overlooked one of the region’s rental isles. Paralleling this stream for part of its course is a rough dirt track, which also circles through the region’s landing point whilst also presenting obvious paths to follow when exploring.

Mimmo, July 2021

The landing point sits within the fenced grounds of a large wooden cottage / farmhouse that looks highly suited to the role of a studio gallery.  It shares it grounds with a small potting shed and old British-style telephone box. This cottage is one of two large structures on the main island, with the second reached by following the track north and west from the landing point and over the single formal bridge spanning the stream (there is also a makeshift bridge made from logs also available further downstream).

The second structure takes the form of a barn – or possibly warehouse, given the paved waterfront it is built upon – conversion sitting on the west side coast of the region. At first glance, this looks like a private residence, but on examination it can be seen this is not the case; rather it presents a cosy home with furnishings and fittings by Grace (that is already giving me ideas about a possible new place on the home island!).

Mimmo, July 2021

Balancing this house to the east of the stream is a gently sloping landscape that sits as something of an extended garden, complete with an old folly, places to sit, sculptures, and a geodesic dome for those who need a little shade from the Sun. More places to sit and past the time can be found throughout the setting: along the coast, or just back from it (or even out on the water), off along the north-east headland with its small hill (note the little island just off this headland is another rental property, not part of the public spaces), and also on the stubby western headland, where a little café sits.

There are some rough edges to the the landscaping – rocks and mesh not fully blended into the terrain so they either float or leave gaps, the odd floating plant, etc., but nothing that serious detracts from the overall photogenic nature of the region, or the opportunities to visit, sit, dance and / or swim. Those wishing to have rez rights can join the local group for a fee of L$150 –  but do please clean up after use! Also, do note that a local chat extender is in use within the region, and can be disabled by using channel /999.

Mimmo, July 2021

SLurl Details

  • Mimmo (Pomerania Park, rated Adult)

2021 SUG meeting week #29 summary

* Nourish *, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary.

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for updates.

  • There was no planned deployment to servers on the SLS Main channel on Tuesday, July 20th.
  • Wednesday, July 21st should see all servers on the RC channels re-started. Due to the manner in which simulator deployments are made, this will show as a updated release number (2021-07-16.561609), although there are no changes to the code itself. However, during the restart process, approximately 1/3 of RC servers (not the simulator code) will see changes designed to improve performance “in some situations”. In addition, the deployment notes further state:
As mentioned in some of our recent deploy plans we’ve been investigating the effectiveness of region restarts at the ten day limit. We believe some of the issues Residents are encountering with regions that have long uptimes are due to issues at the machine level, not the simulator level. Our instance refresh for Second Life RC channels this week is an attempt to gather data as to whether this is correct or not.

The two RC updates had been planned for the week have now been altered as follows:

  • The ability for estate owners / managers to set a default EEP environment across an entire estate has been pushed back to a future release.
  • Opening custom chat ranges to estate managers through the simulator debug console has been put on hold as a result of “privacy concerns” – primarily that people might not be aware how far their local chat is carrying on regions where the range has been increased over the “usual” 20m. As such, consideration is being given to adding a viewer-side change to inform people of the local chat range.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC, version, dated July 14th, was updated to de facto release status on Monday, July 19th.  This leaves the rest of the currently available official viewers as:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • None.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, dated July 16, 2019.

Agni / Aditi Account Syncing

This has been an issue for some time, causing pain for many creators who wish to use Aditi (the beta grid) for testing, due to significant issues in trying to log-in.  The matter has been under investigation for several months, and a solution new appears close, with Simon Linden commenting:

We’ve tossed together some code and stuff and now have the ability to copy your account from production SL (here) to our beta grid. If any of you would like that, send me an IM. We’ve tested it a bit and are ready to try the first volunteers. 
There are a few things to note, however: you should clear your viewer cache before logging in to Aditi; when you log in, your outfit may look messed up. Just change it. We’d love to get some feedback on this.

So, if you are interested in regaining access to Aditi, drop an IM to Simon, stating your reason for requiring access and willingness to participate in testing.

HTTP-Out Warnings

To quote Monty Linden (making a long-awaited return to SUG meetings!):

A refresh to a component of the HTTP-Out system, our HTTP proxy, is underway. Changes are meant to be transparent involving operational improvements, but we’re letting everyone know so if you see issues having to do with reachability of external servers or reliability of HTTP access, please speak up. Jira’s always appropriate for reporting issues but be specific in the details. We’re currently serving about 200K requests per minute via LSL so if you tell me “it happened last Thursday,” I’m not going to find anything. Time, place [region], target – details matter.  At some point soon, this will go out to Aditi as a non-simulator deploy. [I] Want to encourage reports of issues if anyone sees problems. Especially blockages of things that should not be blocked.

In Brief

  • The meeting includes a general discussion on teleports. teleport failures, region crossings issues and how they might be related and one (physical region regions via forced unseat / teleport) might help in diagnosing force TP failures – and whether or not this is the case.
  • There has been a question on whether texture transfer via UDP through the simulator is still / again possible. Commenting on this, Monty Linden stated:
Texture delivery was to be blocked for UDP but not certain that happened. They won’t enjoy it. Would like a capture of a shift-ctrl-3 screen. texture asset delivery via simulator is one of our most pessimal systems. Will check on the UDP status – that’s curious.
  • Refer to the video below for additional information.