Tuesday, 11 November 2008

More SL Art in RL

My friend Ariel Brearly was asked to submit Little Red one of her pictures for "Synthetic Masquerade" a RL Art exhibit taking place at SomeArts gallery in San Francisco's Bay Area opening on November 6th and running till November 26th. She also pointed me to a youtube video about the exposition.

I have to say I liked what I saw. It seems to be a nice mix of pure SL Art, and virtual wold derived or inspired art with a focus on the avatar as a representation of ourselves. The RL exhibit is mirrored inworld giving you a chance to visit it too and that's a very nice touch.

At the inworld exhibit I found a notecard with this statement from Capn Kurka, the curator for this exhibit:

As technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, much of its impact on how it affects us psychologically goes mostly unnoticed. One of the few ways technology allows us to mold how we perceive ourselves (and how we want to be perceived) is expressed through the creation of an avatar for either a game, virtual world or website chat.

Current studies show that by the year 2010, seven out of ten people worldwide will have control of an avatar.

The works included in this exhibit will show the public many different ways artists perceive an avatar and no doubt many of the works will be a creative reflection of deep personal desires and fears along with concepts of beauty and ugliness.
The word “Avatar” originally came to mean "an embodiment, a bodily manifestation of the Divine. Since 1985, it has come to mean “a computer representation of a user.” Since the 1992 novel SnowCrash, the term Avatar was used to describe the virtual simulation of the human form in the Metaverse, a virtual-reality version of the Internet.

Some avatars are animated, consisting of a sequence of multiple images played repeatedly. Other avatar systems exist where a pixelized representation of a person or creature is used, which can then be customized to the user's wishes. Flat GIF based avatars are readily found in most chat room based websites.

Do visit whether it be in SL or RL, it is sure worth a look!

Slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Jamville/170/119/23 (and teleport to the main gallery)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Firenze, the aftermath

Earlier this week Frank Koolhaas, curator of the Rinascimento Virtuale exhibit in Firenze, organized an in-world meeting to talk about the catalogue, answer some questions and catch some impressions. I will not detail all that was said since it ended up a fairly long meeting but let me try to summerize what was said.

Frank explaining

First Frank briefly introduced the whole project (quotes are edited for clarity):

Frank Koolhaas: this is a project to read on different levels. The first level is the exhibit at the museum. The natural history museum of Florence is one of the most important in Europe, and the building where the exhibit is hosted is the section of anthropology. The reason why we chose this location is the following: first of all giving a strong legitimization to SL art, hosting it in a great museum and then creating a relation between anthropology and this new kind of art. it's not just the art of a social network but an art conceived as a social network and that's completely new. It was made in Florence, the cradle of the first Renaissance. This way, we could suggest that these people, these artists, are the interpreters of a new Renaissance.

Then we have another level: the catalogue. It's glamorous, filled with art, conceived like a work of art by Cristian Contini (Grocon Emoto) It's also a document about SL art, a way to show all these great artworks to the ones who don't come in RL.
There are images but also texts. The texts...a crucial point because there is something to say. I firmly believe that here in SL there are many talented people, some very creative people. And doesn't matter if they began to be artists yesterday.

About 25 avs turned up for the meeting

He then gave the word to Asian Lednev who actually did the design of the exhibit. He put firm emphasis on what a unique chance it was to use the antropology section of the museum of natural history because of the juxtaposition of the old culture and this new digital one. The crowd didn't dispute this but critical questions were raised as to how the SL work was actually displayed in the museum. Some were very adamant it was even degrading how some pieces had been treated.

The discussion went on with Bettina Tizzy making a few points and asking a few very pertinent questions.

Bettina Tizzy: I want to preface by saying that I appreciate all your hard work, Frank, and the work of all the others who were involved in creating all manifestations of this exhibit. My concerns are as follows:

1) For the opening night, many SLers traveled hundred if not many thousands of miles to be there. They were
a) Not informed that there would be a catalog nor that it was not ready
b) Not informed of peripheral events such as the booth that appears in your flickr stream
c) In fact, they weren't informed of anything other than a very very cordial greeting by Frank, and that was nice

What they did find, is the larger blown up pics on the floor ... leaning against the installations. There were some thumbnails, but no explanation that these thumbnails were identifiers for the images portrayed in the videos.

I appreciate the concept of SL art being exhibited in an anthropology museum. That is a good concept. However, the implementation was was [so] poor, that it shamed me. I do understand that later, over the course of a few days, the larger images were raised and placed above the showcases. I have worked with many museums in my life and I realize how VERY VERY hard it is to work with them. However, I think that the association of anthropology and SL art could have been realized by working with the museum in another space, but under the "auspices" of the museum. Since you were obligated to work within the confines of what was already there. As I was saying to you in conversation earlier, Frank... I think that part of the problem here is that you did not convey some of these important things to those who had spent a small fortune to be there and placed their trust in you. Communication is a good thing.

Bettina, Cienega, Kynne & myself

Bettina went on to state that her main fear is that SL Art would become trivialised and that was the reason for her concern with the images she saw from Firenze.

The meeting went on for a good while longer but I think the main points had been made by that time. One thing noteworthy is that Bettina revealed they are working with some of the top publications in the world, even though she couldn't reveal details yet. She sure got me curious :-)

Personally I think the concept of a recognised cultural institute especially an ethnographic museum hosting digital art is a great one. It looked to me however the practical limitation of the place made it really difficult to truly integrate the SL artworks resulting in work standing on the ground or on top of high display cabinets. The SL works were added instead of integrated and that is a nice opportunity lost in my view. I think this was also the reason why so few works were actually shown in printed form. Asian argued it was a matter of poor resolution of the pics but I'm afraid to say that doesn't hold water knowing the kinds of sizes most people sent their pics in.

A pic by Mecca at the exhibit

I think another reason why people felt let down was the fact so many pics were invited for the exhibit. Asian mentioned about 150 different artists. Seeing I was asked to send in a selection of 22 pics (and from what I heard from others some had a lot more). That would make at least individual 3300 pictures and most likely a whole lot more. How can you expect to show such an amount of work ? Maybe a more discriminating approach would have been favorable or at least would have left fewer people somewhat frustrated.

As Bettina pointed out the communication wasn't really clear either. I assume some of that has to do with the language barrier. I've seen a lot of blogs and online articles in Italian leading up to the event but very little in English. Because of that I think the perception of the whole event may have been a fair bit different in the Italian community as compared to the rest of the world.

One last thing: I still feel proud to be part of it even if in a very small way. Unlike some others at last week's meeting I am not going to scream blue murder over the way my work was treated. I still don't consider what I do Art with a capital A. Time and the RL art critics will tell what future SL Art has. In that respect this exhibit was a first and something has been set in motion even if it wasn't perfect or what we had dreamed of. I certainly don't regret travelling there if only for the wonderful people I met. Thank you Frank / Mario for inviting me.

About the exhibit:

- it is still open until January 7th, 2009
- it consists of (according to Asian Lednev)* :
  • 150 artists
  • 46 printed works
  • 13 plasma screens
  • 30 electronic picture frames
  • 46 printed curtains
About the catalogue:

- It's been said that the catalog will be available to all participanting artists at shipping cost
- Regular sale price will be around 30 €.
- it is not sure when it will be available as it is still being printed.
- thumbing through the whole in-world version of the catalogue at the meeting place I was a little disappointed to find just a single one of the pics I submitted.

* I can't say these numbers correspond to what I remember seeing while I was there for the opening evening

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Fun in Firenze

So Mylena and I are back, back from our trip to Firenze that has left us with some absolutely unforgettable memories. We arrived in Italy on Sunday evening after spending two days in a lovely hotel in the Vercors region in France. There we had a lovely 10 course "menu de degustation" accompanied by a wine tasting on Friday evening. Saturday we spent an afternoon picking mushrooms under the watchful eye of a local guide and mushroom expert. We ate what we picked that evening and it sure was yummy. We had a good giggle with one of the other hotel guests who looked like she was an avatar that somehow escaped SL. All through dinner she wore a white woollen hat, fingerless gloves, a leather jacket with metal studs and big ass boots that looked like they were made from an awful lot of prims.

She even had prim lashes !!

Arriving in Firenze was a bit of a shock. We made a little tour around the old center on Sunday evening and found it to be absolutely overrun by tourists and all in all really dirty. It must have been a Sunday thing however because when we walked the old narrow streets from piazza to piazza on Monday things had been thoroughly cleaned up. Being very curious we also walked past the Museum of Natural History where the exhibit would take place joking it would be too funny if it all turned out to be an elaborate hoax. But sure enough the big Rinascimento Virtuale poster adorned the facade of the building.

Not a hoax after all.

Tuesday we spent on touristy stuff. Walking around, visiting the sites but all the while at least my thoughts were with what would happen that evening. A little after six we were at the museum. At first I heard nothing but Italian around me in the crowd that had gathered in the courtyard of the building for the opening speech. I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces. I was starting to fear no one would show up. Then all of a sudden I heard this guy being interviewed by some reporter spell out his SL name An-dro-me-ga Vo-la-re ... Yay, found one ! While saying hi to Andro I heard "Hey Loki !!". Turned out to be Track Hax who was talking to no one other than Nyla Rossini and her husband. We went on to have a look at the exhibit and there they were; Silver, Keiko, Luther, Pilgrim, Raul, Khamudy and Angie. It was really like meeting up with old friends and meeting a few new ones.

ltr Kham, Raul, Nyla's hubby Matthew, Nyla & Andro

I'll be short on the exhibit itself. Let's say it was a nice try but there was not that much SL-Art on display and clearly set up not too interfere too much with the normal collection of the museum resulting in pics being on the floor leaning against display cabinets or pics being almost two meters up on top of cabinets. A setup made of a number of those picture display frames was a nice idea but most of them stayed dark or displayed the setup menu. In the end everyone gathered around one big size monitor displaying an endless stream of pics while once in a while someone would go "hey that's yours!" or "Yay, one of mine". There were a few viewing booths set up to show some machinima. All in all a bit of a disappointment but the company largely made up for it. I'll probably write about the exhibit itself in a later blog.

One of Ariel's dreamy pictures on top of a display cabinet

After we'd seen what was there we decided to go for drinks but first went to pick up Hio at his hotel. Contrary to popular belief he is not actually green in RL but apart from that Hio is Hio. We ended up at an Irish pub on piazza della Signoria chatting, laughing, teasing, gossiping and generally having a great time. If someone listened in on the conversation they must have thought we were completely nuts with all the "woot" "lol" and "Yay" going on. We ended a really great evening having a late dinner at a nice restaurant barely big enough to seat all thirteen of us. You should have seen the waiter's face when Keiko wanted ketchup to put on her fettuccini bolognese ... priceless !

Strike a pose! Or was it hop on a poseball ?

Wednesday was a day of more sightseeing and touristy stuff which I won't bother you with. On Thursday we met up with Silver, Keiko, Luther, Pil & Kham again and strolled through Firenze, had a very good late lunch on one of the countless terraces and did some shopping. Sometimes RL can be so like SL only the food and wine are better in RL, in Italy anyway. More great food that evening when Luther prepared us some delicious pasta dishes at the apartment where they were staying. I picked up a few bottles of wine and a bottle of limoncello and we spent the evening chatting about everything and anything sitting outside on the apartment's little roof terrace around a couple of candles. A wonderful ending to an exciting few days.

ltr Luther, Keiko, Nyla & Pilgrim

It was really funny to see how we all got along so well and without any awkwardness about actually meeting for the first time in RL. I guess you can role play as much as you want but in the end the real person behind the av always shows through so in a way you really know the people even if you have never met them. It really makes me want to meet so many others I met in my time in SL because how ever much fun SL can be, nothing beats sharing a meal with real people.

I thank my lucky stars I got to meet all these lovely people.

Track, it was good to see you there. You should have tagged along on Tuesday.
Andro, it was really nice meeting you and it's a pity you couldn't stay longer.
Nyla, I still hear your wonderful laughter. It was great to meet you and your husband.
Angie, I love the pictures you took with my camera. I'm sure we'll see more of each other in world after this week.
Pil, Don't think we've seen each other in world all that much so far. So great to get to know you a bit better. Hope things went well in Portugal.
Raul, I can see why Gany loves you to bits. It was my privilege to meet a great guy like you.
Kham, what can I say apart from "I love your mind" héhé. Great meeting you too.
Luther, man that pasta was great! Hope to see more of you in world.
Hio, pity we didn't get to talk a bit more, still, it was really great to meet you!
Keiko, you sweet thing, it may sound a bit odd but I love you to bits.
Silver, meeting in person after all this time was wonderful. I sure hope it was a first and not a last. See you in world soon!
Mylena, thanks from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful trip.

Now let's all think long and hard for the next excuse to all meet again ;-)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Firenze here we come !

The countdown has begun. Three more days and Mylena and I will be on our way to Italy. I wrote about "Rinascimento Virtuale", the exhibit of SL art in Firenze, in an earlier post. It opens on the 21st of this month. Well, the route is planned, the hotels are booked and we'll be arriving in Firenze on Sunday. I hope to attend the vernissage on Tuesday but I'm still waiting for confirmation. I sure hope to meet the organisers and Frank Koolhaas in particular. It sure looks like they have been doing a great job. I promise I'll write more about it when I'm back.

There is of course also another dimension. This exhibit is the perfect occasion to meet a few people I have known for a good long while but never met RL. I'm putting it mildly when I say I'm really excited about that. I don't know how many will be there but I hope there will be plenty. It would be so much fun if we could all get together and tell SL stories, whine about flickr drama, exchange tips and tricks and all of that without even touching a keyboard. What a novel idea! Anyway, if you read this and are going there too please leave a comment or let me know. I would hate to miss the opportunity to meet you too ;-)

Monday, 1 September 2008

Take action Linden Labs

After all the commotion of this weekend regarding my exhibit at the Cannery I have taken down the exhibit as a whole. I was not prepared to alter the picture and just taking the one down wasn't an option, the zodiac as we know it has 12 signs not 11.

A lot has been said and discussed and I would sincerely like to thank those who offered their support or contributed to the ongoing debate.

I think however it's time to draw a few conclusions. What all this has shown me is that Linden Labs have no clear rules on what is tolerated and what not. Add to that the fact they are both judge and jury and we all have a problem on our hands. I am still convinced my picture is NOT "broadly offensive" yet a Linden (Harry) in all his wisdom decided after a complaint it was. This is not acceptable! Either there are clear and well defined rules and it's just a matter of applying the rules or they deliberately keep the rules vague but in that case there as to be a DEMOCRATIC way to decide whether or not a violation of TOS has been committed.

The way LL operates now is, in my view, a recipe for disaster because it allows individual people to settle personal differences or even just enforce personal views by means of launching a complaint with Linden Labs. This type of situation has throughout history led to gross cases of abuse and a lot of suffering. Being banned from SL is not exactly the same as being sent to Siberia or find yourself forced into a re-education program but just the same something should change: either we get clear rules or a REAL form of appeal in case of a complaint.

Related links:

Thanks Vint!
Thanks Nadine! An apology would be nice but I don't count on it.
Thank you too Shoshana

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Is Loki a pervert ?

It's been a while since I posted here. That is mainly because I had little or nothing to tell you. Linden Labs changed that last night by sending me an e-mail that made me wonder whether to laugh or cry.

Dear loki Popinjay,

This email is notification of action regarding your Second Life account,
loki Popinjay, for violation of the Second Life Terms of Service or
Community Standards. The violation in question occurred on August 29, 2008 in the region of Cannery Rezzable.

Violation: Community Standards: Broadly Offensive Content or Conduct

Real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depiction of
sexual violence including rape, real-life images, avatar
portrayals, and other depictions of extreme or graphic
violence, and other broadly offensive content are never
allowed or tolerated within Second Life.

Nude photo of young girl holding a teddy bear needs to be removed
immediately. Alternatively, you may cover up the nudity with photo

No additional action is being taken at this time.

Appeal Process: The decision to suspend your Second Life access was
reached after investigation of your use of the Second Life software and
service. If you would like to appeal your suspension, you may contact
Second Life Support, in writing, at the address below:

Second Life Support
Linden Lab
945 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

You may also appeal electronically by filing a support ticket via the
support portal at http://www.secondlife.com/support/

Please provide relevant information that you believe would explain the
above violation. Linden Lab reserves sole discretion in considering
whether to take any action on a written appeal.

This is the picture in question:


Now, you have to know this picture is part of the Avatar Zodiac series I made for SL5B where it was on display until the very last day. Without complaints. It's been on display at the Cannery for weeks now. Without complaints ... till now.

Avatar Zodiac at SL5B

Frankly, how stupid and narrow minded do you have to be to find this picture offensive? It is in no way meant to be sensual let alone sexual in nature and all "bits" are covered. Since it was meant for SL5B where strickt guidelines were enforced as to what would be allowed and what not I actually added some hair to cover a nipple.

Is it me who has the distorted view here? Ah well, guess that's what you get when you live in some "Sodom and Gomorrah" called Belgium where the government only this week bought a painting by James Ensor for the Arts museum in Ghent depicting not one but TWO completely naked girls for 2.8 million €.

'Kinderen aan ochtendtoilet' by James Ensor

What bothers me the most is the procedure LL seems to follow. Probably some redneck complained and LL takes action by ordering me to remedy the situation. Last I looked the correct way to act would be to check the complaint and if found correct at least give me a chance to defend myself. In this case I would be very surprised if the complaint was indeed checked and the above mail is surely not a question for my view on the matter. Even more so it states I get a chance to "explain the above violation". It is not even questioned if it actually IS a violation.

That said I don't like to be nailed to the cross for being a pervert. In my opinion this picture is not in violation of TOS. So I'm not taking it down until my time at the Cannery is up and I will protest the supposed "violation of TOS". Surely there must be a few Lindens with some common sense...

Oh, and to answer the titel: of course Loki is a pervert, just not this kind ;-)


I just received this notice from Harry Linden:

Hi there,

Linden Lab has reviewed, at your request, a discipline action recently taken against your account.

Our investigation shows that the discipline was correctly applied.

If any further information is required, Linden Lab will contact you regarding this incident. Otherwise, please consider the matter resolved as no further communications will be sent.

Guess I was wrong about the common sense

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Snippets on Friday 07/11

My sincerest appologies for missing two weeks. What can I say? I was just too busy preparing SL5B and enjoying the music at the world's best rock festival last weekend.

Cannery Gallery

Always something happening at the Rezzable Cannery. When Vint Falken asked me to put up some work at the Cannery about a week prior to the opening I didn't really know what to put up. Having worked my ass off to get pictures ready for SL5B I had little else lying about and I didn't want to just pick some from my Flickr stream. With a week to go there was no time to make decent new ones. Contrary to popular belief I do have a first life as well.

Long story short: I decided to put the Avatar Zodiac up at the Cannery in a slightly different form. So those who didn't have a chance to see it at SL5B can now get their butt over to the Cannery. It's worth a visit anyway. There is also work to admire from Leou Aeon and the amazingly talented Andromega Volare and more to come.

Go there straight from here


Pestilence and Heroine are showing this month at Avatrait. On July 12th at 1pm SLT you can ask your questions make your remarques or just admire the art on the walls at a meet and greet with Pestilence and Heroine.

Go there straight from here

Artists Park

This is the last week to see the work of Petr Vanbeeck and Silverdrake Sparrow at the Artists Park. The show will close on the 19th. As of June 21st they will be showing ew, never seen before, one of a kind images again by Petr Vanbeeck & Silverdrake Sparrow.

Twilight Gallery

Belmakor Pintens invites you all to Twilight Gallery this Saturday the 12th at 1pm SLT to see six amazing artists put their work on display.

Didih Merlin
Ghostalker Wise
Hinata Ivory
Ilian Garrigus
Prad Prathivi
Vallys Baxter

Go there straight from here


Riona Rimbaud is organising a huge music event on July 13th & 14th featuring Kiku Seitan, Cyberpiper Roelofs, Yan Etzel, Angelina Ozsvar, Cedric Renoir, Sinatra Cartier, and the multitalented Nephie Eerie.

The event is meant to raise funds for the fight against cancer so be there!

Go there straight from here

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Avatar Zodiac

It's that time of year again when we celebrate SL's birthday. This year I decided to participate in SL5B, the resident run event that accompanies SL's birthday. As always I got to work on it way too late but I'm happy to say that after a week of slaving I pulled it off. Seeing this years event is all about diversity and the different cultures in SL I went for a series of portraits.

Avatars in SL are people's way to express themselves and a means to indicate what community they belong to if any. They are incredibly diverse. It's a joy to see how inventive people are in creating their own 'persona' in SL. I hope I managed to capture that diversity.

SL5B opens on Monday 06/23 and will run for two weeks.

That said I think it's a pity there was a fair bit of controversy about this years edition. The whole thing is PG and a number of rules were issued about what is and is not appropriate to be shown. I really regret that and me participating in the event is by no means an endorsement of that policy. I sure hope that those who were refused at SL5B will find another way to share their art with the rest of the community.

Go there straight from here

Friday, 13 June 2008

No Snippets Today

When I open my Flickr's contacts page it's been plastered with the same text-picture for a while now. Make no mistake I understand the outcry. What Linden Labs is doing at SL5B is giving in to a bunch of religious fanatics, right-wing moralists and overall narrow-minded biggots. So I do support Stephen's cause but I will not put the picture on my stream.

"Why?" you ask? Well, because I think that would be a bit too easy. For one those concerned enough to protest will still be a small minority and can easily be ignored by Linden Labs. For two because just paying lip-service to a cause has never changed anything. Three because I mistrust mobs rallying behind a protest sign. I prefer to make up my own mind and choose my own plan of action. Four because just saying "I don't like this" is not very constructive and five and maybe most important because this is part of a larger issue and focussing on this single aspect will oversimplify the larger topic at hand.

Essentially this is about accountability. Who is responsible for what... Are we responsible for our own actions in world or is Linden Labs? I would assume we are but I guess Linden Labs is not too sure about that and fears being sued over what people in-world do.

And really, it's not surprising considering we live in a society where lawsuits are the glib and profitable answer to our own stupidity. Blame someone else for the result of your idiotic behaviour; the lawyers will find the minor technicality to hang them up on and reward you, and themselves, with a boatload of money.

I'll admit Linden Labs' reaction and the way they communicated it is a tad unfortunate to say the least but I imagine they just trying to cover their own butts. With the influx of new avs and SL getting more popular the aforementioned biggots have arrived too and claim their space under the WindLight sun. I say don't blame Linden Labs for protecting themselves but take a good long look around you in RL and drink in what this world has become. LL is nothing but the messenger of bad news and they don't deserve to be shot. Blame them for their half-ass communication, for their poor resident relations, whirly-gig decisions and at a stretch for their lack of balls to stand up and resist. LL is treading the never-before tred grounds of a virtual society created, and, to a degree, mirroring real society. Unfortunately that very same society responsible for demonising a number of lifestyles is also responsible for making the $ king and let's face it, LL need their $$ to survive.

Yes, I sympathise with Stephen, his family and those who wish to protest but I'm afraid it's moot point. "SL is SL and RL is RL" is too easy a slogan. They are intertwined and this is a prime example. Want to change SL? Start with RL and no, I don't mean by posting a pic on Flickr...

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Snippets on Friday 06/07

First of all my sincerest apologies for missing last weeks snippets. Lack of time and lack of news combined made me skip a week.

Avatrait presents Hio

When you can announce someone and you don't even have to mention their last name you know you have a celebrity on your hands. This Saturday you won't want to miss the opening of 'The Bastard Side of Life!' featuring pictures by Hio Taringa.

Festivities start at 1:00 pm PDT. Fireworks start at 1:45 pm, Dancing with DJ Azu @ 2:00 pm and goes until 4:00 pm.

Twilight Gallery

Twilight presents the wonderful works of Anya Kivert, Azaiya Aeon, Beatriz Hayes, Danielh Dryssen, Elros Tuominen and Vivienne Cassavetes. This exhibit opens June 7th 1pm PDT. I'm sure that with a list of artists of this calibre it will be a "must see". Place to be is Aloha Oceans Estates 158,248,501


This video was published yesterday to announce the "Rinascimento Virtuale" exhibit I mentioned before. I think it looks really cool and it promises the best for the actual exhibit in in October.

From the numerous Flickr comments it seems a fair number of people will actually be going to Firenze in person. I really look forward to meeting them as I am making plans to go over there myself. More news on that later ...

Interesting Links

For those interested in the history of OpenSim and the open source grid this is an interesting read by Danton Sideways about its history.

If you are interested in Marketing, social media and SL you should read what Social Media guru Kelly Feller from Intel has to say about it in her latest post at conversationsmatter.org

Friday, 23 May 2008

Snippets on Friday 05/23

A fair bit of stuff this week. Seems like exhibits and picture contests are being organised left right and center these days. All the better I would say!

SL5B “Celebrating the cultural diversity of Second Life”

Each year, on the date that Second Life came out of beta (June 23rd 2003) SL's birthday has been celebrated with an art event everyone can participate in. If you want to be part of it this year you will have to hurry though. The SL5B-team will only be accepting applications until May 25th. This years theme is “Celebrating the cultural diversity of Second Life”.

You can expect to see the regions open for building on or shortly after June 1. The deadline for completing your builds is June 20. Gates open on June 23 and the event runs until June 30th.

At last years SL4B

Apart from the exhibit the team is putting together a retrospective of scenes from previous SL Birthday events. If you have movies or still images of 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007 that you can share with full permissions, please drop then on Evie Fairchild, and include a notecard that explains which year the photos are from. If you have photos on a photo-sharing site, please send Evie a notecard with links to them. Once the photos are compiled, you may be invited to donate a voice remembrance to add to the slide show.

More info on SL5B on the Linden Blog
Info about SL5B on Vint's blog
Info about SL5B on Shoshana's blog
submit your applications for SL5B here

Cienega Soon

I said it before: I love Cienega Soon's art. A while ago she opened her own gallery at SL City of the Arts at Hyacinth Island. Two floors of beautifully colourful art and there is a wing reserved for invited artists. Definitively worth a visit! On top of that 60% of all sales goes to Bread & Jams, feeding the homeless.

Go there straight from here

Exhibit at Plutonia

My French speaking friends Sebcaen Ulysses and Gabrielle Sinatra are showing their remarkable pictures at Plutonia together with Hinata Ivory, Vayne Shan & Sypher Wyler.

Grand opening of the event is on May 24th at 12PM SLT

Go there straight from here

Exhibit at The Cannery

There is always something going on at the Cannery. May 21th an exhibit opened featuring the art of Marianne McCann, Raul Crimson, Stephen Venkman, Kimberly Mirabeau and Prad Prathivi. With names like that you know you're in for a treat. You can go and see it till June 12th.

Go there straight from here

Playtoy Centerfold Contest!

Jeza May announced yet another picture contest. Here is your chance to be the centerfold of Playtoy!! You can submit your work until May 31th and, who knows, maybe win the 2000 L$ cash prize.

More info on Jeza's Flickr stream

Avatrait picture contest

Over at Avatrait Corbet Howard's work is till on display. Part of the exhibit is a nice set and pose created by Corbet and used in one of his pictures. You can use it to take your own picture. Anyone who has taken a shot there can post it in the Avatrait Gallery pool thus entering it in a picture contest organised by Stephen Venkman. You have until May 31st to get your images in. The winner will be announced on June 2nd.

More on Stephen's Flickr stream

Go there straight from here

Work on display at Shoshanna's Gallery

I have put some of my work up on display (and for sale) at Shoshanna's gallery. I wrote about the gallery last week and last I looked there are still a few open spots. So, if you have no work on display in world at the moment or your av is less then 90 days old contact Shoshanna Epsilon in world and fill those empty spots in this beautiful gallery! Of course you can also just go and have a look at the wonderful pieces already on display.

Go there straight from here

Saturday, 17 May 2008


Early March I wrote a post about why I think Linden Research should open their server sources. I concluded: "I think Linden Labs basically has no choice but to open up their source. If they don't others will soon be competing to set the standard for an open grid". From the looks of it I may have been right even though the competition comes from a somewhat surprising source.

Santa Clara, California based Sun Microsystems, developpers of the Solaris operating system, Java and builders of high-end server hardware have been in SL for a good long while now. The sims they own are only partly open to the public. Some are Sun employee-only isles. I often wondered why they didn't use SL more as they are known to be big proponents of the "the network is the computer" adagio and SL fits that bill perfectly.

Java mascot Duke in SL

The answer is simple, they have develeoped what they call "Project Wonderland". It is described as a "toolkit for creating collaborative 3D virtual worlds." Sun's vision for this Java based multi-user virtual environment is to "provide an environment that is robust enough in terms of security, scalability, reliability, and functionality that organizations can rely on it as a place to conduct real business". This all sounds like music to my ears because let's be frank: SL is neither secure nor reliable and I have a hunch they are at the end of the ride in terms of scalability. Functionality? Everything in Wonderland seems to comply with open standards which will make interaction with existing tools easier. At the moment Maya is used for content creation but other tools like Blender, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave and a number of others are being looked into. Imagine how much easier life would be if you could use these standardised tools to create content ready to upload.

Even though it is still in it's beta stage (present release is version 0.4) Wonderland is not just an exercise. At Sun's Menlo Park Campus there are 19 physical buildings named MPK1 to 19. Now they have a new building: MPK20, built in their own virtual world. In this video Nicole Yankelovich (Principle Investigator for Collaborative Environments program at Sun Microsystems Labs) shows us around MPK20.

Watching this video you can see it doesn't look as imaginative or artistic as SL does but, that's just a matter of content. The core functionality is there and what's more it's all based on open source projects. Wonderland relies on these existing technologies:
  • Project Darkstar - provides the scalable, persistant server software infrastructure
  • JVoiceBridge - provides realtime immersive stereo audio with distance attenuation
  • Java 3D - provides the scene graph on which the 3D world and scene manager is built
  • Project Looking Glass - provides the 3D scene manager
So, could Wonderland be the keystone of the Metaverse? I don't know but it seems to me Sun steps up to the plate well prepared. Compared to SL, Wonderland is build on existing tried and tested open source technologies, it complies to open standards and since it's Java based it's completely platform independant. On top of that Sun has the resources and more importantly the in-house knowledge to address issues like secure authentication, content protection, compatibility with open document formats and many others. Unlike SL, Wonderland is not a stand-alone client-server application, it's embedded in an existing framework.

Did I mention I like Sun stuff ?

Even though they themselves seem to see Wonderland purely as a collaboration tool for businesses and educational puropses I think it's important that a big company like Sun recognises the fact virtual worls have an added value and deem it important enough to devote time and money to them well beyond setting up some sims in SL. Unlike LL's server code the Wonderland source is out there. Will someone pick up on it?

Interesting reads about Sun and its involvement with virtual worlds:

The Wonderland homepage: includes the Wonderland sources and a binary download
Wonderblog : a blog about project Wonderland
Virtual wolds at Sun
: A blog about Sun's involvement in vitual worlds including SL

Just for the record: I'm in no way associated with Sun Microsystems other than being a Solaris sys admin :-)

Friday, 16 May 2008

Snippets on Friday 05/16

A rather short one today. Mind you quality over quantity !!

Opening of the Gardens of NPIRL Delights.

Bettina Tizzy from the Not Possible in Real Life group and Rezzable have joined forces to set up an unprecedented art show. Inspired by a triptych by the well known Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch entiteled "The Garden of Earthly Delights" they build this show with the help of over a 100 architects, builders, coders and artists. The little I've seen of it so far looks very promising.

For more info I gladly point you to the NPIRL blog and gardens.rezzable.com.

Good news for starting SL artists.

Shoshana Epsilon has announced she will be offereing space in her gallery without any strings attached to avs who are 90 days or younger when they apply or have no art being displayed elsewhere in Second Life. (Flickr, etc, is ok) The art can be photograps as well as sculptures. It can be on display for as long as three months. More info can be found on Shoshana's blog. You can also contact her in-world.

I think this is a marvelous idea of hers since I can imagine it's not easy "breaking in" into the existing scene. I'm sure she will discover a lot of new talents through this initiative.

Good news for me.

Yesterday I got word from the organisers of the exhibition "Rinascimento Virtuale" (Virtual Renaissance) which will open at the (RL) Museum of Natural History of Florence, Italy October 21 2008 and will run untill January 7 2009. They selected 21 of my pictures to be displayed at the exhibition. Even though I'm a bit surprised at some of their choises I think it would be quite something to be part of a RL exhibition.

From what I've noticed 21 isn't a lot, some people have up to 114 selected which leads me to believe there might be another round of selections happening before the pictures will actually be displayed. I also don't know whether they will be printed, projected or displayed on screens, individually or as part of slideshows, it all remains to be seen.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Snippets on Friday 05/09

Even though I had a fairly quiet Friday I didn't feel like writing and well, I'm sure all four regular readers of this blog know by now it's more likely to be posted on Saturday anyway ;-)

Koinup Windlight contest

If you had planned to submit a picture for the Windlight contest on Koinup but haven't done so yet you're too late. Submissions have been closed. Having had a look at the numerous pictures entered I must say I wish the judges, Vint Falken, Pastrami Linden & Torley Linden good luck. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.

Psssttt.... just pick this one !! ;-)

Relay For Life

In June the Relay Raiders will organise a Photo/Art event for Relay For Life. For this Claudia Mantis is looking for help from artists to spread pictures around a sim. It will be some sort of contest but without a L$ reward. This year's RFL themes are Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. You can use all 3 themes in your photo or only 1 or 2, whatever fits a great photo. The top pieces will be auctioned off at the end of the event.

If you feel like doing your bit to help fight cancer you can contact Clausia Mantis at ClaudiaMantis[at]gmail.com.

Friends Fighting Cancer RFL benefit Concert 2

Today May 10th some of SLs top live sim filling musicians will be playing in the stunning Bliss concert venue on the intersection of four sims so it can become the largest concert ever in SL! You can help raise funds to fight this horrible disease with your friends at this amazing 6 hour marathon concert. This event is an official fundraiser for RFL.

Live Artists:

* Freestar Tammas - 3pm
* Thumper Boucher - 4pm
* Kim Seifert - 5pm
* OhMy Kidd - 6pm
* Jackdog Snook - 7pm
* Shantu Selene - 8pm

Location: Bliss Garden Center - Plants Flo, Bliss Gardens (241, 10, 21)

Cannery Gallery

There is yet another new event underway at the Cannery Gallery. This time the place will be divided into 5 areas which artists can use to display their work - and sell it, if they please. Works will be on display for a whole month.

Even though those who already had work on display at the Cannery in the past had first dibs, the 5 spots were taken before I could say "euh"... Oh well, next time :-)


While frantic work is being done on the new Avatrait website the in-world Avatrait Gallery proudly presents Corbett Howard, the newest Featured Artist.

The opening will be on Saturday, starting at 1pm SL time. Festivities include the usual fireworks and dancing afterwards. Needless to say the place will probably be packed to the rafters again with everyone and anyone who has name and fame in the SL arts world.

Twilight Magazine

Last week I received the first issue of Twilight Magazine. Twice actually since the first copy missed a few pages, a small mistake promptly corrected. Editor and publisher Belmakor Pintens assisted by staff writers Milla Alexandre and Willow Caldera managed to put together an interesting read. In Belmakor's words: "Twilight Magazine is all about SL photography, finding and exploring everything it has to offer, and letting you know what it is we find."

Most all of the 28 pages are interviews with great artists. Some like the one on this beautiful "Smoke and Tears" by Ariel Brearly are about specific pictures.

Others are about series of pictures or just general interviews with the artists like the ones with Sebcaen Ulysses or Gabrielle Sinatra which I both enjoyed reading very much. There is also three interviews featuring galleries.

All in all a very interesting effort and I'm really looking forward to the second issue. You can sign up to get your own free copy of the magazine at http://www.twilightmag.com/

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Being Creative

Last night the winners of the "Stiletto Moody Contest" were announced. The single picture I entered made it to the final round of 20. Alas it was a case of "close but no cigar". Frankly seeing the other pictures (even ones that didn't make the final cut) I'm already happy to have made it to the final.

Collin Savon got first prize with Mia Olivier and Ryker Beck taking second and third respectivly. Of the three winners I think I like Ryker's best because in a very cheeky way hers showcases the shoes best. That said, both Collin's and Mia's are gorgeous pictures as well. This morning I had another look at the pictures currently on display at Siletto Moody. Another one I really liked was that of Cienega Soon, it's a delightful burst of colour and light.

As much as I like fiddling with pictures in Photoshop or making poses for them my oldest love is probably video. Seeing as my RL diploma states I'm a "master in the audiovisual arts" my fingers have been itching a trying my hand at machinima (honestly, they should hang whomever came up with that word). I haven't worked with video for a couple of years now but I finally took some time to figure out the whole process of capturing in-world video.

In a way it's funny, it's like learning to walk all over. The whole capturing process is new to me as is the labyrinth of formats and compression techniques. The only thing familiar was the editing. It was fun to start up Premiere again even though it has definitively changed quite a bit since I last used it. Anyway, without further ado, my very first little experiment. It may not seem like much but it was the first hurdle I had to take. There is a lot left to learn and figure out.

There will be more and better to come I'm sure :-)

Friday, 2 May 2008

Snippets on Friday 05/02

The Artists Park

Wyatt Benoir has announced the re-opening of the Artists Park with a gala this Saturday May 3rd at 2pm. The first to exhibit at the new location will be Ryker Beck. She will be selling ten exclusive, never-before-seen pieces at the show! 50% of all proceeds will be donated to Relay for Life. The fantastic DJ Nexeus Fatale will be spinning the tunes.

Knowing Ryker I'm sure there will be quite the crowd there. I for one will be stopping by for sure.

Go there straight from here

Update ! I got word this morning that, and I quote "Until further notice The Artist's Park Opening is postponed due to equipment problems and artist booking."
The opening should be soon anyway. I'll keep you posted.

Stiletto Moody

Also on Saturday the winners of the Stiletto Moody picture contest "Picture Your Moods" will be announced. I got an invitation for the Gala Awards Night. Whether or not that means my picture made it to the final 23 out of the 416 submitted I'm not sure. I guess we'll see tomorrow...

I'm still sorry I couldn't get my drag picture finished in time to submit it :-)

Windlight at Koinup

For those interested in SL photo contests there is still time to submit your work for the "Koinup Windlight Contest" until May 7th. All Second Life Citizens are invited to take part in this contest and submit their "windlighted" photos! The Contest is brought to you by Koinup, Torley Linden, Pastrami Linden and Vint Falken. Some of the coolest work already submitted can be seen here.

With 3 times 20 000 $L to be won I guess it's worth a shot. More info and the rules on Koinup.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Growing Pains

Cindy Kesey wrote another great blog post venturing into the subject of SLove & SLex (no I don't do the trademarking stuff). Although I agree with her conclusion that cheating on your RL spouse in SL is more a symptom of an already flawed marriage then a cause I think there is more to it. Albeit true in some cases it is too easy a conclusion as it relies on a few givens I'm not so sure of.

Given one: the notion of eternal romantic love.

A marriage, even in the legal sense, is a contract, a contract that will hopefully be beneficial for both parties. Looking back at its historic significance one could debate the merits of such contract in this day and age where women no longer depend on their husbands to provide for them and their children or where the careful planning of strategic weddings to keep family fortunes together or alliances intact is no longer a real issue. Still, you don't have to look far to find cultures where, to this day, it is absolutely normal for parents to decide who their children will marry. Anyway, whether it be now or in the past, marriage and romantic love are two different things all too often confused in our western culture these days. Fact remains though that no one wants to grow old alone or be alone period. So I do believe a marriage can last forever but I am not convinced the same goes for romantic love.

Given two: getting caught with your pants around your ankles in SL is just as bad as it is in RL.

Hate to burst your bubble but it isn't. If I simply count the *hugs* & *kisses* or variations thereof I have received in my time in SL they by far exceed the number of RL hugs and kisses I've received in RL to this day. Face it: they are a convention; a way of expressing you like a person for lack of other, more subtle signals we have at hand in RL where a look can say more than a thousand words. I won't push it as far as to saying that doing the "pixel polka" is meaningless but to compare it to RL sex is selling RL short.

Given three: there is such a thing as a perfect marriage.

Need I say more ?

Now, if you accept above givens are not as factual as they appear in the first place what is the problem with SL relationships? Why do people still get their knickers in a knot over them?

What I do see is that SL in many ways acts as a magnifying glass for emotions, fooling a lot of people into seeing things that simply are not there. I believe it has a lot to do with the limited way in which we can express ourselves online. It leaves no room for subtlety and forces us to be very explicit to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings. By doing that the message sent becomes a very powerful statement. The reaction will be equally strong and the ball starts rolling... Looking at it from the outside and comparing given conversations and/or interactions with RL ones can be very easily misinterpreted. You can not compare a RL relationship with an SL relationship because the whole frame of reference in which they exist is completely different. Trouble usually starts when people start mixing up the two and start judging SL actions within a RL frame of reference or the other way around. I guess the main question is where you draw the line between the two because the are inevitably intertwined and most certainly related.

This is not an exclusive SL thing. I've seen the same issues in chat rooms many years ago. It will take time for people to learn to put things in the right perspective. If you look at how teenagers, who grew up with all this technology, have made a whole new frame of reference that includes both online presence and physical presence I think there is hope for the future. In the meantime we'll have to deal with the growing pains.

On a side-note: I'm no ogre, so yes, I left out some of the grey in between for the sake of argument ;-)

Snippets on Friday 04/18

Yay, made it on Friday again!

4 Woman's Perspective

Jeza May, Kade Klata, Seide Tripp, Aya Liotta are putting together an exhibition that will open Saturday next week. Judging from their respective Flickr accounts I'm definitively curious.

DisTorSioni PeRceTTivE

What started as an idea for an exhibit of work by Hio "Force of Nature" Taringa and Sole Krams has expanded into an Italians only exhibit. Dates are yet to be determined but it should open early May. I hope there will be pizza and Chianti served ;-)

Melodious Source @ Rezzable Cannery

Yesterday "A Different Light" went out at the Cannery. It would have been nice if it had gone out with a bang but no time for sadness since today "the Source is within" opens at the Cannery featuring the wonderful art of SL artist Melodious Source and some of what she calls her "sources". Everyone familiar with her work knows this is most surely a happy occasion.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Snippets on Friday 04/11

As usual on Saturday :-)
Looks like it will be a busy evening! but first:

RC 1.20

Last Thursday we all had the pleasure of being handed what will probably go down in history as the worst ever SL client. Numerous people reported huge bugs in RC 1.20. Some have problems with "snapshot to disk" like Mylena Aquitaine reported (you can vote for the jira here). For others like Vint Falken the renderglow feature is totally borked and I'm sure the list goes on. The LL blog reads like a todo list these days.

Apart from the bugs there is the new user interface formely codenamed Dazzle. It is clearly desined by someone who is either blind or working in Redmond (which is probably even worse). As far as I am concerned it's hideous. Who needed a new UI in the first place? Give me back the old look!

I'm sure it's not easy to test new releases on every single system / graphics card out there but I think it's about time LL starts using the wages of their trademark lawyers and UI fiddlers to pay for developpers and software testers. It may only be a release candidate but even at that it should never have seen the light of day.

More artwork exhibits

This evening Saturday 12th at 11am SLT you can go to the opening of the "Las Tres Gracias" exhibit featuring the works of Florence Babenco, Zonja Capalini & Ludmilla Writer. I'm sure it will be worth a visit.

Go there straight from here

Relay For Life Concert

Some of SL's top live musicians will be playing a benefit at the stunning Bliss concert venue on the intersection of four sims. It promises to be one of the largest concert ever in SL. If you want to do your bit to help raise funds to fight cancer, here's your chance to do it the fun way.

Confirmed artists (as far as I know):

Bara Jonson (manager Amanda Steadman) - 4/12 at 2pm
Maximillion Kleene (manager Kat Vargas) - 4/12 at 3 pm
Edward Kyomoon (manager Bomsey Munro) - 4/12 at 4pm

Time : 2pm - 5pm SLT

Go there straigt from here

Fashion Show at Nex-Core

For those of you who are interested in fashion there is Nex-Core's "Ivalde Fashion" this evening.

Last reminder

Good luck with it Sho !!

Go there straight from here

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Business in SL

Last Wednesday while I was at work out of the blue I got a 1580 L$ payment from Shoshana Epsilon. When I asked her via mail what it was for she referred me to a note card she had given me in world. Reading it later that day it turned out to be a rather sad message.

Those of you who follow this blog or know me will be aware I had some pictures up at the Rezzable Cannery exhibit "A Different Light" curated by Shoshana. First of all she announced the exhibit is drawing to a close. Not the end of the world of course, it's the way things go. What made me really sad was the rest of the message:

"My apology is due to the lack of logistics on our part that prevented other things from happening.

a) There is no RL book. I know I promised it, but I was not given the opportunity to put it together. Last I heard, Vint was two weeks from finishing it. She was working on it, but she’s been pulled off to do other things. Contact RightAsRain Rimbald to get information on it.
b) There is no show sponsor. In the last show, RightAsRain found one. If there was one for this show, I haven’t heard of it.

c) The voting system is up, and has been for about 6 weeks. That and any sales are the only possible income from which you would get any monies. RightAsRain is the only person I know who might know how the financial situation is standing and how you would get your share.

My job was to get art and artists. I had your help to have classes, and I thank all of you who participated.

An apology that is just words is useless. As part of my apology to all of you for the lack of support, I will be converting $100 into Lindens and dispersing it to all artists. I want to thank you for your time, your effort, your talent, and your trust in me as a curator. I apologize profusely for having failed you.

-- Shoshana Epsilon"

I have to say I too was expecting a bit more from Rezzable as far as
"A Different Light" was concerned so I understand Sho's disappointment. This whole thing put me in a bit of an awkward situation though. I find myself in the middle of a disagreement between people I consider friends. So I'm not about to chose sides or point fingers but I'll try to look at the bigger picture.

I think this dispute or incident, for lack of a better word, is unfortunately a bit symptomatic of small RL businesses in SL. The mix of volunteers or barely payed employees and the people who hope to actually start something is not always easy. Add to the mix the fact communication is not as easy as it is working with colleagues face to face and you know it will get rocky at times. That said I think the main problem for these start-ups is focus. Take Rezzable as an example: what is their aim ? What do they stand for ? I'm not too sure... I guess the uncertainty about where SL in itself is going makes it difficult. Will SL be the metaverse of the future? Is it merely a start that will soon be replaced by competing technology ? All these factors make it difficult to rely on SL as a target for business. I think it's safe to say that if at this time you want to start something, involving SL, and I don't mean a clothing shop or the likes, you're probably better of regarding SL as just a part of the whole social media scene, dividing efforts between SL and all that surrounds it. I for one am not convinced SL presently offers a sufficiently mature platform to invest any of my euros in a business relying on it.

Snippets on Friday 04/04

A short one again...

Ganymedes Costagravas

Last Sunday I attended the opening of Gany's exhibit and saw it was good :-) Go have a look it's worth it!

Codebastard Redgrave

After Gany's opening I went to the party Codie was organising to celebrate the opening of her Boudoir Rouge. I'll spare you the juicy details but I can tell you it was a lot of fun.

There was also a photography contest featuring Mizz Codie as the sizzling model. First prize went to this red hawt pic by Mylena Aquitaine.

Congratulations to her. A well deserved win if you ask me.

Pssssttt ... if you happen to see Mylena in world today wish her a happy RL birthday ;-)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Asset Servers

In my "Snippets on Friday" post of March 21th I pointed out there were some fears LL was going to obsolete the asset servers and replace them with a distributed database hosted on the sim servers.

Reading comments and talking to people about the isssue I already got the impression this scenario was rather unlikely. Today that was confirmed as Tess Linden was kind enough to reply to an email of mine with this statement:

"Our cluster of Isilon asset servers are not going away with this new
release. We are not adding distributed databases on the simulator
hosts. We're adding small distributed web services in front of our
central *database*, which is different from the central asset servers
and different from distributed databases on sim hosts. This would allow
requests to the database to be cached more coherently.

The current architecture will begin to hit the limit in terms of
scalability and this is a large effort to try to maintain that, to bring
better experience to the residents."

Thank you Tess for sheding some light on the issue.

Tess is a Software Developer at Linden Lab working primarily on the distributed server components. She's been at Linden for 2 and a half years.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Snippets on Friday 03/28

I guess everyone was too busy discussing Linden Lab's changed trademark policy or adjusting blogs, Flickr streams or whatever to comply. So lean pickings this week...

Gany showing at Kirkness

On Sunday March 30th at 11am SLT you can attend the opening of "Male SL-Photography of Ganymedes Costagravas" at the Kirkness Art Centre.

I don't know what will be on display, but knowing Gany's work it will most likely be real eye-candy. Congratulations on this exhibit my friend. I will most certainly try to be there for the opening.

Go there straight from here


My announcement of last week that Shoshana Elpsilon will be showing at the Avatrait Gallery has now been confirmed with this wonderful poster. (I wanted to show it here but obviously the picture is protected) I can't wait to see what she has in stall for us.

Exhibition in RL about SL art

Both my friends Kynne Llewellyn and Ariel Brearly were contacted by Mario Gerosa, known in SL as Frank Koolhaas about a RL exhibit of SL art and asked for their permission to use some of their work. The exhibit is to take place in Florence, Italy, from Oct 2008 to Jan 2009. It will be organized by the Festival della creatività (website in Italian) in the Museum of Natural History and Anthropology.

I'm very curious to see how this will pan out. I don't know who else was invited but by asking Ariel and Kynne Mr. Gerosa sure shows he's got great taste.

More on Mr. Gerosa at SLNN.com or on his own blog.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Snippets on Friday 03/21

Can't believe I actually made it on time this week.

Sad News

This is all that's left of the Magma Art Group sim.

For reasons unknown the owner, Omurtag Milev, has closed down this place that saw some great expositions in it's short existence. I for one will miss the place. Good luck in your future endeavours OM!

More Sad News

I always knew Katharina Malthus is a smarty. She posted a pic on Flickr dealing with her concern LL is moving the asset databases away from the central asset servers to smaller distributed databases on the sim servers. There is no doubt in my mind it will not help solve any lag problems if anything it will probably cause even more asset problems. As she states in her comment this is still not officially confirmed. Let's keep our fingers crossed...

Good News

A cute little birdy told me April's exhibit at the Avatrait gallery will be dedicated to the art of talented Shoshanna Epsilon. Definitively something to look forward to. I actually posed for her last night with my friend Kynne Llewellyn. Can't wait to see my bare butt grace the walls of the gallery ;-)

More Good News

Multi talented Nephie Eerie has shared with the world some of her musical work. You can now listen to her tunes on http://www.thesixtyone.com. If you do, make sure to register and give her songs a bump she deserves it.

For those of you who don't mind a download she still has two of her mixes online. I'm listening to one of them while I'm writing this as I often do :-)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Snippets on Friday 03/14

In keeping with tradition: a day late...

Ladies First

I've seen a number of initiatives announced for this weekend. One that certainly drew my attention is this one:

Seeing some of the names this is going to be something you absolutely shouldn't miss!!
Sorry for stealing your picture Silver but I couldn't have done it better and after all it's for a good cause ;-)


Compatriot and fellow blogger/flickerite Looker Lumet is showing his pictures at Portucalis until the end of March. I haven't had the time to visit myself but I'm sure it's more then worth a visit.

Go there from here

Windlight presets

We all love Windlight right? There are a few presets you can use as a starting point for your own experiments in the environment editor. Thanks to a tip from Kynne Llewellyn I found out omnipresent Torley has made a collection of extra sky and water presets available. I haven't had time to play around with them but Mylena Aquitaine has.

Doesn't get more Torley than this I guess :-)

There is a zip available with the preset xml files you can manually put into the correct folders and an executable. A word of caution though: if you use the executable make sure to change the install directory to the Release Client during the install because by default the files are put in the obsolete Windlight client.

Thanks for letting me use this picture Mylena.

Download the file here.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Opening Pandora's box ?

For a while now I've been wondering what route Linden Labs is going. Rumours have been around that the server code would be open-sourced but until now that hasn't materialised. Would it be a good idea? Unlike some others I do think it's a good idea. Obvious benefit of opening the code is more people will look into it and fix the bugs and security holes that exist presently. It will also allow for a breath of fresh air when it comes to new features. wearing the sim for a skin?Most of all it means the SL-grid can grow and evolve. In my opinion 2007 was the year LL suffered from their own success. The grid has become laggy and unstable,riddled with bugs, security holes have left it open to griefing and DoS attacks and it looked like LL was scrambling to put out fires left, right and center but was never able to get control.

Many times the analogy has been made between this stage of development of the grid and the early days of the web. At present the grid is a privately held project with limited resources and limited space to expand. Imagine what could happen if those limitations were lifted. It could lead to the grid being an international network with sims all over the place. Sounds like the World Wide Web reinvented in 3D to me. It doesn't mean we all have to start running our own sims, but we could if we wanted to. More importantly, those willing to invest their money, ideas and creativity into a next generation www could do just that.

Maybe LL could follow the path the likes of Sun Microsystems, Novell and RedHat have taken. They split off an open source branch (open Solaris, open SuSE, Fedora) and take whatever good comes out of it into your their own relaeses. You could imagine LL taking a similar route: free open-sim server code for everyone to tinker with and use but unsupported by LL and server software sold and supported by LL. Sims based on LL supported servers could have a closer integration with the Linden owned grid.

Of course there are concerns. Some argue open sourcing the server would make the grid unsafe since it would allow owners of sims outside the Linden Lab controlled part of the grid to steal all content from whoever enters their sim or use it to plant malicious code on your pc, or ... the possibilities are endless. That is probably true and it will definitively be a challenge to find ways of solving those problems but it doesn't change the fact that the practical problems disappear in the shadow of what could be. The Internet as a whole has never been a safe place; there will always be people out there looking for an opportunity to steal your credit card number, prey on your children or make your life hell just for the fun of it. I believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

I think Linden Labs basically has no choice but to open up their source. If they don't others will soon be competing to set the standard for an open grid. I think LL owes it to itself to be the true pioneer of a really open Metaverse. They will probably never be able to keep control of the SL-client, nor do I think they intend to, but their server software can be the foundation of things to be that are far greater then what they could achieve all by themselves.