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

Wonderland

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.

video

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 :-)


Avatrait

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.

video

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.