Author Archives: Inara Pey

About Inara Pey

Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life. My blog can be found below and I'm semi-active on Twitter and Plurk.

Different Districts in Second Life

The last time I visited MetaLES, the art region run by Romy Nayar and Ux Hax, it was to visit Romy’s brilliant Sparkys, which I wrote about here.

Since then, I’ve not really had a chance to drop in and see what’s going on, so when both Honour and Ziki poked me about a new celebratory installation there that had just opened (and which will remain open until August 13th, 2015) as a celebration of MetaLES and its support group, ..O.., I knew I’d had to pop along and take a look.

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES - Cica Ghost's

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Cica Ghost – Lullaby

Distrito Disinto – or Different Districts, if you prefer, presents a concept that’s simple enough: the visitor is taken on a journey through a series of rooms, or “districts”, as if travelling through, or with, a festival. Within each room, an artist has established a setting inspired by a song, and in which the song and art are presented together. Simple in concept maybe, but beautifully intricate and delightfully imaginative in execution.

On arrival, visitors “purchase” a ticket (they’re actually free) from the box office. This delivers a teleport HUD (just grant it permission to act on your avatar when worn), and some introductory notes. Then all that’s required is to ensure local sounds enabled, as the audio isn’t streamed, but played in-world, and the region’s windlight is being used. Then it’s a case of clicking on one of the musical notes in the HUD under each of the artists’ names. For the sake of convenience, I took the destinations in their numerical order.

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Bryn Oh's

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Bryn Oh – Keep the Streets Empty for Me

The artists who have actively contributed to the installation are Betty Tureaud (musical piece: She’s a Rainbow by the Rolling Stones); Giovanna Cerise (Innuendo by Queen); JadeYu Fhang (What Your Soul Sings by Massive Attack); Maya Paris (Oh, Bondage! Up Yours! by X-Ray Spex); Cica Ghost (Lullaby by The Cure); Rebeca Bashly (Chop Suey by System of a Down);  Bryn Oh (Keep the Streets Empty for Me by Fever Ray); Romy Nayar (Nuit d’hiver (Chloé) by Mylène Farmer); Alpha Auer (Grid Factory by Alpha Auer); and Eupalinos Ugajin (Rockingchair by Estudio, Trabajo Y Fusil!).

Selavy Oh is also listed as a contributing artist, but there is no corresponding teleport option in the HUD. I assume this is because Selavy was unable to participate and the introductory note card was not updated.

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES - Maya Paris: Oh Bondage! Up Yours!

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Maya Paris – Oh Bondage! Up Yours!

To describe each of the pieces offered would be to negate the point of seeing them yourself. Suffice it to say that each offers an interesting interpretation on the subject matter of the chosen song, which ranges from the thought-provoking through to the light-hearted and witty, to some hints of pathos through to outright irreverence in the most wonderful of ways (who else could mix Oh Bondage, Up Yours!, Diana Rigg’s Mrs Emma Peel, Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman and flying saucers so brilliantly, than Maya Paris :) ).

However, and while I enjoyed all the pieces on offer through the installation, and really don’t want to appear as if I’m singling any out over the others (not the least because those who collaborated represent some of my favourite artists), I have to say I was particularly drawn to Alpha Auer’s Grid Factory. There is a nuanced beauty to this piece that’s suggestive of many things, and return visits have drawn me back to it perhaps just a little more than some of the other pieces here. Be sure to pick-up your Grid Factory avatar from Alpha when you visit.

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Alpha Auer - Grid Factory

Distrito Disinto, MetaLES: Alpha Auer – Grid Factory

I also confess to enjoying Bryn’s interpretation of Keep the Streets Empty for Me, which offers an interactive piece that’s best shared  – thank you to Gem, Kate and Tutsy in joining me for a little house building – or is that house clearing?

Distrito Disinto is open through until August 13th – so go, enjoy!

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A new Windlight arrives in Second Life

Bryn Oh is profiles by Emma Portilo in the inaugural July 2015 issue of Windlight

Bryn Oh is profiled by Emma Portilo in the inaugural July 2015 issue of Windlight

On June 25th, I wrote about a new magazine for the arts in Second Life that would be launching in July 2015. Well, here we are at the start of July, and the inaugural issue is now available!

Called Windlight, the magazine has been founded by John (Johannes1977 Resident), with Nikki Mathieson, owner of Avi Choice Productions, the magazine’s co-publisher. At 136 pages, the initial issue of the magazine covers a lot of territory, with interviews with Bryn Oh, Skip Staheli and Sasun Steinbeck, a piece on the Raglan shire Artwalk and a whole lot more.

Windlight Issue 1 cover

Windlight Issue 1 cover

As I mentioned in my original article, the folk behind the magazine are motivated and high-powered. Since that piece was written, blogger and photographer Kara Trapdoor has also joined the team, in which I’m also honoured to play a small role.

The feature article on Bryn Oh is a must-read. In it, this fabulous artist who has done so much to enrich Second Life as well as bridge the physical  / digital divide, is wonderfully profiled by Emma Portilo.

It is Emma who also interviews Skip Staheli, again providing insight into this talented photographer’s Second Life and work.  John provides readers with interviews with Sasun, Nikki and, um, yours truly. I was flattered to be asked to talk about my work in blogging the art scene in Second Life, and further flattered by the use of my own photos within the piece. John also takes the helm for the article on the Raglan Shire Artwalk (something I sadly missed this year, due to having too many commitments throughout May).

Shakti Adored is someone I’ve long admired, and I’m looking forward to reading her Curator’s Corner pieces each month. Shakti currently curates some of the leading galleries in SL, including the phenomenal Rose Gallery at Kaya Angel’s magnificent Angel Manor. She also has an interest in quantum physics, which tends to tweak the armchair scientist in me :) .

Skip Staheli is interviewed by Emma Portilo

Skip Staheli is interviewed by Emma Portilo

This is undoubtedly a great inaugural issue for Windlight, and I’m looking forward to writing for the magazine from the August issue onwards. In the meantime, in-world kiosks for the magazine are available in many outlets across Second Life, and you’ll be able to pick up a copy from the Windlight Magazine Gallery which will be opening soon, offering space to artists under the Windlight Fellowship Programme.

For those who prefer, the magazine can be followed via the Windlight Magazine website, while the first issue is ready to be read from cover to cover at calameo.com – Windlight Magazine.

Congratulations to John and the team on this first issue publication, and here’s to many more!

A further look at the Experience Tools viewer in Second Life

secondlifeUpdated, July 2nd: A series of questions were asked at the Simulator User Group meeting following the release of the Experiences Tools viewer. A summary of those asked and which I’ve seen asked elsewhere has been added to the end of this article for reference.

On Tuesday, June 30th, the long-awaited Experience Tools viewer was promoted as the de facto release viewer by Linden Lab.

An official blog post announced the move, indicating that while experiences created using the new capability will be open to all, the ability to create new experiences using the tools is available to Premium members only, who have the opportunity to create one Experience by default.

For those not previously aware of Experience Keys, I’ll simply quote from the blog post issued by the Lab back when Experience Keys reached release candidate viewer status:

Experience Keys are a powerful feature that allows creators to build more seamless and immersive experiences in Second Life. Without this feature, you need to grant individual permissions to every single scripted object included in an in-world experience, and that can mean a lot of dialogue boxes interrupting the fun! Experience Keys make it possible for creators to build experiences that ask your permission just once. In other words, you can opt-in to the entire experience, rather than having to grant individual permissions to every single scripted object included in it.

A number of Experiences are already available across the grid for people to use. The Lab’s Cornfield shooter game available through the Portal Parks, for example, utilises Experience Keys, as does Loki Eliot’s outstanding Childhood Dreams, available at SL12B through until Saturday, July 4th, 2015. There’s also a growing section of the Destination Guide devoted to Experiences.

You don’t actually have to use the Experience Tools viewer to visit and participate in any Experience. However, the viewer does provide a lot of additional information to users than viewers without the code, and is essential for those who wish to build Experiences – so expect TPVs to be updating with the code as soon as they can.

An Experience dialogue box. On the left, as it appears in an Experience Keys enabled viewer, with options to display the Experience Profile (by clicking the Experience name link) and to accept / refuse the Experience and to block the Experience (so you'll never see a prompts anywhere for it again) or to block just the current inviter. On the right, how the same dialogue appears in a viewer that is non Experience Keys enabled - you can only opt to accpt or refuse the invitation

An Experience dialogue box. On the left, as it appears in an Experience Keys enabled viewer, and on the right, in a “non-Experience Tools” viewer. Both will allow users to join  / refuse experiences, and indicate the levels of permissions the Experience is requesting, but the Experiences Tools viewer provides additional options

As explained in the Lab’s video, once you have accepted an invitation to join an Experience, you never need to do so again; the fact that you have accepted it and the permissions you have awarded it in respect of your avatar are remembered – so each time you re-visit, you’re not hampered by having to accept. If there are HUDs and other attachments applicable to the Experience, these are automatically applied to you on your return; if there are scores or points associated with the Experience, these are also recorded and restored on your next visit. When you leave, HUDs and other attachments belonging to the Experience are removed and any permissions you’ve granted are revoked.

If you spend time in a place that has an Experience you’d rather not join, and don’t want to be bothered by invitations to do so each time you visit that place, you can opt to block the Experience (or specific objects offering invitations to the Experience). This will prevent further invitations being sent.

The Experience floater (left) can be used to managed the Experiences you've joined, blocked, own, etc., and allows you to see what events have acted on your avatar and to search for Experiences.

The Experience floater (left) can be used to manage your Experiences and to display more information about them through the Experience Profile (right) – click for full size

For Experience users and creators, the viewer introduces two new floaters – the Experience panel and the Experience Profile, both shown above.

The Experiences floater (Me > Experiences) helps you keep track of the Experiences you join or block, or which you are involved in as an owner or collaborator. It also allows you to search for Experiences in SL, and tracks the actions taken on your avatar by the Experiences you’ve allowed.

The Experience Profile provides additional information on a specific Experience, and can be displayed a number of ways. You can, for example, highlight an Experience in the Search tab of the Experience floater and then click the View Profile button. You can also click the Experience’s link in the Allowed / Blocked / etc., tabs to display its Profile.

The Profile allows you to Allow or Block an Experience, make an Abuse Report if it is doing something intentionally abusive (such as repeatedly orbiting you). If you wish to leave an Experience, you can use the Forget button. Note that the next time you visit, it will treat you as a new joiner. If an Experience Profile includes a SLurl, clicking on it will open the Places floater, allowing you to teleport to the Experience.

The Experience Keys viewer introduces additional Estate and Land tabs to allow management of the Experiences enabled at estate / region and parcel level.

The Experience Keys viewer introduces additional Estate and Land tabs to allow management of the Experiences enabled at estate / region and parcel level.

Experience Keys – which allow Experiences to run – are currently restricted to the region / parcel level. There are currently no keys which automatically allow an Experience to run across the entire grid, although this may change in the future. To help land owners to decide which, if any, Experiences they wish to have running on their land, the Experience Keys viewer also introduces two new tabs to the Region / Estate floater and the About Land floater (shown above).

Adding an Experience to your Land should only be done if you’re actually an active collaborator / participant in providing the Experience to others, or have created it yourself. Do note as well, that a hierarchy that exists between regions and parcels; if an Experience is blocked at Estate level, it cannot be run within a parcel on that estate.

Loki eliot also has an Experience based game available at Escapades Island

Loki Eliot also has an Experience based game available at Escapades Island

In terms of creating Experiences, and as noted above, this is limited to Premium member. There is a lot of power involved in the capabilities, and so maintaining some degree of accountability with those using them is vital; so limiting the creative element to Premium members is a good way of ensuring that accountability (providing accountability is also why there are options to report abusive Experiences in both the Experiences floater and individual Experience Profiles).

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Strawberry’s Ask Me Anything challenge

Berry has been at it again, offering up a Monday Meme challenge :) . This one is based around her creating an Ask.fm account, on which she invited people, via her blog and her social media accounts, to ask her questions. She was challenged to share some of the results on her blog, and the result is her latest (as of the end of June) challenge.

It’s another of Berry’s challenges that tweaked my curiosity, so I decided to give it a go  – in part, at least. I’m not intending to create an Ask.fm account at this point in time – not out of any fear of the questions I get, but because my time is such that the account would likely end-up languishing as I fiddle with other things. So, I’ll content myself with addressing her questions.

L'Arc-en-Ciel, WinterFall; Inara Pey, July 2014, on Flickr

Standing at the bows of Exotix 2, my Loonetta 31 sailing cruiser, moored alongside my island home

If Linden Lab shut the door on Second Life, what do you think you might do to replace it, or the time you spend on it. Gaming, school, work, reading, other virtual world, etc? I was writing on-line prior to my involvement in SL, and have recently been engaged to write on subjects related to technology(!) and other things elsewhere, so I’d likely focus far more on that, and switch back to broader writing under my given name. I’d also probably get a lot more reading done!

What would you consider your mission statement for your blog? Well, first and foremost to educate myself. I’ve said elsewhere that I’m generally not a technologist, nor was I particularly au fait with Second Life when I first started blogging (not that this ever stopped me from being critical or sounding off!). So this blog (under the Modemworld title, at least) has been very much about my desire to learn more about the platform, the Lab, to understand how things actually hang together (rather than just relying upon my own assumptions and misconceptions), and to try to be objective in my critiques and opinions, as and when given; when it comes to news articles I try to steer clear of subjective editorising.

On a broader scale, I hope people enjoy what they find here, and that my travelogue pieces and arts reviews offer sufficient interest to encourage folk who might otherwise not travel to places far and wide, or who have thought much about art in SL to go and take a peek. I also hope the personal notes I slip into the blog help people understand me a little better.

What would you change about your Second Life right now if you could just press a magic button and have it automatically happen? Have circumstances change such that I’d never allowed a couple of friendships from a good few years ago slip away prematurely. The people concerned subsequently ceased being active in SL. While I don’t presume that my friendship would have prevented them vanishing, I do wish I’d taken better care of things so we might have enjoyed more times together in conversation and bouncing around places before they opted to take flight. 

What topic would you like to see explored in a non fashion blog post? Anything you are curious about and want someone else to do all the research? Umm… honestly don’t know. I actually like researching and delving into things myself (one of the reasons some of my own posts take time to appear – I easily go off at tangents when researching, as I love discovering things & information!).

Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Ichi-go Ichi-E from Fantasy Faire 2015 (Flickr) – Fantasy Faire is always one of my favourite annual SL events (see below)

Do you have a point of contact in SL? Someone that a person from your RL knows to contact in case something happens to you or you are unable to get online for an extended period of time? No. But now you’re raised the question, and for those I’m am close to, it’s something I should consider.

What provides you the most inspiration and motivation to keep learning and growing? What keeps you from being held back by the common negativity in Second Life and elsewhere? Negativity doesn’t really annoy me per se, it’s a fact of life. Misconceptions and  / or misrepresentations of issues and matters do tend to irritate, however. Inspirationally speaking, I am constantly inspired by people’s creativity, in SL and elsewhere. Our capacity for learning, for self-expression, to explore, learn and understand – all of these inspire me, be it through activities, things like space programmes, the art of others or the words they have written or spoken or sung.

How do you deal with other bloggers (who don’t know you personally) that are spiteful towards you? I can think of no better reply than Berry’s: “I ignore them and pretend they don’t exist because I have better things to do with my time then worry about what some random person on the internet thinks of me.”

What is your advice to those that admire you and what you do, hoping to be able to do some of the same things with as much confidence as you often seem to have? Don’t try to emulate me. I’m as flawed as the next person. Set aside time to listen to your own voice; look to the things that you like / enjoy / find important to yourself. And don’t take any externalising of confidence as a sign of anything from anyone; we’re all human, and masks are easy to hold up to the world and are not always as revelatory as we so often quote Oscar Wilde as being the case.

Name 5 favourite events in Second Life

Name three of your favourite blogs

(OK, I admit that’s more than three for SL, etc. But do you know how hard limiting it to three is?!)

Thanks, Berry! Looking forward to seeing what else you think up through the summer! :)