Saturday, February 3, 2018

performance work "51" at Blue Orange

      Hey so I am on Instagram if you are on too.  I have mostly been putting up real life pictures and shaky images of me taking pics of zbrush things I have made on my screen.  But here is where to find me  I resisted instagram for a long time and other things like Snapchat or twitter because, I don't know, I just don't want to be obsessed with my phone.  My phone kind of became like a lover for a while.  We would play games together late at night, or I might find myself talking to someone only to hear my phone make a cute beep sound.  I would excuse myself to find out why it beeped.  "Oh hey baby whats up? what did you need?  oh someone liked my picture?.. thanks for telling me sweetie.. but I have to get back to this thing.  Oh now don't be like that I promise we will play Mekorama later tonight."  I remember having my phone on my leg and really feeling a warmth flow through me where it was touching.  It was like someone resting their hand on my leg in a familiar way.  After a bit I realized that it was actually quite hot, something to do with my phone battery I think.. but it also felt like love.  Anyway, so yeah I just have my blog, facebook, flickr and Snapchat now.   Well I do also have twitter but i don't use it.  It is so lame.

     So I have to record something I made at Blue Orange ... well months ago.  Blue Orange is a club for both art and music with lots of friendly people hanging out and chatting in a relaxed environment.  I always try to catalogue the various things I do in the virtual world on this blog, but sometimes I am quite slow to do so.  This is one such case.  So for blue orange I decided to make a type of performance work.  I only told Ini Inaka what would happen, and the rest was kept secret.  All we would say is for guests to get ready to take pictures as the performance would happen just once.   The Artwork was called 51.  Actually here is what I said to everyone who came.

Hello everyone thank you for attending the event today
I hope you like the work I have put up around us, but the truth is that it is merely a decoy.  The actual artwork will begin after I say a few words in explanation.  I have made a work that follows the NPIRL movement or school of thought popular with Second Life artists several years ago.

Npirl stands for Not Possible in Real Life.

If you wish to learn more there is still a blog with articles on various works. The idea behind making a work that is NPIRL is to create something that is unique to this medium we use.  Something that can not be created in a traditional gallery or museum in "real life"  Currently, in Second life, art is often displayed in buildings that are textured to appear to be stone and mortar, they have stairs to walk up (despite our ability to fly) and generally are designed to look like real life gallery spaces.  The walls are lined with 2D pictures and 3D often is a stand alone work meant to look like a marble statue, again as we might see in a museum.

     Openings often have people in cocktail dresses and gentlemen in suits holding pretend wine glasses.   We mimic real life.   It is a form of role play.  And I do not mean this in a negative way,  It makes perfect sense that in creating a familiar, comfortable environment in a virtual space we surround ourselves in things we can associate with and understand. We are projecting onto each other and it is a natural psychological tool to help us navigate and feel grounded.  We seek out realism.

Virtual spaces are a new frontier,considered a new medium to the outside world.  It can be hard for people to imagine their way into it... but perhaps think of it this way.  What can this medium do that is unique to it alone?  For example we have duration in this virtual space, which oil paintings lack.  They are a snapshot in time.  We are open ended with the freedom to choose our direction, which cinema lacks.  Cinema tell us a story and force us to follow a camera.  If we see a doorway or drawer we wish to stop and open we can't.  Cinema doesn't allow this freedom.

However we are active participants in the virtual space, not passive observers.  We dont need to mimic real life, we can instead show them how it is done.  There is, naturally, room for all types of art in second life, my intention here is not to disparage other forms but to suggest an alternative, and hopefully create some interest in the concept of NPIRL or other directions.   For example my focus is on the powerful yet fragile ability to create immersion for the viewer in this medium.  And with VR it will only become more powerful.

There were the Surrealists, Impressionists, Cubists, Neo Classicist and perhaps one day the Immersivists.

My artwork is called 51

That is because you will have 51 seconds to take pictures of the event.  After the performance pick out a favorite image you have taken and it will be displayed here at Blue Orange.  Feel free to edit it down to an abstract pixel or show it as an untouched snapshot, it is all up to you.  Send me and ini inaka a single image with your name as the title and we will put it up for you.

This artwork begins with being mine, but ends with it being yours.  This will be  your show.

Prepare your camera


image by Dooz (dooozy)
view from above
So I should mention that the original space was set up with sculptures I have made, a bunch of
Image by Grady Echegaray
everyone beginning to fall
mosquitoes and a poem, and it looked like a formal "art opening".  The idea being that everyone was to get comfortable with their surroundings and they recognized the type of opening it was going to be.  However, when I counted down to "1" I then turned the entire build physical.  Physical means that each object of the creation, including the floors and walls, were changed from being a solid object in space to a new object that now followed the rules of gravity.  The entire structure began to collapse along with all the people inside.  The work I had built was 3000 feet above the ground and so everyone fell for almost a minute.  They fell for 51 seconds.. hence the name of the artwork.   Each visitor now had 51 seconds to compose and take photos of
everyone falling, once everyone hits the ground the performance is over and people then get to display the pictures they took during the fall within the gallery space.

That was my work entitled 51.

Image by Dooz

And below is a machinima taken by Nicolex Moonwall of the event.  Nicole had no idea what was going to happen so its kind of funny to watch.  If you see naked people it is because SL has this very embarrassing glitch which, in laggy places (there were 70 people there) has peoples clothes sometimes not rezzing for a while.  SL has had some entertaining glitches over the years and this is one.  Others included peoples hair being attached to their arses when they arrived .. bald with hair on bum great look.  I remember another where sometimes people arrived and would be the opposite sex for a while.  So your friend Sara or Jane might arrive to visit looking like a man squeezed into a dress.

Blue Orange , Project 3 , Bryn Oh and Ini . from Gumbo Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

26 tines


     While I am writing a longer narrative which should take several months to finish, I have decided to create single scene narrative poems.  The first one a few months ago was called "Lady Carmagnolle" and today I am opening the second virtual poem called "26 tines".
Lady Carmagnolle will remain with 26 tines being built to the left over a bridge from the landing
point where you arrive.  Again this uses the same windlight and shadow settings as Lady Carmagnolle as will all the forthcoming poems.  Some have asked me what a "tine" is.   It is the prong or pokey thing at the end of a electrical plug that goes directly into the wall.  The poem came from my feelings of not being able to really say what truly felt to another person.  That the English language that I use is too coarse and gap filled to fully express my feelings to people I care about.  That sometimes when I look into anothers eyes and talk, that there is a barrier, a space between two minds and bodies that I try to cross using clumsy tools.  I sometimes wish I could climb into anothers mind and somehow talk directly to them,  past all the detritus of the world around us.
    In this poem I imagined being able to plug directly into someone else and bypassing all words so that you just knew the other.  You "knew" what they meant, and they knew precisely what you wanted to say.  No confusion or misunderstandings.

     The story is of a laboratory at night which sees a maintenance robot come out to gather up a tiny robot in a jar.  Robots to me symbolize the mildly flawed or different in our society.  The ignored or obsolete.  Each night she comes out and they connect to each other with a cable and remain this way until just before the scientists, who have created them, return.  In many of my stories such as this one, it is the machines, the outcasts or the overlooked who possess more humanity than those who have created them.   This is the poem and this is the slurl to go see 26 tines in the virtual space.

26 tines 

The laboratory is silent
the scientists gone
we have seven hours
before the dawn

Come to me through the half-light
to my jar by the rack
surrender your cord
to the adaptor on my back

then dance me through the shadows
held tight to your breast
swaying in silence
like waves through a nest

26 tines
at the end of your cable
connect you to me
so that we are able

to feel emotions drawn
through the cables caress
and forget 'till the dawn
our loneliness. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Star Wars in Sansar

I have been pretty behind in blogging.  I have to do a few post in the future about a show I did for Blue Orange as well as a new exhibit on Immersiva.  So I will do those posts but first I wanted to talk star wars since the new movie comes out on Thursday.  I received an email from Sansar about what seems to be their first public event at a place called Hollywood art museum.  I think they will have various shows related to classic hollywood cinema with this first one being Star Wars.  Now before I get into it, I really do have to say something.  And to be very honest I don't want to slag Sansar as I do hope they succeed, but gah.  So I clicked the email to go to the event and lets just say the event ran
from 7-9 and it is good I didn't need to be on time.  I literally played three different phone games waiting for the scene to load.  It took about 20 minutes.  That is a long time but it is not what killed me, I can survive a wait if it is worth it.   But the problem was that I arrived on a street which resembled a production studio, and I proceeded to walk up to a door to go inside..... it triggered another 20 minute wait to load a new room!  I literally yelled "noooooooooo" when I saw what happened.  I should have looked up to the sky all Hollywood grief style while I was yelling nooooooo but you know.. you think of these things after.  There should be some kind of sign saying "BTW if you walk through this door be
prepared to wait 20 minutes.  Do some laundry."   Anyway, as I said I don't want to get all negative about Sansar,  they are constantly improving and hopefully these things will be resolved over time just like many of SL's early annoying things were. 
     What I would say though is that I liked the exhibit.  It was professionally done and the original artwork was rare and unique. 

       The  3D models were wonderful and while it attempted to pretend to be real life, which I find fairly boring, it still was enjoyable.  Occulus Dash looks pretty cool btw.  I think that is an important step for  VR, but I digress.    If you do decide to visit while using a PC then when you get there press F4 to go into first person view.  I found it a lot easier to see the pictures than from behind the avatar.  There doesn't yet seem to be a really good way to zoom in and inspect things like you can in SL.   If you look below in that picture you will see that I threw Greedos bust on the floor.  I like the idea you can go into a museum and be a jerk.   Anyway, soon I will do a few posts catching up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Floating" by Bryn Oh and Cica Ghost on LEA 13

On Sunday at 12 noon SLT will open a collaboration project between Cica Ghost and myself called Floating.  Very crazy way this came together.  Ok so let me preface this post a bit.  So I usually create everything I can on my own because in the past people I have worked with have been a bit unreliable.  The worst was several years ago when I got Linden Lab to give me five regions to use for the Spanish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai.  It was a pretty massive event and the curator, named Aino Baar, wanted five or so of her artists to build one region and I would build the other four.  Or was it three, i forget now.  Anyway, a week before it was to open I got a message from an artist saying "Have you seen what they are doing with the final region?"  I hadn't as I was pretty busy doing the other ones and when I popped over it was a dreadful mess.  They didn't work together and created a really messy ugly sim.  Each tried to outdo the other.  So I spoke to them and said they had to clean it up and gave suggestions.  The speaker for this other group said he didn't like my attitude, and if I didn't show more respect they would walk away from the project.  I don't take threats very well so I told them to pack up and I would do it myself.  This was a week before it opened!   If you are curious then I have added the final fifth sim I built below.

There have been other situations over the years but back to now.  I guess four months ago a person contacted me with some 2D images they had done.  I liked them and suggested they apply to LEA for a sim.  They were shy and said they didn't know how to build at all.  Now at this point my brain said to my mouth "Don't say anything! you don't have time to help!" my mouth completely ignored my brain and said "Don't you worry about building I will create something special to display your work".  My brain was just pissed off and shocked with my mouth.  So long story short this person applied and got a LEA sim.  I began to build for them and three months later they disappeared.  The persons friend would be updated on their hiking trips and things like that but they were not creating the 2D work for the show.  I gave them a deadline, deadline passed, then I withdrew.  I told Patti from the LEA committee and she said that it was three months in to a six month grant and there likely was no time to give it to someone else.. so why not make something.  I messaged Cica and so here we are.  We made something together in a week.   I would like to thank Desdemona Enfield for a script she gave us and serenity mercier for her thoughts and encouragement.  Here is the SLURL

There are a few directions at the start where you arrive.  There are umbrellas to float on and balloons to hold onto as well.  The build is a city that spreads from the wealthy to the poor pod people.  I won't get into that, but there is also a zap gun on a table which you can wear and go into mouse look to shoot.  Mouselook - press esc and zoom in with scroll wheel or press M.   Cica and I spent quite a while running around shooting each other so bring your friends and do the same.  When you hit the other person they will tp back to the start PROVIDED they are in the experience (Bryn Oh's experience) if you are not in the experience you will be tpd to your home, which will be pretty irritating.  There is a sphere to click to join the experience at the start.  I like to just float around working on things listening to my stream there.  And shooting Cica.  If Cica says she is better than me at that game then please don't listen.  It is all lies.  I am way better than her.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lady Carmagnolle

     My new artwork "Lady Carmagnolle" is now open to the public.  I am writing a new elaborate story like Hand right now, but the whole process takes several months, so during that time I will be releasing a series of single scene poems.  The poems are ones I have written which are some of the initial ways I formulate or begin to shape an idea for the various characters or concepts I wish to expand on later.  This first character is named Lady Carmagnolle.  A carmagnolle is one of the very
earliest full metal diving suits.  Monstrosities of protection that allowed people to explore the depths, and in her hand she carries the helmet.  In her other hand she holds a rock which she has drawn a face upon.  She imagines the rocks to be injured birds who she cares for.  When it rains the ink washes away leaving a simple stone.  When Lady Carmagnolle looks to find these rocks and instead finds them gone, she wistfully imagines that they have grown back their wings and returned to the sky, finding others to fly with.  In her loneliness this is her most beautiful dream.

     Lady Carmagnolle first appeared several years ago in the Rabbicorn Story also known as Standby
She resides in an decrepit theater in the abandoned Amusement park where the Daughter of Gears and the Rabbicorn eventually find and make their home.  She stands in the ruins of a place that once was the world to her,  and as it slowly collapses around her she doesn't fall into despair but rather performs for her stone friends and smiles in a beautiful melancholy.  Many of my characters live in this area of the world I created,  and I hope to create single scene stories for some of them.  Also I am considering making this character into a bronze sculpture similar to the dancer... if you like that idea let me know.

To visit the artwork in the multi user virtual environment of  Second Life then take this link after installing the viewer.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Hand" closing

Flutter and her suitcase
I will be deleting my work "Hand" on Sunday night or Monday in order to begin something new.  It has been a good run with close to 40,000 visitors, and still 40-50 visitors a day all these months later.   So I am pleased.  It  has all been filmed now too so one day I can turn it into a machinima movie similar the Singularity of Kumiko, Imogen and the Pigeons and The Rabbicorn story/Standby.  That might not be for several months though.  Hand was a very elaborate creation for me and quite exhausting to make.  Coming up with the story, writing it, building and
Cardinal Drone
texturing, sounds and composition.  It took four months just to build it and to create something similar is kind of exhausting to think about.  So having said that I have decided to create a series of works based on poems I have written.  These will be simpler and might focus on characters I have created in the past that were done before mesh existed.   I will focus more on the composition of a single scene rather than that of an entire virtual environment.  There will still be all the hidden bits people expect, but likely wont have a hud and excessive scripting.  Though if there is a scripter out there who excels in
Flutter taking the hand
pathfinding I have a few ideas to try.. so contact me if you like.   I should also mention that on Saturday there will be a music event set up by Phemie Alcott.  I was asked to build a stage for the event and decided to make it a tiny elevator where everyone will be squished together invading each others imagined personal space.  Even the musicians will be squished into the elevator.  I am going to be away this weekend so I don't think I can be there so hopefully someone will take a few pictures on flickr so I can see how squishy it was.  If you would like more info message Phemie Alcott.  Oh and I made it using materials and advanced lighting... so if you can put those on yay! but will be laggy so probably not many can.                                                  What else.... oh I found a
pen and ink sketch
monarch butterfly caterpillar and it is in a jar now.  I have named him Steve and he has been chewing milkweed leaves like crazy.  I will do a post on that later.  What else do I have to say?  I don't have anything.  I must have  something interesting to say! .. but what?  Oh I just put a half dozen paintings into a gallery... that is kind of interesting.  I already talked about the bronze sculpture.  There is one left btw if anyone would like it.  Also I am thinking of making 30 more so if anyone is thinking they would want one then message me at   Oh here is some news.  So a new movie is coming out in a few weeks or so called "It" by Stephen King the horror writer.  It was filmed in my neighbourhood!  and Warner brothers have allowed us to show "It" in a local theatre early before it opens to the public.  And I am going I think.. even though it looks scary as fuck.  Clowns in sewers .. what a great combo.   Some of  the kids from Stranger Things is in it. 
The Elevator

 Ok I think I ran out of things to say.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sansar award

Lady Carmagnolle with Virginia and Fern in the background
I am pleased to have won the award in Best Visual Design for my artwork in Linden Labs new virtual space called Sansar .
The artwork that won is entitled "A night at the Ballet" which essentially is every character from all my various stories put together into one room where they are watching a ballet.  Upon the stage is the dancer while off to the side are the other ballet performers who are captivated by something on the screen of a cell phone rather than that which surrounds them.  For me it was
Left is 26 tines, Rabbicorn, The Daughter of gears, Milkdrop and Lady Carmagnolle
enjoyable to imagine the various characters I have created then to juxtapose them against one another to see how each personality might conflict or compliment one another.   For example, how might Anna from Anna's many murders react to meeting Mr Zippers from the Singularity of Kumiko, or lonely Fern from Lobby Cam meeting Virginia and all her life history
After I take down Hand, which should be in a few weeks, then I will explore single recreations of some of my characters such as from 26 tines and Lady Carmagnolle. 
left: Willow, Juniper, Flutter and Birdy

     Sansar currently is a bit laggy and takes time to load, so this creation was built around making the work accessible.  The areas are shrouded in darkness and in most cases your computer only has to render objects in the light, as I don't place any objects in the darkness.  An object in the darkness, even if you can't see it, still needs to be rendered.  I have
Left: The Dancer and the cell phone dancers
also given no physical shape to all the objects, meaning you can walk through them as though they are ghosts.  When you give an object a physical shape processing power is used to calculate how that object should react to other things in the scene, such as avatars or another physical object... setting them phantom means physics do not need to be calculated.  Another important thing is keeping texture size fairly low. One of the current trends in Second Life is people assembling sims out of gacha items.  Gacha items are usually quite lovely and make for nice additions to a sim.. however most creators of these items want them to look their best naturally, because they wish to sell them, so they are often 1024 texture size.  Textures usually are saved at sizes from 256, 512 and 1024, though you can also have models set lower.  So imagine if you had four objects at 256 they would add up to one object at 1024 etc.  Think of it as details.. you computer has to compute and render each texture, so if you have a region with ten objects all at 1024 texture size it would add up to 10,240.  Ten objects at 256 is 2560.  That is quite the rendering savings if done at 256.. so now imagine a sim full of thousands of objects all 1024... terrible lag.  It is when you combine a bunch of things such as textures with inefficient models and too much or inefficient scripts that it adds up to lag.  So a well planned sim might be assembled where essentially the focal points of a room or region are 1024 (though they probably could be 512).. like a letter on a table with a few objects around it.. that is important for the narrative and should be clear because people will inspect the scene to a greater degree than perhaps another area in the narrative. While objects that are barely noticed .. like, for example, a ceiling fan they could be 256 or 512.   Especially if it is spinning and you don't have time to see its texture well.  So essential elements can be high resolution texture with fringe elements being low res as opposed to every object high resolution in a scene.  To check the textures on your land simply go to (on firestorm) developer tab at top right.. (if you don't have that tab showing just press ctrl alt and Q and it will appear)   Developer - render metadata - texture size.  This will show you the texture size of everything around you.  If you see a white napkin with just a hint of a texture and it is 1024, then take it and burn that bugger in a fire.  Throw it away!  An object with 512 instead of 1024 in most cases looks almost identical to one with 1024 in SL.  When it goes down to 256 it can be a bit blurry in some cases so you decide what is important.. but for a napkin? well for the sake of lag it is better to use 256. 
Left: Gretchen, Teddy, Elliot Amber, Rabbicorn, The Daughter
Anyway, I got on a rant there.  So I have read a fair amount of reviews for Sansar lately and most are fairly negative, which is a bit perplexing to me.  Granted Sansar has a long way to go, there are plenty of improvements needed.  But to me, slagging it now is kind of like hearing a child sing while playing and saying "God that is not as good as the Rolling Stones.. they should stop singing!" or making a cake and putting the flour in a bowl only to have someone beside you say.. "That is just flour in a bowl!  That is the worst
chocolate cake ever!".  Hey I am not f-ing done you pantload!  Sansar is beta.  It opened a week ago.  What you see today will not be the same Sansar in a year (if it lasts), exactly how SL was when it opened and then as it grew.  Do you know it used to cost money for each TP in Second Life when it opened?   A lot of it is testing what works right now and they are constantly collecting feedback as to what people would like added or improved.  Hey WTF! this old image of early Second life shows a continent named.... Sansara?!  I am not sure how old this picture is but it is before islands I think.  Probably 2003.
Old second life

The way I currently see Sansar in relation to Second Life is more of a fancy spot to visit.  So imagine hanging out with friends at a home in SL and saying "Oh hey lets go over to see that experience in Sansar"  maybe it is an interactive movie or whatever... and then after going to Sansar and having some fun you return home to SL to chat about it.   You live in SL and go out to dinner or a movie in Sansar.  The problem with Sansar, for me, is that I don't know how to script in C#.  I also don't know any programmers who do.  So my current works look nice... but are static and not interactive.  What Sansar should work on next is to have some kind of scripting database where you can take scripts you need to use.  Such as opening doors or whatever... and the directions to use these scripts have to be explained simply.  Essentially you should be able to drag a script into an object and then edit variables in the script.  Sansar needs plenty of things, I know.  Avatar customization is pretty important ... an avatar is often an extension of the person using it.. so they must be able to create an identity and look that they cherish.  Right now the avatars are very basic and everyone looks the same.  But I have faith that all these things will come over time, and because they don't exist perfectly now does not, to me, mean that Linden Labs are "idiots" as some suggest, but rather that they are at the beginning of a process. 

To visit "An evening at the Ballet" in Sansar click this