Saturday, March 3, 2018

PARK PLANNING




Sitting comfortably at the highest elevation, toward the end of the crescent bridge


Anyone who knows the city of Accentaury on the ACC Alpha sim, may be familiar with the periodic remodeling of its existing structures and parks. Recently I’ve been watching films by architects who address the question of what makes a city enjoyable for its inhabitants. Naturally, I want to apply many of these concepts to areas where I feel improvements would make a difference for the visitors. Accentaury is an old city established in early 2010. Its historic layering makes applying new ideas an interesting challenge in such a complex setting.




The old carousel from 2010, never having been removed from its
present location, but what changes it has seen all around it for years!
THE CAROUSEL

My focus is now on opening several areas which could feel more inviting to the visitor. Public spaces should feel comfortable but also be a place where people congregate. Previously, the park benches at Plateau of Man faced interesting views, but they were distant from each other. I removed most of them, and brought in new benches in closer proximity around the carousel. This area has challenged me for eight years now. What was missing was the human scale. The old carousel was there to be ridden, but the area around it did not feel inviting enough. The placement of seating is key, as are the paths in a park. Before adjusting the landscaping a bit and adding the benches, I would have enjoyed walking through such a space were it in RL, but now with the changes, it is a place I would want to sit down and stay a while.




Looking onto the crescent bridge from Maze Gardens
THE CRESCENT BRIDGE

The same energy went into the crescent bridge at Maze Gardens. For years, a lone bench at the end of the walkway delivered the visitor to the cello statue, overlooking a dangerous precipice. It had a sense of adventure, but the path was quite Spartan. Rethinking the structure, I decide to increase the benches to three, and have two face the museum, and one face the ocean. They are flanked by plantings, and the path now bulges wider in front of them so passersby can continue on their way without encroaching on the space of seated visitors. The bulged terraces are ideal places to stand and look out at the view as well. People like being around others, and still enjoy having their own space. My hope is to increase the sense of comfort across the sim.

Aerial view of the remodeled pathway atop the crescent bridge



TRANSPORTATION and SPORT

This is one of the reasons that the transportation system was built. People tell me that it is easy to get lost on the ACC Alpha sim. They like the adventure, but they have no idea how much of the sim they have seen. Train lines make most of the sim accessible. When we think of rails, buses, and trams in Second Life, they usually are for show, and quite slow. You could walk here or there far quicker and more easily. However in Accentaury, the railway is practical since the sim does not have a predictable layout, thus making it so easy to get lost. Whether you actually click on a vehicle to ride, or just walk along the rail tracks, you will find your way around as if you’d dropped bread crumbs to mark your journey as did Hansel and Gretel. There are very few streets on the sim, so the train tracks are your best bet to keep on a path.

The train tracks have another function as of tonight. I just purchased a bicycle rezzer that either one person or two people can ride. You will need to develop skill to cycle around the ACC Alpha sim, as it has its share of unforgiving terrain. However, it can be done. I tested it tonight, and had a good deal of fun in the process. I recommend staying on the train tracks, as some areas are impossible to climb without them. It will be difficult enough to stay on the narrow tracks. Biking is now considered Accentaury's national sport! If you want to try it, as of today there are two places to find a bicycle. You can hop on a bike at the Museum, or at the Darkrodin pier by the Flea Market. If you want some practice first before tackling the difficult terrain, ride the bike at the museum, and peddle along the North Shore (east of the Museum's North wing). It is flat there for a little distance. It then becomes a dirt road with rolling bumps, but still easier than other parts of the sim. Once you get the hang of it, it's a good way to explore the sim with some added adrenaline. 


Following your path






XXX

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cabinet of Curiosities Court

The exterior of the Cabinet of Curiosities.
I began the current remodel of the main interior room on Jan. 16th.


     The Cabinet of Curiosities was a copy of the house I made for myself at Sparquerry, and placed on the ACC Alpha sim in early 2010.  This old structure has seen many remodels, though the bones remain in place with some original walls and textures. The floorplan has been expanded over the years, but the old rooms remain fairly intact.  Had I traveled in time from 2010 to the present, and seen this new version of my old Sparcurian house, it would have been a shock, yet I would recognize the space.

   
     From private home, to a merchant establishment, to a cabinet of curiosities, the building now becomes the first seat of power at Accentaury: a royal court… a rather small but functional palace.

The interior: a red court sets a brighter space than the dark textures from the
past few years. A large well was excavated in the middle of the room which
reaches down to the water table. While digging, I found a lost plywood cone
I rezzed in June, 2010. I encased it in an outer shell without having moved or
altered it. Such archaeological finds on the sim are preserved.



     The Quing* of Accentaury has an important role to perform. That avatar is the representative of the sim, and must be a curious appearing and acting soul, and must be equally curious about the outside world. The throne, after all, stands within the walls of the Cabinet of Curiosities, and this relationship dictates the role.

On one side of the pit's rim, is an arcade with stools which face the throne
across the 'pond'.




*Quing – the mix of king and queen. Neither is dominant over the other. It is pronounced kweeng. There has yet to be a coronation, as I have not made a crown, nor decided which avatar(s) is best suited to the role for the present. If there is no coronation, and no avatar to fill the quingship, then an empty title will ironically fulfill the curious requirement. In that case, the present Quing of Accentaury is a collection of unrealized but imminent pixels. 



Notice the tail behind the second throne chair on the lower level. The 'pond'
can be seen below the thrones. Wearing the celery crown I made today.
Chairs and thrones by Silas Merlin.




UPDATE Jan 17 2018

     Silas Merlin made the chairs for an upcoming Gatcha that I added to the court. When I showed him a picture of the room in progress, he said the armchair didn’t come across as a throne. That night, he had made a regal variation of that armchair which serves as a perfect throne. He gave it to me as a gift and said if I wanted it to be uniquely at the court of Accentaury, he wouldn’t put it up for sale. In response to his generosity, I said that such a gorgeous chair should be made available to whoever would like it. It’s more than enough that I got the first one! When I saw Silas’ new chair collection, I instantly knew they correlated perfectly with my new project for the court. In fact, the reason the new space is red themed is due to the upholstery on the chairs. I took this shot at an angle so you can see a little of the side of the second throne… the chair has a tail. The back has wonderful detailing as well. Silas asked if I had a crown, to which I realized I didn’t have an appropriate one. So this morning, I hopped onto Zbrush after getting the idea to make a stylization of a bunch of celery stalks topped with their leaves. Being a vegan, I felt this was an ideal kind of crown.

Reworking some of the textures: I replaced yesterday's back wall with one I made
for THE PLANT, a past installation by Eupalinos Ugajin where he had invited
others to participate. I felt this texture blended well with the architecture of the court.

UPDATE Jan 18 2018

Shameless selfie. Still working on my outfit, buying clothing items that seem
to fit the style of the ACC Alpha sim. I made the towering 'celery' crown,
and painted orange strands at the base to make it appear some of my avatar's
red hair trails up into the crown, like little flames.


UPDATE: January 21, 2018

Silas Merlin magically transformed into a jester, sporting the hat he made a while
back for one of his statues. He rides a jester donkey I'd made for a past event, and
he nearly insisted I make a scepter for my Quing outfit, which I now hold in my
hand, and a copy I gave to Silas which he made glow blue. The scepter is topped
by the same donkey upon which Silas rides.
 We stand here in a neighboring sim hoping to get into the event where he is showing his newest
creation, a furnished belvedere. That's where I got the chairs in the above photos.









XXX

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

ELASTIC GARAGE at UTSA's ArtSpace

     This is one of the most personal exhibits I've made, with all the bittersweet references to childhood. I came rarely to see the installation, and wait till the last moment to film it, which I'm doing only the last few days of its existence. Because this is such a strong part of my past which is gone and which I miss so much, it was hard to bring myself to revisit the space. And now I have regrets.

Entrance to the exhibit


     I just finished the film this Halloween night, and it is now posted on vimeo:
     Click to see the film here.

   Description of the exhibit:

     “The Elastic Garage”
     Shown at ArtSpace, UTSA, University of Texas at San Antonio
     August - October, 2017. Opening: Aug 24 at 1 pm SLT.    

     Sometimes magic is elusive. In the dark, in a large crowded storage space with one hanging light bulb: the realm of shadows and highlights, everything is sculpted of wonder. A broken down car dreams of the morning sky. An old-fashioned white porcelain bathtub with rusted scars, broken furniture, a collection of rocks in little cloth bags hanging from a beam, yellowing slides and photos from the old days stowed in a corroded file cabinet where I saw my father naked -for the first time- in a fishing trip photo, a film of a long ago vacation when everyone was much younger than I suspected they ever could be, slides telling the story of how the Earth came to be, tools, ancient electronics, the air tempered with repeated phrases of Prokofiev that my mother is practicing on the piano in the distant living room, paints, a broken English screen with peopled scenes on it, the multi-colored bicycle my father painted for me, account for some of the treasures. All of these things are at my service in the secret hours when no one sees me enter here. When the garage door is open during the day, the whole space is deceptively flooded by light, but it still harbors reckless shadows ready to trip me at any moment. The dark spaces are dangerous with plentiful sharp objects and ideal nesting for waiting spiders. I am not supposed to be in this cavern of Ali Baba. Sweet and sour odors accompany the light from the luscious garden just steps away, under my feet.

     This was the garage of my childhood, where my visits were frequent in search of all manner of treasures to furnish the little cities I was building in the garden. Whatever I built from the material felt real, and authentic. The face I cut out of the decomposing, antique screen was, for me, the Mona Lisa. A city of twigs, broken brick and mud domes dripping with poster paint design was the passport to the most exciting places in the world. Contrast has its destined way of entering a child’s world. As my life began to crumble and change faster than anything or anyone could repair it, when daylight shared its chilled light with midnight, the garden and the resources of the garage remained, and refused to diminish their yield.

     Decades pass. I still carry the garage with me. Sometimes its size is elusive.
    
     My friend Lilia Artis gave me very valuable feedback as I was working on this exhibit. I have much to thank her for, and to the curator, constructivIST Solo for having so generously invited me to exhibit, and for tolerating my every question with a smile.
    
     Haveit Neox

     Aug 22, 2017






XXX

Friday, October 20, 2017

EXPANDED RAILWAY >>> Trans-sim Service






     While I was away during the month of September in exciting real life destinations, one of the things I love seeing are signs on the streets. Train station signs are particularly appealing as the vehicle slows down and the lettering announces where you are. So I decided to make a bunch of signs for ACC Alpha on arriving home in October, and expand the number of stations. There are presently three lines: Line 1 which services the city of Accentaury much like a metro rail. Line 2 which travels the distance to the neighboring sim of Sparquerry, and Line 3 which connects the lose end of Line 1 with the other lines, all three converging at the Museum which is a terminal. The nice thing about the setup is the dual function: a mode of transportation for commuters, as well as a relaxing way to tour the sims. There are little surprises along the way, such as an underwater dip in Accentaury, and the tall waves of golden wheat brushing past your face at Sparquerry, which is a far more rural setting than the urban nature of Accentaury.

     Each vehicle rezzed has seating for two, so it's an ideal way to tour the sim with a friend. Since you don't have to do any guiding of the vehicle, your hands are free to type away in conversation. You can ride indefinitely - at the end of each line the car stops for a second or two, and if you remain seated, it simply reverses direction and is on its way again until you stop it or stand up. Stopping and starting the car is as easy as toggling off or on with a click anywhere on the vehicle itself. See previous post for more info on this.

     Last night while working at the Museum train terminal and testing the tracks, I was delighted to see a visitor well ahead stopped on the tracks looking around. Soon afterwards, he was on his way deep into Sparquerry. This showed me that visitors can figure out the system. The creator of the SL Rail really made this user friendly. The scripting gives a smooth ride. I've been craving a well functioning ground transportation system for ACC Alpha since 2010, and now finally, it's here.





XXX

Saturday, July 15, 2017

SL RAIL transportation system comes to Accentaury

Riding atop the Trestle Lock overlooking the bay and Paper Tower Court


     For the past two days, I’ve been setting up a transportation system in the city of Accentaury. There used to be a tram there years ago, but it didn’t work properly. In fact, the trestle that expands over the bay is the only remaining artifact from that extensive system from 2010. I kept a couple pieces of the original track intact for history sake, but as of this week, the trestle fulfills its original function once again.  I found the SL Rail this week while exploring a pet cemetery. That sim was fascinating, and after viewing headstones people left in memory of their beloved pets, I saw the train tracks on the edges of the sim. After a very pleasant ride, the next step was to find the vendor! The quality is quite smooth and user friendly.

     As of this writing, there are 6 stops that compose the route in Accentaury. You can catch a vehicle at any of the stops, and click on the appropriate board for the direction in which you wish to travel. I placed a red arrow pointing the way above each vehicle generator so the visitor knows which to click to rezz the car in the desired direction. Once onboard, simply left click the vehicle and you’re off. The scripting is excellent, so anywhere along the way, you can click the car again and it will stop. Another click and you start again. Once you stand, the vehicle instantly disappears.

The four stops between the ends of the line each have two ride generators, which rezz
the vehicle. Left click the generator which has the arrow showing the direction you
wish to travel. 

I clicked on both generators for this photo so you can see how the vehicles rezz
in the direction of the red arrows. The unused vehicle here vanished in one minute
because no one was sitting in it. You can start and stop your car at any time by
clicking anywhere on the vehicle. Toggle it on and off as often as you want. Once
you stand, it will disappear instantly.





THE ROUTE:
Currently the six stops are:

1. Trestle Lock (overlooking Paper Tower Court)
2. Plateau of Man Park
3. North Shore (shopping and an entrance to the Library of Darkrodin)
4. Museum and Maze Gardens
5. Sunken Gallery at the Museum (bring a snorkel)
6. Darkrodin Pier (Paper Village)








XXX

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BLEEDING BOOKS

     My new exhibit, "Bleeding Books" is showing from March 4 - April 30, 2017 at Split Screen Installation Space. My deep appreciation to the curator, Dividni Shostakovich for having invited me to install an exhibit at Split Screen.

Taxi to the landing spot: CLICK HERE

The exhibit starts in the sky, then sinks to the land level seen in the photo above.


About the build:

‘Bleeding Books’ begins in the sky, and drops to the large fortress at ground level. It is a story in my ongoing series on abuse as seen through the lens of language. What happens when knowledge is so disrespected that it is freely contaminated with doses of falsehood? There are avenues to properly sort facts in this information age, yet we easily turn a blind eye to certain evidence if it goes counter to our beliefs – even when our choices may cause immeasurable harm. In the exhibit, the texts of books bleed falling letters of the alphabet, for they can no longer contain any structure of value.  




http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Amra/57/128/130







XXX

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CARAVAN INN

Lobby, with entry to room 201 in forground.

Aerial view of the Caravan Inn, with some nearby amenities.
A pool was added to room 200.  Pass your mouse over the rim of the pool
and you will see your cursor switch to the chair icon in several places
and even on the lion fountain ledge, where you can click
to sit - or wade in this case.



     Gardens are nice, museums and galleries are nice, and restaurants are nice to park your avatar during a visit, but what if you want to feel at home at Accentaury? A couple days ago, remodeling of the building at Alphabet Wash Fountain began, converting it into a hotel. Here, you can kick back and relax in the comforts of home. There is a fully functional bathroom, a bed, and seating. Artwork on the walls are very fine works by SL artists. Each room has a unique view onto the Caravan Terminus neighborhood. Room 200 has an additional panoramic view onto the museum way below the cliff. Though the architecture of the buildings and the furnishings are similar, the feel and layout of each room differ greatly. Try them out for your best fit. No reservations necessary. If a room is not being occupied, it's yours, but don't hold your breath waiting for room service. The lobby joins rooms 201 and 202, but room 200 is off on its own. The Menagerie Court Restaurant, Cake Thieves Patisserie, and Dog Wears A Bib Cafe are in the immediate vicinity.

ROOM 200





ROOM 201





ROOM 202



There's lots of spray coming off the waterfall fountain at Alphabet Wash. You will see an umbrella provided in rooms 201 and 202. Enjoy your stay!









XXX