Sansar Pick of the Day: Value in the Virtual at ArkDes

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A real-world art exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden has a virtual counterpart in Sansar. The Architect’s Newspaper reports:

…Value in the Virtual, an exhibit by London-based Space Popular, blossoms with a polychrome array of signs, patterns, and symbols. The show has just opened at Sweden’s national center for architecture and design, ArkDes, under its new director Kieran Long. A new feature of the museum is a smaller gallery space—Boxen, a steel box designed by local practice Dehlin Brattgård—inside one of the two main exhibition halls. It is intended for fast-paced architecture shows curated by former ArchDaily editor James Taylor-Foster, and Value in the Virtual is the first display of work by a contemporary design practice in the new setup.

Entering the exhibition space, you are invited to take your shoes off (to experience the printed carpets on the floors), and once inside, to put on a pair of virtual reality goggles. They are a window into Voxen, a parallel version of the same gallery space produced for Sansar, a social virtual reality platform. During the press preview, an online visitor had already found his way there for a peek. The avatar, dressed in a black bodysuit and a Daft Punk motorcycle helmet, showed up out of nowhere, mumbled a distorted “nice to meet you,” and soon disappeared.

In this realm, you get 3-D views of some of Space Popular’s scenarios: one is a version of Stockholm where public art is updated by the minute; in another the allegorical wall mosaics of the Nobel Prize venue are adjusted to tout recent scientific achievements; and in another a selective nightclub bouncer might actually let you in after all, if you upgrade to a nicer-looking “skin.”

The Sansar experience still seems to be under construction; there is a large empty area in the back. But there is already much to see and appreciate here.

The experience description in the Sansar Atlas reads as follows:

Welcome to the virtual experience of Space Popular’s exhibition at ArkDes in Stockholm.

The exhibition “Value in the Virtual” explores the challenges and possibilities for architecture, design and city planning as buildings and cities will soon get virtual layers when VR and AR devices are increasingly used in pubic.

Visitors can see the physical exhibition at in the gallery BOXEN at ArkDes in Stockholm between the 19h of September – 18th of November. Through the physical exhibition visitors can also visit the virtual exhibition through a headset available in the centre of the space creating the possibility for cross reality interaction.

ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. It is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate and discussion about the future of architecture, design and citizenship.

Space Popular is based in London and led by Architects Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg.

Here’s a link to the Value in the Virtual at ArkDes experience.

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UPDATED! Editorial: Linden Lab’s Updated Content Guidelines for Sansar Go a Little Too Far

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Linden Lab has updated their Content Guidelines for Sanar. This was obviously a document that was lovingly laboured over by their legal team, and it’s quite long:  1,642 words in total!

Content guidelines are a necessary evil. There are always going to be people who try to bend the rules, so spelling everything out in detail is the way to go. Linden Lab has 15 years of Second Life experience (and many misadventures!) to guide them in drafting rules for Sansar.

I think most of the rules make sense. But I do think that Linden Lab has gone a little too far in a few of these new stipulations, and I do take issue with a couple of clauses in this long list.

First, and most important, under Impersonation:

Any Content or Sansar store listings that contain any references to Linden Lab, Sansar, Second Life, or any other Linden Lab-related terminology that may imply a relationship with, sponsorship, endorsement, or employment by Linden Lab is prohibited.

So this means that you are no longer allowed to put the word “Sansar” on a T-shirt. It means, for example, that Alfy now has to pull all of the clothing he created for the Voices of Sansar contest, because they use the forbidden word “Sansar”:

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Banned in Sansar: Voices of Sansar hoodies

This is a perfect example of a rule that has been applied too far. What harm is it if somebody puts the phrase “I love Sansar” on a T-shirt for sale in the Sansar Store, as long as it is not using the logo itself? (I can certainly understand why Linden Lab would want to crack down on other people using their logo.)

But it’s not just enough to avoid using the word “Sansar”! You can’t even hint at the verboten word, by using “S*ans*r” or “Zanzar” or “That Platform Which Shall Not Be Named”:

Do not upload Content that promotes or could be construed as primarily intended to evade limitations on Prohibited Content.

Now, there’s a weaselly-worded sentence if I ever saw one! The lawyers must have worked overtime on that little clause. How perfectly ridiculous.

Also, I take note, under Nudity, Pornography, and Other Sexual Content:

While we understand that some nudity might be intended for educational, scientific or artistic purposes, we restrict this content as members of our global community come from different cultural backgrounds. However, in limited educational or scientific contexts, we may make exceptions to these policies in our sole discretion.

So, a strict ban on nudity. If an artist creates a tasteful statue of a nude woman, she can’t sell it on the Sansar Store. If someone wants to include nudes in an art gallery he’s building, it’s verboten. Linden Lab has just banned whole swaths of art from throughout art history. Congratulations, you’ve spared those of us with delicate sensitivities!

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Banned in Sansar: Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1917-18

And using “different cultural backgrounds” as a justification for banning nudity completely is a complete cop-out, plain and simple. What’s next? Are we now going to insist that female avatars wear a niqab, because of a need to not offend “different cultural backgrounds” where women must wear a face veil?

Linden Lab making exceptions to the nudity policy on a case-by-case basis is opening another can of worms (notice that “artistic” is not mentioned as a possible case for an exception here, only “educational” or “scientific”). Who’s going to make these decisions? A panel? One person? Will there be any sort of appeal process? Does Linden Lab really want to go down this road?

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed in Linden Lab and this document. They could have chosen to give people a little leeway in the cases I raised above, and instead, they chose to clamp down tight.

What do you think of the new Content Guidelines? Sound off in the comment section!

UPDATE July 26th: Some commenters have said that Linden Lab will still allow you to use the word “Sansar” on clothing. I have it on authority directly from Sansar’s Community Manager, Eliot, that the word “Sansar” is NOT permitted on clothing such as a T-shirt or hoodie.

Also, I just realized today that the Smithsonian Institution’s new art gallery prominently displays a statue of a nude woman in its advertising:

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So, it’s okay if the Smithsonian does it, but it’s not okay otherwise? Hmmm…I think Linden Lab needs to go back and re-clarify its “clarified” Content Guidelines…

Sansar, Intel, and the Smithsonian Institution Present the Art of Burning Man

Today it was announced that Sansar and Intel have created a faithful reproduction of the art of No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which is an exhibit currently on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. VentureBeat reports:

The VR exhibit is part of the Smithsonian’s mission to reach a billion people with its art, and virtual reality is one of the ways that the museum will accomplish that mission, said Nora Atkinson, who was in Washington D.C. but still managed to do an interview with me and another reporter inside the Sansar VR space. She showed us through the museum, which we could view in 360 degrees. I was at Linden Lab’s headquarters in San Francisco for the demo, while Atkinson was across the country. Yet I could hear her and see her animated character, or avatar, as we walked around in the 3D space in virtual reality.

“What’s different about VR is you can go up to a work of art and get right next to it or touch it,”said Atkinson, Lloyd Herman curator of craft at the Renwick Gallery, said. “That’s not something you can do in the museum.”

Intel’s press release adds:

Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum* (SAAM) will allow audiences to take an immersive dive into some of the country’s most treasured art and history through virtual reality (VR). Together, they will transform the future of education and the museum experience by digitizing and providing broader 3D access to collections from SAAM and its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery*, starting with the exhibition, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.”

“Virtual reality will bring about cutting-edge computing experiences and accelerate new possibilities for how people will explore and interact with the world around them. As the technology evolves, immersive museum experiences will become the norm. Bridging physical and digital worlds to study American art in classrooms around the globe is just a first step in exploring what is possible when we combine the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s passion for education with Intel’s innovation.”
– John Bonini, vice president and general manager, VR, Gaming & Esports at Intel Corporation

This partnership, introduced at VRLA in Los Angeles, will begin with the Renwick Gallery’s current exhibition, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,” to showcase how Intel technology and virtual reality will transform the future of the museum experience. The ultimate vision is to share this technology across the Smithsonian Institution and further digitize more of its 157 million objects.

Intel’s advanced technologies will accelerate SAAM’s existing process of 3D digital capture and increase access to its collections with the help of powerful 8th Generation Intel Core processors, cloud-based platforms and more. The shared goal is to increase and encourage 24/7 access to the museum, affording educators, other museums and public audiences the opportunity to become immersed in some of America’s most treasured collections as if they were standing in the galleries themselves.

(It does seem rather odd to me that Sansar is only mentioned once in the entire Intel press release about their partnership with the Smithsonian.)

Here are a few pictures from the new Sansar experience, which is called No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.

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In a nice touch, a corridor off to one side of one of the galleries actually teleports you to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, where you can see some of these Burning Man artworks in their original setting:

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I look forward to further exhibits by the Smithsonian Institution in Sansar, as a result of their new partnership with Intel! I leave you with a short promotional video for the project, featuring Jason Gholston, Linden Lab’s Head of Sansar Studios:

NOTE: You can install the Sansar software client, if you don’t already have it, at https://www.sansar.com/download. And then you can visit and explore this experience by searching for “Smithsonian” in the Sansar Atlas, or just by clicking this link: No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.

Deviant Art Offers an Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Drew Struzan Hollywood Movie Art Gallery and Studio in Sansar

You can’t visit the Drew Struzan virtual movie art gallery in Sansar until the official opening tomorrow, but you can (courtesy of Deviant Art) get a sneak peek!

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Here’s the link to the 50-minute livestream (please skip ahead to the 1 minute 40 second mark to start). There’s an interview portion with Drew, followed by a virtual reality tour conducted by Jason Gholston, head of Sansar Studios at Linden Lab. Of particular note is Struzan’s studio, captured using a combination of laser scanning and photogrammetry.

Drew Struzan Virtual Gallery and Studio Grand Opening Friday, March 23rd in Sansar!

Drew Struzan is an American artist known for his more than 150 movie posters, which include all the films in the Indiana JonesBack to the Future, and Star Wars film series. You’ve certainly seen his work before if you’ve ever stepped foot into a movie theatre!

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Indiana Jones movie poster art by Drew Sturzan

If you’re a fan of his artwork, you’re in luck! On Friday, March 23rd, 2018 from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time, there will be a grand opening of a virtual exhibition of Drew’s work:

The Hollywood Art Museum proudly presents a carefully curated exhibit of legendary artist Drew Struzan’s movie posters and much more.

First, join Drew and effects specialist Greg Aronowitz as they take you on a walk through Drew’s contributions to cinematic history.

Then, Kevin (from Insight Digital) and Jason (Head of Sansar Studios) will share an exclusive walkthrough of never-before-seen private studio, 3D-scanned into Sansar – and how they did it!

Afterwards, our launch party continues as we hang out and explore these spaces at our own pace, discussing all the cool art within.

The link above will be updated with a URL to take you into the exhibit, just before opening time.

If you’re in the U.S. and have Amazon Prime, you can watch a recent documentary made about Drew Sturzan and his work, titled Drew: The Man Behind the Poster:

Sansar Pick of the Day: STONE(D)

Today’s Pick of the Day is a Sansar experience which I first learned about when Torley did a Twitch livestream from it: STONE(D), by theoxyz. Obviously a play on words, the title underscores the many “captured” rocks you see in this artistic experience.

You arrive in the middle of a circle made by an intimidatingly large rotating pendulum (don’t worry, it won’t hit you!):

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There are a number of intriguing art installations, all set against an inky black sky and the light of a full moon. There’s a haunting, moody, brooding soundtrack.

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Be sure to wander around and see all the installations! They’re all very well done and capture an overall feeling of alienation and isolation.

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VRChat Pick of the Day: GM3’s Art Galleries

Art galleries and virtual worlds are a natural fit. (Second Life has been home to hundreds of art galleries over its fourteen-year history.) I wanted to highlight some pioneering work which has been done in this area in the new social VR space, VRChat. (Yes, you can use it for more than just being a general jackass! There’s culture, too.)

VRChat user GM3 (a.k.a. Godfrey Meyer III) has created and curated four separate collections of paintings, photography, digital artworks, animated installations, and virtual sculptures. To find his galleries, simply search for “gallery” in the pop-up user interface in VRChat. You will find:

  • VR Art Gallery: ASCEND Art Show
  • Art Gallery: LEVITATE
  • “Three” Art Gallery Show
  • Art Gallery: FOUNDATIONS Art

Here’s a three-minute video overview of his ASCEND gallery, created last June:

And one of FOUNDATIONS:

And one of LEVITATE:

He is currently at work putting together art for the fifth show in VRChat. He has recently published an open art call for NEON ECHELON, created in Google Tilt Brush:

Here are some pictures I took at each of the four galleries created and curated by Godfrey (and yes, there’s even virtual wine and cheese!):

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I highly recommend you visit each of Godfrey’s galleries. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in some thought-provoking art! I posted about my visit to GM3’s ASCEND art gallery opening last June to Google+.

You can follow Godfrey on FacebookTwitch, or join his Discord server.