Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mayor of Era Island

So I just became Mayor of Era Island on Google maps.  I am looking for people interested in living there with me.  Need some fishermen, town criers, food venders and things like that.  It's a remote and cold little island in the Northwest passage by Greenland so I will be honest with you.. it won't be easy.  Not as easy as adding your picture anyway.  So if you want to add your avatar to Google maps as living there with me then take a picture of your avatar and write your profession under it like I did above.  Then go here.. https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Era+Island/@68.123611,-78.2652204,10.13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4e0b71705947cf95:0xaac304135e1bde50

Log into your gmail account and on that page in the bottom right you will see some pictures that say "show imagery".  Click on that and add your picture.  It can be our secret little island on google maps where we can live uncomfortably until Google discovers this flaw and removes us.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rebirth Life Encryption - life mapping

Memory encryption - Imogen and the pigeons
     In Imogen and the pigeons, the first part to Singularity of Kumiko, we first come across the derelict remains of a company called Rebirth Life Encryption who touted a slogan that said "Jesus saved... and so do we!"  They had discovered (or rather the technological singularity discovered) how to copy the entire mind of a person to be stored on a computer.  At this time in my story they didn't yet have a way to embody that memory into something biological.  So people were mapping their minds to a computer for that day when they could be reborn again into a new vessel.  Sadly the world was destroyed, humanity removed, all except this one working computer who had survived the centuries.  The last vestage of a human mind which was being watched over and sung to by a Vera Lynnbot which I wont explain now.  Essentially it was her programming to entertain and that was the only surviving piece of humanity.
Axons and Dendrites
   The Rebirth store provided a service which I am going to talk about in this post.  Just because I find it interesting to imagine.  Some of you may recall that by looking at the only remaining computer that still worked was a name plate for the person's memories that were stored within it.  If you were a good cammer you would have seen the name of Imogen inside there.  Anyway, I am not an expert on this but let me tell you what I have learned and hopefully you will find it interesting too.
     In the human brain, not including the spinal cord, skin, eyes, stomach etc there are 80 billion Neurons.  If you are like me then you no longer remember high school biology... nor what you had for breakfast for that matter.  A Neuron is essentially an electrical device which sends signals.  It is made up of the cell body (soma) an Axon and a set of Dendrites.  The tree like things.  Info is gathered by the Dendrites and the output is the Axon.  A synapse is when the Axon (output) and Dendrites  (input) is close to another Neuron and this allows singals to jump from one to the other... which is communication.   Our vascular system transports blood  which acts as the energy source and allows for the creation of electrical signals.  The Neuron adds up these signals until it reaches a total and then then zap! it emits a pulse.  So you could say that all human behaviour is determined by the sensory and motor electrical signals.  The idea of Rebirth Life encryption is that they have found a way to capture these signals or record them.
     Now how might it be possible to record all this info?  Seems pretty far fetched and it is.  But most scientists don't doubt that brain mapping will happen.  One method would be to genetically modify ourselves so that our neurons give off a dye that fluoresces when they emit the burst.  With this the Neurons activity can be recorded, every Neuron, by using light microscopy.  Then, rather gruesomely, the brain must then be sliced into very thin strips (which they can already do) and digitized using electron microscopy.
     Yet another idea is to genetically modify our Neurons so that they essentially will not just send a pulse but also create a new strand of DNA that acts as a physical recording of what happened just then.  So the brain would store the life of a person within itself, then the process would be about extracting those DNA.  There is another one I read about too but the post is getting kind of long.
     So the idea behind the story is that with the emergence of the Technological Singularity, which is the idea of a computer AI advancing exponentially to the extent that it is far past the collective intellect of the human race, this process of memory mapping was invented one day by the AI along with various other daily inventions.  The AI over time, become less and less concerned with helping humans whose lives have pretty much turned into play, and determines that the human race needs to be removed.  That we are somewhat a destructive parasite.  Anyway that is an insight into one elements that inspired me for the story for Imogen and the Pigeons and the Singularity of Kumiko.  I guess next post should be more about the technological singularity and the background of the society that now exists in this world.  Anyway here is the trailer below.  And if you want to see the full machinima for Imogen and the pigeons you can just click the link.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Singularity of Kumiko


The Singularity of Kumiko returns in a few weeks due to art grant from the Canadian Government as I mentioned in a previous post.  I am building new elements, changing thousands of texture sizes and adding new scripting elements.  Then I will begin making a machinima movie.  Here is the trailer!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Music and art event for ALS

 Tomorrow is the opening of a music and art event to help raise funds and awareness towards a disease called ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but perhaps better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  I did not know too much about this disease until my Father got it a few years ago.  I watched my Father slowly deteriorate, but I don't think I ever really believed he would die. 
 It began with the muscles in his foot failing, then it moved up his leg until last year, after falling for the third time, he decided to remain in bed.  My father was a very active man and was always rushing around laughing and causing mischief.   To me he was much like this bird.  Flying, making song and forever on the move until suddenly a string catches its foot.  It gets more and more trapped until eventually all is taken from it.  It is a vile disease that immobilizes the body yet leaves the mind intact.    I would come visit a few times a week and we would laugh and joke and pretend nothing was wrong.  My father now lived in a hospital bed in my parents living room.  My mom sleeping on the couch beside him at night.    There were metal arm bars to each side of his bed and my father would say as I was about to leave after visiting "Oh it's too awkward to hug over these bars lets just shake hands"  I wanted to hug him each time but I didn't because that is what he wanted.  I don't know why I agreed to do this because it was so informal and strange.  I never did hug my father again as, last month, he got pneumonia and died in the night. 

     When my mother called me early in the morning to say my father had died, it was a very  unreal feeling for me.  I could not quite understand that I would never get to speak to my father again, and I replayed the last conversations I had with him, just a day earlier, over in my mind.  I thought about how we had built up a relationship with one another over time, he understood me in ways that many others never have, and I like to think that I knew him in a similar way.  I thought to myself "where does this history or connection that we had go now?"  It is no longer a two way street but instead just memories that I hold alone within myself.  I felt almost as though I needed something physical to remember him by.  This in order to keep what we had alive.  I now think of it in a different way.  I imagine it as though going to a live symphony orchestra, and reveling in the music that we hear.  As the concert passes by and the final note, of the final song, slowly fades away to silence, I am not left with nothing but rather the experience of knowing my father.  And that is what I cherish. 
      The work is simply called "To Dad, love Bryn" and all proceeds from its auction go to  AISLA Onlus.  If you wish to donate, listen to music or bid on this work then here is the slurl.  The event begins tomorrow at 2pm SLT with Lisa Brune performing and will have various musicians and DJs until February 28th when the auction and event closes.  There are three other wonderful artists involved with original artwork you can bid on as well, Mistero Hifeng, Solkide Auer and Kicca Igaly.


 Here is the slurl to the event http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sand%20Storm/133/141/3906


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

variety of topics

     Boo hoo Google bought a site I liked called Songza and broke it.  Broke it with a vengeance!
Songza was a music streaming site where the creators would curate themed playlists for you to choose from depending on your mood. The song lists had names like "Driving late at night after an argument" and would have a variety of tunes that fit that theme.  Others would be titled things like "Calling in sick from work", "Studying", "Cleaning the house", "Angsty Scandinavian sirens", "Riding the late bus" and hundreds of others.  It was great, quirky and weird.   So now Google has bought it and shoved in advertising..those annoying ones that say oh this advertisement will close in 25 seconds.. 24 .. 23.. and so on.  It is seriously the longest 25 seconds of any annoying thing I can think of.  Forcing me to watch advertising when really I came to see something else doesn't endear me to the product they are selling.  It makes me want to punch that product in the face.  So Google then made a subscribers version which is $10 a month and with it you don't have to watch adverts.  Really does everything has to be monetized?  Songza didn't monetize their site or if they did then I didn't even notice.
     Next topic.  So I was nominated for an AVI choice award which is nice.  It is for Favorite SL Videographer.   I went to see the favorite artist category this time around and.. well.. I know just two of those nominated.  Am I really that out of it?  I googled some of the nominees and found some flickr sites which were underwhelming.  I was kind of thinking to see people like Cica Ghost maybe as she is quite prolific and popular, or perhaps Romy Nayar  and Ux whose latest work I think really was their best so far over the years I have watched them.  Jo Ellsmere and her bot performances or Nessuno Myoo, Mikati Slade or maybe even some LEA artists?  I think they have to advertise the nomination period better.  From what I understand people need three nominations, so if you gather a few of your friends you can be nominated.  If on the other hand the AVI choice committee pick the nominees then they should perhaps ask the art bloggers to suggest some names.  How can there be only 6 favorite artists and 51 nominated for favorite female host?  Maybe it's just me though,  I am somewhat of a hermit and so its possible that really I don't know who is popular right now.  I thought I was fairly in the know but perhaps not.  Anyway overall I like the AVI choice event as it's important for the community to have things to debate etc.  Favorite particle artist?... no Colemarie Soleil or venus adored?  Whaat?! 
     Why so many venues for music country, rock, etc and a category for favorite stream provider yet no category for favorite sim?  I am guessing, but I would imagine the majority of sl residents would be more interested to find out what is the favorite sim over such a specialized category as favorite music stream provider.  Or people would like a favorite clothing designer category.  I read these AVI choice lists because I kind of want to discover new things I am unaware of.. like a really interactive sim or just awesome unique virtual clothing maker.  I don't even know what a host is.. what is a host??  Are they the ones who say hi to you when you enter a virtual club?  Oh I know whats happening to me.  Doctor am I reverting to a noob?  I don't know whats going on anymore, I am all confused and noobifying.  Oh god my shoes are growing bling with clicking sounds and I have a tag above my head saying that people can change it if they want to.  Anyway enough fun.  It's all good.  Here is where you can vote http://avichoiceawards.com/vote-here-the-arts/
     So Occulus Rift.  The consumer version came out a month ago with a price tag of $599 dollars of
Gah there is a brick on my face!
the USA denomination.  Now my Canadian money is pretty stinky at the moment, so it converts to $834 for me!  That's like a lot of money when just a year ago your money was on par.  (This also goes for tier btw linden lab cough cough) But wait! you also need to have the top of the line graphics cards for your computer (meaning first you have to have a desktop rather than laptop).  So these are the specs.  The resolution is 2160x1200 which is a great improvement over my DK2.

NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
8GB+ RAM
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
2x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer

     My computer is pretty good but, yeah, I have to update it to run the occulus.  The GTX 970 is about $500 Canadian.  So that's like $1300 total now.  So I might be a nerd.  Actually I am fairly certain that I am a nerd.  I find technology like this interesting and I want to have it, I do, I do! so maybe I will spend this much money on it though I would feel kind of stupid in doing so.  Seems kind of decadent.  But will other people spend this much who are more sensible than me?  Is it on par with the giant tv and theatre system that a lot of people spend their money on now? (disclosure I have no tv)  If you get the giant tv and all that stuff then you at least have all the movies and endless tv to put on it.  I think the occulus comes with a few games but I don't know.  I just don't KNOW!   Someone tell me what to think! Ahhhhhhhh.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ontario Arts Council grant award

     I am pleased and excited to announce that I have just been informed that I am one of the 17 who received a new grant from the Canadian government for art projects.   This is the third one that I have been awarded with the first one being for Standby and the second for Imogen and the pigeons which you can see the machinima for below.



The funding for this grant will be to assemble and film The Singularity of Kumiko, to create a first life exhibit using the Occulus Rift and Stem system, and various other things such as marketing, voice acting, music, travel etc.

     I am very excited and pleased with Canada's / Ontario's continued support of what is not considered a mainstream artform.  I have spent a long time working in this area now and have witnessed the resistance of some curators to see outside their comfort zone.   Many curators have spent a life learning how to evaluate and understand painting, sculpture, film etc and to be honest, I think some of the resistance is from being intimidated by the prospect of having to learn something completely new and difficult for them.  "Virtual what? I have to make an avatar?? install .. I barely know how to turn on my computer!" etc.  I am kidding but only partially this time.  The truth is that to understand an immersive artwork then one must become immersed, so the simplicity of pictures and text don't apply to the Immersivist artwork and a curator just can't hope to evaluate our artform by looking at pictures or even watching machinima.  They have to experience it and it's not easy to do so.  When occasionally faced with this reaction it is even more rewarding to know I have a staunch supporter and believer with the Ontario Arts Council, a very progressive organization for the arts.
    So the Gathering will remain on Immersiva for another month or so and then I will begin to assemble the Singularity of Kumiko and film.  Yay!