Thursday, May 19, 2022

Belfast and Japan - Photo Finish

History featured strongly in this week's safari as we visited little slice of Asia and of Europe on two grids, Discovery and OSGrid, and found out about a past that may have passed some of us by. It's also a journey into the passion of builders, scripters, and virtual residents, as the kaleidoscope of creativity continues to enthrall us. HG Addresses as always at the end of the post. 
First up, the new project on the Belfast regions of Stiofain Mactomais. Known best perhaps for his music venue the Maritime, modeled on the real club of the same name where Van Morrison got their start, there's much more here - poetry, real world architecture, an exhibit celebrating the Belfast-built Titanic. 
This visit was to the Falls Road, and a project that can be enjoyed using your phone, Oculus rig, or as we did simply inworld.  Called the Belfast Archive Project, t's all about bringing the social history of this part of the world back to life in a vivid and accessible way. We met outside the inworld version of the historic Conway Mill.
stiofain mactomais: the mill was chosen to display as it was rescued by local ppl and became a center for community arts and political activism, eg sinn fein made all the political announcements during the hunger strikes here, the build looks half finished, but is designed to illustrate to funders what still needs money coughed up for
Stio in the foreground, with the intentionally unfinished facades in the background.

Beth Ghostraven: that makes sense, stiofain
stiofain mactomais: we have got some funding for what they call a minimum viable product,  but we are looking proper wages to finish it off.
 stiofain mactomais: since i started in virtual worlds i have always wanted the kind of link i could send to my granny. Getting anyone started in viewers is a nitemare.
Thirza Ember: a simple way to literally walk down memory lane?
stiofain mactomais: By the way, there are videos normally in build but disabled for safari

Tina Bey: is it google map type?
lifted pixel: are you using the 360 photo feature on this? or is it like a unity world or something?
stiofain mactomais: it is done in lifted
Marstol Nitely: 3D Vista uses 360 panoramas that have been stitched together to create the tour, More of a webx thing I think
lifted pixel: Yeah this software is pretty neat. I can only assume they just do a bunch of 360s of your space with the various iterations and stitch it together
Marstol Nitely: Right, 3D Vista has a stitcher but it doesn't work very well with VR.
lifted pixel: Set up and rending images with opensim is probably a lot quicker than blender or whatever
Marstol Nitely: The new feature in Firestorm is exciting but not sure it's high enough resolution for this purpose.
lifted pixel: Can you do the whole export the oar into unity thing to render? i honestly dont think ppl realize how powerful this platform is for 'rendering'
Thirza Ember: what period of the past are you sharing? is this 20 years ago? 50?
stiofain mactomais: this is a project  for the photos cover the period from the start of the conflict here in 1969 thru to the 90s. We have thousands of photos that have never been online before
Nebby Newman: wow!
Thirza Ember: visuals really touch the memory in a way words can never do, and these are ordinary people's lives, that often get forgotten in history books
Lux Tergeste: true
Thirza Ember: I love that there is so much collaboration between grids, like kitely, osgrid etc
Thirza Ember:  there is something so evocative about black and white photos. Do you have a favorite photo Stio? one that means a lot to you personally
stiofain mactomais: thirza in the photo I am in front of u can see our old house at the back .... all the catholics in the street were intimidated out in 1972 our house was attacked and our family of 8 ended up as refugees in Australia
Nebby Newman: stiofain, did you go back?
stiofain mactomais: yea we stayed in Australia for 2 yrs just

stiofain mactomais: Now I will go and stand in front of my fav photo in the archive this is marking the days prisoners were on hunger strike but i think it looks digital, nearly like fbook profiles. The kid at bottom with the numbers in his mums shopping bag is  hilarious
Thirza Ember: so Maristol, Stio, what is your hope for this project, at the end of the day? what's your biggest ask?
stiofain mactomais: we want to earn a decent wage thru gov funding to complete things, for this bit we prob got similar wages to 11 year olds working in an indonesian sneaker factory per hour
Beth Ghostraven: stiofain, will that make the project vulnerable to gov control?
stiofain mactomais: no way beth, the archive project will control what goes in
Prax Maryjasz: good luck to anyone trying to control Marstol............
Beth Ghostraven: lol Prax
Thirza Ember: and from the point of view of the project?
stiofain mactomais: there is a big photo project by gov funding here but is not representative of what things were really like. arts council run an archive of 1000s of pics but their exhibitions focus on the bright side of things.
Lux Tergeste: I see... The police (or army?) look dreary, though.
Thirza Ember: ok how did you like working on this project?
Marstol Nitely: I loved it. So amazing the work done by Stio and all the photographers involved. I felt pretty lucky to have a chance to share it with others.
Thirza Ember: are you Irish at all? or just geekish? is that a word?
Marstol Nitely: Very geekish. My father-in-law who we lost last year was Irish American. First generation. He would have loved this.
Marstol Nitely

Marstol Nitely: How long have you been working on this Stio?
stiofain mactomais: this build has been a year mainly cos i have had to clear things with funders and photographers that just cant handle running the viewer so i need be sitting beside them but the rest of belfast began in SL in 2006
Beth.Ghostraven: is it still in SL?
stiofain mactomais: lol no way beth. I haven't been there in yrs, I think was 2010 we moved here when having 3 avs at once crashed a region
lifted pixel: it's def amazing this place is still online. has to be one of the older osgrid zones
Beth Ghostraven: I'd like to have the Virtual Pioneers group see this build
Thirza Ember: This Belfast build also includes your Titanic build - do you envisage using this 360 technology also on that, one day?
stiofain mactomais: wow thirz i think the Titanic at around 20k prims would even be beyond Mars' magic skills and patience
stiofain mactomais: as a rough idea for the web/ headset tour here there are 280 stops with 8 pics taken at each stop then stitched together. The titanic would prob need a few thousand stops
lifted pixel: damn that's a lot of snaps nice
Nebby Newman: This are amazing!  I will have to return to look again ... RL dinner guests arriving early.  Thank you so much!
Lux Tergeste: I really like the concept and the way this was realized. It is useful to a community but also to visitors
Thirza Ember: the use of an authentic building is key, I think
stiofain mactomais: I just want to stress that mars has worked so hard and got round so many probs to make it work on web its amazing
Thirza Ember: well, it's a great piece of history and technology thanks for sharing it, and I really hope you get the funding you are hoping for
Mal.Burns: massive undertaking and love the cross media approach
Prax Maryjasz: absolutely
Luna Lunaria: I love the preservation of the history, glad we came here Thank you Stiofain :-)
Ard Rhys: Thanks Stiofain
lifted pixel: thank you for having us!!
Beth Ghostraven: stiofain and Marstol, thank you so much for sharing this with us
Lux Tergeste: TY Mars and Stiofain, very interesting visit and memories
Prax Maryjasz: Appreciate your talent
Marstol Nitely: That was great Stio. Thanks for including me. Bye!

Destination Two was on Discovery Grid. If you haven't visited before, there is an extra step required to get into Discovery - when you try to teleport there, you must first click the link that pops up, and accept the terms and conditions on the Discovery website. 
It's not a super fast process, and some had to make two or three attempts before succeeding, but it was absolutely worth taking the minor trouble to do so. 
The default windlight is lovely, but I bet you'll find yourself ramping up the atmospherics in this most photogenic of regions before long - it's divine!
Celestial Japan is a var region of vast proportions and heaps of character, rice paddies and farm animals, a canal leading out into the sea, rental houses in the countryside, and in the eminently walkable town,  tea rooms and shops, ships in the port, shops with items for sale, workshops and homes, lanes and squares, canals and bridges form a harmonious and fascinating journey.  Here is Ard Rhys just strolling along past the merchants and artisan's workshops ... I think he suspects he's being followed.
Many buildings have clickable posters with information about the culture and customs of the time, which make it pleasantly informative but never pushily didactic. You'll love it. 

Jillian2000 Quintessa: Greetings everyone! Welcome to the Hypergrid Safari Tour of Tsuki Mura village’s incarnation on Discovery Grid.  I’m Jillian2000 Quintessa and I’d like to tell you a little bit about the village. The village was originally created on the InWorldz grid by Moon Satoshi, and when I first visited the village, I decided that I wanted to help with it. Moon started the village with one street of shops, and eventually filled a whole sim. When Moon decided to move on to the Real Life grid in 2012, I decided to buy the village and keep it as a resource for the InWorldz community. 
Jillian2000 Quintessa
Jillian2000 Quintessa: After the downfall of InWorldz in 2018, I coaxed Moon back and she and I have worked to make Tsuki Mura village even bigger and better. Moon is the master builder who has brought the village to life. Neither Moon nor I are Japanese but we have tried to be faithful to the Edo period. The village celebrated its grand opening in Discovery in January of 2019. Sadly, Moon Satoshi has not been able to continue her work in virtual, so I've been finishing the builds.

Thirza Ember: when exactly is that? the edo period
Jillian2000 Quintessa: started in 1652 and 1868 was the end
Apelles Luna: sort of like Japan's golden age
Jillian2000 Quintessa: The large black box in front of the tea house has maps, notecards and landmarks so you can find your way around. Touch to get a folder. If you can't detach the landmarks from the notecards, I have a small block box with LMs that will work for hypergridders. We have shops, farmland and forest land to explore. There's even a boat tour, courtesy of Modee Parlez from here in Discovery Grid, that you can take and paddle around the village rivers and canals.
Thirza Ember: how did you get hooked on Japan?
Jillian2000 Quintessa: Well, when I was in second grade... we did a "unit" on Japan and I've been a fan ever since. I've never visited, but done a lot of studying
lifted pixel: do you know any japanese?
Jillian2000 Quintessa: I took a class once, and I know a few words, but the internet has helped me a lot!
lifted pixel: I've been manabu-ing some nihongo this year
Lux Tergeste: Lots of my (Italian) students are getting more and more fascinated with Japanese culture. It has been growing over the years
Lux Tergeste rowing me down the canal. 

Jillian2000 Quintessa: So I want to be sure for those who came later, to say that Moon Satoshi has been the major builder of the buildings, she's a rl instructor in 3D modeling. We have worked hard to be as realistic as possible, most of the original buildings came from IW as prims, but Moon really stepped up her game in mesh and so a lot of the accessories are mesh.
Thirza Ember: what part of Japan would this be? is it a particular island culture?
Jillian2000 Quintessa: I wouldn't say it is modeled after any RL part of Japan, we've taken inspiration from a lot of different areas, I've had help from a friend, kittylove Stillwater here in Discovery recently  too.

Jillian2000 Quintessa: the NPCs give a nice touch of realism and sounds, as Lorin can attest, can add to the feel of the village
thirza ember: that guy with the drum does look a bit dangerous
Jillian2000 Quintessa: watch out, you might get a drumstick upside the head
Lorin Tone: The sounds are very important!  And well done here
thirza ember: Lorin, you do a class about the best ways to use sound on a region, don't you?
Lorin Tone: Yes, I do classes on a few grids
Jillian2000 Quintessa: Since our grand opening, we've been able to create an area we call the pleasure district, this would be an area with a sumo ring, a kabuki theater, tea houses a public bath and a geisha school/home, so if you walk toward our dock, or take a LM there, you can see the "Flower and Willow World" across the river, and if you walk all the way up the hill in the pleasure district, you will find a shrine with the best view on the sim
Nara Nook: Sounds lovely
lifted pixel: I'm having a great time camming and snapping pics! lots of lovely angles
Luna Lunaria: Where can I get a beautiful komono like yours Jillian?
Jillian2000 Quintessa: the shop called "Ah Kimono" behind you, we use Gloebits here
Alexina Proctor: /me is at the door.
Jillian2000 Quintessa: there are some free kimonos in the parasol shop, but I don't have a tiny kimono available
Beth Ghostraven: that's ok, I have a  Biggie avatar too
thirza ember: it's also nice to see how the loss of inworldz has not meant the loss of so much history in virtual worlds
Jillian2000 Quintessa: did you see the kabuki theatre? I modeled this after some old woodblock prints showing people at the kabuki

Ard.Rhys: Hi. This is very impressive
Luna Lunaria: oh this would be so fun to see a performance
We continued our walk through the countryside, up the gentle hill.
Jillian2000 Quintessa: The ema boards are for writing prayers on, then posted on the boards
Thirza Ember: I'm praying for no lag
Jillian2000 Quintessa: I haven't felt any
Luna Lunaria: yes the region is running fast for me
thirza ember: my prayer came true!!

Jillian2000 Quintessa: if you turn up your draw distance you will have a great view of the village
Nara Nook: The view is stunning

From the overlook, we headed out acrosss the countryside. 

The landscape is organized with great subtlety and charm, maximizing the area and creating a sense of sky and space that make it all feel real.

Wizardoz Chrome: muuuu :) also in japanese!
Jillian2000 Quintessa: if you walk past the farms going away from the village, there's a pathway that leads all the way to the ocean.
Jillian2000 Quintessa: Does any body have any questions at this point?
Thirza Ember: I do, do you have events here? like at cherry blossom time
Jillian2000 Quintessa: we haven't had them in a long time, we don't have a storyteller at this point, we used to have storytelling events in InWorldz. My storytellers seem to have retired, but a cherry blossom fest would be fun - perhaps next year
Thirza Ember: have you considered having an all Japanese festival across opensim, since there are several regions with the same theme, but all different
Jillian2000 Quintessa: oh wow, what a great idea - well since no one laughed at me for my attempts at Japanese culture, perhaps I could put something together
Mal Burns: great little explore here - thanks Jillian, where did 2 hours just go to..?
humbletim metaverse: great tour thanks for hosting!
Wizardoz Chrome: awesome place and a great work ..
Jillian2000 Quintessa: thank you everyone!
PS....I think Nara acquired another admirer.... grrr he just ignored me!

HG Addresses:
Belfast Archive Project
Tsuki Mura Japanese village Japan

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