Expanding the geography

You will know that those of us involved in SL Naturist are advocates of a broader geography for our virtual world. Perhaps utilising abandoned land to create virtual versions of the real world.

For instance, there is no Mecca in Second Life. There’s not much Islamic engagement in SL in any instance, which is a huge pity, as by visiting and reading about Islamic history and culture we begin to understand it. This is a retrograde step by SL (by ‘SL’ I mean the community in general, not Linden Labs), as there used to be mosques and Islamic culture in evidence, all worth visiting.

There is only a minor nod in the direction of Jerusalem on the SL Israel sim, which I happen to think is an excellent overview of the country, its religion and culture. The Israel sim is done in a very imaginative way, as you teleport into an airports arrival lounge before being able to tp to other places like SL Jerusalem or SL Eilat.

We have Egypt, but only in its ancient form, no White House, only a steampunk San Franciso (still nonetheless welcome too), no Madrid, no Barcelona. I’m not suggesting we have to have every major city in the world covered, but it would be nice to have some non-commercial sims (no traders) in a build where the sights of a city take precedence.

What about some a greater sense of the Indian sub-continent? We’ve got a Taj Mahal, but that effectively covers it as far as India is concerned.

Why couldn’t or shouldn’t we have a wider perspective of India?

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Mandu countryside red.

Why not a greater sense of India in SL?

There’s a Liverpool (strictly speaking a representation of the Beatles’ Cavern Club) and, happily, a representation of the Amazon River. We have deserts, usually in the context of Gorean role-play sims, but little forested areas (again, these tend to be in the context of Gor).

We’ve beaches by the thousand, all palm-fringed with golden sand, but few that represent a more rugged coastline (Baja Norte is one that does step outside the norm).

Africa, the largest of all of the continents, is almost entirely invisible, apart from one, Drakensberg Mountains.

I could go on…and on..and on…

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Desert

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Welcome to Jerusalem
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These places should exist in and of themselves, but also because we, the SL community, should be able to reflect some of the events of the real world, as represented in Second Life. The SL community were quick to create memorials to the victims of terrorist atrocities in Paris and Brussels. So why should there not be an opportunity to show our support for the people, and infrastructure, of Palmyra?

Education once played a large part of Second Life’s existence. Some universities had (and still have) an inworld presence. Some businesses had a presence. So why not, for educational purposes, should there not be a Palmyra sim, so that we can choose to educate ourselves into the background of the battle for an ancient, beautiful city ravaged by terrorist thugs? By walking through the ruins of a famed, UNESCO site, a world heritage centre, we can maybe begin to comprehend that for the squalid little morons in ISIS, there is no ‘world heritage’ or appreciation of what man has built over the centuries. That, for them, there is only death, destruction and depravity.

Abigail

 

 

 

 

Nudity as a weapon of ‘humiliation’

An emerging story about the CIA’s photographing of naked detainees will impact on another blog post I’ve been working on, about nudity and digital photography as part of our zeitgeist.

While it’s disturbing that they would resort to such a tactic, it’s hardly surprising, because we’ve grown used our our insecurity agencies acting in a manner that would be better suited to the regimes of a Gadaffi, a Mubarak or an Assad.

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This is how low we’ve seemingly sunk in our our so-called ‘war on terror’, when we meet fire with fire and act in a manner wherein we (or strictly speaking, our government agencies) have become the terrorists themselves.

This story has only just broken, so there are bound to be responses and clarifications over the next day or two, so I’ll keep my powder dry on this, while I now commence a part re-write of the other posting I’m working on.

I will say, however, that for many people in today’s world, the existence of nude photographs of themselves existing somewhere, maybe even on the web, isn’t the most embarrassing thing that could happen to them. That, for many, would be being photographed with a politician.

Trine

The New Season : Eden Naturopolis

Eden, possibly the pre-eminent naturist sim (actually an estate) in Second Life, is in a slightly different position from many other naturist sims, in that there’s no sense of a ‘new’ season, and a bit of a spruce up, as it’s always in a state of constant change as residents come, go and rebuild. So there’s always something a bit different about it.

One of the big draws is that it does, in its more central locations, remain constant. This is important in a Second Life where change can be too rapid. I think we all like some sense of constancy with just a hint of change from time to time.

This gives Eden a little bit of a sense of its own, Second Life’s and the world’s history.

I would be an advocate of Linden Labs perhaps using some of their abandoned land, in conjunction with some of its better builders (hello, Brenda from Eden!), to create, tier-free, cost-free, a sense of Second Life or the world’s history.

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Exhibit A!

There is a Greek-styled temple at Eden Sparrow sim, which is one of the coolest things about Eden in my mind. This creates a sense of a civilisation, a society, existing before we avatars, and I do wish more sims and builders would do more of this. Granted, they’ll build castles and such like, but this…this is something else. It doesn’t exist for any purpose, it’s just there, as an antiquity. Why couldn’t more abandoned land across the grid be put to similar use? If nothing else, allowing builders to run riot on land and create a Second Life past, with structures, forests, woods, mountains all there just because they are, would provide for a huge number of photo-ops.

The success of some sims is the result of the imagination of its builders, and Elbag and Brenda, who own Eden, are particularly adept at this. Eden Robin offers its own ‘history’ as well, in this instance a cannibalistic(?) tribe who searched the archipelago for unsuspecting sailors attempting to colonise it hundreds of years ago. At least, that’s what it reminds me of, although that’s maybe not Elbag or Brenda’s intentions. But that’s the nice thing about SL. You can project your own back story onto something, if given the tools to do so!

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Rather than have land abandoned everywhere, might a bit of top quality, imaginative building, such as that dotted all around the Eden Naturist Estate, be a way forward in revitalising and energising parts of the grid?

Abigail

Nudity in Jainism

Over the years, there have been many articles that were written by Ella, Pookes and others but not published, and we have a huge repository of unused photographs as well.

There is also something of a ‘folklore’ about the fabled ‘SLN12’ magazine, an international edition Ella began and abandoned at least twice. I could probably assemble a version of SLN12 together from the archives if I so desired, but it’s not something on my radar right now, particularly as many of the locations and avatar accessories referenced are no longer available.

What I did find recently, though, was an article intended for SLN12 about India’s fabled naked Jain monks, Sadhu.

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Naga Baba Kumbh Mela 2013

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These holy men reject everything, including clothing, and despite India not necessarily being a hotbed of nude activity, these men wander at will and without threat of arrest for public nudity, as the population understands their religion.

Jainism also has its own ‘nuns’, or sadhvi, but by contrast it is forbidden that these ladies go naked. Instead, they wear a white robe and often have a little mouth cloth.

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I wondered if it might be possible to recreate a sadhu and sadhvi within Second Life, as a representation of the lives they lead, as a representation of nudity, in the real world, being replicated in Second Life.

Other bloggers will put together ‘a look’ on a regular basis, and so I decided I should try to do the same. To this end, I asked two Indian avatars I know (they’re British born Indians, on the same time zone as me, but they generally live their Second lives with a ‘western’ approach to fashion) to fulfil the roles of the sadhu and sadhvi. Once I’d completed the look, I got Priyanka, my female model, to simply replicate the following instructions 🙂

On the Marketplace, I found a free (L$0) mesh sari from Auralia Fashions. 

Originally red and gold, by changing the texture on it (I used the ‘white tile’ texture in inventory textures, although you could choose your own white texture), we moved from this, the original…

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…to this…

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I also discovered a white (Islamic) hijab dollarbie on the Marketplace, so I bought that, and ended up with the following look…

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Of course, a bare midriff isn’t an ideal Jain nun/sadhvi look, so I returned to the Marketplace to discover another dollarbie, another Islamic dress, more modest, from Harbiye Design.

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Once again, changing the texture from the original black, to white, created a more realistic sadhvi look.

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The ’tile’ effect of the texture produces lines on the sari I used, so maybe not ideal, but then I looked at the photo of real life sadhvis above and noticed that their clothing includes similarly styled scarves, presumably to indicate their particular order, so I thought the tile effect on the clothing could represent something similar. The glasses used in the last photograph, to give Priyanka a more studious look, are part of your inventory (Delilah mesh glasses).

In effect, then, this sadhvi look was created for one linden dollar…

Deepak, my male model, was of course much easier to recreate in SL. He just had to, in the main, take his clothes off! However if you look at several of the photos above, the priests are carrying a brush. The religion demands they hurt no living thing, so the brush is, apparently, to brush insects from their path, or from where they sit.

Deepak headed over to Plausible Body, on my instructions, where he bought…wait for it…a French Maid’s outfit!

I asked him to get this because it contains a feather duster. The feathers come as white but by using textures again, I was able to get him to change these until we reached a look that looked a little more accurate. We settled for a ‘dried mud’ texture in the end.

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Incidentally, if you do wish to give a male avatar an Indian styling, utilising a ‘nehru’ styled coat as worn, Deepak told me he’d picked it up at Hayas (a shape previously unknown to me) as a free group gift (no join fee).

You’ll also notice in some of the photos above the priests are wearing garlands. So it was onto the Marketplace again to get Deepak a free Hawaiian costume. It was just a hunch that a ‘lei‘ would be included to replicate a garland of orange flowers.

Photographic evidence shows that some of the priests have shaved their heads, while others have long hair and beards. I’m unsure what the convention is here, but the long-haired, beard wearing Deepak was allowed to keep his hair.

Finally, it was over to Bhaktiville, and a Hare Krishna temple, where Deepak was able to get some free items, including a couple of animations.

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Obeisance pose (free)

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Prayer pose (free)

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Kiran worship poseball

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Prostrated poseball

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 In the photos above, the Jain monks bathe in the Ganges. In this photo Deepak uses the Bhaktiville bathing ghat to replicate it.

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In the real world, amongst certain types who wish to sexualise or fetishise everything, the above scenario would be described as a ‘CFNM‘ situation, reduced to a genre of ‘erotica’. As you can see, both in our Second Life re-enactment, and in the real world (below), there is nothing remotely sexual or erotic about the scenario.

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In a rather moralistic Indian society, where nudity is generally frowned upon (despite a long history of depicting eroticism in its art) the nude, Jain priests are something of an anomaly, but nonetheless something worth examining in the context of nudity in society.

Trine

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Season : Into the garden

Things move fast in the world of Second Life.

A couple of weeks back Trine reported from the Home & Garden Expo, and the subsequent post had led Howie (our publisher, owner of SLN-HQ, to consider broadening the definition of naturism we have used since the inception of SL Naturist.

‘Something that I’d like to do [is] offer something brand new in the context of SL naturism, and that’s create a naturist eco-village. I have contemplated ripping the house down and planting up vegetable plots, site a teepee on the land, open it up for everyone who uses Eden, much in the manner that Tess’s Naked Dreams stands as a complete and separate build to Eden itself, but within Eden. I may yet do this… if I can find how to create some sort of representation of sustainable living, complete with notecards on this alternative lifestyle, it might be something I do. As naturists, we’re attuned to our environment, and I’d like to create a space where our harmony with nature is brought to life in Second Life. I’d also be pleased if there were others out there who share that vision of alternative living, of growing fruit and vegetables, living simply and doing stuff like build a windmill, install solar panels as a demonstration sim for this type of living.’

I’ve posted on ‘the new season taking shape’ over the past couple of days, and it would appear this was a call to action for Howie, who has redeveloped part of his home on the Eden Naturist Estate to reflect a more holistic approach to naturism.

‘As naturists, we like to eat healthily, grow our own fruit and veg that hasn’t been plastered with pesticides, and generally engage with our environment’, he told me.

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Just as naturist campsites gear up for their new season, so many of us will gear up for a new season in the garden. It’s a time of planting, preparing ground and so on, and doing the chores that will bear fruit (sometimes literally) later in the year.

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While the wind and the rain prevented me from doing any gardening today, it’s good to know that this will soon be a part of the regular evening and weekends as the weeks go on. Tonight, the clocks go forward in the UK, so it means lighter nights, and the opportunity for a bit of gardening after work (naked or not).

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Abigail and Howie plant out some herbs

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Howie in front of the new greenhouse at SLN-HQ

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Cleaning the pool is another of those jobs needing done regularly, but maybe more so at this time of year.

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Trine calls in to check out a magnificent lavender bush

Abigail

 

The New Season : The real world

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As I said in a previous post, my Facebook page is full of notices about naturist camping, mainly in France, announcing they’re open for the new season, so I took the opportunity to grab some photos from the various sites to present a flavour of French naturism. What’s equally intriguing about these pages on FB is an emphasis on environmentalism, showing that we naturists are truly in harmony with our world.

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Today, for example (Samedi, 26th Mars), La Jenny is having a beach clean up -‘No Break for Trash’- as part of an initiative through Initiatives Oceanes, to make beaches cleaner and more pleasant for ourselves but, more importantly, the wildlife and marine life whose existence is damaged by man’s need to dump his rubbish into their world, without concern for any form of wild or marine life.

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New chalets are being built at various campsites, and you will note how vast majority of the building materials are from renewables, timber, rather than of bricks or concrete building blocks.  CHM Montalivet offers the next two photos…
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…with the following quote: Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed (Antoine Lavoisier 1743-1794). Applying this ecological precept, the CHM recycles all the rubble by crushing them. Residues are used to fill the potholes.

This is clear indication of how the naturist community very much do their bit for the environment.

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It promises to be a fantastic, naturist summer, and I would encourage you to join us, in the real world, or in Second Life, for the northern hemisphere’s naturist season.

Abigail

The New Season : Su Casa Naturist

These past couple of weeks my personal Facebook page has been filled with images and news from various campsites around Europe (France, mostly, as it’s the place I holiday most often) which are essentially saying ‘we open again on…’, with various dates around now, Easter.

Many of the photos will show improvements to the campsites and the work undertaken over the winter.

With this in mind, I got to imagining how a Su Casa FB page might look (I know many avatars have SL-specific pages, and this isn’t an entirely novel idea).

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How might Su Casa’s ‘winter improvements’ show on a Facebook feed? How might they (and others, I feel a mini-series coming on) present their ‘new season’?

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It may be that some of you Su Casa regulars are saying ‘ha! That’s been there for weeks/months’. But I haven’t! 🙂 Remiss of me, I know, but I’m coming to Su Casa with fresh eyes, and there are some changes since the last time I was there, notably a bungee jump. This was something I’d never tried before in SL (it was great fun), but I adopted the role of photographer to capture a few images of Mike, who I ran into there.

Also new to me was the ‘Sylt’ (Baltic Sea) type beach hut, an accurate name for huts you’ll see dotted along the German Baltic coast.

There were also some English type beach huts that were new since my last visit. Su Casa has long had a subtle approach to rebuilding or renovating, and it’s good to see this continue. It makes the sim familiar (something not all sims recognise as a good thing) while freshening things up for ‘the new season’. It looks great, and I expect to be back sooner rather than later.

Abigail