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  • Bryn Oh: exploring the country of an artist’s mind

    Reblogged from Living in a Modemworld

     

    Byrn Oh retrospective, LEA9

     

     

    Bryn Oh is perhaps one of Second Life’s most respected and well-known artists. Her work spans the last seven years of SL’s history, and her installations have been visited by many in that time, whilst also making frequent appearances in the Destination Guide. Over the years, her pieces have grown from static sculptures to region-wide art-focused experiences, rich in narrative and elements of gameplay. It also spans the virtual and physical divide, having appeared at exhibitions, shows and festivals around the globe, marking her as an internationally regarded digital artist – in every sense of the word “digital”.

    Such is the extent of Bryn’s work, that and in-depth retrospective is perhaps long overdue. Chance Acoustic and Art Blue have offered a modest, but attractive means of celebrating Bryn’s work through A Room for Ferrisquito. However, Bryn’s catalogue is so vast, it cries out for something more extensive.

     

    Until recently, Bryn has fought shy of offering such a retrospective herself. However, she was recently invited to participate in the Art & Algorithms digital festival in Titusville, Florida, where she is one of a number of digital artists exhibiting their work through the festival’s digital lounge, and thus Bryn Oh retrospective 2007-2014, has been born.

    This is a comprehensive study of her work, which might be said to span two locations in SL. The primary focus for the retrospective is a region-wide installation at LEA9, where visitors can explore the development of her art over the years chronologically. The second element – primarily aimed towards to the Art and Algorithms event, is an invitation for them to experience The Singularity of Kumiko on her home region of Immersiva – where she states she has instructed Mr. Zippers not to slaughter anyone should they do so!

    The LEA9 installation is an immersive, multi-faceted endeavour involving elements of her work in both 3D and 2D together with information boards and links to machinina pieces on YouTube. Interestingly, most of the pieces on display are not Bryn’s own choices; as far as possible they’ve been drawn from suggestions and requests provided by members of her Immersiva in-world group.

     

    Putting some of this together wasn’t easy, as Bryn informed me on inviting me to take a look around LEA9. “I discovered that all my really old work from 2007 etc., are now all unlinked and the prims migrated in some cases!” she said. However, if any of the early pieces on display had to be put back together, I’d say the time spent doing so has been more than worth it, because LEA 9 presents the visitor with a fascinating voyage through Bryn’s work – and more.

    Those familiar with Bryn’s art over the years will doubtless recognise many of the items on display and regard them with fond memories; they may even trigger reminiscences about art, SL and more. Each year is presented in it own space or spaces, combining individual pieces with sets from some of Bryn’s more immersive, region-wide designs. Large signs denote the years as you come to them – make sure yo take the welcoming note card on your arrival, and do take your time exploring; there is a lot to see and read – and not all of it in the exhibition spaces, as noted there are a number of opportunities to watch machinima of Bryn’s work, such as the one below for Condos in Heaven.

    Bryn is known for giving insight into her creations through the pages of her blog, where she frequently allows us glimpse her creative thinking. In many ways, this retrospective is a deeper extension of that process. Exploring it, I felt I was not so much looking back over her work of the last seven years but had in fact entered her “Country of the Mind”.

     

    I make no apologies for using a fictional construct, as given form by Greg Bear, to describe my response to viewing this installation; if anything I’d say it was actually appropriate. “Bryn Oh” came into being as a way of exploring whether a digital character unaligned with any physical identity could gain acceptance as an artist in her own right; given the world-wide renown Bryn’s work has attained, there is little doubt she has achieved this goal.

    But creativity is rarely purely an outward expression; through the creative process, we often define or enhance or influence or own thinking and perhaps reflect facets of our personalities back to ourselves as much as display them outwardly. As such, wandering through these spaces within LEA9 gave me the sensation that I was witnessing not only the growth of Bryn’s artistry within SL, but was also seeing the growth of her persona as a distinct entity separate from the human mind behind her. It’s as if each of the pieces on display, from the small to the large, form aspects of her “big and little selves”, to use Bear’s terminology, each reflecting a facet of her creativity and drive, which blend together and with her Primary Self – the human mind behind her – adding to her growth as a distinct personality. I actually mentioned this idea to Bryn as I toured LEA9; I’m not entirely sure what she thought of my perspective – but she seemed intrigued.

    My point here is that this installation is more than just a simple retrospective display of past works; there is something very tactile about it which speaks as a voyage through the developing of Bryn as a personality as much as to the creative beauty of her work. As such, it is a fascinating place to visit and in which to dwell.

     

    Certainly, this is an installation – a country – worthy of careful exploration. There is a visual and written richness to it that is engaging and well deserving of  the time one can spend immersed within it. I can honestly say I have spent more than two hours within the installation following Bryn’s invitation, and I will doubtless be returning to it again.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Ferrisquito: the early works of Bryn Oh

    Reblogged from Living in a Modemworld

     

     

    Opening in Second Life at the Rift Horizon Gallery on Wednesday September 3rd at 08:00 SLT is an exhibit by Chance Acoustic entitled A Room for Ferrisquito, featuring elements of  Bryn Oh’s work from the period 2008 through 2011, and which will be marked by a special presentation by Art Blue.

    The room is situated over the gallery, so if you arrive at ground level, use the teleport sign to reach it. The oval room offers an intimate display space, with images of Bryn’s work, as photographed by Chance, framed around the curved walls, and The Consumerist Sherpa sitting on one side of the floor. Overhead, the Beetlebot presides from a high perch, watching everything.

     

     

    However, the focal-point for the exhibit is Ferrisquito, an angelic-appearing character, who can be summoned via a wall panel close to the “door” into the room. When summoned, he’ll acknowledge in chat, then duly arrive and stand on a pose ball. Once there, he’ll rez elements of Bryn’s work, displaying them on the floor space around him and sometimes overhead in the upper gallery area which can be reached via the staircase, allowing them to be viewed and examined by visitors.

    In all, there are 25 3D pieces of Bryn’s work to be seen, comprising: Under the Poumbrella [poembrella], Mayfly machinima, Downloading …, The Violinist, Run like a fawn, Run Rabbit Run, Mother, Feed me, Steamdragon, Wee little Steamclock, Standby, Carriage, Consume, Poumbrella, Pouncing Fox, Confused eyes, Bryn Oh´s bicycle, The Rabbicorn, 26 Tines, Cerulean, Willow, Angler Girl, The Violinist and Nightmare. Ferrisquito himself is a reference to the icon representing the robot theme park featured in Immersiva, while the room in which the pieces are displayed is seen by the Art Blue and Chance as a time capsule, designed to keep the pieces forever safe and available for display for as along as Second Life exists.

     

     

    In keeping with this idea of time, the exhibit’s opening will feature a short play by Art Blue entitled Knowing. Lasting 20 minutes, it involves a story of time travel, an attempt to uncover the secrets of life, and the discovery of Bryn’s work; all of which is narrated by an owl, Nervual.  Following this, visitors will be invited to enjoy Chance’s images of Bryn’s work, and witness the arrival of Ferrisquito, ready to reveal the 3D pieces he carries with him. Visitors will also be invited to collect a special book of images and text from the exhibition as a keepsake of their visit.

    Following the opening of Ferrisquito in Second Life, Art Blue will also be hosting an exhibition on Metropolis grid featuring the room, together with two of Bryn’s 3D pieces – the Beetlebot and the The Consumerist Sherpa, – for which he has had special permission to transfer to Metropolis grid. The exhibit will form part of his Vulcanicus OpenSim art time capsule.

    This opening on Metropolis grid will be marked by a special event in which Art Blue will call the room and its surroundings into existence before his audience, the artist giving form to a new “world”. Those wishing to attend the event should contact Thirza Ember via the HG Safari Facebook group, as sitting is limited for the performance.

     

     

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  • Transcending Borders: first art entries on display, audience prizes reviewed

     

    On Monday July 21st, 2014, the University of Western Australia (UWA) announced the opening of their new combined Art and Machinima challenge, Transcending Borders, which brings together their 7th MachinimUWA and their 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge into one event.

    I provided an overview of the challenge at the time, including the fact that there are prizes amounting to L$1,030,000 on offer to artists and machinima makers – and to members of the public who wish to participate in the voting process on entries.

     

    Submissions for the challenge have already started, and FeeWee Ling, curator of the UWA’s 3D OpenArt challenges, brings word that the first two 3D art entires are now on display in the Transcending Borders gallery area above the UWA’s home regions. Machinima entires will be listed on the SLArtist website as they are received.

    The entries are Transcending, by Xia Firethorn (shown above) and Union by Silva Khandr (below).

     

    As noted in my initial coverage, there are special prizes on offer in the audience participation part of the challenge (a total of L$135,000 for audience participation in the art category and a total of L$105,000 in the machinima section). All you have to do is list your personal Top Ten entries in either the art or the machinima sections of the challenge (or both!). Prizes will be awarded to audience members whose top 10 lists most closely align to the final juried top 10. Keep your eyes on the UWA blog for details on how to enter.

    For full details on the competition and prizes, please refer to the UWA blog post announcing the launch of Transcending Borders.

    The challenge is open to entries through until midnight on October 31st, 2014; judging will conclude in December 2014, when the winners will be announced.  I’ve always enjoyed following the UWA challenges, and with Transcending Borders, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing all of the entries, art and machinima, having been privileged with a request to join the judging panel. Hope you’ll also enjoy viewing the entries and drawing-up your own Top Ten lists.

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