“When there is nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire” ~ from Bryn Oh’s profile
Bryn Oh is a well-known and critically-acclaimed artist in both SL and RL. Bryn’s latest creation in SL is an incredible display called the Singularity of Kumiko. Bryn brings her art to life in SL with this interactive exhibit, where you literally immerse yourself in her art. Appropriately, she named her group “Immersiva,” an Italian word that translates to “Immersive.”
Canadian-born, Bryn’s blog describes herself this way: “Bryn Oh is a virtual artist created by a Toronto oil painter.” A biography from the Virtual Art Initiative website says that Bryn “makes her living…as a painter whose work is sold by a major galley to collectors around the world. Having received her art education in Toronto and Florence, Italy, her paintings have been exhibited in many galleries in North America and Europe. A meticulous and highly skillful landscape painter, she uses high quality oils and acrylics that she makes herself from raw materials, working the paint with a wide variety of layering and sculptural brush techniques, on large canvasses that engulf the viewer in an almost immersive experience of the human impact on the natural world. In fact it is her interest in immersion that led her to experiment with the art of virtual worlds, and over the past year she has established herself as one of the finest builders and installation artists in Second Life.”
In order to have the best experience, Bryn has limited access to her exhibit to 15 avatars at a time, and yet receives over 600 visitors a day! This allows you to wander the exhibit and experience it fully without worrying about lag, crashing the sim due to overload or crowding. It is a dark, stark exhibit and is best experienced with few other avatars around. Her art is not everyone’s cuppa, but it is truly brilliant, eerie and disturbing all at the same time.
When you first land, you are presented with instructions to change your windlight settings for an optimal viewing experience. Then, you proceed to the tables where you learn how to navigate the exhibit and pick up your free headlamp. Don’t miss this step, because you will need it! It is dark in the exhibit, and while some ambient light emanates from some of the art, most of the sim is nearly pitch black. Lastly, you read about the exhibit, the 14 letters you are to pick up, and finally, how to enter the sim.
You approach the red door, and in local, you give the magic word. As the door opens, you walk into a tunnel and it spills you out onto the scene of an accident and the story begins to unfold. As you move from place to place, looking for the bottles with letters inside them, you are immersed in the environment. It is tempting to cheat and change your light settings, but don’t do so! It is worth it to experience the exhibit the way the artist intended.
As you progress, you may not encounter the letters in order. But as you begin to collect information, you start to realize that it is a conversation between two people, Kumiko and Iktomi, and that one is stuck in some sort of limbo, while the other encourages the other “cross over.” The mangled bicycle and car wreck in the beginning of the story begin to take on more significance. But look out for Mr. Zipper, a child’s toy transformed into something menacing. Listen for the squeaky wheel, because if you fail to notice him, he will kill you and you will have to return and start over. It doesn’t do any good to take weapons inside there, either, because Mr. Zipper is impervious to weapons. Believe me, I tried! You simply have to dodge and weave, and run like crazy so he doesn’t kill you.
The entire experience is something out of a nightmare, but fascinating at the same time. The sounds, such as creaking, thumping, flapping of wings, sing-songy children’s music, and buzzing of some sort of insects as you walk around will raise goosebumps on your skin. It is fun, scary, creepy and altogether shivery, but well worth the tour. Take the time to visit Singularity of Kumiko, you won’t be disappointed!
I am as always respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Social Media Manager