22 August 2010

Bryn Oh: no love

Once in a while Linden Lab does exactly the right thing. Like for example when, a few months ago, artist Bryn Oh approached the Lab with a request for spaces for a project connected to the World Expo Shanghai 2010, the Lab responded by providing five sims. Bryn, along with Glyph Graves and Marcus Inkpen, created some fabulous works at those locations that I hope stay with us for at least a while longer. Arriving at the first of these sims—Island one by Bryn Oh called "no love"—you will encounter instructions for adjusting your windlight settings. I'd recommend that you turn your draw distance way up—far enough that you can see clearly across the entire sim. Like most of Bryn's work, the region is filled with metallic and sometimes spidery-like insects and humans.

As you set out on your journey, a smile will certainly cross your face as you discover that a walkway opens before you—it's absolutely delightful. Go slowly, and if you fall into the water try starting over ... eventually you come to the place shown just above, where the walkway seems to end (not first without some absurd silliness as objects appear, collapse, and you fall through a floor!). Be sure there to walk into the rectangular prims lying on the ground. Bryn made this island especially for machinima, and it's truly time-based art that has to be experienced in time—still photos simply don't convey what is most exciting about the place. And here and there you will find objects that link to web pages that broaden your experience.

If you take a dip in the water, which you'll have to do at some point to get to some locations, you'll find things hidden here and there. Around 82, 82 there are some stairs that will form from the ocean bottom, leading you up...I'll let you discover where! The figures above are near the base of the tall tower, which you should enter at the base, below the water. I found that climbing the tower was frustrating, as I often fell and had to resume from below (flying is prohibited in the sim, as are point to point teleports). But if you're able to get to the top, you're rewarded! ("Lots of people give me hell for that build," Bryn told me. "It's good to do with a friend, so if you fall they can tp you back up.") On one of the figures shown below, at the very top of the tower, zoom in and click (oh, didn't I say to zoom around and click on lots of things? yes, please do) to be teleported up to another area.

And quite a different place it is, too—a blinding white space high above (I'm not going anywhere with the obvious implication!) with widely separated objects. Everything up here, as below, is part of a story or narrative, ever-present in Bryn Oh's work. By now, exploring the region, you've seen poems, clues and other hints as to its meaning, and make sure when you arrive at the Stand-by Girl (below) you click on her face and listen carefully to what she has to say.

As the region was built for machinima, you might want see a couple of examples by Pia Klaar and Volker Meitz in addition to that from Bryn herself. Not surprisingly, there are many photos from this build sprinkled around the web. More on the other four regions in upcoming blog posts!

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