Saturday, October 23, 2010
Lost Their Wings: Bryn Oh at Burn 2
Location: Remembering what it really was all about
A special thanks to Bryn Oh for her installation at Burn 2 this year. Her work never fails to revive a sense of excitement about Second Life's potential.
After Linden Lab backed out of sponsoring the arts event, not even providing free sims for a few months, I felt let down and, once again, felt it time to look elsewhere for inspiration. See Phaylen Fairchild's story about Linden Lab's preference for fake bunnies to real art.
I like to support SL's artists and Bryn Oh is one of the finest makers of 3D art I've encountered. Her aesthetic is consistent and convincing. So off I went to Burn 2. Not a Linden or fake bunny in sight. Good. The artists pulled it off on their own.
I found navigation at the event difficult until I discovered a Playa map by
Miso Susanowa. Many thanks!
It was easy to find the build, but it look me longer to get inside. Once I figured out how to enter the unremarkable exterior of her build, as always, I found myself in an immersive wonderland. Bit by bit, I came upon the exquisite sculpture of Lady Carmagnolle, who "painted faces on rocks/ with things/ she pretended they were birds/ who had somehow/ lost their wings"
Oh's works within the larger work include, early in the build, a skeletal "Seraphim" and a little Steampunk music box with a video link to "Format." As always in her work, there's a sense of childhood loneliness, a subtle and never-quite-glimpsed menace, and (naturally) exquisite detail. The music box and many other parts of the otherwise darkened interior of the Burn 2 build invite close camming. There's a "prim poem" with a reference to "Angler Girl," one of the highlights of her build from last year's Burning Life, "Vessel's Dream."
My wife shoulder-surfed Iggy's journey through the build, and she liked how much of Oh's art, in particular the centerpiece sculpture this year, has been inspired by sewing. It's easy to spot a seamstress' dummy in many figures she crafts. I saw that influence last year at "Vessel's Dream" as well.
It's also interesting to see Oh work with Peter Greenaway, whose films so often are carnal in a literal sense: there's a lot of meat in his work, while Oh's work is so often fragile, skeletal. I like this pairing of these two different sensibilities. Have a look at "Dreams," a video linked from the Burn 2 site and connected to a Greenaway project, "Big Bang."
So find your way through this door while you can. Burn 2 ends soon and we all wonder what, if anything, will follow it in 2011.
I don't mind the sadness of Oh's work, especially this fall as so much seems uncertain about this particular virtual world. Whatever happens to SL and its maker, Oh's work will remain important (and ephemeral) moments to what is not otherwise possible.