Bogon Flux! #1

blotto Epsilon
Epsilon & Benelli's 'Bogon Flux' in 'Burning Life' (Second Life art exhibition).

I found blotto Epsilon’s and Cutea Benelli’s fantastic build ‘Bogon Flux’ in ‘Burning Life’ and stopped visiting other exhibits once I found this one. I have been back as often as I can to study this amazing piece of work before it vanishes at the end of this much-too-short exhibition.

exterior - blotto Epsilon
exterior - 'Bogun Flux'

Perhaps blotto & Cutea’s build could be described as a visual cacophony of references? And perhaps a large part of my fascination was because the strange building stirred dusty memories in my brain as I sought to ‘tag’ the sights with their connotations? It reminded me of so many things, and places, and story books. I believe good art often transcends its own specifics by reminding each viewer of their own, very personal, half forgotten memories. Judging by the wisps of memory and sense stirring generated by Bogon Flux I would say this virtual installation qualifies as extraordinarily good art!

Indoors wearing my free bogonic skull protector
Bogon Flux: Indoors wearing my free bogonic skull protector

My first thought was that Bogun Flux looks a little like ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ as depicted by Hayao Miyazki in the movie. The whole thing perches on blotto’s ‘poultrymech’ legs giving the sense that the construction will stalk off at any moment. I acquired Cutea’s free bogonic skull protector then walked up the metal ramp into the entrance hall before heading into a pipe. I soon found myself lost in the maze of slinky-twisting tubular passages. My smoking, flashing bogonic skull protector appeared to be some form of 3D map but as I have never been much good at map reading it did not help me a great deal. (Though I thought I looked rather fetching when I caught my reflection!)

haunted rooms
Bogon Flux: haunted rooms

I discovered small rooms opening off landing areas inside the maze. These rooms were worn and shabby, the wallpaper curling, paint peeling, and the thick glass windows were covered in a film of greasy soot. I could almost smell the damp, hear the metal groaning and creaking in the ‘Burning Life’ breeze of lagwind. These hidden rooms conjured up memories of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy, while the domed glass windows in some chambers reminded me of Lancaster Bomber machine gun turrets. At least one room was haunted and all held a sad lonely air that reminded me of B&Bs in some damp grey English city.

Bullet through the flower window
Bogon Flux: Bullet through the flower window

Moving around inside was tricky at first but I found the solution was to fly rather than walk but I tended to get stuck in the u-bends of the scratched metal tubes. I discovered later that all I had to do was click on the mouth of a tube to be flushed through to the other end in no time. Now, the incredible feature of Bogon Flux is that it is truly in a state of perpetual flux! Every so often rooms would fly off the building, suddenly disconnecting and escaping high into the sky!

blotto Epsilon's French cafe
A French restaurant in the Bogon Flux. (Not sure I would eat there...)

If I was in one of these rooms as it was disconnecting my avatar would roll and shake and I thought Second Life was crashing, or my video card was giving up the ghost. But these little earth quakes would end just as quickly as they had begun and my avatar would land on the desert floor below to be buzzed by a floating robot called ‘Ozlotis’, or stared at by the big all seeing eye (see the first image above). Bogon Flux would then grow extra pipes where the discarded room had been and new rooms would appear.

door detail showing textures
Bogon Flux: door detail showing textures

Every so often the entire structure would shed all rooms and pipes leaving just the entry hall, ramp and poultrymech legs. When I say rooms I am really not telling you enough, each room is an installation in its own right. The details are sometimes built on the outside of the chamber, sometimes the attention is focused inside; for instance I saw a giant yellow duck looking out of one window; a room full of flames with a figure trying to escaping, a bullet flying through a shattered window set inside a dried flower.

blotto Epsilon
'Bogun Flux' beginning to grow again following a major blowing off of passages and rooms. (In background 'Statue of Liberte' by Ub Yifu)

I got to chat to blotto in IM, gushing like the true Bogon Flux fan that I am. He told me that he and Cutea Benelli worked together as full partners in the creation of this post apocalyptic build. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

I started wondering if Bogun Flux is a metaphor for the human mind and secretly suspect my mind probably looks just like Bogun Flux. (Send all sympathy cards to this blog.)

See next cyberloom post for more Bogon Flux images!

(Update: The Burning Life Exhibition in Second Life™ has now ended. Next exhibition in 2009.)

20 October: Update to the update! blotto and Cutea have made their amazing creation available for viewing for a little while longer! The Bogon Flux can be seen in the Wastelands.

Also read Bettina Tizzy’s interview with blotto and Cutea at NPIRL’s ‘Wonky wacky Steampunk wonderfulness

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