Immersed in the imagination and smog of Bryn Oh

cyberloom joins the mob (of Bryn Oh admirers)
cyberloom joins the mob (of Bryn Oh admirers)

I had the opportunity to visit NPIRL artist Bryn Oh’s island Immersiva recently. What a strange haunting place it was! It reminded me of the North of England when the coal mines were still working, with their ugly/beautiful slag heaps and devastated landscapes. Immersiva rises out of a cold, gray sea and strange tracks criss cross the island’s foggy, damp landscape. The fog was so dense I could almost feel it prickling my avatar’s delicate lungs. Figures emerged from the gloom here and there, sometimes these were other avatars, and sometimes they turned out to be eerie statues.

I landed at Immersiva and I was met by a child figure with an old 50s pram
When I initially landed at Immersiva I was met by a child figure with an old 50s pram
The child seemed to be pointing at the lightbulb man
The child seemed to be pointing at the light bulb man

Bryn Oh requests that visitors follow instructions to set their environmental settings so that they can achieve what could be called Bryn Oh smog-light. I followed these instructions, but then I strayed into playing with the settings in an attempt to render a cold winter’s day with watery sunlight. Immersiva represents a post-apocalyptic world, and the fog helps conjure up an atmosphere of lost hope and ruined dreams. Still, I justify my modified lighting with the thought of how brief spells of sunshine can give additional poignancy to emotional and physical devastation!

Bryn Oh's ferrisquito
Bryn Oh's ferrisquito

The uninhabited island is haunted by the Ghost in the Machine, and poems lie carefully scattered about the mournful land. They are written on the curled pages of school exercise books, each poem tells a fragmented story of ill fated love. Is it a tragic tale of the doomed love of two runaway robots? Or, is it a story about a human who falls in love with a robot? Perhaps the poems tell of two humans and one becomes ill, the other thinks she can save her sickly friend by carrying out some ghastly experiment. The poems convey deep longing yet are tainted by an agonized regret that generates more questions than answers…

Irrevocably statue of two runaway robots
'Irrevocably', a statue dedicated to the memory of two runaway robots

The artist goes to great lengths to provide extremely precise lighting instructions before abandoning us in the dense fog. (Did you hear that muffled Bryn Oh laugh or was it just my imagination?) I warn you, Bryn Oh smog-light plays tricks on your mind. It is intriguing to be given such specific guidelines, as  Bryn Oh has mastered the art of understatement, these initial directions are merely her introduction.  She knows how to give just enough poetic information to captivate her visitors. The sculptures do the same, they conceal hidden chambers where secret surprises lurk out of sight. The art of imagination lies in always leaving room for others to bring their own references and questions. Too much guidance and control shuts imagination down, kills it dead. Immersiva is like a strange aquarium where we are held  like translucent jelly fish manipulated by an unseen power!

More on Immersiva in my next post. In the meantime, take a look for yourself!

Please also see: Not Possible IRL for a post on Immersiva and Bryn Oh by Bettina Tizzy, and Bryn Oh’s own blog Bryn Oh

5 thoughts on “Immersed in the imagination and smog of Bryn Oh

  1. Thank you for your comment Dusan. I did make it into the sky and I was amazed. I agree that this is one of the most moving builds ever created in SL (or anywhere else for that matter!) I plan on posting more photos soon, but I don’t think I can capture the quality and atmosphere of the sky-build. People really need to experience Immersiva for themselves!

  2. Allowing the viewer (and reader) small glimpses of her alternate reality and the room to imagine their own pieces of the story seems a rare quality to me.

    She even allows enough room to imagine that perhaps even she is seeing only glimpses of this reality and discovering the story herself. She seems to constantly call out, “Look! Look what I’ve found!”

  3. You make a good point Corcosman. Bryn Oh appears to have achieved the perpetual motion of imagination. That is, as she explores her own imagination she discovers new wonders for herself. Luckily (for the rest of us) Bryn Oh is a gifted and generous soul who shares her finds!

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