Art in Second Life (40) Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh

Bryn Oh gave me the opportunity of seeing/expieriencing her latest installation “Lobby Cam” that is going to open on May 1st. So far I have visited Bryn Oh’s sim Immersiva a few times but I never spent enough time to immerse deeper into her installation. Getting this exclusive opportunity I decided to visit her newest installation, which is not at her sim Immersiva but on a sim named Immersivist.

Before I visited I tried to get a deeper insight into Bryn’s world and a I read a few posts from Inara Pey on her blog. Quite helpful was her post “Hand and the art of Bryn Oh in her own words“.

With my work I build for different types of people. There are those who have followed my work and know how to search for the deeper layers; they are the “experts”. For them, the story and time line are important. But I also try to build for people who know nothing about the history of the world I have created. So I build in layers: the top layer is for people who know nothing of my work and they enjoy the story on its own; the next layer is the story and then concepts within the story and the final layers are where the story fits into the time line.” (quote from Bryn Oh)

For sure I belong to those knowing nothing….

Impressions of “Lobby Cam” by Bryn Oh (1)

Bryn’s many installations are all connected with each other. Her artwork in Second Life is one long narrative which began in 2009. Each new work is a chapter in this story. They follow a timeline, yet they were not published in this order. Actually “Lobby Cam” is at the start of the timeline.
Bryn’s art is about virtual worlds and her art is showcased in virtual worlds. Bryn’s work is about AI, about a future world where reality and virtuality have melted into each other, where you can’t distinct the two anymore. It brings up questions like implanted memories and the difficulty to decide what is real.
Bryn’s art is interactive and her installations in virtual environments are made to experience them, to become part of it. You can still visit her installations “Hand” and “Brittle Epoch“. And when you begin you will get drawn deeper and deeper as you immerse into Bryn’s world. But you can also see her art on other media, you can watch videos of Bryn Oh’s installations on youtube, for example her installation “Hand” is on youtube.
You can find so much of about Bryn and her art on the internet that I simply got lost and was quite unsure how to put my many impressions and thoughts into words. You will have to do that yourself, I will just provide a few links from where you can start your own journey (see links below).

Landing at “Lobby Cam” by Bryn Oh

But back to “Lobby Cam”. You don’t need to know anything about the timeline and Bryn’s narrative for a visit ot “Lobby Cam”. For those interested, the timeline is shown at the landing point of “Lobby Cam”. Upon landing you should make sure that you “Use shared environment” and set advanced lighting on in your viewer. Furtheron you should enable shadows from moon and projectors on to get the full experience. Then you have to click the “click here” sign to enable experience tools which will add a diary book (hud) to your top right. It will appear large on your screen, click the icon in the top right to minimize it.
Start your visit by walking towards the painting and enter the narrative. Click on everything and you will find various interactive elements and secrets, as well as you will find pages from a torn up diary on the ground. These pages with advance the story in the diary hud (you have to maximize it again of course).

Impressions of “Lobby Cam” by Bryn Oh (2)

The story takes place in the present during the pandemic. The main character is a middle aged man living in the middle of nowhere in a remote converted grain silo. He watches a girl, who he calls Fern, through a security camera surveilling the lobby of an appartment building.

While exploring you can also find elements to write a letter. If you find the envelope, pen and ink, paper and stamp and all the pages you will have the ingredients to write a letter from the main character to Fern. If you click the red mailbox on the train platform you can send this message directly to Bryn by email. Bryn will respondto all letters sent as Fern would reply to your message. This will end the story depending on what you write.
Bryn added: “In the past I have done something similar requiring me to reply to several hundred letters and each I do without using a form letter… it is very time consuming but I feel it is important.”

Impressions of “Lobby Cam” by Bryn Oh (2)

Born in Toronto, Bryn attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and studied Fine Art Drawing and painting, receiving the George A Reid award for painting. Subsequent to that attended the Toronto School of Art as well as Seneca College studying computer animation. After completion becoming represented by XEXE gallery in Toronto later known as KWT Contemporary. Oil paintings are collected internationally. In 2007 Bryn became interested in creating immersive environments in virtual reality spaces as a new media artist known as Bryn Oh. Since then Bryn’s work has featured in magazines such as Vogue magazine, in movies and in galleries and museums worldwide.

Impressions of “Lobby Cam” by Bryn Oh (3)

Bryn Oh’s Lobby Cam received a national arts grant from the Canada Council for the Arts which is special to her as her previous grants were from the Ontario Arts Council and this is her first nationally awarded grant. It is important for her career as an artist, but also it legitimizes virtual art in the minds of some curators from large institutions who are not familiar with Second Life. The grant supports the building of Lobby Cam in the virtual world of Second Life as well as building it in Unreal Engine (which is in progress for several more months). Lobby Cam has taken five months to build and all elements are created by Bryn Oh.

A really outstanding (art) experience in Second Life! Thank you Bryn.

Landmark to Bryn Oh’s “Lobby Cam”
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Immersivist/16/23/23
Promo “Lobby Cam” on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rQrAv45d4c
Inara Pey’s blogpsot “Hand and the art of Bryn Oh in her own words”
https://modemworld.me/2020/04/27/hand-and-the-art-of-bryn-oh-in-her-own-words/
Landmark to “Hand” by Bryn Oh (gateway)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bryn%20Oh/44/211/22
Bryn Oh’s “Hand” on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYPCB2N2U58
Landmark to “The Brittle Epoch” by Bryn Oh
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Immersiva/17/108/24
Bryn Oh’s blog
http://brynoh.blogspot.com/
Support Bryn Oh on Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/brynoh

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