Retrospective 2007 - 2014

Artist: Bryn Oh,

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Bryn Oh is perhaps one of Second Life’s most respected and well-known artists. Her work spans the last seven years of SL’s history, and her installations have been visited by many in that time, whilst also making frequent appearances in the Destination Guide. Over the years, her pieces have grown from static sculptures to region-wide art-focused experiences, rich in narrative and elements of gameplay. It also spans the virtual and physical divide, having appeared at exhibitions, shows and festivals around the globe, marking her as an internationally regarded digital artist – in every sense of the word “digital”.

Such is the extent of Bryn’s work, that and in-depth retrospective is perhaps long overdue. Chance Acoustic and Art Blue have offered a modest, but attractive means of celebrating Bryn’s work through A Room for Ferrisquito. However, Bryn’s catalogue is so vast, it cries out for something more extensive.

from Bryn Oh: exploring the country of an artist’s mind - Bine Rodenberger

Editor's Critique

In terms of Bryn Oh's art and history - check out Bine Rodenberger's link above.
(and thank-you Bine for the images shown here)

My interest is more about the layout, design, and challenges of the gallery that Bryn created. On this its worth noting that the artist herself built the space. She has both intimate knowledge of the work to be posted and complete control over the outcome. Its a single purpose and single use space - designed solely for her work and in a sense as part of her work. Sadly as such, the gallery for the retrospective is no longer online. This sadness is mitigated by knowing that the gallery was never intended to be permanent. Our real-world perception of the permanence of architecture, is confronted by the impermanence of the digital. The gallery was a webpage, a blog entry in 3D.

For my own gallery, I do wish to fight for permanence, or at least some level of reuse. Its unclear if that's the right idea - or possible. The design challenges are many, but also interesting and worthwhile.

Bryn's challenge was to present a body of work and her approach, while not new, is also not used often.  In a sense the layout was like a conference center, long paths with lots of rooms to hold information on herself and for individual works, A better analogy is that of a videogame level (or instance / dungeon) where player (visitors) follow a critical path. Here the critical path is a timeline. Visitors enter the gallery and see a large introductory space with basic information and small installations and images. From there a single path / hallway leads you through a largely chronological history of her work.

Unlike videogames or convention centers, the rooms themselves when entered feel like other realities. Often its as simple as making the rooms walls a solid emissive color that does not allow shadows or shading or even the creases between wall, floor, and ceiling to be seen.

Teleportation is not really used. While it could be used, that approach for me really breaks the reality of a singular traversable gallery space. Teleportation leads to a destruction of hallways and pathways, which for myself as a wanderer of many paths is bothersome. There is also a social aspect, the meeting of people on those paths (and in gallery spaces), that feels more divided, segmented in a teleportation based navigation scheme. Technically I know this is not necessarily true, maybe the bias against teleportation is because it's often used in videogames to let teams enter instances / dungeon areas - which are meant to be separate from the larger MMO area.

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