Bryn Oh’s latest art installation in Second Life is Imogen and the Pigeons at Immersiva. As fascinating as ever, it is a journey through a story in virtual space. It took me two visits to get these shots… I was just too fascinated by it the first time. I needed to pick up a slurl, so I’m there now, curled up in the first chair as you go in. I’ve said hi to one guy as he went past. He was wondering whether I was part of the installation. ‘We all are’, I answered. Then someone else asked how to get out of the last room, we went there and another hour has slipped by. In fact, she never actually left the last room as we spent so much time talking.
But this is why going back more than once is sometimes essential. As Susan Sontag said in ‘On Photography‘, we are used to a photographic way of seeing. Much as I love photography, it’s important to try and see the world through our own eyes. The camera can intervene between ourselves and where we are, de-emotionalising what we see. With today’s rl technology, how often do we see people standing, arms outstretched, viewing a scene through a mobile phone while the world passes around them. As I stood and chatted on my fourth visit tonight, I saw more and more as I gave my eyes time to explore without a lens in the way.
The photograph above is one of a set of five on Flickr. I’m very conscious that they are just small pieces of much a very bigger work; sometimes expansiveness is more difficult to capture than detail. But go look, explore. This kind of virtuality is what Second Life can do so well.
Bryn’s introductory blog post is worth a watch before you start. There are more posts coming up with reflections about how it is working. My experiences of sociability and the amount of time spent in the installation certainly confirm what was said in the 17th March post! But read the later ones after you have visited Imogen and the Pigeons.