Second life artist Bryn Oh recently announced she has received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
Bryn, whose work is known and appreciated by many in Second Life, is one of 17 recipients in the latest round of grants awarded by the Council, and this marks the third such time her work in the virtual medium has received funding via a Canadian government grant.
The funds will in part be used to re-assemble and film The Singularity of Kumiko, and to create a first life exhibit using the Oculus Rift and Stem system. In addition, Bryn also notes the grant will additionally be put towards various other projects and activities, including marketing, voice acting, music, and travel.
From the thrust of Bryn’s post, it seems she is hoping the film project will help further her work in seeing immersive virtual arts gain wider appreciation, understanding and acceptance within the arts community as a whole. In making her announcement she notes:
I have spent a long time working in this area now and have witnessed the resistance of some curators to see outside their comfort zone. Many curators have spent a life learning how to evaluate and understand painting, sculpture, film etc and to be honest, I think some of the resistance is from being intimidated by the prospect of having to learn something completely new and difficult for them.
The truth is that to understand an immersive artwork then one must become immersed, so the simplicity of pictures and text don’t apply to the Immersivist artwork and a curator just can’t hope to evaluate our artform by looking at pictures or even watching machinima. They have to experience it and it’s not easy to do so.
Using a VR HMD with 360-filming would certainly help those unfamiliar with immersive, virtual art better understand the creative potential without the added complication of them having to need to understand the use of avatars, the viewer, and so forth.
The Singularity of Kumiko, which I reviewed here, originally opened in February 2014, and takes the form of a an immersive narrative which takes the visitor on a journey of discovery, focus on the exchanges between Kumiko and Iktomi (the latter communicating by means of letters placed inside bottles the visitor must find, while Kumiko uses a mixture of bottled missives and the spoken word.).
The journey the visitor must take, as with the flow of conversation between Kumiko and Iktomi is not always linear, further drawing the visitor into the piece and making them a part of the unfolding story. If you didn’t managed to visit it the first time around, I hope Bryn will leave it standing for visitors to enjoy for a while after she has completed filming.
In the meantime,her current work at Immersiva, The Gathering (which you can read about here), will remain open, Bryn says, for another month, after which it will be packed away to make room for The Singularity of Kumiko. so if you’ve not yet witnessed The Gathering, now is the time to do so!
Many (and belated) congratulations to Bryn on receiving the award!
- The Gathering, Immersiva (Rated: Moderate)