With the assistance of Lemonodo Oh, artists Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield have resurrected StormEye, subtitled A Meditation on Waves for the month of December. For those unfamiliar with the piece, it first appeared in Second Life back in 2009 – the time before mesh – above the New Media Consortium campus where it proved to be a popular attraction.
An immersive, visual and aural installation, StormEye invites visitors to pretty much do just that – enter the eye of the storm, literally and metaphorically. It has been brought back to Second Life in pretty much the same condition as when first exhibited at the NMC campus seven years ago.
In order to fully experience StormEye, it is essential you enable full streaming media (not just audio – use the film camera icon). The instructions provided with the installation refer to using the latest version of QuickTime. However, as I’ve reported in these pages, QuickTime for Windows is no longer a viable option for people on that operating system – but any up-to-date Windows viewer utilising VLC (as provided by Linden Lab) or GStreamer should manage the audio and video in the installation.
StormEye release comprises two parts: an undulating red landscape built from sculpties using manufactured using mathematical data derived from Desdemona’s work using real-world data from the US Geological Survey and NASA. These have been overlaid with macro flower photographs by Douglas. Over this ruddy, almost Mars-like landscape floats a gigantic eye, optic nerve trailing behind it. constructed of around 1,000 prims with their surfaces used to display video, sits the Eye – and it is into this visitors are invited to climb.
On entering the tube of the “optic nerve”, which undulates gently in a waveform, you are surrounded by a gently changing cloudscape (if the video surfaces aren’t in motion, toggle the media (film camera) button a few times) together with the sound of brds carried on a gentle breeze. But wait a few seconds and the collective scene will change: the wind rises as the rumble of thunder can be heard and the birds fall silent. Around you the clouds move faster and darken to swirl around you as lightning catches up with the roll of thunder, accompanied by a torrential downpour across the surfaces around you. Then, almost without warning, everything changes: the storm vanishes and white clouds move across a blue sky; you are in the eye of the storm. Wait long enough, and the cycle will repeat as you pass once more through nature’s fury.
The shifting scene can be witnessed from within the tunnel of the “optic nerve” or from within the eyeball itself (both are recommended, as is watching the changing scene in Mouselook). When you wish to return to ground level, touch the semi-transparent tornado in the eyeball – and take a close look at the window pane where you’ll land. A nearby teleport spike will return you directly to the Eye if you wish to experience it again.
As noted above, StormEye will remain open through until the end of December 2016.
- StormEye (LEA 24, rated: Adult)
My thanks to Douglas for the personal invitation to visit the installation.