Hand, Bryn Oh’s latest full region installation officially opens in Second Life on Saturday, December 10th at 12:00 noon SLT. It offers visitors an immersive experience which mixes art and storytelling with a touch of mystery and discovery.
On arrival, visitors are asked to accept the experience HUD (which will initially be blank) , and which can be minimised by clicking the dancing figure icon. As there is a lot of text to be read as one progresses through the experience, the HUD can also be further enlarged by clicking the Extra Large Text button on the HUD.
Instructions for viewer settings are also provided at the landing point. These are geared towards Firestorm and specifically the use of Phototools. Those on other v4-style viewers will find the settings under Preferences > Graphics and the Advanced Settings… button (Advanced Graphics Preferences floater). Bryn also uses Firestorm’s client-side windlight by altitude capability, so those on other viewers may need to manually change windlights (listed in About Land) as they move up through the installation.
From the landing point and instructions, a teleport sphere carries visitors to an underground tram station, and their first encounter with the principal character of the piece, Flit – or as she is sometimes known – Flutter. It is her story we are invited to follow, the narrative (and the way through it) indicated by Flit herself, as she stands within certain scenes or points the way along the route we should follow – such as walking a collapsed aerial mast like a tightrope walker, or standing on a stairway as if waiting for us to join her and continue up them.
This journey takes us through a strange, broken urban setting with decaying, collapsing buildings; a place where adults are almost (but not entirely) absent, apparently leaving their children to fend for themselves. Technology is still active – drones flutter and buzz or projects adverts on walls and floors for whoever might watch them, and lights flicker and play. Walking through the streets and buildings I seemed to come across nods to dystopian sci-fi: a hint of Soyent Green here, a reference to rampant consumerism there. While Flit and the other children brought to mind shades of And The Children Shall Lead, minus the space alien angle.
Whether any of this was Bryn’s design or simply my over-active imagination, I’ve no idea – but Hand’s narrative naturally invites you to fill in the blanks: what has happened here? Why have the adult withdrawn? Why is the city so ruined? Lack of maintenance because there are no adults – or something else (there are hints to be found pointing to a fear of nuclear war). Thus, in experiencing Hand, we also extend it, by exploring carefully and letting the hints – posters, objects, etc. – suggest things to us.
There are also links and hooks into Bryn’s other work to be found here as well. Some are present within the story, others may be harder to find. As Bryn states, don’t be afraid to touch things as you explore. Take the lacewing beetle, for example; touching it will introduce you to Scissors a machinima by Bryn. Elsewhere, a broken cellphone lying on the kerb might lead you skyward to poignant piece of art based on an equally poignant image; and so careful exploration is required.
Byrn produced a trailer machinima for the installation (below), featuring music specially composed by Phemie Alcott. Phemie was due to perform at the opening of Hand, but Bryn reports that as her Phemie’s mixer decided to commit suicide, the performance will now not take place until 14:00 SLT on Sunday, December 18th. Bryn isn’t sure how long Hand will remain in place – so be sure to visitor sooner rather than later, and please consider a donation towards Immersiva’s continued existence.
- Hand (Immersiva, rated: Moderate)