Immergence: a voyage of the eye and mind in Second Life

Immergence, February 2021

Djehuti-Anpu (Thoth Jantzen – TJ to those who know him) is an artist specialising in immersive,  interactive audio-visual presentations within virtual spaces. His work is a captivating mix of light, colour, sound, and interaction that many have likely seen at various venues across Second Life, including several SL Birthday events, where he has frequently presented microcosms of his work as featured artist at those events.

On Saturday February 13th, he opened Immergence, an installation featuring music, sound, light and colour that is made up of a series of experiences joined together through a common hub.

Immergence: The Mind Melter

The very title of the piece is itself an interesting fusion, given that the two words  can be taken as opposites: “immersion” tends to suggest being subsumed into something, confined by it, whilst “emergence” might be said to be moving out of something, to be free of its constraints.

However, when put together like this, they suggest the act of opening oneself to experience, thought, stimulation and ideas through the act of immersing oneself into a single medium – in this case, a series of interconnected virtual environments, each with its own form and purpose, but all of which combine to present a contiguous, provocative and evocative experience.

Immergence: floating through the Hippycampus

Before visiting the installation, there are a number of settings that should be enabled within your viewer:

  • Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) – must be enabled (Preferences → Graphics → ensure Advanced Lighting Model is checked)
    • Note that you do not need to enable shadows as well if rendering these places a significant strain on your computer’s rendering capabilities.
  • Ensure you have set the following media requirements (Preferences → Sound and Media → Media):
    • Media auto-play = ON / checked.
    • Allow in-world scripts to play media = ON / checked.
    • Play media on other avatars = OFF / unchecked.
    • Media Filter (TPVs only, if part of the viewer) = OFF / unchecked.
  • Ensure your viewer is set to Use Shared Environment (menus → World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked).

Do note as well, that those sensitive to moving or flashing light or who may be particularly motion sensitive may find elements of Immergence unsettling.

Immergence: The Gauntlet

The landing point offers information on the installation – presented by the HAL-like THJ-900 computer, together with a series of teleport portals that lead to the surrounding experiences, some of which can also be found at TJ’s New Khemmenu spaces at Ars Simulacra NMC’s SL Artist’s Showcase Island.

There is no set order of portals to take, so just choose those that pique your curiosity and step through. Similar portals within each of the environments can be used to return you to the landing point:

  • Khemennu University: immerse yourself in one (or more) of a number of discussions on a range of topics – ethics, philosophy, physicalism, memetics, and more, and test your own knowledge.
  • Marbles: float and / or dance amidst the dancing marbles as they capture and reflect the lights and patterns of the sphere that encloses you.
  • Mothership: take to a purple pod and lose yourself in music as the camera reveals the many environments within Immergence – just tap the ESC key a couple of times once folded into your pod.
  • Ramalama: I think this is about using a canon to shoot yourself into a tunnel of light, but I confess (possibly because of a shortcoming with my Bluetooth keyboard) I could not get the canon to work.
  • The Gauntlet – embark on a walk through space, light, time and more; best appreciated if you can manage it in Mouselook.
  • The Hippycampus: float through the brain, Superman-style.
  • The Mind Melter: wander halls of colour and reflection in what appears to be an endless space.

The two remaining portals – the large stargate and the Starburst portal – access event spaces that I gather will be used for special events.

In addition a green diamond formed by a pair of pyramids at the landing point will allow you to rez a little flying car (and companion) and zoom around the installation, whilst a second platform reached via a semi-transparent bridge, is home to a further series of portals connecting to other arts environments, including Ars Simulacra, mentioned above.

Immergence: dancing as light in the QFT event space

Obviously intended to be experienced rather than written about, Immergence is fascinating in its presentation, offering visitors an immersive, visually and aurally stimulating opportunity to both escape and, should you so wish, have your grey matter informed and exercised.

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One thought on “Immergence: a voyage of the eye and mind in Second Life

  1. That’s like the SL from early days, all the wild creativity and playing with all the possibilities of a virtual world. I must go there! Thx for the hint, Inara.


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