Bryn Oh first created Hand is Second Life in 2016. An immersive experience, it mixed art and storytelling with a touch of mystery and discovery.
Originally an installation that used Second Life Experience Keys, Hand recently transitioned to Sansar with the assistance of a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, and which I recently wrote about in Bryn Oh’s Hand in Sansar. That grant has also allowed Hand to once again be resurrected in Second Life.
In writing about Hand in 2016, I noted of the installation:
This [is a] 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 buzz around and project adverts on walls and floors for whoever might watch them – presumably as a form of currency / earning, and lights flicker and play. Walking through the streets and buildings there appears to be nods to dystopian sci-fi: a hint of Soyent Green here, a reference to rampant consumerism there. While Flit [the principal character] and the other children brought to mind shades of And The Children Shall Lead, minus the space alien angle.
– Bryn’s Hand in Second Life, December 2016
This is still true, as is the use of Experience Keys to assist visitors, instructions for which are provided at the landing point. What is different with this iteration is that rather than using a teleport to reach the actual starting point of the story – Flit sitting in an underground station – visitors must find their way through a tunnel from one station to the next, where Flit is waiting.
From here visitors once again travel up the escalator and out into the the run-down setting of a city well past its prime. Here the story will unfold by finding, and following Flit as she appears at various points in the installation, either pointing the way through the story or ready for a chapter of it to be told. As you approach the latter, you should hear the narration (assuming you have local sounds enabled). However, if no audio is obvious, make sure local sounds are on, and touch the microphone alongside Flit.
Aspects of the path through the story do require some care – making your way over tightrope-like planks and fallen towers for example, or climbing up piles of the detritus of humanity. Also, cleverly woven into the story are hooks to several other elements of Bryn’s work – so don’t be afraid to touch things as you explore. Take the scene of the girl with the golden crown and her little entourage waiting to be found whilst exploring the rooms of the main building in the installation: touching the girl or the insects and creatures will offer you the chance to watch a video about The Girl with the Paper Crown.
Hand, whether visited in SL or Sansar – and a visit to both shows some of the core differences between the two – remains a captivating story, one that encourages us to fill-in the blanks through our own imaginations, adding to the richness of the tale Bryn tells through character, setting and the words of her narrator.
- Hand (Immersiva, rated: Moderate)