Catharsis once more

Tyrehl Byk
Tyrehl Byk

Update: If you missed the April 6th show, there will be a further performance on Saturday April 13th and 14:30 SLT, same SLurl as below.

Ziki Questi keeps her finger on the pulse of SL art and performances far more closely than I; so I was delighted to drop by her blog and read that Tyrehl Byk will be presenting a special performance of his outstanding Catharsis at 13:00 SLT at Eden Celebration on Saturday April 6th.

Tyrehl’s immersive work has featured is this blog over the years, his work never fails to engaging and enthrall, whether it is an installation piece or performance art – at which he is one of the great exponents.

I first witnessed Catharsis back in October 2011, when Tyrehl was sharing facilities at LEA 6 with Quadrapop Lane, and found myself dawn to watch it several times over. As I described it at the time, Catharsis  is, “Emotional, cleansing and utterly superb” – and it is not to be missed.


This is a fully immersive show performed in a special theatre in which Tyrehl takes control of your camera and takes you on a journey of music, light, particles and images designed to instill the very definition of the word itself, and which lasts for around 20-25 minutes.

As an immersive, interactive piece, there are a few points worth noting in advance – notably that you attend as lightly scripted as possible; there is a lot going on between the server and people’s viewers, so the less personal load either has to deal with the better it is for everyone.


Also, and assuming Tyrehl’s two “assistants” may not be on-hand to guide you prior to the performance starting, make sure you sit in one of the chairs provided (they all provide the best view in the house), close any open floaters in your viewer, crank particles to maximum and ramp draw distance to around 250 metres.  Then tap the ESC key a couple of times to free-up your camera ready for Tyrehl to take control when the show starts.

After that, it’s a question of sitting back and just taking in the show (although I also tend to turn the light off in my little home office as well!).

If you’ve never seen this show before, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. See you there!


Related Links


Tyrehl Byk and Ultraviolet Alter: Almost Flat Land

I first came across Tyrehl Byk via his SL performance art pieces, Catharsis and Particle Phastasmagoria last year, and was completely enchanted in his use of particle effects and music to create marvellously immersive art shows. Now Tyrehl is back at the Linden Endowment of the Arts with a new full-sim feature, Almost Flat Land, which again uses particle effects, this time in an immersive environment in which you are very much a participant.

Arrival: take heed of the notes

On arrival at the installation, you will find yourself deep in a cavern – a foreword, if you will, to the piece itself. Here are instructions on setting your graphics particle and media settings to get the most out of your experience. High-end graphics do not need to be enabled, so long as you ramp-up the particle count to its fullest extent. You will, however, need both media and sound enabled to gain the most from Ultraviolet Alter’s soundscape – visiting the installation without either enabled with greatly diminish your experience.


Once you are set, take the teleport down to the surface, where you will find yourself in the gallery, a hall that appears to have suffered the ravages of some geological event – and possibly something more. Here your task is to find a diary, one which offers a vivid tale of stranded explorers, missing team members and strange creatures from another dimension. It also perhaps carries a stark warning: the final pages incomplete and spattered with blood.


However, to consider Almost Flat Land a mystery waiting to be solved, would be a mistake. The diary isn’t a narrative device that guides you through a story. Rather it is a means of providing context for the rich soundscape and of encouraging you to explore; to simply stand and cam your way around would be a mistake, and would leave you missing out on a lot. And there is a lot to discover – far more than the water-encroached landscape might suggest, including a hidden portal taking you to another aspect of the piece.


The installation offers itself to a wide range of interpretations. There are stories to be told here, whether you chose to frame them with the passages of the diary or not. As an immersive experience, it offers images and sounds that will doubtless resonate differently and uniquely for each of us, even when using the diary as a guide for the imagination.

Why not take an hour to discover what it says to you?

Positively Phenomenal Particle Phantasmagoria

Last week I was able to see Tyrehl Byk’s Catharsis (more than once in fact, it is so good). It is an amazing tour-de-force in the use of music, particles and images within second Life. This weekend I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the show that started it all, Particle Phantasmagoria  – and it is a wonderful feast for both eyes and ears.

More abstract and free-form than Catharsis (although with a very subtle subtext to the images accompanying It’s the End of the World As We Know it), Particle Phantasmagoria is a fabulous ride marrying stunning particle effects and images with an inspired selection of music in a trippy rollercoaster of a ride that will not only have you watching in awe and whooping in delight, but also quiet probably seat dancing along to the soundtrack.

The show is running at LEA6, alongside Tyr’s Not -a-Knot, and shares the Event Horizon theatre with presentations of Catharsis. Words cannot really do the show justice – nor can still images; this is something that really has to be seen.

Show Details

  • Start location for Particle Phantasmagoria – enter through the door and follow the arrows
  • Calendar for Tyrehl’s performances (updated regularly)
  • Go as lightly scripted as possible (remove HUDs, scripted attachments, etc.)
  • On arrival at the Event Horizon theatre:
    • Sit in any available seat in any of the tiers
    • Set your Viewer Draw Distance to 250m
    • Set your Particle Count to maximum
    • Set Sun to midnight
    • Make sure the music stream is allowed and playing
    • Tap your ESC key a couple of times to free your camera – this is important, as it allows Tyrehl to take you into the show
    • If you can, turn off your RL lights and watch in the dark – the bigger the screen the better
    • Sit back and enjoy the 24-minute ride!

Catharsis: emotional, cleansing and utterly superb

Tyrehl Byk

Until the LEA Full Sim Art series, I confess (and to my lasting shame) I’d never heard of Tyrehl Byk. Now I can’t get his work out of my head.

Catharsis is one of two pieces that have taken over at LEA6  from Rebeca Bashly’s stunning and evocative Inferno (the other being Quadrapop Lane’s Retrospective Highlights of 4 Years in SL).

In many respects, trying to review this piece is counter-productive because no amount of words is ever going to achieve the wonder of actually going along and experiencing a performance. Indeed, saying too much may actually serve to spoil things – so I make no apology if the rest of this review is light on details – although the images should hopefully speak volumes and serve to whet appetites.

Catharsis commences in a wonderfully scripted theatre that is very mindful of a planetarium. It’s best to go as lightly scripted as possible in order to reduce the server-side load: there is an awful lot going on throughout the show. Once seated – and in case you don’t get the notecard – set your draw distance to 250 metres, set particle count to maximum, sun to midnight, close all on-screen floaters and then tap ESC a couple of times to free-up your camera controls.
This last item is important, as it allows Tyrehl to take control of your camera and move you through various settings in order to witness the piece. I’d also add that if you can, watch the presentation in a darkened room; the effects are magnificent.

“Catharsis” itself is a term used in dramatic art to describe an emotional cleansing. In essence, it refers to an extreme change in emotion brought about through the experience of strong feelings and / or responses – fear, pity and sorrow being the most common forms, although it can equally come through laughter as a result of comedy.

As an immersive experience, Catharsis uses an eclectic mix of music and images to create an amazing visual and aural ride carefully and cleverly balanced – not that you are aware of it at the time – designed to guide you to a certain emotional point. Through the first half we are treated to images that inspire awe and which, with their irreverent pokes, also incite the audience to have a little laugh or two.

However it is in the latter half of the show that one is completely blown away. It is here that the clever deception  – if I can use that term – comes to light. There is no warning of the coming change in emotional focus and context; as a result, the impact and the response it generates are both that much deeper. Here is the reason for the title of the piece, and I will only say that it is a perfect mix of images coupled with an inspired choice of Hans Zimmer’s most evocative soundtrack. They are brought together in a manner that left me – and others in the audience – in tears.

As the performance finished, so it also left many of us feeling intensely aware, alive, renewed.

Catharsis –  emotional, cleansing and utterly superb. See it.

Links and Information

  • Start location for Catharsis – enter through the door and follow the arrows
  • Calendar for Tyrehl’s performances (updated regularly)
  • Upcoming performances of Catharisall times SLT:
    • Saturday November 5th: 20:00
    • Sunday November 6th: 04:00; 16:00; 20:00
    • Tuesday November 8th: 04:00; 16:00; 19:00
    • Thursday November 10th: 04:00; 16:00; 19:00