Rowan Derryth's Virtual Adventures
Rebirth™ Life Encryption
Jesus saved… and so do we
As in most of her narrative installations, Bryn Oh’s ‘Imogen and the Pigeons’ opens with a mystery hinting at catastrophe. Her sim, Immersiva, has been made a dry, dystopic wasteland, riddled with artefacts that conjure a story. What was this ‘Rebirth Life Encryption’ organisation… and why does it immediately fill us with dread?
Tonight PJ Trenton and I had a chance to preview this new full-sim immersive installation, which opens this weekend, but as we attempted Bryn’s shifting and tumbling staircase (a visual introduction to her narrative), we were met with an even more challenging and fearsome obstacle: lag from hell. Even after a reboot of the sim, everything seemed, as they say, ‘borked’. But it was not Bryn’s carefully managed scripting that was the trouble, as we quickly learned when complaints popped up in groups and all over plurk. Tonight, SL was utterly f*cked.
In some ways this was a good thing for this article, as I won’t be tempted to spill the beans about this new story of Bryn’s. Instead, I can simply tease a bit… I hadn’t even met poor Imogen before I had to give up, though I did see hints of her story in the receiving room of an incredibly creepy ‘Therapist’. I also noted creatures which appear repeatedly in her work as symbolic motif: rabbits and butterflies in particular.
We were also able to see that from the start, ‘Imogen’ has all the hallmarks of Bryn’s excellent immersive style – interactive components, multiple complex spaces, atmospheric sound, ‘clickable’ objects which take you to related machinima on the web, and her simple-yet-eloquent poems that allow the tale to unfold. All of these reflect Bryn’s wish ‘to challenge the way the SL resident experiences 3d space and also to immerse them within a engrossing narrative.’
I am very excited to return and continue the journey I began, which had just led me into some kind of asylum, where I was meeting the characters in this dark tale of heartbreak and madness (at least that’s how it seems so far). Before I departed, I asked Bryn a little more about what she hoped visitors might experience at ‘Imogen’, to which she revealed: ‘each piece to this build.. each character and scene is a facet of my personality. In the end I would mostly just like the mood to linger for a few days… the feeling of meeting someone who perhaps stays in your mind for a reason you can’t quite put your finger on.’
I’ve no doubt this will be the case, and as such, I confess a small hope that the story ends somewhat brighter than it begins. But either way, I suspect it will be another riveting – and successful – work from this virtual virtuoso.
Six months in the making, ‘Imogen and the Pigeons’ opens this Sunday, the 13th of January, on Immersiva. The sim is closed to visitors until then, but mark this page for your slurl: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Immersiva/15/125/22
Until then, here is Bryn’s trailer for this exhibit (and I love that she makes trailers!):