Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Rabbicorn

I was in the audience at an event when a friend told me about something in the IBM 3 sim that she told me was must-see, “I don’t usually recommend places, but this ... “ So I decided to check it out.

I teleported over, and found myself in a room that looked like it was surrounded by television static, with a couple pages explaining how to get about. But with no portal to the exhibit, the only way to go was down a road, my vision around me obscured by the visual equivalent of white noise. Eventually, it cleared on the road itself, and I soon noticed a room through the static that was brighter than the rest and had some color. I could also make out some people inside. So I went inside.

And there was Bryn Oh, the artist behind the exhibit in her gray, ghostlike avatar. She was looking at some notes on the floor with someone. The room itself had a dark steampunkish feel to it with a phonograph in one corner and some sparking equipment around. Two others came into the room to congratulate Bryn on her exhibit. After that, Byrn turned to me, and after greetings she explained the area, “This is a story that is told in stages, through poems. It is about the character behind me.” She turned to a bronze mechanical form behind her on a table lit by a spotlight, part rabbit part unicorn, “The Rabbicorn.”

Bryn went on, “This is the first part (of the story) here. In the hand of the creator is a poem.” She told me I could zoom in on the poems, or “you can click on it to see it on screen. It’s easier that way. When you have looked at the scene, there is a teleport to the next one.” The teleports looked like black magnifying glasses with white sparkles around them. “Oh, one more thing, there is a machinima ... on top of a tower, there will be a TV there. Click on it. That tells more of the story.”

And so clicking on the first teleport took me to the first part of the story, the place showing a tinkerer having just built the Rabbicorn, and having to make a decision about the creation. Further teleports lead one further into the story, each place a work of art, and soft music in the background adding to the beautifully surreal atmosphere. At one point, the teleports lead to a climb up a debris-filled tower. Although one could just fly up with a flight feather, it’s better to try to walk and jump your way up as much as you can. It is around here one finds a link to the machinima Bryn mentioned. Watching it isn't necessary for the story, but does help add to it. It is not much longer when one gets to the end and the fate of the Rabbicorn.

Taking a look at Bryn’s blog, the exhibit opened on Friday July 10. She also stated that it was originally planned that no more than 6 avatars would be allowed in the sim at one time, feeling lag would ruin the experience. It was not an easy decision, as she worried some might get the impression that the small numbers meant their fellow residents had little interest in the finer arts in Second Life, “So if I can't limit the sim to 6 or so, and you find yourself in a laggy mass of people then please come at another time when it is empty. It really is meant to be seen this way. It has a mood brought on by the story, ambient sounds and being alone brings out the quiet mood of the story.”

An exhibit that is well worth the time to go see.

“The Rabbicorn” is at IBM 3 (56, 50, 23). To read more about this exhibit and other projects by Bryn Oh, click here for her blog.

Bixyl Shuftan

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