There is no shortage of creativity on display in SL, from quirky avatars to luscious SIM builds– it’s a staple of the environment. So what’s the difference between “being creative” and Art? Tough question, I kinda wish I had led with something else now. In my half formed ill thought out way I suspect it comes down to how the creator uses the medium and what they are trying to express. To that end I’m going to suggest a few things in SL that for me at least skip nimbly out of the realm of “expertly created” and land firmly on the side of Art.
The Singularity of Kumiko
Bryn Oh’s ‘The Singularity of Kumiko at Immersiva is part installation, part interactive tale-telling (and this is going to be a bitch to write about without spoiling the experience so you will just have to take my word for it). If you have any interest at all in seeing how SL can be used as an artistic medium then drop what you are doing (presumably reading this?) and FFS go to Immersiva
Bryn has created something haunting and deliberately dream like that not only hangs together as a cohesive piece of fractured narrative, but also works on several levels at once, not the least of which is commenting on the very nature of “being in SL itself”.
Apart from the fact that it’s a chance to essentially wander round her workshop marvelling at the delicacy and imagination of Bryn’s work, The Singularity of Kumiko also has a keen emotional edge. This is enhanced by the story which unfolds in both visually and in what almost amounts to spoken word prose poetry.
Blackly comic in places, melancholic and yes, more than a little bloody creepy – this is not an experience which should be rushed or looked at casually. Symbolists and surrealists have been inspired by dreams for hundreds of years but there is a more recent trend to mimic the appearance of symbolic surrealism without any of the deeper subtext. In film it’s not unusual to see a few creepy things in the shadows and some unusual juxtaposition to give the impression of the subconscious mind at work; it’s a well-worn trope.
Bryn is obviously not employing the mere visual mechanics of the subconscious mind here for simple effect – this is no mere repetition. In the Singularity of Kumiko, she goes back to the same wellspring of deep seated fears and childhood memory of loss to craft something that’s part Angela Carter, part futurism, part poignant nostalgia and fully, completely, a work of Art. Please, take my advice and grab a few hours out of your everyday SL and you will be rewarded by what is for me a real high point in the kind of Art SL can host.
Basilique is already a well-established presence on the SL cultural map. Led by Canary Beck and Harvey Crabsticks Basilique PAC is situated in a charming sim reminiscent of a quiet Italian coastal town. The latest BPAC performance is a stunning mix of visual theatre and dance loosely interpreted from Milton’s epic Paradise Lost and set to Mozart’s Requiem. This show is, as many have said, not to be missed if you are at all interested in the arts in SL. Yes there may be a few mis-steps and minor lag issues to be had along the way, it’s not flawless, but what works here works so very well that it’s beguiling – the creativity in blending performers and sets to the music is stage direction at its best and the scope of the show is awe inspiring.
Not to take away from the cast and set design, or that Mozart dude who wrote the music, but the stand out stroke of genius here by Basilique is the incorporation of the audience. Not only do they conspire to cut down some on the inevitable lag by having you dress in a simple angelic avatar, but once the show is under-way the seats dissolve and the audience becomes part of the performance – a choreographed Greek chorus switching from angelic to demonic as the scene demands. This simple application of creative inspiration turns the performance from a passive watching experience to a fully immersive one. There are (as we go to press) only a few more performances of Paradise Lost left. If you are lucky Tickets are for sale on MP and for slightly more “at the door” on the night of the event. You have absolutely no good reason not to try your utmost to see Paradise Lost while you still can, unless you really don’t like Mozart or you’re just one of those grouchy people who really doesn’t like to enjoy anything at all.
Do you now feel a little more inspired to spend some of your valuable shopping/sex time admiring the depth of content that’s available in SL? Then \o/ I feel validated. If you have any suggestions for what should appear in this section for future issues then don’t hesitate to get in touch and point us in the right direction. Well, I mean you can hesitate a little, like – finish your shopping / sex thing first if you have to.