Bryn Oh's Lobby Cam - A Stunning, Interactive Installation with a Gripping Narrative!
The latest installation by Bryn Oh, set in the wheat fields of Saskatchewan, narrates the tale of a farmer and his growing isolation, which prompts him to find connection with a channel on his TV that shows the security cam of an apartment building lobby miles away.
Artist Bryn Oh has a new project, which is unique much like any of her previous works. While her other installations such as Hand and The Brittle Epoch are still open to visitors (landmarks can be obtained at the landing point), this new project, titled Lobby Cam is her first one to received a national arts grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. This is a significant milestone not just for Bryn's career as an artist, but also for all of us as it helps legitimize virtual art in the minds of curators from large institutions in Canada who were not familiar with Second Life previously but are now more aware due to the grant.
Those who have visited Bryn's previous builds will know that her work, although created in separate installations, is part of one long narrative which began long ago in 2009. Every installation she creates has nods and references to some of her other installations. In the case of Lobby Cam, a quick look at her timeline, which can be seen at the landing point, reveals that this story takes place 110 years before the events of Hand and the Brittle Epoch.
To explore Lobby Cam you need to click the "Click Here" sign at the landing point to enable the Bryn Oh experience, which adds a diary book in the form of a HUD to the top right corner of your screen. The HUD can be minimized and opened up by clicking on the icon in the top right corner.
At the landing point, one can also find a painting which portrays the setting of the installation. Walk towards the painting and the wall opens up to reveal the very same landscape depicted in the painting.
To get the best experience from this installation, it is essential to ensure you have the following settings right:
Use Shared Environment
Enable Advanced Lighting Model
Turn up your Sounds
Set Shadows to Sun/Moon + Projectors
A road leads northwards from where we emerge into this spectacular landscape which depicts the Saskatchewan countryside, where this narrative is based in, rather accurately. Fields of wheat stretch out into the distance as far as the eye can see. In the distance, some houses/settlements can be seen.
Apart from being an incredible artist, Bryn is also a master storyteller. Her gripping plots, well-developed characters and a creative imagination engage the audience rather well. The thumb rule in Bryn's installations, as her regular followers will know already, is to CLICK!
Clicking on different things in the installation, might reveal some additional information by giving you notecards or in local chat. The narrative, in this case, is driven forward by the pages of a torn up diary, which can be found scattered all over the build. Once you find a page lying on the ground and click on it, the small HUD icon at the top right of your screen becomes colored from the black and white it previously was, indicating that there is new material to be read.
This story, on which the whole installation is based, tells the tale of a farmer in the countryside, who takes up the habit of watching a channel which featured the stream of a lobby security cam from an apartment building thousands of miles away on his television set and becomes fascinated with a young lady who comes to collect her mail every evening. With the backdrop of a virus spreading in the world (something we can all relate to today) and his increased isolation, this activity becomes a source of fascination for him, so much so that eventually he starts talking to her and have feelings for her despite being a complete stranger.
In the story there are references to the AI Milkdrop as well as the many murders committed by Anna, events from Bryn's past builds. The search for the missing pages takes you hunting along a dirt path, past a set of railway tracks, into the untilled fields beyond and even into an old grain elevator, that has now been converted into a cafe.
Clicking on some of the objects in this old grain elevator takes you up to skyboxes in the sky where Bryn has created smaller narratives, like a story within a story. This experience is similar to the tale of Medusa found in The Brittle Epoch.
The whole experience of visiting Lobby Cam plays out as much as an interactive game as that of visiting an art installation. But Bryn takes this one step further. She actually allows you to step into the role of the narrator.
While exploring Lobby Cam, you can also simultaneously find elements to write a letter. If you find the envelope, pen and ink, paper and stamp and all the pages of the diary you will have the ingredients to write a letter from the main character to Fern. If you click the red mailbox on the train platform you can send this message to Bryn directly by email. She, taking on the role of Fern, will respond to all letters sent and this will end the story, depending on what you write. Thus, the ending is, in a way, decided by you.
Lobby Cam is, without a doubt, one of Bryn's finest works to date. It is an installation with a deep, soulful narrative with a surprising twist, which will catch you off-guard. You can spend hours here discovering its many hidden secrets on this exciting journey or taking some breathtaking photographs, making use of the day cycle Bryn has put in place.
This installation is thoroughly engaging and uses several deep concepts to create a narrative and in experience that is completely immersive. A must-visit destination for everyone in the Second Life metaverse.
TELEPORT TO REGION
Bryn Oh's Lobby Cam - Immersivist
To watch the machinima promo for this installation, click HERE