Today we’re announcing Unia will be staying for the foreseeable future. Yes! We’ve listened to what our lovely Peas want and we’re extending Unia to allow old and new players to enjoy it.
To celebrate this we caught up for an interview with one of the many artists who collaborated with us for Unia, none other than Bryn Oh!
Your Dreamscape in Unia is so memorable and haunting! Where did the inspiration come from for your piece and what in particular about Unia caught your imagination?
Thank you. The inspiration came from building fishing hooks for another project called the Singularity of Kumiko which I was making at the same time. As I built the hooks I would daydream about hooks in general, their many uses, functions and so on. We think of them as for fishing, impaling a worm on them to lure a fish. But there are also musical hooks or things which pleasantly grab you. In the end they are these serrated little demons that catch you and won’t let go. Kiana had asked me to write a dream sequence and so I guess I ended up writing a nightmare. In the drowning I imagined two sisters out fishing when a storm suddenly blows upon them. They fall into the water and get all tangled in their lines and hooks. One begins to drown while the other sister swims to the boat but on her way gets wrapped up with fishing line and hooks in her skin. To her it feels as though her sister is pulling her down to the dark depths but she clings to the boat. They find her this way and must disentangle her drowned sister from her. Kiana and the team at Madpea are the best at what they do that second Life has ever seen. I am thinking back from Rezzable productions to now. So Unia caught my imagination because I knew that the team would produce something of very high quality… and I got to write and build a dream sequence? how fun.
I know that some of your protagonists reappear in your other works, such as Imogen. Is there a chance in the future we’ll see more from Eloise and Jane or is this the end of their story?
I Hadn’t really considered that, but it would make for an interesting full sim story. For my other stories often the characters overlap as they all live within the same world, I make family trees and time lines for them and while Jane and Eloise are not written into the main story it doesn’t mean I can’t add them some day.
What is your favorite and least favorite parts about working in digital media compared to traditional media?
So in traditional media like oil painting or sculpture, you express yourself through a tool that is receptive to your current mood. So for example if I am angry while I am painting and I have a good long paint brush, you can later look at that painting and feel the emotion in the brushstrokes. The anger travels through your body and down the arm past the wrist and into the brush then onto the canvas. So a good brush is so important. If you are angry you press harder and almost slash the canvas. There might be some splashing drops if the paint is thinned with safflower or linseed oil. The brush is the only thing between you and the canvas surface. When you work in sculpture your hands directly manipulate the clay with nothing between you and the sculpture you are working on.
When I create a digital media work it doesn’t matter how hard i press the keys on the keyboard, if i am angry or melancholy .. the result is the same. Except in Zbrush where I use a pen tablet which detects pressure. Zbrush really is an artists tool. So that is my least favorite part. My favorite part is trying to find new ways to express myself emotionally in other tools. I do this with sound, colour, composition, narrative, poetry and so on. It is like a challenge to overcome so ironically the thing i dislike the most pushed me into a love of other tools of expression.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen at one of your installations?
I see lots of weird things. Something that is always kind of odd is watching noobs get stuck in unexpected places when I first open a build. I will test and test the build before i open it to make sure there are no places for people to get stuck or confused. It never fails that as soon as i open something a noob will appear and immediately find some hole or something to get crammed into. They will be spinning away in there jumping and then will go still. Then after a bit will tp away. In my mind I am thinking… “How did you even get in that spot!” and then I fix it. But that phenomenon is always weird. Other than that it is usually just weird people. One person used 20 alts to try to find one that I was, I suppose, interested in. So one day it would be a vampire, the next a cyborg, the next a tall handsome gentleman, the next a slinky neko girl and so on. One time they forgot which avatar they were in and I figured it out… and they confessed.. and confessed and confessed. It made me paranoid for a bit haha. One person sent me a picture of my rl house which was extremely creepy. One person writes to me in binary code and another in youtube videos. He makes sentences out of the titles of youtube songs. Lots of weird things some of which I don’t mind and others which leave me a bit cold.
What advice would you give to someone interested in learning more about the art scene in Second Life, or wanting to start creating virtual art themselves?
I would suggest to someone wanting to get into creating virtual art to pick up a 3D program such as Blender (free) Zbrush ($799) or Maya (too expensive but you can get a three year license if you claim to be a student). The advice I would give is to begin learning the program of your choice but be prepared to feel like it is just too complicated, and that you want to quit in frustration. That is how almost everyone feels for the first few months… that it is too complex. What will happen is after a month or two things will suddenly click and you will be able to work in the program fairly effortlessly. The vast majority of people give up after a few weeks… if you can stick it out and force yourself to keep doing tutorials and so on, then in six months time you will have a beautiful new hobby.
If you want to learn more about the art scene without being an artist, then I would suggest looking at various galleries or full sim creations and messaging the curator or artist and ask them why they chose the works in the gallery or what is its significance to the medium we are in. Or ask the artist what they wanted to achieve with their work, why it is relevant and so on. Make sure they know you are curious and interested so they don’t get on the defensive. Lots of artists love to talk about their work, but be prepared there are also artists who don’t fully know why they do the things they do and so they will avoid those questions like the plague. Alternatively you can search out blogs which talk about the arts such as ziki questi’s blog or Modem world by inara pey. Windlight magazine. Rez Magazine. There are probably others too that I am blanking on right now.
I’ve recently read on your blog that you’ve been working on a sim for Soldiers with PTSD. It was an amazing read hearing what was requested and how you’ve applied scenarios to the sim and it’s such a great cause! Will you keep your readers up to date on it’s reception and success? I’d love to find out how the soldiers are doing with it.
I most certainly will if they keep me informed.
Can you tell us a little about any other upcoming projects or pieces in the works?
I have just completed a new machinima as part of an art grant from the Ontario Arts Council. It is for a story I created called The Singularity of Kumiko. The link is below. It is 30 min long so save it for when you are bored or have ennui.
Other than that I am testing out prints on archival paper for an exhibit in a gallery of my second life work. If the prints come out ok I will do a limited series of images to be for sale at the show. I am also writing a new story tentatively called “Hand”
Thank you for giving us a window into your world, Bryn! If you’d like to see Bryns dreamscape in Unia you can purchase the game hud on our marketplace or head over to the game start to jump right into the mystery and terror of Unia!
You can find more about Unia and Bryn Oh here:
- Bryns Blog.
- The Singularity of Kumiko.
- How to play Unia.
- Unia Leaderboard.
- Unia Trailer.
- MadPea Mainstore.