19 August 2010

Ballet Pixelle's "Avatara"

I attended Ballet Pixelle's show "Avatara" last night. I hadn't been to one of their performances in well over a year. The shows I saw then were essentially in the classical ballet mode, making little use of SL's possibilities. Interesting, but nothing I'd write home about. "Avatara," in contrast, exploits SL capabilities to the extent that it fully enters the realm of the "not possible in real life," joining the company of the ZeroG SkyDancers. (And without harkening to the movie "Avatar," much to my relief.)

Regrettably I didn't have the presence of mind to take photos until well into this short performance (under 30 minutes), and the only worthwhile one I took is from the curtain call. But in it you can see representatives of two different sets of alien creatures, one silvery and somewhat insect-like, the other a simple orange sphere on a tall cone. Although objects like the orange aliens don't exactly have the greatest dance moves, along with the silvery aliens they demonstrate that in SL, dancers don't have to be human or even humanoid. (That said, Ballet Pixelle made damn sure we recognized some of the silver aliens as female. Aren't there enough "not possible in real life" breasts in SL?) Nor do their bodies have to be stable: large caterpillar transform into people, who then transform into butterflies. And gravity need not rule ballet either, as dancers occasionally flipped upside down.

I don't know if Ballet Pixelle has been doing this sort of work all along or has progressed toward it, but it's good to see and I hope they keep at it.

11 August 2010

Bryn Oh's identity discovered!

I'm back from my travels. While I was in Europe I visited two or three scads of museums, seeing art by Beuys and Bacon and Beckmann and other Bs, and I came across some works that unveiled a closely held secret: Bryn Oh's true identity. I struggled for a couple of weeks deciding whether to release such sensitive information, because the ethical issues involved are complicated and tricky; but finally, I decided that the public's right to know trumps all other considerations. I am proud and excited to be the one to reveal that Bryn Oh is, in fact, Salvador Dali! Well, to be precise, Dali 2.0.

The first clear sign that Bryn Oh is actually Salvador Dali is the two artists' use of insect imagery. Dali was famous for his ants, often seen crawling out of a hand, covering a mouth, swarming on top of a watch, and so forth. Bryn Oh's insect obsession is with the ants' winged analogue, bees. (Of course, both of them have the occasional grasshopper and other bugs.) Dali, however, is scarcely foreign to bees -- indeed, one of his most famous works is "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening." This painting clearly foreshadowed Dali 1.0's successor 2.0, Bryn Oh.

Bryn has said that "The stories I tell on Immersiva are my own hopes, dreams and fears hidden behind the mask of robots." Dali could well have said the same (aside from the robots of course). His pictures too tell stories, and he described them as "hand-painted dream photographs." As a surrealist he was committed to exploring what was hidden behind the mask of his own face, his own person. Dali 2.0 does that and (as subsequent versions are supposed to do) she also does more. She reflects modern Western society through the archetypical symbols of its own dreams and aspirations -- TVs and shopping carts!

The introspection necessary for dream exploration can of course lead to a bit of narcissism. Dali painted a meditation on this fact in "The Metamorphosis of Narcissus." In it, self-reflection appears as a transformational echo of Narcissus's body by a hand holding an egg. In Bryn Oh's self-reflection, she transforms herself into a robot, in a pose almost identical to Narcissus's. More proof that the two artists are really the one and the same!

Dali's "The Metamorphosis of Narcissus"

The Bryn "Oh-bot" on Island One

One of Dali's signature images is the human body with drawers opening out of it. Bryn Oh employs the same motif in the form of robots whose faces or bodies open up at a touch. The two artists share a propensity for lonely, arid landscapes; and even more, they share a pensive tone bordering on morbidness. Also they both seem to like things on long, skinny legs or crutches, which I already noted in my discussion of her Island Three, "no colour." Dali himself wasn't particularly tall and Bryn Oh is a shrimp, so there may be some compensatory stuff going on, but she does have kinda skinny legs and he probably did too.

The last, indeed conclusive bit of evidence is Dali's famously upturned mustache. Bryn Oh, being female, doesn't have a mustache. Or not much of one, anyway. But she does have hair, or something reminiscent of hair, and once one knows what to look for, it becomes blindingly obvious that the horns of her headdress are the 2.0 upgrade of the 1.0 mustache. (Literally up in this case.) The similarity of their eyes is astounding.

One may surmise that Dali's tiger-striped cat has been supplanted by the Rabbicorn.  Or possibly it's the beta version of Dali 2.0.  Bryn Oh is a bit neko after all.

However, it remains to be seen whether Bryn Oh will make a movie with Disney, as Dali had done.  The fact that Walt has been dead since 1966 is completely irrelevant: art is eternal.  Personally, I expect an announcement any day now.