Thursday, July 21, 2016

Film screening for the Singularity of Kumiko at Indie Teepee Sunday, 2pm SLT

     A few months back I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to do a variety of things
including to make a 30 minute machinima for the Singularity of Kumiko.  If you have not seen the Singularity of Kumiko it will be up for a few more weeks at Immersiva

 I have now finished the film and will show it for the first time at Indie Teepee this Sunday at 2pm SLT.  Here is the inworld slurl
Bring popcorn.

The Singularity of Kumiko is a prequel to an earlier work called Imogen and the pigeons.  If you would like to watch that first so that the narrative is more clear then please watch the machinima below.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

PTSD for United States Military - AVESS

Bridge up to the sandbox
Imogen makes an appearance
 Close to two years ago I was approached by Virtual Ability to create a four region build on Open sim for the US military.  The work was to help soldiers with Post Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) learn how to deal with various issues and to kind of integrate them back into society.
Orientation and presentation area
     So imagine this scenario.  And I should start by saying these are just my musings and don't reflect the views of the US military or Virtual Ability.  So a young man joins the army and spends four years or so in an atmosphere of brotherhood, an atmosphere that anyone outside this life can't really understand.  It is testosterone, but also they are indoctrinated into a way of life that creates the best type of soldier.  A soldier who will never let those around them down, who is reliable and pliable.  They are shaped physically and psychologically into a tool.  It sounds negative but for the Army and their goals it is essential.
      In nature the vast majority of creatures never fight to the death.   They fight to show superiority and dominance with the challenger slinking off after defeat.  Much of it is posturing in the form of threatening actions or roaring and if that fails then there is a physical confrontation that very very rarely results in death.  It is just not part of nature for the overwhelming majority creatures on this planet.  I think human nature is similar, that we instinctively resist killing another human.  We can be trained to overcome this though through various ways that dehumanize the opponent.  A good test is to find the cutest 4 year old child you know and then watch tv or play a video game with them.  We are desensitized to the violence, but when you have a child with you it makes you actually see it again through fresh eyes.  What happens is you become very familiar with the pause button as you anticipate the endless violence that we are so used to but would be shocking for a child to see.  Children are so innocent and beautiful, and it is the progress through society and its current culture that, over time, shapes them as adults.  Personally I kind of prefer to spend my time around children and animals over the average adult.  I remember reading all the negative stuff around Michael Jackson.  How the papers would insinuate or blatantly characterize him as a weirdo for using some of his vast wealth to build a theme park for children.  To have monkeys and things.  I would read those and at the time I wouldn't really know what to make of it, but now I am like... yes I totally get that.  To watch children freaking out with excitement and pure joy rather than deal with the human snakes that probably surrounded him in his business life.  The media and everything.  Anyway I digress.

Fish from fishing game
The statistics from wars in the past ranging from the Civil war in the USA to World War Two show some interesting statistics.  Generally 15-20% of soldiers shot at the enemy when they saw them.  There were war cries and posturing, which, similar to the animal kingdom, seemed instinctive, yet few really would attempt to kill another human being.  In Korea and then Vietnam this rate increased, but it is suggested that the increased shooting was meant to "scare" the enemy.  It took around 52 thousand bullets to kill one enemy soldier.  I imagine a lot of time and money went into research for overcoming our natural barriers to kill one another.          
     Hollywood and movies in general makes killing look easy, the more indifferent a hero is when he kills a bad guy the better.  Some even have witty comments to make after they kill someone.  My favorite was Arnold Swartzenegger holding someone by the ankle over a cliff in some movie.  He comes back to another character who asks "What did you do with him?"  And Arnold replies "I let him go".  The truth is that the directors, screenwriters and so forth who show us how easy it is to kill in a movie is much like a virgin writing a book on how to have great sex.  Holding a 220 pound bad guy over a cliff by the ankle?... seems plausible.  And we would say.. oh it's just entertainment nobody actually believes that stuff.  Sadly, the truth is it still shapes us.  Probably very minimally and gradually but it adds up.  Hey I like games that blow things up and movies that blow things up too.  That doesn't mean I have to blindly defend them rather than recognize the possibility that they shape our society along with many other things.  Shaping and then the task of unshaping which is much more difficult.

     In a fighting environment being killed and killing are both fears, and so there are various ways to look at the trauma of war for a soldier.  I spoke to various soldiers during the creation of this work and some of the things they wanted was pretty interesting.  One, for example, wanted to simply be able to write things down that happened to him and to place them in a stream so they would float away.  Some notes he said he would like others to be able to read.. while others he wished would sink and disappear never to be read by another soul.

     Ok back to my scenario.  So this young soldier, from a small town of 3000 in Idaho, loses his legs to a roadside bomb.  He survives and spends a year in hospital in Boston.  He has a psychologist and eventually goes home to stay with his parents.  His high school friends come to visit but that slowly dwindles because neither are the same anymore.  Nobody around him, including his parents, understand completely what he went through or how he was shaped.  The brotherhood or team is gone and everything is completely different.  His mind is conditioned and breaking out of the conditioning is quite difficult for some.

     The idea behind this work was to help the soldiers learn how to do things we take for granted, but can be difficult for them just from inexperience or effects of PTSD.  Things like planning a camping trip.. to go to a few different stores in the virtual environment to buy a sleeping bag, a tent, a fishing rod, bait, a hat and so on.  A hud tracks the objectives and goals and sends the information to the professionals he is working with.  Another objective might be to follow a shopping list for food.. and instead of plain white rice there is just brown rice on the shelf.  Simple? well no.  Or perhaps the list of food has been collected in a shopping cart, and then upon arriving to the cash register to pay there is suddenly a spill of milk on the floor and an employee blocks the way while mopping it up.  Ways to deal with frustrations.  The psychologist from Boston can now meet up with the soldiers in the virtual space.  There is no distance to overcome.

     The first environment is made up of an orientation sim that teaches the user how to navigate and do various things.  There is a quaint little village with various stores brimming with products to buy.  There is a lake where they can ride boats and we even created a fishing game from scratch with various rare ones to catch etc.  There is also a sandbox region where I have made a bunch of things to assemble like a giant robot spider or go carts.  There are presentation areas with seating and so on and so on.

Bryn avatar on left and Cica on right
Will this all work?  I have no idea.  I really hope so and it was an honour for me to be involved with this project and to use my skills to try to help others.  I brought in Cica Ghost and Caer Balogh to help and both were instrumental in getting the work completed.  Scripting in open sim is .. challenging.  So Caer deserves a lot of credit for overcoming some unexpected glitches.  It was, and is, a massive project that has taken years and both Eme Capalini and Gentle Heron at Virtual Ability deserve a great deal of credit for getting this project started.  And it is a credit to the United States military for their vision and determination to help those affected with PTSD, by imagining new and unique ways to help treat their soldiers.

Friday, June 3, 2016

University of Texas San Antonio SL gallery reopening

     On Sunday June 5th at 12 noon SLT The University of Texas will host their first new art show in, I think, three years.  Constructivist Solo has reinvigorated the space with a gallery setting built by Igor Ballyhoo and will host a show of five artists.  With more shows every three months or so.

Bryn Oh
Eupalinos Ugajin
Igor Ballyhoo
Ini Inaka
Rebeca Bashly

And there will be music by d-oo-b


If I recall correctly the very first show they did was in 2009 and was Yoko Ono's Imagine peace tower.  Yoko Ono herself was there and her avatar strangely looked just like her.  I did the next show and it was one called 26 Tines.  Still one of my favorite poems that I wrote.  The machinima is below if you would like to see it.  It's quite dated now but still works I think.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sim Street Journal article and Windlight Magazine project

Becoming Bryn: Pivotal Works by Bryn Oh

Becoming Bryn: Pivotal Works by Bryn Oh
Review by Eleanor Medier / Liane Sebastian

The above link is to an insightful article written by Eleanor Medier on a few of my works.

And for anyone who has been submitting images for Era Island.. google seems to be deleting some of them (but strangely not all)... just wanted you to know it was not me removing them.

And also!  Windlight Magazine will be doing a retrospective book on my artwork over the years.  It will include images that I provide, but I would also like to open it up for others to send me images you have taken too.  The only stipulation would be that the images show the work as they were intended, meaning using the windlight settings I provided and so on.  The idea for the book is to show my work as I designed them.   Below is a list of all my various exhibits since 2007.. each one will be represented if I can find an image for them.  I have included some machinima to remind what they looked like... the older machinima (at top) are a bit dated as they were my first attempts but you will get the idea.

2007 (Oldest at top current at bottom)

Gashlycrumb Tinies (Arcspace)
Condos in Heaven (Burning Life / University of Kentucky)
7 Backspaces (Immersiva)
Angler Girl (Immersiva)
The Daughter of Gears (IBM)(Black Swan)
Vessel's Dream (Burning Life)
4Jetpacks4 (Caerleon / University of  Massechussets)
Willow (Brooklyn is Watching)(Immersiva)
The Rabbicorn Story (IBM)(Immersiva)
26 Tines (University of Texas)
The World Expo Madrid Pavilion, Shanghai China (three regions supplied by Linden Lab)
“Big Bang” Peter Greenaway project, Warsaw, Poland
Lady Carmagnolle (Immersiva)
Format (Immersiva)
Mayfly (Split Screen)
Avatar Games (LEA)
Rusted Gears (Immersiva)
Box (MetaLEZ)
Anna's Many Murders (Originalia)(Immersiva)
The Path (LEA)
Gretchen and Teddy (Immersiva)
Family Unit (Museo in Comtempori)
Further Along the Path (LEA)
The Cube Project (LEA)
Standby (Immersiva) (Ontario Arts Council new media grant 2011)
Virginia Alone (Immersiva / 17th Biennial of  Cerveira / Santa Fe new media festival)
Imogen and the Pigeons (Ontario Arts Council new media grant 2014)
The Dance of Death (Basel, Switzerland) (Peter Greenaway/Saskia Boddeke)
The Singularity of Kumiko (Ontario Arts Council new media grant 2016) (Immersiva / Art & Algorithms digital festival, Florida)
The Golden age of the Russian Avant-Garde (LEA / Manege Museum Moscow) (Peter Greenaway/Saskia Boddeke)
Lobby Cam (Immersiva)
Inside, (MetaLES exhibition space)
Obedience (LEA / J├╝disches Museum Berlin)
(Peter Greenaway/Saskia Boddeke)
The Gathering (Immersiva)


If you do find images you have done in the past and would like to send them to me then please create a notecard with either the links to Flickr or wherever you have them.. or include the image for me to see in the notecard itself.  Or send me an email Each build might have two or three images to go with it so not everything sent can be included in the magazine.  If something is selected then naturally you will be credited.  Going to finalize it within a few weeks I think.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mayor of Era Island

So I just became Mayor of Era Island on Google maps.  I am looking for people interested in living there with me.  Need some fishermen, town criers, food venders and things like that.  It's a remote and cold little island in the Northwest passage by Greenland so I will be honest with you.. it won't be easy.  Not as easy as adding your picture anyway.  So if you want to add your avatar to Google maps as living there with me then take a picture of your avatar and write your profession under it like I did above.  Then go here..,-78.2652204,10.13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4e0b71705947cf95:0xaac304135e1bde50

Log into your gmail account and on that page in the bottom right you will see some pictures that say "show imagery".  Click on that and add your picture.  It can be our secret little island on google maps where we can live uncomfortably until Google discovers this flaw and removes us.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rebirth Life Encryption - life mapping

Memory encryption - Imogen and the pigeons
     In Imogen and the pigeons, the first part to Singularity of Kumiko, we first come across the derelict remains of a company called Rebirth Life Encryption who touted a slogan that said "Jesus saved... and so do we!"  They had discovered (or rather the technological singularity discovered) how to copy the entire mind of a person to be stored on a computer.  At this time in my story they didn't yet have a way to embody that memory into something biological.  So people were mapping their minds to a computer for that day when they could be reborn again into a new vessel.  Sadly the world was destroyed, humanity removed, all except this one working computer who had survived the centuries.  The last vestage of a human mind which was being watched over and sung to by a Vera Lynnbot which I wont explain now.  Essentially it was her programming to entertain and that was the only surviving piece of humanity.
Axons and Dendrites
   The Rebirth store provided a service which I am going to talk about in this post.  Just because I find it interesting to imagine.  Some of you may recall that by looking at the only remaining computer that still worked was a name plate for the person's memories that were stored within it.  If you were a good cammer you would have seen the name of Imogen inside there.  Anyway, I am not an expert on this but let me tell you what I have learned and hopefully you will find it interesting too.
     In the human brain, not including the spinal cord, skin, eyes, stomach etc there are 80 billion Neurons.  If you are like me then you no longer remember high school biology... nor what you had for breakfast for that matter.  A Neuron is essentially an electrical device which sends signals.  It is made up of the cell body (soma) an Axon and a set of Dendrites.  The tree like things.  Info is gathered by the Dendrites and the output is the Axon.  A synapse is when the Axon (output) and Dendrites  (input) is close to another Neuron and this allows singals to jump from one to the other... which is communication.   Our vascular system transports blood  which acts as the energy source and allows for the creation of electrical signals.  The Neuron adds up these signals until it reaches a total and then then zap! it emits a pulse.  So you could say that all human behaviour is determined by the sensory and motor electrical signals.  The idea of Rebirth Life encryption is that they have found a way to capture these signals or record them.
     Now how might it be possible to record all this info?  Seems pretty far fetched and it is.  But most scientists don't doubt that brain mapping will happen.  One method would be to genetically modify ourselves so that our neurons give off a dye that fluoresces when they emit the burst.  With this the Neurons activity can be recorded, every Neuron, by using light microscopy.  Then, rather gruesomely, the brain must then be sliced into very thin strips (which they can already do) and digitized using electron microscopy.
     Yet another idea is to genetically modify our Neurons so that they essentially will not just send a pulse but also create a new strand of DNA that acts as a physical recording of what happened just then.  So the brain would store the life of a person within itself, then the process would be about extracting those DNA.  There is another one I read about too but the post is getting kind of long.
     So the idea behind the story is that with the emergence of the Technological Singularity, which is the idea of a computer AI advancing exponentially to the extent that it is far past the collective intellect of the human race, this process of memory mapping was invented one day by the AI along with various other daily inventions.  The AI over time, become less and less concerned with helping humans whose lives have pretty much turned into play, and determines that the human race needs to be removed.  That we are somewhat a destructive parasite.  Anyway that is an insight into one elements that inspired me for the story for Imogen and the Pigeons and the Singularity of Kumiko.  I guess next post should be more about the technological singularity and the background of the society that now exists in this world.  Anyway here is the trailer below.  And if you want to see the full machinima for Imogen and the pigeons you can just click the link.