Contra article - The Curious World Of Bryn Oh

Mellissa Fox from Contra recently wrote a piece about Bryn Oh.  You can read it here...

     I am always interested in what I guess you might call "outside" interpretations of artists in virtual worlds.  Outside referring to articles originating from sites that traditionally follow other circles such as RL fashion or trends etc.  A cursory look at the Contra website will show it to be one focused not so much on the virtual.   It interests me because sometimes there will be open interpretations or a curious wonder in virtual worlds or art, but from a fresh perspective.     At some point the writer discovered Bryn and became interested enough to write an article, and in this case it was not by first discovering Second Life and then being led to Bryn but somewhat the reverse.  The readership is quite large and very likely are only vaguely aware of SL.
     After reading the article I was interested to noticed that Bryn's artwork was attributed to a "he".   That is fascinating to me because the determination was derived just by observation of the artwork.  Bryn is anonymous and the writer has not been influenced by seeing the avatar, so the feeling that the artist was male is based solely upon the artwork and the emotion or message they convey to the viewer.  This is very interesting to me because I have long seen the avatar as a vessel or filter which acts almost like a prism to light.  The first life artist creates and then that work is filtered through and avatar (which is a part of the artwork) and comes out the other side perhaps changed. 
     So in reading the article it has prompted me to think about writing down my thoughts on this blog for what I see as the layering of art for the virtual artist.  What is new with this medium beyond traditional art is that in some ways there are new layers beyond the actual artwork itself that are what I consider to be part of the artwork.  With that in mind the next few posts will pretty much be me putting down thoughts that have been floating about in my mind but not really having expressed them in text on how I see virtual art. 


Deoridhe said…
I initially assumed Bryn was male in a move I can only attribute to prejudice; all the artists who were acclaimed, large, and influential that I knew of were male, and so my assumption was that must follow - or so I assume, it was all unconscious until I started noticing Bryn's avatar, and the central focus on mothers, daughters, and the use of female pronouns, and started wondering if Bryn might be female. It was more the focus of the stories that ended up making me wonder, and it was eye-opening because (as a feminist) I can be pretty complacent in my assumption that I have an equitable view of the world, so being shown to be wrong (possibly) is one of those rear-back-and-sink moments for me.

I find gender in Second Life fascinating, though, all the more because so many people assume they ca know "for sure" what gender people are based on their avatars (even when they're not avatar-gender-congruent, to wit G I R Ls (guy in real life). Add in people who don't adhere to the binary, and people who are but are trans gendered, and the certainty people have online seems to be built more in internalized prejudice than anything approaching accuracy.
SaveMe Oh said…
Bryn is actually a sheep!
Anonymous said…
I hadn't considered Bryn's gender until reading this post ... and of course, I've not yet seen Bryn's avatar. However, I do generally lean towards thinking Bryn female.

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