Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The last Guardian video game

I don't know what to say.. just wow will do.  Ok that won't do.  I think this is actual game play and not a filmed segment and the almost instant personality of the Guardian is remarkable.  It is a bit unsure of itself and hesitant.  It shows some concern when he stumbles a bit on that narrow walk at the start.. it is just very aware of him.  I wish I had a playstation.. sigh.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

An interview with Giovanna Cerise

      Giovanna Cerise

Bryn Oh: Where are you from?  And who are the most renowned (not necessarily the best)  artists from your country in your opinion?

Giovanna Cerise:     I live in Italy, and currently I teach Italian and Latin Literature in a high school. I have joined to my liberal arts studies, the musical studies by studying classical guitar and  musical  Paleography. So for a long time music has been my main activity. My passion for virtual art has filled the emptiness left in me from having abandoned it.  Making a choice of famous artists in the world is very difficult, in a country like Italy, where you breathe art in every corner: those who have left an important, indelible trace are so many. So it is an impossible task for me to choose the names. I will indicate randomly the ones that come immediately to my mind, forgetting certainly many. Dante Alighieri, Luigi Pirandello, Dario Fo, Eugenio Montale, Umberto Eco, Umberto Boccioni, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Amedeo Modigliani and again Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, Edoardo De Filippo, Luciano Pavarotti, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Paul Sorrentino but Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti ... and I could go on forever.

Bryn Oh:  Often the average person outside SL  is perplexed with virtual worlds in general.  When people unfamiliar with the virtual ask you what you do how do you explain it?

Giovanna Cerise:     I confess that until recently I had problems speaking about my experience in SL, first because I myself found difficult, in defining it. When I tried to explain that I was taking a course in virtual didatics, around me I saw quizzical expressions, mainly because others did not understand what a virtual world had in common with the work I was doing. With time the situation has not improved much. Now, to those who ask me questions, I present my experience by  trying to show them all the possibilities that it have opened to me and how it has enriched me.

Bryn Oh:  Who are a few of your favorite artists and why?

Frida Kahlo
Giovanna Cerise:  Many of the artists that I have already named are among my favorites. In general I am attracted to artists who are able to express their innovative point of view, those who dig deep and have the courage to show their more hidden world. . . The works of these artists are "listening" and they seek to connect our inner with the piece of the world that we have in front.  I love Frida Kahlo and her intense works, full of strength, sensitivity, passion. I like the large metal sculptures of Arnoldo Pomodoro, his perfectly geometric forms with a highly polished surface, torn with cracks and openings that expose a shaggy interior, fraught with reliefs. And yet Anish Kapoor and his
Anish Kapoor
monumental, surprising, disturbing and problematic installations. Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana, who question the system of values ​​and certainties and invite you to investigate further. And then of course there are the musicians, and I name Bach among all of them, an exceptional personality, whos work is both poetry and science t. To these other should be added like Hermann Hesse, Luigi Pirandello, Italo Svevo and Eugenio Montale. Many, then, are the artists of virtual worlds by whom even if for different reasons I am affected. I want to mention some of the works: "der Schauer" of Selavy Oh, Transition Zone of Oberon Onmura, Imogen and Pigeon of Bryn Oh, "Taxy! To the Zircus " of Eupalinos Ugajin, Black and White World of Cica Ghost, The Inevitable of Fate of Rose Borchovski, Sparkys of Romy Nayar, Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off Rides Again of Maya Paris , Imago Anatopism of Alpha Auer, Bogon Flux of Blotto Epsilon and Cutea Benelli …

Bryn Oh:  Whose artwork do you personally dislike the most and why?

Giovanna Cerise:  More than indicating precise names, I am not normally attracted to those works that, as we say in Italy, are "Tutto fumo e niente arrosto," works in which the author only seeks the spectacular effect, trying to cover the complete absence of any content, in the worst cases, and, at best, give a vague idea of a general concept where they trivially put in anything that has to do with it at  the moment. I feel a mental laziness inability to empathetically envolve the observer in an authentic manner, touching only the emotional surface l with a cluster or a juxtaposition of elements that should inspire wonder, but, at the end they just get bored, for their repetition, which at the end to nothing more than to slip epidermically.

Bryn Oh:  Which of your own works are you most proud of?  Do you feel any failed and if so do you now know why?

Kaos, Kosmos
Giovanna Cerise:  Among the works that I like most there are those of the last period and I refer to the  installations as Arithmos, Fisicofollia, Cosmos and kaos and Speculum. I am particularly tied to the "Habanera" inspired by Bizet's Carmen and to smaller works like "Broken Time" and "The hidden purity". Usually I am never happy with the work I have just finished. My first temptation is to destroy them immediately. Luckily I can resist. I'm pretty critical of what I do and often, then reviewing some works in the past which seemed “exceptional” at that time, I say myself "But it is really bad", especially when I detect a sweetning or winking effect.

Bryn Oh:  Do you have a method when creating? If so how does it often progress?  For example do you sketch or write out ideas first for weeks or do you perhaps just jump directly into the project with little planning and adapt as you go?

Giovanna Cerise:  For a long time I felt the need, which then became a habit, to write down in a notebook those  words, phrases, images, musical references that have impressed me in a positive or negative way. The book has become a treasure chest of sensations and concepts, almost inexhaustible. It becomes a kind of latent memory from which often unconsciously, and for various reasons, an idea emerges. Sometimes the idea is so clear that it is immediately transformed into an image and the work of creation becomes fast and immediate. Other times I let  an idea subside for a long time, which expands like a spider web. Often I proceed through a symbolic research. And when I arrive to what I think is the best, I start to remove the superfluous, the repetitions, the distortions, trying to synthesize the whole. In practice can be summarized in a job of expansion and synthesis, which  I can be repeated several times, and that is accompanied by mental images of the transposition of ideas. The work of concretization is never very long, but it is intense. I try to concentrate it when I know I'm free from other tasks, because it absorbs all my energy becoming almost compulsive. In a few days what I had done before on a mental level is repeated. I collect objects, I work with prim or Blender. I empty the inventory looking for something that maybe I built some time before. I create texture. I move, I change, I look from various angles and, above all, I experiment, until I am convinced, until I arrive to the version that will be visible, but I may not be definite.

Bryn Oh:  What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to inspire your work?

Giovanna Cerise:  Right now I'm reading "The birth of the  Greek tragedy" by Friedrich Nietzscke. In addition to Bach, who, as I said, is my favourite author, I'm listening to "Tristan and Isolde" by Richard Wagner and some songs of Queen.

Bryn Oh:  Does your work have an overall theme and if so what might that be?  If not please describe how you tend to pick your topics.
Giovanna Cerise:  There is not a general theme that inspires me, but, almost all my works I thing you can find a tension that reveal the relationship between unity and duality, which then often becomes that of multiplicity. And of course, we can still include the randomness and determinism and the fragmentary. To these general concepts I add my fondness for music that becomes a source of inspiration, not only when I work on a musical work, but also for the disposition of space, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical, and for all that can be connected to rhythm or harmony (assonance, dissonances, repetitions, pauses, etc.). There is a theme that then I particularly feel  which concerns the violence, especially against women, and oppression in all its forms.

Bryn Oh:  Have you ever had to deal with negative publicity or a disappointing rejection of your artwork?  How do you deal with it?
The hidden purity
Giovanna Cerise:  Not many times, but sometimes, it has happened, that someone has criticized some of my choices about effects, believed as excessive, or some color, saying that it would be better if I had used another. Another time offering my work for an event I was asked to change it by inserting some textures that were supposed to make, from the point of view of the customer, my work closer to the event. I refused and I was invited to take away my job. How did I react? I continued to use excessive effects, when I thought it appropriate, to use the colors I wanted and withdrawing the work, excluding other possibilities of collaboration with those I had requested the work. This does not mean that I do not accept  criticism, It is natural and even necessary. It is useful not so much for the work already done, but when it makes  me think about what I will do after, words especially if it highlights  something that I had not considered before.
But it is also true that when the artist creates, he has the right and the duty to choose, accepting all the consequences of this choice.
Instead I don’t take in consideration that criticism that based on preconceptions that become rules to be respected at all costs and that become the parameters of the work itself.

Bryn Oh:  Would you like to take a stab at explaining what defines virtual art? 

The variations of the magic flute
Giovanna Cerise:  It’s difficult to give a definition, even if I can try and probably I will not dodge the stab. We can begin by saying that virtual art is one of the possible paths which an artist may choose to undertake in our time. Precisely for this reason, however, it can become a need or requirement because we are immersed in a society where technology development is due to changes in the way we think and act, to the transformation of each type of language and perception . It is a path that has in itself infinite potentialities that have become active only partially, and therefore it opens up a fervent scenario of not simple but difficult perspectives. It constantly uses the testing of new methods and techniques, sometimes incorporating the traditional ones and amplifying the combination of art and technology. It is not an easy path for many reasons, some reasons are certainly strong, due to the reluctance of the majority of people, who belong or don’t belong to the sector, towards this type of art, but also to the shallowness which unfortunately sometimes is found in those who do this kind of art, and which is manifested in various ways. (Perhaps the stab has come ...)

Bryn Oh:  What would you say makes virtual creations unique over other art forms?
Fisicofollia, image by Kikas Babenco

Giovanna Cerise:  Even here it is difficult to give a clear answer. Many terms were used to define the virtual creations: immersivity, interactivity, interconnectedness, complexity, constant change of perspective, presence of more and different sides, break down barriers of all kinds, multimedia, ability to be replicated, and even the unfinished ... Perhaps we can say that its uniqueness lies in the potential that the artist can use at the same time and in the same space all or many of these elements, pouring into this form of art all the features and problems of our age.

Bryn Oh:  Centuries ago there was no such thing as an "artist" just craftsmen, as time progressed superior technical ability and creativity created the elite "Master" artist whose work stood recognized above all others.  In 1917 Marcel Duchamp submitted a work entitled "Fountain" to the Society of Independent artists.    He stated "... He (the artist) CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object"  He wanted to shift the focus away from technical craft to more of an aesthetic intellectual interpretation.  Some say that because of him almost everything is considered art today.  From an elephant painting with its trunk, a Banksy, a child's drawing to someone vomiting paint onto a canvas.  What is your perspective on this?

Marcel Duchamp
Giovanna Cerise:  The choice of Duchamp to use, without modification, of a profane object to bring out the cultural development of an object not depending on his artistic transformation, was certainly a source of discussion, poignant and often innovative, especially for the period when it was formulated. I think this placed the artist face to face with the choice, which often is not free because it is conditioned by external and internal factors, to take the path of Duchamp or the "traditional" one, with all the implications that this entails. In both cases, the choice itself can not be separated from the creative purpose that arises from the artist and his mental and conceptual processing. You can not, on the other hand, say that the technical skill is never important. Sometimes I think it is also essential. If we shift the focus from the visual arts to  music or dance, for example, I can not think (but maybe that's my limit) of how you can do this kind of art if you do not have a certain technique and a certain knowledge. The artist, perhaps, then reaches higher goals when he most manages to hide his technique. (On the other hand I must say that the acquisition of techniques, experimenting new ones, at least for me, is also a source of pleasure, of game and a way to clear the mind and show better ideas).

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Gathering

     The Gathering will open on December 1st.  Please be sure to accept the dialogue box that says "do you accept being in Bryn Oh's experience?" or something like that because.. well.. it's more fun if you do.  It simply allows the rolling balls to kill you and send you back to the start of the sim as well as give me access to your credit card information, your webcam, your Granny's phone number and your deepest secret.. ok not the latter bits but just the rolling ball thing.  I quite understand automatically declining any box that pops up as I regularly do it myself.  It is this irrational go away box! reaction
that I get. 

     So this new build is kind of an experimental one where I have been testing out some ideas but still trying to keep it cohesive.  In a notecard at the end I explain a bit where some of the ideas came from, and as you can see with these two images the Gathering story came from converting some pen and ink drawings that I did into 3D scenes.   I had received a commission to do pen and ink illustrations for a coffee table book based on my paintings but I had actually barely did any pen and ink before.   So I had to learn how to do it.  I studied the works of John Tenniel, George Cruikshank, Van Gogh's lovely drawings and others including Edward Gorey.  And these pen and ink illustrations were what I did to learn the techniques, but I really loved the final ones and wanted to do something with them.. so here it is.  Pen and ink using a nib is a difficult yet very rewarding way to illustrate.  You have an ink pot and dip your pen in to get a bit of india ink, then spend hours putting in little markings creating the sense of depth in light and dark.  Then after two hours you drop a big blob of ink right in the middle by accident, swear like a sailor and then start over.  Anyway I hope you will enjoy the machinima and build.

Monday, November 23, 2015

New artwork opening December 1st "The Gathering"

Umbrella Girl

The Gathering
 On December 1st I will be opening a new artwork called "The Gathering" on my region Immersiva.

An evening walk
projector room
     The work uses a variety of lighting techniques and material shaders so you will need to follow the directions at the very start.  Essentially, like in most of my recent creations, you will need to put on advanced lighting with shadows with projectors (sun/moon + projectors).    Materials essentially can be seen in the topmost image which is a rainy room.  The "wet" or shiny reflections over the floor and mannequins are created by using layers of textures (diffuse, normals and specular) to create a more textured reactive surface.  Another thing you really should do is accept an invite to allow "Bryn Oh's experience".  An experience or experience tools are fairly new for builders and they let you combine a bunch of things that would normally require people to "accept" an interaction to only need to accept at the very beginning.  So for example if you went into a room and I wanted to make your camera move to a painting on a wall, then you would have to accept a dialogue box asking for me to take control of your camera.  You would say ok sure you can take control this time, and then your camera would move to the painting.   Then if you walked down the hall a bit more I might ask to control your camera again.. and again you
would have to accept and so on over and over down the hallway with each painting.  With an experience you essentially give permission at the very start to always accept without needing to be asked repeatedly.  Those dialogue boxes break the immersion in a work so experiences are great for removing those unfortunate barriers to becoming immersed in a virtual narrative or environment.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lobby Cam - part six

August 11th

     Last night I fell asleep on the couch with the lobby
 cam channel on.  I am a sentimental fool, I wanted to
 see Fern one last time to say goodbye.  I picked up the
TV remote to turn it off and there she was.  She came in
and opened her mailbox.  She peered inside, found nothing
 as usual, then closed the door.  I watched her look down
 to her letters on the table and hesitate.  With the
appearance of being defeated, Fern slowly picked up a
 letter and I can see on her cheek a tear to match the one
 I shed last night.  She lifted the letter and for the first
time I could read the address on the envelope.

Ruth Anderson
555 Gladstone Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario

and in big black letters ... MOVED

I watched her open the letter and the mystery that
eluded me for so long became clear.    
"Oh dear Fern, you don't have anyone to talk to.  You are so alone and live through the discarded letters of someone who has moved away.  You hold the leftovers of a full life and pretend they are your own.

 In the August 11th letter the toymaker discovers that each time he has watched Fern stand and read her letters she was instead reading, smiling and living through the correspondence meant for a lady who had moved away from the apartment building yet still received mail.  Despite the teeming city around her Fern was as alone and secluded as the toymaker.

August 12th
Dear Fern,

Well Fern is what I call you.

  I know this letter is destined to fail, for how can it not?
 It is addressed to a lady who has moved away, yet meant
for the girl who secretly reads her mail.  I decided though,
 that I would try, for if I don’t then I will always
wonder  to myself what may have been.
   What I am about to tell you must surely convince you
that I am crazy, or that you are the recipient of an elaborate joke.   Either way I wouldn't blame you in the least should you throw this letter away never to respond.
 Eyes you have never laid upon me, nor have we ever
 spoken.  In fact we are 3,000 kilometers apart.

Yet despite this, I think that I am in love with you.

Please let me explain...

And so ends the story for Lobby Cam.  The toymaker has decided to write to Fern and try to explain everything that has happened.  One side of him feels that he should just stop watching her and try to move on.  That he has imagined a connection to Fern.   Another, winning side, has convinced him that, though perhaps inappropriate, he would try to contact Fern and see what happens.  He knows that she may well be alarmed and never respond and in fact he expects that.  Placing himself in her position he is not sure that he would respond either, but he also knows that if he does not try then he will always wonder what may have happened.

The story ends here but for those who are persistent, then there is more.  For those who have collected all the diary entries and also found five parts along the right side of the hud (with no explanation of their purpose whatsoever) then they can do one final thing.  If, over the course of exploring, they have clicked on the pen and ink, paper, found a stamp and now Ruth's address.  If they have those and have also found the blank envelope in the red toolbox... well they have all the parts to
write to Fern.  When all these parts are collected an object called "Letter to Fern" is sent to your inventory.  Wearing the letter gives you a blank page to write a letter to Fern.  After completing the letter and by standing close to the red mailbox you can send it to Fern.  There have been around 40,000 visitors to Lobby Cam and of those just under 1000 have written a letter to Fern.  Each letter is sent to an email address which I go to and I have read each letter and replied, and each reply is unique.  Yes it was crazy of me to do this, Caer told me that the day I told her what I was going to do.  It was a huge amount of work but I felt it was important to allow the person who was exploring the story to move from being an observer to being the main character.  They were able to make an assessment as to how they felt about the Toymaker and then in this twist, they now needed to write a very difficult letter to Fern.  And it was very important to me that each letter was not just replied to with a standard pre made response.  The letter they got back from Fern had to be a response to what she received.  And it also had to be an accurate response.  What do I mean by accurate?  I mean that she would respond not in a fantasy world where you just brush off being told someone was watching you without you knowing on a camera.. but rather as she really might feel. 
     At the end of the story he says "Please let me explain..." and this is where you continue from.  It is as I said a very difficult letter to write.  How do you not come across as creepy?  I read one from a German fellow not long ago and he said essentially "I have been watching you secretly on a video camera in your lobby, I have been doing this for a long time and I have fallen in love with you.  I want to marry you and spend our life together... I have decided to tell you this is person though so I have taken a train to where you live and once you have finished reading this letter turn to the door and you will see me there"  now for this one I replied but there was no need to as Fern wouldn't have time to reply as he said he was in the lobby with her... but I did anyway and said that she was going to call the police and had a big can of mace with his name on it.  I had to be ruthless haha.  I was more gentle with people whose first language was not English.   I think he felt he had written something romantic but the reality is that it would be extremely disturbing to be in that situation.  So as I said it was a great challenge for the visitor to write something that made Fern want to reply and I will post a few letters to Fern in the next post.