La Melanconia della Tecnologia: terza parte

La Melanconia della Tecnologia: intervista a Bryn Oh
di Cristina Cilli
Terza ed ultima parte (qui la prima e la seconda)
QUI l’intervista completa in pdf e la biografia di Bryn

1. You received a fellowship from the Canadian Government to continue your experimental artwork in Virtual Worlds. Could you explain to us why and how it happened that your Government is so sensitive towards your vanguard art?

That is an interesting question and I can only speculate on the reasons.    I believe the Ontario Arts Council is a very forward thinking division of the Canadian Government, but I also think part of the openness they have towards accepting new frontiers and mediums in art comes from Canada’s history in the arts.  What history?  well exactly.  Our great artists range from merely 100 years ago or so, and in the case of many, they are still alive such as Alex Colville and Christopher Pratt.  I spent a year of study in Florence, Italy, while I was at the Ontario College of Art and Design.  I recall meeting some very talented Italian artists who felt pressures from Italian society that the Canadians didn’t.  Each Italian artist had the ghost of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio , Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico, Donatello and so on hanging above their shoulders.  They had to live up to a very rich history in the arts, always being compared to those before them,  while Canadians perhaps have  a bit more freedom in that we have very little to live up to.  No pressures.  It is possible that the awarding of arts grants in Canada follows this same freedom.

2. In first life you are an oil painter and during last year’s interview you told me that Bryn expresses her artistic virtual work in a different manner from the one you express in first life with the canvas. But you began to paint some of the characters you create for the Metaverse on canvas!!! Why? What has happened? What drive you to such?

Before I found the outlet of creating in a virtual space I knew only work on a static 2D surface canvas.  I would think up ideas for characters, but when translated to a canvas they didn’t have the depth I wanted in them.  When I discovered the metaverse I found a medium that was, for me, a painting I could enter and explore.  It allowed for ambient sound, duration, movement and a level of immersion I could not achieve in my paintings.  If done well you can allow the viewer to forget their realities as they become immersed in your virtual environment.  When I would go back to my paintings I would feel frustrated.  They didn’t seem relevant to me anymore.  Over the last year I began to feel the itch to paint again.  Without the itch of desire in the back of your mind it is pointless to paint.  The work would come out sterile.  So I felt a strong urge to paint but needed to find out where my passion resided.  What subject compelled me to create?  I realized that my characters now contained all my dreams, worries and the passion of my soul.  They allow me to express parts of myself into the canvas due to my deep connection to them, where other mundane subjects no longer have that ability.

3. Let’s come back to your virtual artwork. In this last installations is very clear that you are going around the storytelling of your family. Which is for you the relationship between past and present? Why do you still use war songs?

The war song you speak of is done by Vera Lynn.  That comes from a radio in the room of my father.  My father’s parents were killed during WW2 when he was just four.  He was sent to an orphanage not unlike those from a Charles Dickens book.  His life was defined by growing up without parents to teach him how to love.  The adults around him were headmasters who disciplined with violence and he literally was referred to by a number.  There has always been a gulf between us to the extent that he has never once said he loves me.  He doesn’t know how to, because he never learned.  The war songs in my work are a melancholy way to refer to this distance.  It is the desire to hold someone’s hand or wanting to say something, but instead watching them turn away and leave before you are able to do so.  It is the moment lost in indecision combined with longing.

4. There is the possibility that your dreams about virtual art may come true. What are your hopes and desires?

I have very simple dreams.  I would love to have a stable life where I could just work on virtual art without worrying about money.  I think that is called winning the lottery, and I suppose everyone has that same dream.  Salaries sound nice too.  I would enjoy it if Bryn Oh exhibited in a major gallery or museum. If I had the opportunity to watch people’s reactions as they discover that the art created was by an anonymous digital character who could be a man, woman old or young.  I would like to see the perplexed reaction of those not accustomed to this new type of identity.  Perhaps the identity of the future where we create a barrier to block all the Facebooks, product registrations, spammers and scammers who assail our personal lives for marketing gain or corruption.  Because after all, the medium is the message.