Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oberon Onmura’s Wave Field at LEA

Overhead View of Wave Field

The opening of Oberon Onmura’s “Wave Field”was on Sunday, the 18th of December. I’d received an invitation but had been unable to attend with first life commitments. Oberon and I had met a few years ago when we were both guests on an episode of the Brooklyn is Watching podcast. I’ve enjoyed seeing his work over the years, most recently at Burn 2 and earlier this year his memorial to Sabrinaa Nightfire at Split Screen. We’d run into each other now and then, most often at an opening where we’d inevitably chat about the art and where he was at with his work.  He’d given me a heads up that night that this opening was near. When I logged in on the 18th, I pulled open the notecard and grabbed the landmark.

I arrived at the entry point and took what the notecard givers offered while I waited for the site to rezz. It finally did and I was about to move the virtual me around for a closer look when I saw Oberon arrive, he’d just logged back in.

Nazz: Howdy Oberon. How's it going?

Oberon: Hey Nazz … not bad … although at the moment I see myself as smoke … hang on.

Nazz: You’ve rezzed for me.

Oberon: Ah … here I am … all dressed up. I'm having video problems the video I capture with Fraps doesn't play in Windows media player it plays in Winamp perfectly - but UPSIDE DOWN!!

Nazz: Bummer … I thought the fraps vids only played in Quick Time

Oberon: No, Frap captures are avi files

Nazz: How'd the opening go?

Oberon: Not too bad, it got a little laggy for a while, but everything kept working.

Nazz: You got the whole SIM right?

Oberon: Yes! It's very exciting. What did you want to do, you mentioned something … write a piece or make a video? I even dressed up

Nazz: My video skills are non-existent, so write a piece.

Oberon: Excellent, slightly less ephemeral.

Nazz: How long was Wave Field in the making?

Oberon: Oh I'd say about three months … not that it's finished yet, but three months to this point. These things somehow always get tweaked.

Nazz: Is this your first full SIM build?

Oberon: Oh no … let's see … fourth or fifth I think. This grant from the LEA amounts to thousands of dollars in SIM tier.

Nazz: What was the inspiration for wave fields?

Oberon: I've always wanted to see if I could create a sense of ... liquidity ... using solid prims … a liquid surface. I'm not sure this is quite there yet, but often ideas start out one way and then take their own form as they develop.

Nazz: There’s nothing under the water as you had at split screen then?

Oberon: No … only the fun part of looking up through the water. If you can enable water reflections, the effect is very nice.

Nazz: Your own scripting?

Oberon: Yes ... I always do my own scripting. I can't afford to hire anyone and for me it's central to the art, so I sort of have to do it myself.

Nazz: The scripting is an essential component ... are you're planning to do your own machinima then?

Oberon: Nazz, I'm not much of a video maker plus, my system isn't working now anyway … so I'm hoping some good person will want to make a terrific video of this

Nazz: How was it working with the LEA?

Oberon: Amazing, everyone has been very supportive, nice, and helpful. It couldn't be better.

Nazz: That’s a good thing to hear. As an entity it seems to have struggled to get its bearings.

Oberon: If you talk with someone who didn't get one of the SIM’s this time, you'd probably get a different answer … anything done by committee is difficult … add in time zones, different cultures, languages.

Nazz Lane: As I understood it, you had to submit a write up for consideration ... how long did that take?

Oberon: Yes … not long. It basically said "I want to develop a new SIM wide piece ..." Plus some documentation of previous work … a bio too. Pretty standard, no surprises … fortunately, we didn't have to submit a project budget! I don't know how many applications they got, but they chose 14 full SIM winners.

Nazz: You've a fairly well established reputation in Second Life and I’m thinking that we met the first time at Brooklyn is Watching.

Oberon: Yes, I think so. The "good old days"… I really developed my chops there under the influence of many terrific artists.

Nazz: There were many who were there that were ground breakers in the virtual arts.

Oberon: Yes, although I'm not sure about the term "virtual art".

Nazz: Who did you draw the most inspiration from?

Oberon: Selavy Oh.

Nazz: A good choice … her exhibit “State of Formation” at the IBM SIM was one of the most amazing that I’ve ever seen.

Oberon: Well, she continues to lead the way conceptually and technically … that piece crashed every viewer I tried. I don't know why … but I never could stay there more than a few minutes … nothing else has ever done that. I don't know why it happened, it was very odd. Selvay has the SIM right here touching the corner behind us.

Nazz: “Wave Field” is here until mid-January?

Oberon: Yes … I think maybe even to January 31st. I want to develop one more piece in the rest of the time, if possible.

Nazz: Should be fun to do.

Oberon: Definitely … if I have enough time. It takes 3-6 months usually, for something like this.

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