I first came across Tyrehl Byk via his SL performance art pieces, Catharsis and Particle Phastasmagoria last year, and was completely enchanted in his use of particle effects and music to create marvellously immersive art shows. Now Tyrehl is back at the Linden Endowment of the Arts with a new full-sim feature, Almost Flat Land, which again uses particle effects, this time in an immersive environment in which you are very much a participant.
On arrival at the installation, you will find yourself deep in a cavern – a foreword, if you will, to the piece itself. Here are instructions on setting your graphics particle and media settings to get the most out of your experience. High-end graphics do not need to be enabled, so long as you ramp-up the particle count to its fullest extent. You will, however, need both media and sound enabled to gain the most from Ultraviolet Alter’s soundscape – visiting the installation without either enabled with greatly diminish your experience.
Once you are set, take the teleport down to the surface, where you will find yourself in the gallery, a hall that appears to have suffered the ravages of some geological event – and possibly something more. Here your task is to find a diary, one which offers a vivid tale of stranded explorers, missing team members and strange creatures from another dimension. It also perhaps carries a stark warning: the final pages incomplete and spattered with blood.
However, to consider Almost Flat Land a mystery waiting to be solved, would be a mistake. The diary isn’t a narrative device that guides you through a story. Rather it is a means of providing context for the rich soundscape and of encouraging you to explore; to simply stand and cam your way around would be a mistake, and would leave you missing out on a lot. And there is a lot to discover – far more than the water-encroached landscape might suggest, including a hidden portal taking you to another aspect of the piece.
The installation offers itself to a wide range of interpretations. There are stories to be told here, whether you chose to frame them with the passages of the diary or not. As an immersive experience, it offers images and sounds that will doubtless resonate differently and uniquely for each of us, even when using the diary as a guide for the imagination.
Why not take an hour to discover what it says to you?
(Click here to see the slideshow full screen)