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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The weight of consequences

If you're dancing physics, you're dancing contact. 
If you're dancing chemistry, you're doing something else.
Steve Paxton

Push is the perfect name for a sim containing Oberon Onmura's work. He is a pushy artist - in the best possible sense of the word, not angling for publicity, but producing amazing physical effects of collision and collapse that are the hallmarks of his minimalist art. The five piece retrospective show at Push is a window into his thoughts on dance, music, nature; it's another opportunity to enjoy the themes and admire his genius for elegant lines, both in his scripts and his builds.
Primcounter extraordinare and handyman/ex superhero Dividni Shostakovich was at Push with us, he likes all that dance and art stuff, and (being ancient) knew all about the 70's dance movement  that inspired Oberon's build Contact Improvisation.
The men rattled on about all that for a while, naming names of
artists and such, it's a field in which Oberon has RL experience, ask him, he'll tell you. The prims pirouetted and bounced off each other in seemingly endless variety. I thought that the Americans spent the 1970's doing Disco, so this site about CI was all news to me, and really informed the piece with historical and conceptual perspective.
Yet the art stands alone; even without the backstory, there is a glassy clinkyness to the way the trio interacts that is about as far from limbs and lumbar support as you can get. This is Oberon's favourite build of the five, for the way the colour and the sound and the movement all come together. But don't stop there.
More dancing with a vintage piece,  Light and Heavy. Are those cubes dancing or fighting?  You can look at them for ages and still not be sure; one thing is for certain, you keep your distance, unsure if they'd crush you if you stray too close. Look for the sparkles.
Plaza is another angular, apprehensive build. Take the weight off on one of the plastic chairs, and you'll drown in the bricks, as the pavement rises like a monochrome tide. The chairs pop out of the ground, and are kicked over or thrown into the air by invisible hands. When he sat down, Dividni's pose turned out to be very Guantanamo Bay - perfect for such a stark build.
At odds with the powerlessness of the Plaza is The Stand, a fragile forest that is easily trampled underfoot, with beautiful consequences.
The last is perhaps the loveliest. It's the electrifying  Khamaseeninspired by tales of the dust storms of the Sahara and Sinai desert where, at this time of year, unwary travellers can find themselves engulfed in spiralling sand. Oberon has combined atmospheric effects with an old favourite from Coriolis, I leave you to discover the consequences of straying into the sand for yourself.
Oberon Onmura's Retrospective is at  Push for the foreseeable future.


Dividni Shostakovich said...

Ancient, huh? I forgot to mention, in RL I'm a dog. For some reason no-one believes that. Thank heavens, now I know that *someone* will believe me! :-D

These earlier works by Oberon are indeed minimalist in a technical sense, but to me, what distinguishes them from a lot of abstract art in SL is the narrative element. For example, knowing the meaning of "contact improvisation" -- knowing that the phrase is not simply a title but a reference -- I think makes the piece echo with both history and futurity. Similar things might be said of the way that some of these works establish a place: the forest (wheatfield? lawn? seaweed?), the desert, the plaza. And physical contact continues as an element of much of Oberon's work, for example "Second Pool" (at Split Screen now).

How about that ... two men discussing dance, while the woman wanders off in boredom.... :-D

Thirza Ember said...

yes, it was a little gay. Way to plug your gallery my furry friend.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear Dividni's perspective on this work by Oberon. I am anxious to now have this experience thanks to his shared insight. I was pleased with the display that was recently opened to us all at Split Screen and am quite impressed with Oberon, as well as Dividni. Wonderful decision to include him in a bit of your rib tickling humor in this post. We who know him, know he's the greatest!