Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bryn Oh's "Hand"

By Gemma Cleanslate

I met Flutter sitting quietly on a bench in a flooded subway. Describing Flit as she is known is difficult. Her face and body are shrouded in black and she carries a small battered suitcase in her hand. It is obvious she is not waiting for the train to move because it never will.  I see she is on her way to somewhere and follow her up the stairs into a barren desolate land littered with ruined building. There are a few figures moving around but they all seem to be sightseers like myself. It is quiet and dark as we cross the street to a shattered shop. Here I begin to find out the story of Flit.

I have entered Bryn Oh’s latest installation called ' Hand'.This is the first time I have had time to thoroughly enjoy it .I have been to many of her builds and in my memory this is one of  darkest I have seen. Something terrible has happened in this city . I hope I can find out what it is. 

Flutter stops by a mannequin standing forlornly, unadorned in the window of the abandoned shop. As I looked around , everything has been abandoned. There are a few lights glimmering here and there . Flutter takes the hand of the mannequin into her and leaves and I follow her. The way is treacherous and I fall a few times trying to keep up with her as we enter into a dilapidated  apartment building and begin to open doors and enter rooms. Some are empty, but others hold very strange contents.  In some rooms are sleepers lying in pods, kept alive by a vial of food attached to their pods. .

 Flit knows them and tries to communicate in her visit carrying on a one-sided conversation. 

As we move upward on the outside fire escape the way becomes harder as the entire structure is damaged. I want to follow her so do it in precarious ways. Along the way besides the sleepers we encounter strange things, drones that speak, or project messages on the walls and Flit converses with them. They try to hide themselves under a strange camouflage.   In one back room we find Juniper , still under her blanket , looking out.  Finally we reach the top of the building where Flit joins a group of other young persons gathered around a doll house.......

 This installation hold remnants of Bryn’s past art builds and poetry strewn around the region. After I left Flutter and her friends with her newly found treasure I wandered up and down the sim looking to see how she spends her days. I found it intriguing and thought provoking. As you move through the areas with Flit you will read the story that is the experience. It helps you understand what is happening now but not why or how it came to be. Flit and her friends are learning from Dick and Jane as they live their lives. I looked for hope.. perhaps there is some in discovering treasures still there.

When you arrive in the ante room Bryn has directions for you to aid you in having a full experience  and then takes you to the subway to begin.

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Gemma Cleanslate