Obedience in The Jewish Museum Berlin & Second Life

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

A new exhibit has just opened at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Titled Obedience, it portrays, deconstructs, and contemporizes a story handed down in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theologies of Abraham – a man commanded by God to kill his son Isaac (or Ismael).

The Museum’s notes describe this as an examination of  the question “Which is stronger – God’s command or the love of a father? And where can the modern subject be found between the priorities of obedience and trust?

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

A PDF download which accompanies the installation interestingly (to me) begins with Leonard Cohen’s Story of Isaac. It refers as well to comments he made in 1969, when the song was released and the Vietnam War was in full glory. At the time he said he wrote it for those “who feel it is within their right to sacrifice the young for some purpose they conceive to be holy or just”.

The exhibit is by Saskia Boddeke and Peter Greenaway. Saskia you will know in Second Life as Rose Borchovski. Peter you should know as an award winning film director (among other notable achievements).

This is the Museum’s very short trailer.


The most relevant aspect of this installation, for those of us in the virtual world, is the Second Life contribution displayed on monitors throughout the Museum. Created by Bryn Oh and Jo Ellsmere, the virtual component is now open on LEA1 and will remain, throughout the span of the physical world exhibit, until September 13.

As part of the crossover from virtual to real, attendees at the Museum in Berlin will be able to explore the inworld build using avatars created for that purpose. If you see Isaak001 or Ismael001 as you make your way through this creation, remember they are being controlled by interested onlookers in Germany.

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

In an experience similar to that of the physical installation, we are drawn through a series of “rooms” – the virtual allows for a more loose interpretation of that concept of course.

Bryn has modernized the telling of the story and explores the way in which we might interpret it if presented in a setting more familiar to us. For example, what if God spoke to Abraham through the television? She has also set the scene in an apartment complex called Moriah Towers, rather than the traditional mountain on which Abraham was to sacrifice his son.

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

Jo has brought us the 24 Elders mentioned in the Book of Revelations – her creations are fascinating. Although they are bots, they are not static nor are they without personality.

You’ll find yourself standing with other visitors watching them as they do their thing. This includes occasionally standing up and crossing the floor to bow to their God. I’ve said before that scripters perform magic and this is a wonderful example.

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

The tale of Abraham and Isaac is not a “nice” story, and Bryn doesn’t shrink from the very disturbing aspects. She emphasizes the impending horror by showing the bond between father and son – from the time they come into each other’s lives and as the one raises the other.

The moment where the father is prepared to obey his God is stark, dramatic, and all too contemporary. I’ll spoil it for you though and say that God stops him before he does the deed. If you go through the door next to that scene, and use the light to teleport, you’ll wind up where Abraham tries to explain himself.

Obedience – The Binding of Isaac (moderate)

This is an installation worth visiting for many reasons: it is a high profile use of our virtual world in conjunction with a major physical art installation; it is a beautifully rendered work of immersive art; it includes the use of scripts which bring uniqueness to seemingly cardboard characters; and it provides a truly disturbing basis for some really interesting discussions.

I’ll finish by sharing Bryn’s trailer for the virtual component of the hybrid installation. Go see Obedience and think of those museum-goers in Berlin who will start to understand what we know about art in Second Life.

The Eternal Suspense in Second Life

The Eternal Suspense by Giovanna Cerise (moderate)

Giovanna Cerise’s latest installation is inspired by a theme presented by Friedrich Nietzsche – the dance, the balance, the dichotomy between the Apollonian (harmony) and Dionysian (chaos) aspects of Greek Tragedy.

She applies this theme to the balance we have to achieve everyday – which aspects of our character will be allowed to dominate. The Eternal Suspense is her way of asking if, in fact, we have to choose.

The Eternal Suspense by Giovanna Cerise (moderate)

You should use (what look like) spinning tops you’ll find to teleport between the levels of her installation. The descent from (the perhaps intended) rational, to the extreme vitality of indulgence, is compelling.

An analogy might be the difference between sitting in a law office being thoroughly professional, and the experience on a Florida beach during a school break. There’s lots of room in the middle, but at what point do you cross the line?

The Eternal Suspense by Giovanna Cerise (moderate)

This made me think of another area of balance in our lives, one I’ve had to confront recently and I have (brace yourselves) a new theory. I refer to age – more particularly, our perception of ourselves as young or old.

Those of us who have lived more than 2 or 3 decades can tell you that your brain doesn’t wake up one day and feel old. Oh sure, your body goes through changes (I think all our warranties expire when you turn 30), but inside looking out doesn’t suddenly operate any differently. I might temporarily lose nouns, but that’s just part of my charm. :)

The Eternal Suspense by Giovanna Cerise (moderate)

I’ve recently had some people in their 20s treat me like I’m somehow backward or ignorant. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with that type of thing and it has been baffling to me. I finally decided that they’re doing this because I have some grey hair. They see me as somehow less knowledgeable, less rational, less relevant.

If I had less backbone, and bought into their assessment, I would finally start feeling old. I don’t and I don’t.

So here’s my theory. They say “you’re as young as you feel”, I say you’re as old as you let people treat you. Giovanna postulates that I can decide to embrace all aspects of my psyche – I’ll think about that. I just won’t let anybody else decide if I’m past my best-before date. :)

The Eternal Suspense by Giovanna Cerise (moderate)

News & Views, Safe for Diabetics in Second Life

Rayne Isles (moderate)

Loverdag led me to Rayne Isles, a pretty landscape which manages to avoid cloying even though the emphasis is definitely on “sweet”.  We’ve both used the region default Windlight and, yes, there’s a definite tinge of pink. :)

Rayne Isles (moderate)

I decided to use this location as the backdrop for some real life news items. It’s easy to forget to do an indepth survey of what’s going on in the physical world, so I spent some time yesterday catching up. I’d like to share two bits of important information you may also have missed.

Rayne Isles (moderate)

The first story is an update to the revelation that a giant comet wiped out an Antarctic civilization 13,000 years ago. The good news is that the author of this explosive theory has found “the smoking gun”. I do have to wonder how it can still be smoking after all this time though…..

Rayne Isles (moderate)

The second, and personally shocking, announcement is that the attention span of Canadians is now shorter than that of a goldfish.

This is

Rayne Isles (moderate)
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 678 other followers

%d bloggers like this: