September 4, 2007

Communion through Architecture

- by Magellan Egoyan

I was privileged, earlier today, to be shown a fascinating new gallery by an unusual artist whose name is Keystone Bouchard. Keystone is an architect who has a real life practice, but after discovering Second Life he's turned his talents increasingly towards the virtual world. His interest is in developing what he calls "reflexive architecture", but this is related to what I have been calling "reactive sculpture". Essentially, he is developing buildings that respond to avatars in interesting ways, enhancing their sense of space or their perceptions of themselves via interactions.

He has constructed a large gallery which is breathtakingly beautiful, a kind of "sculpture in light" (see the photos to get a sense of this). Within the gallery are about a dozen separate installations, each a gorgeous construct with its own lines and movement. Do not take these photos to be representative, however - the true beauty and power of these installations comes when one engages with them, bodily. Furthermore, although they are interesting for a lone visitor, they are designed to be responsive to groups, so take a few friends with you when you go. The experiences these architectural wonders provide will haunt your waking hours, even perhaps your dreams. Not only do they engage our senses (there is sound and some movie elements as well as the dynamic objects which make up the installations), they also engage our sense of play. One feels a desire to run and jump, even sing around these constructs which seem to know and echo how we feel. Each installation has a different behavior, and so it is worthwhile taking time to explore and engage with each one.

Keystone mentionned that the gallery is located above an island he won as a prize for one of his installations. Rarely has a prize been used so aptly to the common good. This awesome gallery is not to be missed, it is one of the most impressive and engaging kinetic experiences I have encountered, inside or outside of Second Life. (Location within Second Life : Also for another viewpoint on this work (and more information), please consult Bluewave's review.