Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Aedifex Rex: the art of Nyx Breen

If you ever spent any time in the temples of art in Second Life, you will have come across the work of Nyx Breen. Based in Massachusetts, he has a long career as a real-world fine art photographer, and in virtual, a list of winning entries as long as your arm, in particular at the  UWA, the virtual campus of the University of Western Australia. 

After more than a decade of nurturing and rewarding digital art and artists, the UWA powered down in Second Life back in 2020. I thought the place was gone forever, but the great JayJay 'Zifanwe' Jegathesan tells me that the original UWA sim persists there, along with Nyx's Moreton Bay Fig. I asked JayJay about his friend and collaborator.

JayJay Jegathesan: Nyx is an incredible builder who was pivotal to the early days of UWA getting its foundations sorted. He created one of the UWA treasures, the Moreton Bay Fig tree which still stands after 13 years!
That's some serious heritage going on there, as you can imagine For example, this is Nyx's award winning build, AxS Gallery from long ago, back in 2010. 

Of course, visuals have come a long way since this short was made, and regions and projects come and go, that's part of life and worth embracing, for through change, we grown and stretch our minds and wills and the dimensions of our existence. 
Speaking of dimensions, Nyx has brought his art to Opensim with a new home on Alternate Metaverse grid, and his latest region is Aedifex.  
Previously, he has had homes on Discovery Grid, the late lamented Inworldz, and other grids, but has just returned to the Hypergrid after three years focusing on SL, choosing Alternate Metaverse grid. I wondered what brought Nyx to this particular corner of OpenSim.
Nyx Breen: This grid AMV is active and stable so I use this platform, it has a developing art scene.
Thirza Ember: that's a nice compliment to Cat and Cliff. 

Nyx Breen: Here on the sim, one side is a tropical beach, That is a totally different vibe. I love the beach. It's a big place, walk around and look. There are lots of things and a few of my builds houses galleries down there, also my rl photo art.
Nyx Breen: There are over a dozen massive art immersive experiences up higher like you have never seen before in OS.
Now that's fighting talk, I thought. Yet, as you get up among the installations, you can't help but be very impressed by the size and complexity of the twelve parts of this build.
Nyx Breen: make sure you look at all the experiences in midnight setting
Nyx Breen: this is important
Nyx Breen: go to welcome place first can then go to them all
OK then, let's do that. At the Welcome area, which is where you ought to land, if you arrive via the OSW beacon, you will find a very convenient ring of tps, just waiting for you to jump on them. Bear in mind that, at time of writing, the build is not officially open yet... well honestly I don't know what that will mean in terms of your viewing experience, It all looked pretty finished and good to me. 
 My first stop was on Worlds Collide. 

Forms that hint at the spherical dance in swarms like striated starlings, miraculously missing each other  Aine's ubiquitous danceball reminds us that immortality can be achieved, in virtual. Worlds Collide with the big blue conglomeration and all the little planetoids, similar but each uniquely placed with its own point of view,  could almost be a metaphor for the contrasting styles of opensim and SL. And yet, when you approach that great big blue, and get inside it, you find yet another installation, Haze Storm

The feeling of a wave of water crashing into you, passing through and onwards, magnificently indifferent to your presence, makes you feel at once very small, yet part of something much bigger, like a force of nature. I wondered what technique Nyx had used to create this smooth and stately effect.
Nyx Breen: It is all based on the spin of two master prims, Now you see the sparkles some in the distance. Simple, yet effective
Thirza Ember: the best builds are. 

Moving on, we went to Cynful Dust, where a special ring attachment adds an interactive dimension to the build. 
Nyx Breen: Wear the attachment above your head. It should attach at the pelvis. It should be above your head because you use it as a compass aiming device when you fly.
I seemed to be inside mine for a while, but with a little bit of common sense, soon moved it into position and flew all around the space, among what appeared at first glance to be particles.
Nyx Breen: actually prims

An amazing effect.
To mix it up, there's also the Jars of Mars, where you can fly through giant vases, all full of holes, that change color and spin, and just, well, whirl.  The whole installation offers a dozen different experiences.

Nyx Breen: this is the counter to my rl art
Thirza Ember: indeed! but in a way, it's all about connections
Nyx Breen: always is
Nyx Breen: comes out of me
Thirza Ember: you are about grouping, I don't think you can help it
Nyx Breen: makes it easier for people to understand rather than random chaos
Thirza Ember: you are a man of systems, I think
Nyx Breen: human beings are creatures of order
Thirza Ember: well, we ought to be, and I think that we find beauty in order and system, but but I'm not sure everyone knows how to express those ideas. You have the gift of being able to portray them.
Thirza Ember: I wonder, as an artist, how does this make you feel? I mean, to create in virtual, as compared with creating in RL.
Nyx Breen: I create in both. RL pays the bills and is a great life which I love. 
Nyx Breen: Virtual is great fun and over the top visually.

A crash of thunder and a downpour in real life put an end to my visit, far too soon. But this is one of those builds that reward any amount of return visits. For one thing, I didn't get to go Bumper Car Surfing. How can anyone resist.
 HG Address  for Nyx Breen's Aedifex     alternatemetaverse.com:8002:Aedifex

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