Funny that you should post about avatars and art as Sue Thomas has just posted at Writing and the Digital Life an update on the LIFT conference in Geneva where “Julian Bleecker reminded us of the price of maintaining one or more Second Lives on the sustainability of what he called our First Life.” I bet you’d have some thoughts on this especially given your new(ish) SL academic residence. The blog is here: http://www.hum.dmu.ac.uk/blogs/wdl/2007/02/toxic_avatars_lift07.html
That’s from a photo of me taken by Lana Miranda on Devils Moon sim.
Wow Celebrity, that is stunning!!!! I love it!! If I wasn’t saving my pennies for my trip to the US in June I would be rushing off to get my own piece of real art done!! Do you have yours hanging somewhere special?
Jess… I am amazed at that post and that conference and the word “toxic” applied to the avatar and the time we spend online. For sure, we spend a lot of time in technological spaces but those spaces have become a necessary fabric to our working, living, breathing and recreational identities in society today. Are those people saying that places like Second Life are wasting resources we should be using to sustain the world in other ways? I tried to read as much as I could from post to post and link to link so as not to give a reactionary response, but I am thinking to myself – wow, these guys just don’t get it, do they? How can we sustain our professional lives without technology and indeed places like Second Life (which is just one of the examples given as a metaphor for everything we do with technology) when our work is about teaching and literacy and understanding cultures in all their forms? How can we sustain our high level of understanding of global events without the amazing affordances of blogs, flickr, and social networking? I cannot understand what sort of “ideal” the authors of these post are suggesting should exist, for a world without technology, and in which all of our kinetic energy is spent in physical labour, seems to stem from some backward notion about civilisation and society. At first I thought these authors were just saying trivial things like “Second Life is a game and therefore a waste of time” which is pretty easily disputed… but the underlying discourse is not quite that at all. Its much more disturbing to me. Ugh. I will follow the conversation around this and see what results. Thanks Jess, for that very surprising link!
We are, after all, always already part machine/avatar and part human – ever since we started to mediate between hand and sculpture through shaped stones. And when we use spectacles to mediate between our eyes and the fuzzy world – is that too wasting time? And what about novel space in which through words we enter a realm of other space in the willing suspension of our disbelief.
Hello, my friend the new site looks interesting and I hope it continues to expand. One of these days I may even try second life myself … who knows:)
What a great comment. Thanks. I think it would be really beneficial if you’d post that over at WDL. I think those readers *need* to hear your point. I responded to the post and tried to negotiate my energy use in real life as a way of using energy in online life but your quite right that in order to teach new literacies (for example) we do need to be involved with them, hands on.
I love the new site! Looks very sleek!
Awesome photo– where was it taken?
Me too on liking the new blog and conversations here.
My conscious on Second Life is now solved as I have two new fluorescent light bulbs in my office ;-)
The photo is a fake, created with dumpr.net and uploaded to flickr. But it takes people gazing at my avatar to an entirely new level. From the personal and intimate gaze, to the critical and abstract.
Ahh, thanks for turning me into dumpr, a fun set of tools. I agree completely as to the effect you describe.
I found another interesting piece in an adacent gallery ;-)
*laughs* I like it very much :)
Hi, glad I tripped over your blog today (thanks Alan for the path). I teach communication skills for health professionals while doing a doctorate on how IT applications are both shaped and shaping us. I am adding you to my links as I am interested in exploration of art as a medium for performing more than words alone can.
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Hi Angela. I just stumbled across your site by accident and find what you’re writing about to be very important and interesting!
My friend and I recently had a discussion about the avatar as art last week. I prompted this conversation because I turned my myspace avatar into a super-sized avatar (how very american of me). My friend said that my avatar was “epic” and she coined it “ava-terrorism” because I have been proudly boasting about the fact that my super-sized avatar is screwing up the default myspace page layouts.
you can check it out at this link:
thanks for making all your work public! I’m going to forward your site to some friends.
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