This project looks specifically at the concepts of presence and performance in multi-user virtual environments (Second Life) and first life, and attempts to bridge these two spaces through mixed reality techniques and interfaces. The project further examines the notion of telepresence through the blurring between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ identities, and the signifiers and conditions that make us feel present in this world. This work questions how subjectivity is articulated in relation to embodiment and disembodiment. It explores the avatar in relation to its activating first life agent, focusing on the avatar's multiple identifications, such as gender roles, human/animal hybrids, and other archetypes, identifiable through visible codes and body forms in Second Life. The project aims to evaluate the diversity of personas and social life styles of the avatar. So as to explore this emerging relationship between the virtual and physical I have developed a number of interactive installations using “Second Life” that focus on the interaction and exchange between online and offline identities through social practices, such as performance, narrative, embodiment, activism, place and identity construction. Their collaborative experiments seek to question whether Second Life is a platform for potential social and cultural change - appropriated as a mirror image of first life. By consciously deciding to refer to this image that is mirrored as ‘first’ life rather than ‘real’ life, the central question in my work poses a paradox in Second Life when we consider Jacques Lacan’s proposition that the ‘self’ (or ego) is a formulation of our own body image reflected in the 'mirror stage’. However, there is no 'mirror stage' in Second Life, which would suggest that the computer screen itself is the very mirror we are looking for, one that allows the user to formulate her/his 'second self'.
|Publisher||GAMES: Kunst und Politik der Spiele|
|Place of Publication||Vienna, Austria; Belfast, UK (Northern Ireland); Nottingham, UK|
|Publication status||Published - 28 May 2008|