Monday, December 12, 2011
Updated answer: Because SL is an ego trip!
No, but really...
As a researcher looking into the use of technology in education, I found SL to be a very interesting and engaging format, albeit one not free of complications, but one serendipitous and organic in nature. Deliberately or not, in Second Life (SL) I have come to enact those very same stances that define me in real life (RL): I am a learner in both.
I no longer approach SL strictly as a game, or even a simulation, but as an organic, shifting, and evolving forum where people learn to do things in cooperation. Where people, through communities of practice, become friends. Consequently, I find that the people behind the avatars enrich my life by sharing their experiences and knowledge much the same way friends do in other contexts. SL provides a public sphere where life, first or second, can be enacted in multiple ways, through multiple lenses, by all its residents.
So...herein I intend record my thoughts as they pertain to what I know in RL, as they evolve to include what I have come to know about SL.
I write to not forget.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
It's about how technology has made it easy to mislead people and allow people themselves to be mislead. He also touches on the trivialization of news. How reporting of an event has become a source of entertainment as opposed to conveying the gravity of that event and turning it into something to learn from.
Given the rise of FoxNews, HuffPo and others it seems quite relevant to me. And certainly it goes way beyond major media outlets and extends to the web.
But don't let the facts get in the way of all the Christian bashing.
Oh, snap! There’s no open bar at this wedding? Water to wine!
What do you mean the caterer bailed? Okay, give me a basket with a loaf and some wine. I’ll whip something up.
Man, this fishing trip blows. Throw the net over the other side…Just do it, man!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Theoretical Afterthought said:
Is it real in whose eyes?
I do believe we have revisited this concept before, haven’t we? You ask if what we view in our monitors is real art as mediated through the eyes of Vaneeesa Blaylock, Gracie Kendal, and co-constructed by the rest of us actors in her performance pieces. Whatever response I give will not be received satisfactorily because I do not have a blanket answer that can encompass the meaning of something as seen through many people. Now for some out there, that may appear at a glance to be ridding myself of any responsibility for any response I may give will be relative. But my truth, as far as I can tell, is that nothing exists in a vacuum. Whether the context is arbitrary or misaligned or purposeful, it remains a useful backdrop for producing and enacting multiple ways of being and performing. Now, is what we do real, with regard to VB? I say yes. We dedicate at minimum two hours of our lives to the performance to merely see if anyone decides to show up and partake in our “visual” discussion. Understanding that we cannot talk openly to the audience, for we are performing, we still listen to their goings-on, to the chatter that is in turn the background music to our more intimate in-group IMs. Now, many other things are happening in concurrence with our private chat, including the public/audience chat, and then the occasional private IM from friends. It is here where I would like to pause and focus my attention in attempting to answer the question “is it real?” This last performance, given that we were asked to use Gracie Kendal’s premade avatars, disabled our capacity to be inworld and maintain our own identities and hence our own inventories and our ability to use our contact lists as usual. I would go as far as characterizing my feelings akin to withdrawal symptoms for the ability to see who was online and speak to them was suddenly taken away in our use of Gracie’s avatars. I don’t need to emphasize the feeling of helplessness that overcame me for I believe it to be obvious. Forget the art! I want my interpersonal connections. Give me my identity back! So in answering the question, “is it real?,” my response is a resounding “yes.” Is it real because someone else deemed it an art production? Is the whole spectacle real because we are there standing at attention in neat little rows? Is it real because some pretentious art critic says it is so? Well, I will be honest with you in defining what is real to me. I say it was real because I felt it. Something in me changed, whether it was the intention or not of the artist, I felt something. Whether it was the stated or intended purpose of the piece itself, I don’t care.
The piece dealt with multiple identities and the flexibility we posses to enact a variety of them. To me it spoke about my desire to keep the identity I have for so long constructed as an avatar in SL within arm’s reach in SL. Is this identity an extension of my reality? I would say it depends, but not entirely in a way not further problematized. There are no quick responses I can give. It is not a matter of SL being a clear cut appendage to my RL, because I don’t see it that way. But if I feel it, and here I am aggrandizing myself to be judge and jury of my own definitions, then I will say it is real. Whether the reality comes as an extension of something we readily call RL, or if it is a new way of approaching ourselves, which is more akin to my beliefs with regard to SL, remains the question you and everyone else could now pose and attempt to answer. I don’t believe SL to be an extension of my reality at all, it may have stemmed from it, for that is all I knew when I started, but that did not remain intact in SL. In SL, we have the ability to create in ways not available to us in RL. If it were merely an extension, I would be constrained by those laws of gravity that stop me from flying in RL (but I am not), I would not be able to befriend the people I now call friends for the sociocultural constraints that guide my existence in RL, I would not be able to visit and revisit the conditions of my existence and change them as I wish. I would not be able to proclaim “this is my SL” and live it as I see it needs to be lived. So, while I see SL as an alternate virtual reality, albeit one which must depend on the RL to exist at all, it nevertheless remains one that can function without much intervention from the rules and laws that govern our RL. Save for the physical sustenance required for our avatar handlers/animators, applicable only in our reality-based life, in SL we are free to fly. Let’s not confuse an echo, a reverberation, with a clone for SL is but an echo of our RL existence but never a replica. It is real for I feel it, but for me, SL is not an extension as much as a new articulation of identity which once firmly established and rooted, allows me a new formulation of my previous, and very limited, view of existence.
The funny thing is that it has taken me so long to understand this because I insisted on prescribed and very dichotomized forms of being: extension or not extension, real or not real….remember my stance on that prescribed fence? Thinking I could only go one way or the other? My present state refuses to dichotomize the situation any more for I believe that multiple possibilities, which I can’t even fathom at the moment, do exist.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The odd things that happen when people meet, like each other, and become friends.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Ahhhh, James Paul Gee!
So he writes how in video games
stories are embodied in the player’s own choices and actions in a way they cannot be in books and movies. Let’s just call them, for short, “embodied stories.” When I use the term “embodied,” I mean to include the mind as a part of the body. So “embodied” means for me, “in the body” and/or “in the mind.” It is too bad there is no word “emminded” to go alongside “embodied.” When I talk about a person’s embodied experiences in the world (virtual or real), I mean to cover all the perceptions, actions, choices, and mental stimulations of action or dialogue (Gee, 2003, p. 82).
As the mind becomes engaged, as we become “emminded,” so do other aspects of ourselves. With familiarity comes a lowering of the affective filter and we begin to do more than embody or emmind, we become engaged participants. I was talking to a group of Ph.D. students last week about gaming and simulators. Being that most of them were neither actively involved with either formats, they could not readily comprehend the phenomenon of embodiment. What do you mean? How can you do that? Isn’t that just playing/pretending? Most had never heard of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) and they could certainly not understand the role of embodiment as becomes necessary to inhabit a virtual environment such as SL. But to my surprise, amidst the occasional laughs, they learned something new and intriguing. I would not be surprised to run into some inworld.
To be continued…..
Monday, February 15, 2010
4. The highlight of the VB show for me was meeting Gracie Kendal, whose own work in SL follows the trajectory of a woman in conversation with her avatar. While there are many ways to perform, hers is an amusing if not innovative approach to art as an everyday occurrence. I love it, I really do. As a mere plebeian amidst the art deities of SL, I dare state my definition of art as a creation which induces a state of reflection, is greater that its individual parts, and that engages my curiosity and ultimately pulls me into its vortex, forging remembrance. Herein I defer to my friend's definition of art, "if someone says it is art, it is art." So much for highbrow elitist definitions of art, huh? And a big YAY for personal agency, my own tackiness not withstanding. Gracie, feel better soon....:D
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Regarding the Facebook avacides/murders...
What the hell is going on?
I can't help but laugh it out, and be happy I have been oblivious to all the drama involved in partaking of social networking sites as my avatar (who is real, btw).
This is all so fascinating, I wonder where I have been without a Facebook for my avatar! Oh dear me...As aptly put by Prokofy Neva here, SL should be fun and freeing. Once that changes based on self-imposed constraints for the sake of linking with others, it becomes work. For me at least, having a blog and a Flickr account is more than enough, particularly when multiplied by two, for my real avi, and coupled with all her other time consuming online/techie pastimes.
I just need a little respite, therefore my life as an avatar, but no drama nor complications resembling those encountered in a real life existence.