Identity and the avatar…

Yep, can you believe it??  A new post after only a couple days..well I am going to work on keeping it up… this blog is part of the new project.

I have been talking with my good friend Chrome Underwood about my new project. We had a great discussion yesterday about identity and the avatar. I have some great ideas I am really excited about, but still new, so don’t want to spill all the beans right away.

However, I have been thinking of identity and the avatar. So many people in the real world, don’t understand what it means to have an avatar, much less how it feels. They laugh at us, and think we are just playing a silly game. If you are in Second Life, than you know that is not true. (Well for most of us anyway!) Of course, I can only speak for myself in this regard. My avatar Gracie Kendal, is an extenstion of me. Her personality, the way she dresses, her art, her relationships,  her house, her dogs… I don’t hide anything. Now sometimes that can get me into trouble…LOL (won’t go there!!) But for the most part… Gracie is true.

This leads me to a quote that I found… first while reading some Baudrillard (which I have to reread to fully understand) but then I found it on the Ars Virtua Gallery website… “The simulacrum is never what hides the truth- it is the truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true.”  ~Ecclesiastes   (Jean Baudrillard The Precession of the Simulacra)  I absolutely believe this is key to my art!! For myself, as I don’t want to speak for you, I believe this wholeheartedly. I have often believed that my second life is more true than my real life. Although, this is changing a bit, as I have learnt to balance the two, and they both bring me truth in their own way, I don’t feel like I am hiding in Second Life, like I sometimes do in real life.

So I am going to start thinking more about the idea of a simulacrum as it relates to our identity. When you look at it on the outside, it looks like we do hide in Second Life. We seem to escape into the other reality where we can shape it to however we want. We can right wrongs we have made in the past, undo regrets, live out our fantasies, our hopes and dreams. It can be said its about instant gratification, which is what our society is all about now adays. A hope and dream is in the future. Why wait when you can have it tonight?!?!?! (Sounds like a 50’s TV commercial) You can be anything you want, do anything you want. (well mostly) And you can change. No one is there to tell you you are an idiot for changing jobs, homes, genders… you are free. What does it mean to be free? How does this shape our identity? How does the avatar, the idea we can be whoever or whatever we want, help us find truth?

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2 thoughts on “Identity and the avatar…

  1. You said: “You can be anything you want, do anything you want. (well mostly) And you can change. No one is there to tell you you are an idiot for changing jobs, homes, genders… you are free.”

    For me, being part of a community of friends within SL, I have found that is not true, *unless* you intend to leave your friends. You will get feedback, criticism, advice, etc., from your community of friends, and even from strangers who post to your blog! You are not as *free* as you think. You are free initially, when you first create an avatar. But as soon as you become part of a community of other avatars, you will begin to solidify into a specific personality, look, etc., that they will begin to expect to see as *you.*

    Perhaps that is one of the things you can consider in your project. Is true personal change any easier or more possible in SL than in RL? Each is impacted greatly by your social network, I think you will find.

    What about the concept that instead of trying to *change* Gracie, that Gracie’s various experiments in change are expressed through alt avatars (being honest with your friends, of course, that these are variations of Gracie)? Something to consider.

    This is a great project you are embarking on, and I am enjoying your recent blog posts.

    Keep writing! And please keep painting in RL – I love your paintings 🙂

    Princess Ivory

  2. Hi Princess…
    Thank you so so much for your comments!!! You are so right. Once you enter SL and do find that social network of friends and the community that you become attached to, it is hard to change. I have had suggestions of totally changing Gracie, but as you have commented on, I can’t. Gracie is already who she is. But, I have definitely thought of making alts for this project. I already have a couple, who I hardly use, and funny enough they are similar to Gracie… Not sure why..that is a whole other topic I think…LOL
    I will absolutely keep painting and creating art..although right now..I am in that in between Spring semester and summer phase..so it may take a week or so to get acclimated to the summer break..but I already have painting ideas too…
    Thank you so much for your comments, I really look forward to hearing more of what you have to say as I push forward. Have a great day :)))

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