Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Second Life - Utopia or distopia?

Through reading "Exit Utopia - Architectural Provocations" i have begun to identify the many parallels that exist between second life and Utopian theories behind projects such as 'New Babylon' and the 'Plug-in City.'

Homo ludens - Man at Play (is the basis of the theory behind 'New Babylon')

"New Babylon cannot be hijacked, because it belongs to everybody. It isn't a personal expression of mine now, is it? ... I do believe that when people are liberated, en masse, from their duties and obligations, a type of society will be born in which man will play with his life, rather then partition it according to demands of the struggle of existence."

The Second Life experience states "Your World. Your Imagination." Second Life is a land of play, the world and its experiences are created mainly through the creativity of its Residents. The Residents of the world may teleport and travel through people's creativity and are not tied down to jobs or property. It is truly the 'New New Babylon" envisioned.

Whereas the "Plug-in City" considers Utopia to be an "interchangeable 'kit-of-parts'" and "plug-in, plug-out joints."

is made up of building blocks known as 'This theory also holds true for Second Life. For in Second Life every element of the environmentprims' these 'prims' can be arranged, re-arranged and deleted as the avatar sees fit. They can also be used in an inexhaustible amount of different structures for different purposes.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Just finished watching "Wonderland: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love" which is an interesting documentary which follows both the virtual and real lives of two couples. It addresses the key concepts of fantasy and utopia within Second Life and the danger of your second life becoming your only life. It works through a medium of interview, machinima and narration. This is a method of communication i have been thinking about using in my own project. However within my own work i would like to use editing and post production as a tool to try and dive in and out of the real and virtual world, throughout the course of the interviews allowing the worlds to become so intermingled that the viewer has trouble telling which is the real and which is the virtual? This confusion will allow me to question what is truly real and false and look at weather bits and information can ever be viewed as something tangible, i also wish to portray a future hypothesis, looking ironically at series of people whose lives have become a series of informational patterns.

"In a world despoiled by overdevelopment, overpopulation and time-release environmental poisons, it is comforting to think that physical forms can recover their pristine purity by being reconstructed as informational patterns in a multidimensional computer space"

Katherine Hayles -How we became Post Human (1984)
Starting to create basic objects in second life such as this double bed. The bed is significant as it is where the migratory second lifers wake up after they have been 'reborn' as a resident. My avatar is also dressed in ceremonial bridal white, again looking towards an amalgamation of funeral and marriage ritual.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The video below displays a moving timeline, mapping out key communications developments since the 1950s, it also includes various other, political, social, economic and technological trends. This timeline has enabled me to begin to consider what the future would be like if current trends were followed. I have then made a series of predictions, the most interesting one for me personally is that people will begin to see second life as the new 'land of plenty' much the way people saw America in the past. As prices are still exceptionally low and its economy is booming people will begin to see migration as a viable option.

During the summer period i worked for 5 weeks at Mediastudios, a film and production house, who specialise in film and broadcasting. The majority of their work being in television advertisements and publicity clips. During my time there I worked primarily in the post production suite, where I assisted on projects, by using my skills in photoshop and after effects. I also had the opportunity to learn about the full process of creating an advert, from story boarding to post production. I also spent a few days as a crew member, on location of an advert, where i learnt about the industrial filming process.

I also participated in the student associate scheme, completing a three week placement in Harry Carlton school, where i initiated workshops, created facilities and info graphics. I also acted as a teaching assistant, giving tutorials to the year 12 and 13s and set up glass fusion demonstrations.