Monday, September 27, 2010
I am usually very focused on my avatar appearance in most games. I find it is a fun way of expressing myself and I enjoy building up a collection of objects my character is able to equip as well. In the PlayStation 3 game Little Big Planet, for example, one could argue that the whole point of the game is collecting accessories and skins (or in this case fabrics) for your avatar. A challenge I have come across however in making my avatar in Second Life is that most items are not free and that most of the items I have come across for female avatars are over sexualized.
Since I haven’t quite found a look I am completely satisfied with yet, I have settled with a Snoopy avatar that I found to be quite well made with an interesting toon-shader effect.
While traveling around Second Life I never really felt like interacting with other avatars, however I enjoyed eavesdropping on conversations and watching other characters interact with each other. Most of my time in Second Life was spent either looking for stores that contained free items, or areas that had a lot of energy put into them. For example, I have found a nice replica of Notre Dame that was well textured and fairly well made. I enjoyed viewing the model in “sunset mode” as it created a very interesting mood and atmosphere for the area I was in.
Gallery owner/ Artist in Second Life
My avatar functions as a digital piece of data, a microchip that is motioned, then press go. A remote control, your DSL connections to another world. My avatar is solely the link where I can perform tasks and create forms. The ability to teleport and network in second life is an important key and can be used as an act of research.
The research and responses from other artists are immediate. Eventually, I would like to buy and build my own land and create a digital gallery with the other avatar, Nike Graycloud. Works will be displayed by uploading mesh forms and textures by other artists who mainly make their work in maya. We will also create a call for entry for other artists in second life. Resume and proposal for other spaces they have shown in SL and their role in the SL world. Time will be a huge constraint, for screenings, lectures, and news will be announced. Walks through the gallery and conversations with guests will be recorded and later be posted online.
My creating an Avatar in Second Life stems from my investigation of nonfunctional, contradictory paradise imagery. I am interested in the individual’s search for a utopia, and the failed attempt to exist in such a location. I am interested in the utopic landscapes of Second Life that are reminiscent of computer desktop imagery, vacation and honeymoon ads, postcards, and billboards. I plan on utilizing the landscapes of Second Life to depict apocalyptic, disappointing paradise scenes, such as dried out landscapes, polluted water, etc. I am not particularly interested in the individuality of my Avatar, but rather plan on using my Avatar as a tool in depicting these images, videos, and performances.
I would like to think of my Avatar as a machine, a tool in which I create objects and images in Second Life. That being said, I would also like to create a collaborative Second Life gallery with Lauren Elder, otherwise known as Sony Pixelmaid. Lauren and I are interested in using Second Life to build objects that do not exist physically, but rather exist in Second Life. Our interest in a virtual gallery comes from our previous work with Autodesk Maya. Many of our peers create images and sculptures that can only be viewed on the computer screen; we would like to use this to our advantage, and display the work of artists who’s work is best viewed digitally rather than physically. We are also interested in the attempt to bring these digital objects into the corporeal world, by processes such as rapid prototyping; these objects have the potential to translate into physical objects, but are extensions of the digital objects. In this case, the digital object becomes the original, the physical object being a reproduction of the virtual.
Beginning in elementary school and lasting through early high school I maintained an extensive online presence, participating in forum-based RPGs, browser games, and art communities. My dedication to this "second life" deteriorated as I transitioned from the k-12 system and became more independent. Between work, more challenging classes, and real-world responsibilities, I no longer felt compelled to spend hours each day socializing online. Losing interest in the old communities I'd been a part of, I reserved my limited time for a few special friends (who it's now been months since I've talked to). These days, socializing online is a chore. I don't regret the experiences I had or the connections I made. In fact, it still hurts to think about the friends I've grown apart from. But due to this history, I find the idea of entering a new virtual world (or re-entering) almost repugnant.
I'm still not sure what I want from my experience in Second Life - except that, as a FVNM student, I believe it’s important to promote my work online. The Internet is vast, serving as a platform for one of the most exciting, diversified audiences imaginable. Despite the disgust I feel towards sites like Facebook (Whoa there, MS Word doesn’t recognize “Facebook” yet!) and Twitter, I’ve always known that I’d have to become savvy with that sort of tool in order to stay relevant. I suppose Second Life is a suitable segue into this rapidly changing virtual arena, and the work in 3D spaces that I want to pursue.
I’ve never been interested in developing an avatar character. Even when I used to role-play, characters were always separate from myself, though they often embodied pieces of my identity. I feel the same way now. It is possible that circumstances will change, so my goal is to remain open-minded about this. But for now I intend to treat my avatar abstractly in the sense that it has no definite characteristics of its own – that it is a necessity for exploring a 3D world. It will be a toy for experimenting with different forms and archetypes and the responses they elicit in other people.
There will be some consistencies between my Avatar’s forms. For one thing, I have no interest in creating an idealized or sexualized figure like the majority of avatars in Second Life. Most are built on fashion model tropes that are even less attractive when repeated in thousands of artificial, emotionless 3D figures. I want to create characters that are beautiful in less stereotypical ways.
At the moment, I’m working on an “old master artist” figure, loosely based on Leonardo da Vinci. I’ve done as much as I can with the default appearance editors, but the majority of the work will have to be done outside of Second Life and imported using sculpties. I’ve looked around a little SL shops, but I’m not comfortable using other people’s art to express myself, so I plan on making as much as possible by myself.
Having fallen "into" the sandbox. Again.
My character Moose, is something that I have not quite become accustomed to in this new strange environment of so many different aspects but the creative possibility of it draws me through the system behind it that allows so much freedom. But i suppose that's because I haven't used my second persona much, because the unfamiliarity of adapting to a second face is something that... frightens me in a strange manner, that I don't necessarily want to get used to immersing myself in a different identity.
I guess it’s because it’s not just playing a game anymore, because the idea behind the program has been widely recognized now as not a game, but what is being perceived as basic virtual reality in the 21st century. I stopped playing videogames in elementary school and because of that I find entering this different realm of technology and media to be a little intimidating because of the jump that I’m making from basic gaming to this start in virtual reality where life can become much more involved in this form of technological immersion.
I don’t intend to make this a large part of my life, but more as a way to efficiently use the basic 3D modeling and to see how I can bridge this program with Maya and to see what I can make out of both programs connecting with each other and almost feeding off of each other.
I guess we'll see though. I hope that I will be able to stylize Moose to something that I can come to appreciate more than just what I see as a gamepiece right now, that he may form something that really does become something more personal to myself.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I'm not interested in joining social networks such as facebook or twitter because it seems like that isn't a private life. To experience in the Second Life is different in terms of creativity an avatar who living in virtual life instead of me. It has not only a communication, but also cultural society, which I mostly interested in.
Here, I took some photos at Halloween's party in the Second Life. I'm not familiar with a Halloween's party in my culture. Though experiencing in virtual life, I feel simultaneously difference and similarity in real world versus virtual world. It means that I have the memory of Halloween's party though experiencing with my avatar.
By the Second Life, I'm interested in interaction and communication between real life and virtual life rather than a building up new world.
Initially, I am drawn to Second Life's aesthetic difference when placed in the context of other fine art mediums such as painting or photography. Further, in exchanging glances with my avatar I can recognize the experience of the self and the other as described by post-human theorists. These two points interest me most and it is my intention to explore SL while reading texts pertaining to post-humanism, Cyborgs, and how avatars can affect ones experience of pleasure and desire.
I primarily created my avatar intuitively, and I do expect to change the appearance of Till Hollow over time- though I have already found emotional struggle in those decisions. Hollow has intensely glowing hair. I premeditated this feature although I originally envisioned Hollow’s whole body to glow like a phenomenological light. I believe this urge was rooted in an onset interest in experimenting with screen captures and video of the character. I wanted Hollow’s appearance to embody an obstacle for image capture. The variable of light or a simulated glow seemed like a classic property in which complications might arise.
During the initial hair alteration a thin rod object became attached to Hollow’s head and I have yet to decide whether I should remove it. Hollow’s body shape was my attempt at representing an average size. I wanted to choose minimal and ordinary clothing as well as making efforts for Hollow to appear androgynous. As I continued to pare down the default outfit I realized that dressing Hollow solely in a pair of light denim jeans would be ideal.
Till Hollow’s first experience in SL was sitting on a windmill blade. As Hollow rotated on the blade the camera rotated in turn and IRL I began to feel nauseous. Hollow’s hair reacted to the rotations subtly yet the motion expressed some of the physics incorporated in SL’s coding.
I look forward to being able to pose laying down flat on the ground. I hope to use Till Hollow to explore performance theory.
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Predominately, I’m approaching Second Life as a means of quickly making 3D models and testing ideas for other works; the ability to interact with and see objects from multiple angles strikes me as very useful. The ability to create environments or utilize the ones already existing to provide space for drawings or illustrations is especially appealing to me, since backgrounds and environments can be hard for me to visualize. Maybe a building approach will help.
I’m not really interested in the social interactions or virtual world versus real world dynamic as it stands; anything created within Second Life will be independent of the real world and vice versa. I don’t intend to exhibit artwork simultaneously in both. I think the reason for this is my intention to take advantage of Second Life as a forum to do the impossible, a place to create things that either practicality or just plain reality won’t allow to be manifest in the physical world. Why would I bother to be constrained by real life limitations on creating things in a virtual reality?
Izzy will be styled in this mode of thinking, striving to make something odd and ridiculous to be carried around in an online pocket. I will probably explore to see what there is to be seen, but any social interactions will be incidental and secondary to finding where the unusual and neat things are hiding out. Izzy’s look is more or less concrete until I decide to change it; any changes will probably be very slow accumulations as I go along and make things. I am a bit interested in making items for avatars (my own and possibly others) but the main focus of this will relate back to the idea of Second Life as a model to be utilized in other media.
Monday, September 20, 2010
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