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.