Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ambiguity of Identity Project

Sabrinaa Nightfire from New Caerleon Art Collective invited me to take part in
The Ambiguity of Identity Project at Caerleon.

The following is quoted from the notecard supplied to participants:

Ambiguity of identity results because we appear in the virtual world as a changeable digital representation (an avatar.) Our digital body constitutes our perspective on things and how we are perceived by others. Digital bodies can also be altered, multiplied, discarded, or exchanged at will including indicators of age, gender, race and even biological species.

As part of my involvement I am attempting to answer each of the suggested points of reference also given in the notecard. I will respond to them both in reference to my own online identity and in a more general sense.

Here is a list of links to the posts:
1. Identifying with your avatar - see below
2. Varieties of Avatars
3. Gender
4. Changing your look
5. Avatar as art or Statement
6. Differing Abilities and VR
7. Sex & Relationships in VR
8. Alts (Alternative accounts), uses and abuses
9. Relating and Working
10. Multiple Identities
11. Other Forms of avatar
12. Overview

the first is:
1. identifying with your avatar....feelings it.
Is my avatar the person I want to be? Or is it the person I want to be with?

My answer to this is both... to understand this response you have to know that in SL I am a ploymorph - I wear all sexes, many genders and a number of species. All are aspects of my self as i perceive it in all worlds.

I identify with my AV on an intellectual level - but for me deleting my account (for instance) would be data loss (painful but not emotionally debilitating) and most definitely not identity loss.

The entity feeling stuff is me in the meatspace, occasionally mediated by my digital representation via any roleplay my avatar may be involved in at the time (which happens, but not constantly) - in the same way my feelings might be mediated in an acting workshop.

On the same level, it is the meatspace entity behind the avatar with whom I interact (regardless of what their personal views on the matter might be). This can be problematic when dealing with people who wear a complete separate character in virtual space - trying to separate themselves completely from their digital representation.

As for whether it is me or who I want to be with - it all depends on the avatar I am wearing (for me they are like clothes) - sometimes they are specifically made to be what I would love to be with and other times what I would like to be - given the opportunity.

This post may get edited as time progresses but for now....

Tomorrow I will look at:

2. Varieties of avatars Subcultures: Nekos, faeries, elves, tinies, furries, ponies, Doms/slaves, Steampunk, Star Trekkies, urban grunge, samurai, geisha, artists;) Political: Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Libertarians, Fascists, right wing hate groups. Is Al Qaeda in SL? Religious: Buddhist groups, monasteries, virtual churches, rl churches with SL ministries...

Freewee set up an etherpad document for the group - see what has been added - and members of the group please add your thoughts there - eventually this could be shared inworld via LL Viewer 2.0 Shared Media on prim/s.

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