ALL ABOUT MY AVATAR: SLADE ONIZUKA
For the last few years, Slade has been a renowned crafter of exoskeleton-based avatars; we fell out of touch for a time, but while doing interviews for the book, I caught up with him in the legendary city of Nexus Prime, in his ornate apartment jutting out of the city in mid-air. Onizuka told me about his new avatar, the identity he's trying to project with it-- and its role as a shield from certain aspects of SL culture.
On the number of prims in his current avatar
On building and selling his avatars
I've no background at all in 3D [building], learned this system through trial and error, and there are a lot of intricacies I wish I were more familiar with. Sad to say, I haven't really put anything really "new" for sale in at least a year and a half... I would enjoy it, but at the same time, sometimes I get lost in the process. It can take me two weeks to do an avatar. Or two years.
Slade in 2005, from "Shooting to Kill"
On his new avatar
You remember that little kid exoskeleton one I had [above]. I felt it was time to show a new face. I really liked the collar. I read a comic called Blame, and in one picture, the main character had a collar like this on. Everything else came from a need to do something darker, less inviting, I guess. The final touch was the faceplate, a random thought actually, well after I [had] completed the avatar.
Why he finds exoskeletons so appealing as avatars
A few reasons. One, I think the general avatar looks frail, no matter what clothing or size it wears. Two, I don't think it gives the right effect. Here we communicate our minds to others, we know nothing about each other, and only communicate, for the most part, in a virtual setting. My goal is to create a layer for myself that isn’t tied down by the general template. I can manipulate it to how I want to be observed.
On whether he roleplays in his avatar
Sometimes, but very rarely. Most times it's a passing event in Gibson [home region of Nexus Prime]. Stuff like Blade Runner-esque storylines, anything enigmatic if I can help it. Makes for less mess, leave the other roleplaying people with more questions and less answers.
On whether it feels strange to be an avatar without an exoskeleton
Honestly, in most cases, yes, I tend to feel like I'm walking around nude. Though sometimes I feel fine, for instance I'll walk around a Victorian sim in a suit or something, the norm there, and feel fine.
On the experience of being within his avatar
It's like closing off the rest of Second Life. It provides a silence. The effect it serves is to keep the rest of the bling and sex populace from getting too close to me. I really disdain that sort of thing... Wander around SL, it's damn near all pervasive.
But that really doesn't separate you from them.
Yes, but it's like walking through a wax exhibit. I'm not stating that I'm any better than the rest. But I prefer to be silent. My opinions on the matter are not for discussion, as I stated before, opinions are entitled to everyone.
Is there another fascinating avatar out there I should know all about? E-mail me, or IM Hamlet Au, and tell me more.