Mixed Reality Portrait: Atismia Unsworth, Academic Researching Second Life as a Mediation Tool

Atisrod

Rod, the man behind Atismia Unsworth, presents this merger of identities. "The painting in the background is one by me," he writes. "The real life version is in my house in Wales, UK and the SL version is in Atis' SL house. Rod is doing research in SL for a PhD."

His doctoral work explores Second Life as a communications technology, asking what it mediates. "If this question is applied to traditional communications technology this answer is pretty straight forward," he explains. "The telephone mediates voice in real time, cinema mediates moving pictures and voice asynchronously. Different communication technologies have different affordances and constraints of course, the telephone is good for conversations and the cinema is good for telling stories, but you wouldn't use film if you wanted to remind someone that something needed doing later on that day, and although you might read a story to someone down a phone line, it does not seem to be a particularly good use of the technology. Second Life, seen in these terms, just seems to put users in a cartoon world. That's why it is seen as a trivial and escapist medium perhaps?"

However, Rod has an intriguing answer to that criticism:

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Mixed Reality Portrait: Three Views of Balthasar Bookmite

MultiplePersonalityDisorder by BB

In this mixed reality portrait, Balthasar Bookmite merges three identities: His first avatar, Ms. Adia Clary (in the middle), his second avatar Mr. Balthasar Bookmite (right), and of course, his real life self.

"Adia is defiantly a fashion diva and pretends to be all haughty around her friends, but they just ignore her," he tells me. He created her in May 2007, he says, "as an attempt to regain my identity" after having to stop his college studies in theater design, a field he'd dedicated himself to since high school. He also loves women's couture, however, and created Ms. Clary for that purpose.

Having a female avatar impacted his personality, however. "I noticed a change in my mindset about clothes and shoes. Suddenly, I had to have a new dress or something for an event I was going to, despite having many dresses in my inventory." After celebrating Aida's first rezday, he created Balthasar Bookmite. "I thought it would be a nice contrast to the female mindset that I was developing, although the female mindset stayed firmly in SL. Interestingly enough, my mindset didn't change all that much when I played Balt, and I think playing Balt helped me through some personal issues. So for several months Balt became my main, while Adia became my alt."

Until, that is, the major design brands of Second Life released their fall collections. "[A]nd Adia made a comeback and still is the avatar I play a lot more than Balt."

See the whole Mixed Reality Portrait series here. Want to send me your own Mixed Reality Portrait? Here's guidelines and suggestions on doing just that.

RIP Garth Fairchang, Leading Second Life Light

Garth and Garth and Pituca

I'm saddened to report that Michael Higgins, known and loved in Second Life as Garth Fairchang since 2003, died this weekend, from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his RL and SL wife, Mrs. Pituca Faichang, who co-managed their FairChang Estates in Second Life. Please offer her condolences in the SL forum, on their blog, on her Facebook profile, or, or course, in Second Life, at a memorial erected in Garth's memory. [Direct SLurl teleport at this link] Image credit: Garth screenshot via milday Guillaum's Flickr stream, marriage photo form fairchangblog.blogspot.com.

Mixed Reality Portrait: Doreen Garrigus

Recursion by Doreen Garrigus

This latest mixed reality portrait depicts Doreen Garrigus and her owner. "The avatar shot was taken on my building platform at 2001 meters," she tells me. "The human shot is a candid taken by my sweetie when I was lolling on my bed in the sunshine, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It may be the happiest picture ever taken of me." She calls this image "Recursion", and explains why eloquently:

"I really like the image of the human and avatar selves making appearances in each other's space, with the recursion as an acknowledgement that we are never truly separate beings. The virtual encroaches on the atomic which encroaches on the virtual which encroaches on the atomic and so on it goes, forever and ever. Even for the most immersive of us, there is no point at which we can say we are only influenced by the events in one reality or the other. Our human and avatar selves, however different they appear to be objectively, share a subjective consciousness in which shared ideas and impressions form. Influence is inescapable."

See the whole Mixed Reality Portrait series here. Want to send me your own Mixed Reality Portrait? Here's guidelines and suggestions on doing just that.

Mixed Reality Portrait: Maribel Helendale

Maribel Helendale

Maribel Helendale shares this arresting mixed reality portrait blending photos of her from both realities. "Yes, is it me and my avatar on the little photos," she tells me. See many more clever integrations of her avatar and the real world on her Facebook profile.

See the whole Mixed Reality Portrait series here. Want to send me your own Mixed Reality Portrait? Here's guidelines and suggestions on doing just that.

Mixed Reality Portrait: Charles2 McCaw

CharlesTakesHisAvatarForASail

New World Notes reader and dedicated sailor Charles2McCaw sends this appropriately mixed reality portrait, featuring his avatar and the man behind him on the high seas. The photo, he tells me, "was taken with digital camera on board Charles's real life sailboat off the coast of Tuckernuck, a small island which is bilocated in SLNE and a few miles off the shore of Nantucket. The avatar Charles2McCaw was photographed in world at the same location." Yes, there's also a Tuckernuck in SL: direct SLurl teleport at this link. "Both love to sail, cruising RL water during the day and the seas of SL at night using the onboard computer."

Here's the whole Mixed Reality Portrait series. Want to send me your own Mixed Reality Portrait? Here's guidelines and suggestions on doing just that.

Mixed Reality Portrait: Rodion Resistance

Rodion_resistance_mixed_reality_magellans_cross_cebu_city

The NWN reader behind the avatar known as Rodion Resistance presents this excellent mixed reality self-portrait -- click to enlarge, the details are great.

"The structure in the background is the Magellan's Cross in Cebu City, Philippines," he tells me by email. "I'm holding a laptop running SL, and in it you see my avatar, Rodion Resistance, in a Second Life sim called Cebu, in a virtual version Magellan's Cross made by Leelee Dinzeo, herself a content creator from Cebu City." (Rodion is a content creator for metaverse developer Avatrian, which helped construct Cao Fei's RMB City art installation in SL, and a virtual polling booth for Alameda County, in California, among other projects. The firm has an office in Cebu, where Rodion works.)

Want to send me your own Mixed Reality Portrait? Here's guidelines and suggestions on doing just that.

Mixed Reality Portrait: Arwyn Quandry

Arwyn and Avatar

Whe we last saw Arwyn Quandry, she was preparing to make the leap from Teen Second Life to the main grid. She officially completed that transition last weekend, and celebrated it, appropriately enough, in the Rouge burlesque club of Ms. Redgrave. She took this photo only a week before making that jump; so it's a photo not only of Arwyn and her real life owner, but also a last glimpse just before they both left adolescence behind. In it, she's posing in her room; Second Life is running on a computer she got as a graduation present, she tells me.

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Mixed Reality Portrait: CyFishy Traveler

Cybeginandme

The challenge to New World Notes readers: Create a mixed reality photo portrait that contains your avatar and your real life self in the same frame, and send it to me.

Today's featured subject: CyFishy Traveler and her owner -- or at least her left foot.

"Yes, that is my foot next to the screen and that is, of course, the loving couple of CyFishy Traveler and Beginning Thursday on the screen," she tells me. Ms. Traveler's owner took the photo with her iPhone, from the desk she usually operates Second Life. If you look closely, you'll see a glimpse of her real world face -- "[T]he picture on the wall behind the containers of writing instruments is a tattered printout of a photograph someone took of me as I was reciting my poetry in front of a Basquiat painting in the High Museum of Art," she tells me, "during my previous life as a coffeehouse poet of some vague repute. (Around that time in my life, I was involved with someone who was working on creating art installations in VRML, so I've been exploring virtual worlds for longer than I realized, now that I think about it.)"  More after the break:

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