I am a real life artist who has never dealt with digital art. I have never even used photoshop. I really like the feeling of a pen scratching over paper or the physical aspects of putting together a large installation.
So WHY Second Life I hear you asking. Well…I was exploring the nature of reality and playing with the idea of virtualities and virtual worlds as platforms for Art and Second Life came up the most in the articles I was reading. There are other places…Inworldz,and IMVU for instance, but I didn’t just want a social platform (which is what IMVU appears to be) and Inworldz at the moment does not compete population wise. Even though Second Life has been around for 13 years now, it has kept up and still holds a decent population base. (For a more thorough history and timeline check out Daniel Voyager’s Blog post Recap of Second Life History 1999 to 2013 or The History of Second Life Wiki)
And because I couldn’t really wrap my head around what a virtual installation would look like or how a simulation like Second life actually functioned in a cultural, creative, philosophical and economic sense,I read some more about it, asked some people….and here I am at…
Day 2. The Social Factor. With all the bad press about the sexual exploits of Second Life and the sordid tales of my teenage son telling me all about sexual practices I would rather have not known about at all ringing loudly in my ears the very first interaction I had with someone as I stood in a beginners area called Caledon went something like this…
Random Lovely Person: Hi!
Me: (hesitates for a very long time before cautiously typing) Hi
Random Lovely Person: I see you are new. Can I help you with anything?
Me: NO! I’m fine! All good here!! No worries at all!!!! Thanks anyway!!! BYE NOW!!!
Random Lovely person: OK. Well if you need anything at all, let me know. I am here to help.
U-huh. I was just congratulating myself on getting through my first social exchange without being recruited as a sex slave in a BDSM parlour and reading through the tutorials on how to change my clothes when the next thing I knew I was naked. Not just a little bit naked…but naked as the day I was born naked.
Now, just to make this obvious for those of you who have never been here before, some zones in Second Life are strictly NO NUDITY ZONES. I was clearly in one of those zones. There were large signs everywhere telling people to keep their clothes on. There were also signs telling vampires not to bite people too but that is by the by….I could feel the blush on my real life face. I frantically rattled through my inventory searching for clothes to throw on while simultaneously trying to read the signs telling me how to put clothes on when this exchange happened…
Another random lovely person: Hi there. Is there any way I can help you today?
Me: Errrmmmm ummmmmmmm I appear to be naked. I am terribly sorry for my unclothed state. I am trying to put clothes on. Please don’t throw me out naked into the world. I was just trying to change my clothes as per the instructions on your board and….well….nakedness.
Another random lovely person: Yes, You do in fact appear to have no clothes on. Would you like to hop into a dressing room? It is more private there.
Me: I don’t know what they look like but I think I know how to put a shirt on….(fumbles around the settings a whole lot and manages to take off my skin)
Another random lovely person: No worries…Let me help you….
And that lovely person gave me quick step by step instructions on how to put my clothes back on. After which I thanked him very nicely and left very quickly.
New Caledon Oxbridge University SLurl
Daniel Voyager, Recap of Second Life History 1999 – 2013 https://danielvoyager.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/recap-of-second-life-history-so-far/
Second Life Wiki – History of Second Life http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/History_of_Second_Life