Tag Archives: perception

Life, 2.0

Life 2.0 is a documentary released in 2010, it follows three different relationships between real people and their second life avatars. Each of their simulated relationships results in a real world moral dilemma.

Who is Ayya Aabye? vlcsnap-2013-03-03-12h45m36s26


The masked programmer who begins the film in shadow has the most psychologically complex plot-line that reveals the psychological complexities of Second Life on how it can be used as a psychoanalytic tool, and how it can effect real-world bonds.

On the surface,  it just seems like your rudimentary addiction problem, but digging deeper there’s more to that. One interesting thing to note is the way he refers to his avatar, in contrast to himself. Beyond simply talking through a 3rd person viewpoint, his avatar seems to be thinking on her own, and making decisions that seems to conflict with its controller; at times even conveying messages through him to the viewer.

Dissociative Identity.

In the documentary, he talks about his avatar having an ‘increasingly dangerous state of mind’. So much so that it instigates her into going on a rampage, killing many other residents of Second Life, at places where other users seem to be enjoying themselves such as the beach or at dance clubs.

The controller’s excuse for this clear act of terrorism is that his avatar knew that he was spending too much time on Second Life, and went through with the rampage hoping that he would have his account suspended, thus preventing him from having his life taken over by the program. He seems to have, in his mind, completely suppressed the fact that he himself controls the avatar.

There seems to be quite a lapse or a fragmentation if you will, in personal identity (dissociative identity) . Where the online avatar is seen by the controller as a separate entity from himself. And even at times is seen to be controlling him.

Who will control the controllers?

The web has made these issues more prevalent, be it through dissociative identities, cognitive dissonance, fragmentation and the like. With online environments such as MMOs, online role-playing games, virtual communities, and even forum groups, it becomes very easy to become someone else- be it an alter-ego or persona. To what extent will it start to become detrimental to oneself. And to where do we draw the line of keeping our personal identity.

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The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

In The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin talks about shifts in perception in art through time and it’s consequences.

“During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well”

As we progress, Walter Benjamin discusses about the loss of an aura through the mechanical reproduction of art that represented the originality of the work in question, especially in film and photography.

“Let us compare the screen on which a film unfolds with the canvas of a painting. The painting invites the spectator to contemplation; before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations. Before the movie frame he cannot do so. No sooner has his eye grasped a scene than it is already changed. It cannot be arrested….The spectator’s process of association in the view of these images is indeed interrupted by their constant, sudden change. This constitutes the shock effect of the film, which, like all shocks, should be cushioned by heightened presence of mind. By means of its technical structure, the film has taken the physical shock effect out of the wrappers in which Dadaism had, as it were, kept it inside the moral shock effect” (Benjamin, 238).

As for me, I feel that it is part of the inevitable evolution of art.

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