Tag Archives: virtual

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The Subzone (Influences)

“Hole in Space”

Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz created a “portal” in the real world through which people could see and interact with one another even if they were miles apart. It was a 3 day event which attracted many active participants and provided for an entertaining archive footage of the whole affair. For my work, I wish to consider if it is possible to tear open a portal or hole in the third space, to reveal the underbelly of the hidden structures in the virtual game world. If this first stage is possible, I would consider about the possibility of inhabiting this said space.

Jon Cates

Jon Cates creates and also archives his various experiments with glitches. It is interesting to note how he views gifs as “cultural artifacts” and that they are a form of cultural cinema for the next generation. Taking a leaf from his practice, I intend to capture my experiences traversing and discovering hidden subspaces within the third space via gifs. Screenshots would also be a backup.

Robert Overweg

This Dutch photographer archives his explorations in the virtual realm, and I found his particular series of what looks to be building parts floating in space pretty interesting. The series, entitled “Flying and Floating”, consists of screenshots of buildings and architecture within a virtual environment which are cut off in various parts. To get such an effect, the photographer (i.e. Robert) would have to move himself into a position within the virtual landscape where he straddles between the subspace (i.e. between the normal virtual world and the unknown worldspace hidden beyond). By putting himself into such a position, the game becomes “corrupt”, where renderings of the virtual surroundings start cutting off at unpredictable angles and planes start disappearing. Just a simple shift in a physical location is enough to dynamically alter the actual perception of the virtual environment. The fact that this altered perception would be unique only to the photographer (Robert in this case) and that  this perception would be dynamically different for other users, is something I wish to explore in my work.

Some examples from his “Flying and Floating” series:

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Hotel 2011, Robert Overweg, Mafia 2
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The Garage 2011, Robert Overweg, Mafia 2
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The Virtual Identity in Second Life: “You vent, You release, You repeat”

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Source: www.impawards.com

“Life 2.0” sheds light on a group of individuals who closely identify themselves with their virtual avatars. While Second Life might seem like any ordinary social game on the surface, it ends up meaning so much more for these everyday people.

The action-reaction relationship works both ways, where their actions in the virtual world could at times result in reactive effects in the real world. An example of this can be best seen in one of the individuals shown in the film who goes by the name “Ayya Aabye” in Second Life. What is unique about this particular example, is how the individual (a guy) adopts a female persona in the virtual world as way of trying to “explore another side of himself”. This persona becomes a virtual outlet for his fantasy and emotions, while his symbiotic relationship with his virtual avatar grows even stronger.

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“It’s like another part of me”

He mentions this many times when trying to explain his actions in the virtual space to his partner, but she sees this as something that is straining their real-life relationship. Their failure to see eye to eye on what is happening pushes them apart from one another, leading her to leave him eventually.

What seems interesting in the development of this scenario is that we eventually learn that this man was sexually abused at a young age. He says that perhaps this could have been a possible catalyst for his obsession with his female alter ego online. Could this manifestation in the virtual realm could have been a form of therapeutic release for his pent up emotions which he is unable to share with anyone else ?

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Plugged into the virtual, with no sense of fleeting time and the Real.

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The virtual identity becomes a virtual output: a release system for an individual to express himself without worry of causing any real physical harm to others. Ayya Aabye’s rampage of destruction as “she” tried to get herself banned from the servers is one example, where if something like this happened in the real world, the consequences would be devastating. Within the virtual realm, limits are imposed and things are kept in check. If citizens in Second Life step out of line, the admins would ban them or freeze their accounts for a set period of time or forever.

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In Ayya Aabye’s case, he was disappointed that he was banned for only a day as he was hoping to get his character banned for the long term so that he can force himself to “unplug” and go back to the real world. As such, he becomes stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of plugging into the virtual space, letting go of himself fully into his alter ego and enjoying this temporal release before having to find the need to go back in again. This endlessness is further cemented with his return to the virtual realm with a new avatar as a young boy after having terminated his “Ayya Aabye” persona a week ago. Such is the strength of the addiction to fueling the virtual fantasy escapades of the other Self.

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Image credit: Eran Cantrell Grabbed via www.gizmag.com

This brings to mind the subject of supernormal stimulus, and in this case, the heightened exaggeration of this fantasy reality of meeting new friends, new avatars while staying in character as a young girl, becomes favored over reality and his real-life partner. In such extreme cases, one has to practice due discretion and above all else, moderation. Otherwise, we become controlled by such forms of supernormal stimuli when instead we should be able to clearly reason and think for ourselves as to what the physical and the very real consequences of such reckless behavior hold in the real world.

To read more about the issue of dissociative identity in relation to this, check out Interactive Media, Death and Taxes.

Covered walkway linking to an overhead bridge facing the Pan Island Expressway.

Micro-Project 03: Virtual Soundscape

Covered walkway linking to an overhead bridge facing the Pan Island Expressway.
Covered walkway linking to an overhead bridge facing the Pan Island Expressway.

Not once did i think
That I would come across all of these…
These mobile factories.
Like bits in the datastream,
They keep coming and going
From left to right,
And from left to right.
Perhaps this is the sound of the infinite,
Not much a void,
But a chasm of noise.
Unceasing, unending
Overpowering even.

I make it back.
I make it back to Earth.
And I look up.

*Audio recording done on 04/02/14, at 7.20pm at Kallang Bahru.