Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Hey, take a look at this.
Second Front is an avatar performance art group on the virtual world Second Life. Its members come from all over the "real" (or, should I say, tangible?) world--the US, Italy, Canada, etc. The video you see here is a Machinima document of one of their recent live performance pieces, ZOMBIE ATTACK: 28 AVATARS LATER (horror film fans, you'll see hints of George Romero). If you're interested, you can read this interview of Second Front on rhizome.org:
In the interview, Second Front member Great Escape says that "Second Life offers a unique space for performance. Without the normal constraints of the body ― the usual center of performance -and without a traditional audience, we can try and do things that have been previously thought to be impossible."
This is fascinating to me. Second Life allows the members of Second Front to be in two places at once, to be in Milan or Vancouver and simultaneously perform in a virtual meeting place. However, I would like to think more about the ways in which Second Life DOES constrain the body. Are we ever really free of our bodies? Can we ever really leave our "usual center[s]"?
I've recently started playing Second Life and was both physically and emotionally affected by an abusive run-in with another player. A male avatar shoved and--for lack of a better phrase--sexually assaulted my avatar. I was too new to the game to know how to report this behavior.
Of course, this was not "real" and can't be compared to an assault that occurs in our tangible world. And yet, I was quite frightened by the whole thing, making my avatar run away as fast as she (or I) could. How can we account for the physicality of immaterial bodies?