Thursday, November 8, 2007

Choices and imagination in Second Life

If you haven't heard about Second Life, you're not hanging out in the right places, with the right people! Thank god, at least you are reading this blog! Well, Second Life is the new BIG thing on the net. It is a platform for a virtual world, where people join, create an avatar and then just hang out. You can play games, you can participate in concerts or in educational events, and most importantly, you can spend your money and buy things.

There is something really catchy about Second Life. Maybe it's the slogan: Your World, Your Imagination. Maybe it's the now over-rated idea that you can be a dog on the internet, free of any constraints, free to unleash your imagination and re-create yourself.

Well, as it turns out, our imagination is quite limited by the infrastructure. I wanted to be a neutral oval shape. But I couldn't (at least, not with my limited technical skills). It's good to be reminded that our imagination is never free, but always bounded by the choices we CAN make, the choices we are being provided with. Imagining my avatar was eventually constrained by the very gendered options: male or female. I wish we could break this line of difference at least in virtual reality...

For other interesting posts on Second Life and limitations of avatars, check:

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