In Second Life, the Avatar is controlled by its ‘User’. The ‘User’ determines what it wears, where it goes, even every aspect of its being, whether it is male or female or even animal and what it’s age must be. But what if the Avatar had its own life, a Third Life?
This work is part installation, part photography. To create the work, I had to first create my own Avatar in Second Life. The Avatar was then clothed and sent out to explore Second World. Photographs were taken at various habitats in Second Life. During her journeys, she was lucky enough to encounter an island owner and designer, who gave her permission to ‘visit anytime’. To purchase my own island to make my ‘home’ base would have been quite expensive, so this was actually quite fortunate, as strangely I found myself wanting to leave my Avatar in a ‘safe’ place. There could be a whole new psychological study based on such reactions. How much does the ‘user’ identify with the avatar. The avatar is actually similar to myself when much younger, perhaps the inner me, which I wish was still the outer me.
There are places for all tastes in Second World but, I restricted it to areas which would make the acquisition of props easier. A ‘set’ was then constructed for the Avatar, it’s home. Here the viewer can see that the Avatar had spare bodies, even one male, and clothes and photographs of the places ‘she’ had visited. From these places she brought home souvenirs, eg bottles of wine from Rome, a vase from Tempura Island, a toy bear from Bear Island, a dragon from Dragonthorn and a camel from Marrakech. A dress was made to match the ball dress the avatar wears to Bogie’s Jazz Club and I photographed the third life being, (a Barbie with style), wearing the dress in her home, with a photograph of the Avatar wearing the dress, her uniform, at Bogie’s in the back ground. Photographs of the 3 Lifer with her souvenirs, to scale within the set, were also taken.
Hints to her secret life can be seen scattered around the room. She’s an avid reader of the classics, knits, has friends for coffee, likes flowers, plays music and is a romantic with a sense of humour. She also, chooses her own body, hair colour etc. Although I could have left more to the viewers imagination by removing the doll prop, she was useful for the photographs, which were edited using Photoshop. The props, which I tried to obtain to fit the scale of the set, were obtained from charity and second hand shops. A small working ghetto blaster radio, also to scale, provided the music and the room contained a small table lamp (lit by LED light).