Thursday, April 05, 2007

Second Life

For a while now my other (and better) half has been exploring second life. I've resisted creating a second life 'me' so far, but I reckon the day is not far off when I have to really get into this. Why? Because people I know keep letting me know what their second life double is called. And Gavin has taken huge delight in finding Angela Thomas there, whose work I check out from time to time. So I'm starting to feel like perhaps I really ought to find out more.

From an academic point of view, I used Second Life when I was teaching my language and gender module last semester to explore gender switching, role play, going beyond gender binaries, aka Donna Haraway's cyborg manifesto. Incidentally, that class seemed to inspire quite a few of the students who are now doing end of semester research projects looking blogging, gender, ethnicity and a whole range of interesting things. I wonder how storytelling takes place in Second Life? I wonder whether narrativity can be stretched so far that the virtual world of Second Life can be treated as a kind of narrative world. What would Ryan's work on possible worlds and interactivity have to say about it?

From a non-academic point of view, I know Second Life has a lot to answer for when I ask my four-year old where his sister and dad are and he tells me they are on the computer, having a conversation with a squirrel in a cafe. For me, that actually opens up one of the interesting aspects of Second Life - the playfulness and its relationship to real world contexts. In the meantime, the blogging analysis continues, with or without the squirrel in the cafe.



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