(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

"An echo of the person in the avatar"

Friday, October 08, 2004
BBC News has a really interesting story about a gallery exhibition at the Proud Gallery called Alter Ego:

Virtual people are to step offline and reveal themselves in a "real-life" photography exhibition. The Alter Ego display shows what kind of virtual characters people choose to be in online games and 3D worlds. [...] Photo-journalist Robbie Cooper wanted to see if people's real lives were echoed in their digital alter egos in role-playing environments. "It seemed really fascinating that there were people interacting in these environments and getting to know each other through avatars," Mr Cooper explained to BBC News Online. [...] According to Sony 58 million people worldwide interact in online games and that is set to grow. To Mr Cooper, the creation of virtual people, or avatars, for online environments is another form of art. [...] "Technologically-mediated interaction is made out to be dehumanising and unnatural, and I think that is maybe a bit exaggerated," said Mr Cooper. The self-images that people create vary, but most show that there is an echo of the person in the avatar. "Mostly people go for either human, or a variation on humans, like a dwarf or elf or humanoid alien," said Mr Cooper. But the more control players have over how the avatar looks, the more there is some sort of reflection of the real person. "It is quite a subjective thing, putting together a likeness. Your real life is bound to be reflected in it." But those echoes are not necessarily physical. They may be aspects of a person's personality rather than a look.
I love that expression, "an echo of the person in the avatar" and I find the images fascinating. Some people living fantasies, some mapping their physical selves as closely as possible. The joys of online avatar diversity ....


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