Remember Second Life? It’s a platform that gives users the ability to create 3D virtual spaces and interact with one another as avatars. When I first dabbled with it, I was drawn to the numerous possibilities. I imagined a new kind of online shopping where instead of looking at lists and product images, my avatar would walk down an aisle full of items and bump into other shoppers along the way. I created an account and explored various “worlds”. I attended a political debate. Then one night, I dressed up and went to a virtual beach club. The landscape was beautiful and the music was good. I “danced” for about 15 minutes before I realized the reality of the situation – that I was in my PJs sitting in my bedroom furiously tapping the CTRL key on a Friday night.
But does that make the experience less “real”? I met people from around the world in a space that inspired the imagination and I took the time to create the movements and image of an avatar. Self-expression plus interaction, however digital, was present and was arguably less inhibited by the limits of physical space. Through the work of five artists, this notion of “immersive experiences that oscillate between real and virtual space” is explored in REVERSE gallery’s UNCANNY, a group show about 3D virtual environments (28 Frost St). Continue reading