Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Second Life had a less virtual life cycle

The Secondlife Ballad of Balder and Odile
NEUFREISTADT, COLORADO– While Odile and Balder succumbed to the seemingly infinite potential of virtual surreality, younger tech-weaned eyes were never fooled, Second Life was a game. Hello? Just. A. Game. Yes, we could recognize the learning curve and ever-fading novelty, yes our immersion was obsessive, but what value have intimate explorations if less than fully lived? Second Life offered idealized selves, idealized travel, social opportunity and locomotion beyond perhaps the reality of many. It could also provide surroundings of your design, to those players who could afford it. While our little native gamers moved on to single-player Sims games where your custom-built world wasn’t going to be compromised by others, we persevered, albeit in virtual retirement, trying to read SL’s future like traders studying the market. I wonder if we didn’t find our level maxed when we uploaded our real life Colorado backdrop to upholster our virtual homestead.

Military drones mirror public retreat

CLOSE GUANTANAMO is being interpreted literally, meaning close just the facility, but move the detainees to illegal incarceration elsewhere. Likewise, BRING THE TROOPS HOME means pacing a withdrawal with an increased deployment of military drones to keep up the killing. That’s what the antiwar voice gets for pandering to the American preoccupation with only our own casualties. The latest Adbusters juxtaposes these surrogate killing machines with the western public’s retreat into virtual communities.

Pblks‘ Douglas Haddow had this to say in the latest issue, about the increasing use of surveillance attack drones, while the US withdraws “troops” from its militarized war zones.

…when we remove the humans from the equation — when war becomes literally inhuman — what’s left to debate? War crimes will become guiltless: a mere twisting of knobs. Slowly, with each OS update, innocent casualties will be curbed to an acceptable level. The Marine will be replaced by the computer programmer — a meek nerd so far from the action as to be absolved completely of its consequences.

With robots off fighting our wars for us, we’ll have nothing left to do but quietly sip our lattes and liten to our iPods. While somewhere, far off in the distance, a drone may or may not be dropping 50kg units of hellfire on some yet-to-be-named combatants. It’s not even post moral … it’s a Zen algorithm that melts steel.

This is a strange indicator of our retreat into the virtual when you consider that our so-called enemies are willing to sacrifice everything, their own bodies and very existence for a chance to kill one or two of our soldiers. We see their tactics as irrational, and they see us perhaps as we already are: machines.

Putting my best Facebook forward

Video Snapshot 7
For real in virtual reality.
I’ve constructed an image of myself on Facebook. I did MySpace too, just in case my cyber hologram lacked a dimension. What dimension, a fourth? Before that my virtual world representative was an avatar in Second Life. I make this distinction because I’m online already, in a blog. If that’s not a proxy of myself too.

What is left of me off line in the old three dimensions? So much of my resources are spent updating and uploading to fashion my idealized electronic profile. But I discover that my ability to keep my best side facing toward the camera, so to speak, escapes my control just like real life. Other have pictures. Deeds are linked, past words, past lives, with no degrees of separation. We have Google to thank for pinning our press clippings to our shoulders. It’s as if our business card now comes attached with our personal Rolodex.

I’m deluding myself obviously to cling to selective anonymity. We’ve all taken our first steps unto the internet with alter ego usernames in sundry chat rooms, user groups and forums, revealing our true selves behind web masks. Who we are in-world soon approximated who we are out, as N approaches an infinity of monkey archivists. For flakes who think they can tailor their best Face[book] forward, no respite.

Except that it feels like the real world me has become a facade too. I think I’ve become an empty vessel, discarded like an outgrown skin, untended, un-watered because everything’s going online. What do photographs of the actual me represent anymore? Pictures of me when I used to inhabit the real world. Pictures of me wanting to be online.