Thursday, 6 March 2014

Is this a thing? My sudden aversion to Second Life


I wonder if anyone else has had the issue I am currently experiencing?  After years of exploring virtual worlds over the past 6 months I have developed more than just the typical boredom: they actually make me physically illl to be in them.  I get headaches, anxiety and aversion when I go in to any virtual reality.

This make taking my class on Virtual Worlds and Literature really hard.  LOROL gave me terrible headaches and made it hard for me to sleep.

Since then it has just gotten worse.  I can't take more than 5 minutes of Second Life till my head feels like it is going to split.  Everything looks ugly, sounds ugly and makes my skin crawl.

I can't believe that just 6 years ago I used to spend about 10 hours a week in Second Life and blog about it almost everyday, now if I spent an hour in it I can't sleep.

Has anyone else known of a case like this?  Is it a common reaction over time to Virtual Reality?  Does it have a name?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Reality is Virtual to start with



Slavoj Zizek gives it pretty straight:  reality is already virtual.  We have always lived in a virtual world.  We always are creating virtual models of everyone in everyday life, ignoring certain facts we know and then constructing an ideal image.

Zizek talks about how power is virtual.  The example I give is people working in jobs imaging they are being watched, judged and potentially fired when most likely there is no effective structure.  We keep society going imagining power rather than real power.

We are playing simulated ideas in reality all the time.  My understanding of this that culture and society always was virtual, that there is no real difference between a a virtual reality and a reality, both are created and operated via imagination.

The idea that virtual reality is false is wrong in a deep way.  If we claim it is false because it is full of beliefs that we know are not true than social life is always equally false.  If we assert normal life as real, we must hold that are ideal assumptions as having a reality. In fact in virtual reality we might show more of our real selves.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Minecraft? For real?


Frankly I don't get Minecraft, why would you go in to a world like this when you can go in to Second Life, with less restrictions and more options?


There is almost something nightmarish to the idea that the post-singularity above could become, from processing power, our future over the world below:


I am actually depressed by Minecraft, this ugly block world has replaced a real effort to make something lovely.  It seems all the attention given to Second Life 7 years ago is now being flooded on silly little block world Minecraft, why?

I just don't get it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Coursera class on Online Games relationship to literature

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Dead


Deadpool sort of sums up everything wrong with Second Life.  You TP in, zombies see you and form and come and bight you.  The zombies looks cool and the technology to make them emerge and find you is interesting.  Then you TP somewhere else.

Spaces are unconnected, experiences are strange but mostly meaningless.

Looks cool

Zwicked Textures, this is a store.  Why most people have left those makers who remain have crated an interesting looking space, but its still a bit isolating.

Maker Madness

I don't suspect this is going to make me very popular, but I think that it is time to talk about what I call Maker Madness in Second Life.  Makers are the new cool, and there is no question that we need a culture of more makers and less takers (i.e. bankers).


The problem in Second Life is that people's making is starting to be an obsession.  Second Life is full of cool things and cool places, but visiting it is more and more like visiting a centre of autistic idiot savants.  There are wonderful little pieces everywhere but not idea how they fit together.  




In Second Life you can buy cool devices to fly, but you have no where to fly and no one to fly with most of the time.  You can buy an amazing new identity and go to a dream like place but nothing is happening.  Its all getting so autistic.


The universe inside of Linden Lab's computers has drifted from a community to a closet, a world made of unloved toys that used to be more fun.  Our strange relationship with toys and things, with making and falling out of love becomes an real place.  A crazy place. 











Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Nomads and Second Life


You many not connect the Internet with the Mongol Empire, but perhaps you should.  I was thinking while exploring the excellent SIM Karekorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire.  Perhaps the SIM seems so right because so much of the Mongol way of life matches our lives in the web.  Mongols were nomadic people, establishing new relationships between vast ranges of what happen been before open space.


Much has been made of the Web creating a new generation of technological nomads, and if it is true perhaps on a spiritual level we new nomads should take the time to connect with our larger human heritage.  The Mongols in Central Asia have produced a culture which had a Nomadic core.



But along with motion or stillness, the Mongols had a great respect for diversity, their ancient Capitals had embassies, Buddhist, Taoist, Confusion, Christian and Muslim houses of worship.  The Khans of Mongolian valued their status on how many cultures could fit in their cities.



The Mongols also were great samplers of cultures, in the west they became Muslims mixing with the ancient culture of Persia, in the East they became the Yuan Dynasty, they established the Dali Lama and built the first palace of Beijing.


The Mongols connected spaces and cultures that had been long isolated.  Their reputation as nothing more than destroyers is utterly unjust, given the cultures of the time.  



Probably of any event in history the Mongol sudden explosion on the world stage can provide a kind of myth for the new nomadic web generation.  Not fixed to a location but fixed to motion, open to new ideas and new cultures, embracing small scale mobile high technology.  The Mongols great symbol is a palace tent on wheels, what could be a better icon for an Age of mobile Tablets?







Multi-cultural Second Life, body of the network


Arab Avatar is an interesting mix of the old and new.  Actually in reality I did swim in a pool that overlooked the Pyramids.  But having these major features of Islamic culture on a Beach is the most Second Life of things.


On the other hand a place like Kiz Kules seems only to be Turkish because the people they chat in Turkish and there are a few Turkish flags, though the wooden houses might pass for old nice places in Istanbul


Portugal Center is one of the best executes SIMs I have ever seen, it really feels like a down town of a small city and it would be niece to see it at a crowded time.


Gopi Desert is popular with Koreans, one thing to note about Second Life is that different culture may use virtual space in different ways.  For many Latin Americans I notice beaches and clubs are popular, while Koreans and Japanese like more complex RP environments.  Germans I have noticed often execute very realistic and excellent look sims.


These are all off the cuff generalisations but I doubt any long term resident of Second Life would disagree that SIM take on a lot of baggage from the cultures that make them.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Race posing in Second Life


Well I finally found people playing black avs in Second Life.  The problem is they are playing Miley Cyrus concepts of blacks.


This place was actually a top destination in Second Life.  At first I figured it was kind of cool to see black music and culture being mimicked like this.  But after a few minutes Soul Vibrations Dance club looked like a collect sambo minstrel show, a sad parody of black culture.  But then again maybe this is what empowering looks like.  As a white academic who has studies in Chicago and London I have prejudices about the liberated ancestors of slaves.  Perhaps my desire for serious Malcomn X figures is itself a kind of racism.


Second Life, as it matures and becomes kind of sick actually gets a bit more interesting all the time.  

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Yamoto Memorial in Second Life, ideal for history nuts

Yamato memorial in Second Life allows you to see large reconstructions of Japan's once glorious and powerful naval might.  These reproductions are truly excellent and worth visiting even if you are not a regular Second Life user.




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I have really strong opinions about silly things that I can validate using the strongest social theory, like why you should not watch Sex in the City or how the Simpsons promotes democracy.