Thursday, 1 May 2008

Avatar as Refugee

This picture was taken by Gail Orenstien. This photo is of a refugee in Vukuvar Croatia. The woman shows a picture of the son she lost to Serbian attacks.

Gail spoke to me recently about Second Life. She is a global photographer who distributes must of her work in social networks, so she has a unique view of society and social networks.What we commonly call “the Avatar” reminds her “the refugee”. People in Second Life, as she sees it, are either internally or externally displaced. She sees the best framework for understanding the person in Second Life as a refugee and the refugee culture. People exiled from home in to another space. I would add that they are exile consumers, spending refugees perhaps fleeing from the Real. They are refugees from the complexity of modern life, wondering through a space, perhaps establishing camps that are here today and gone tomorrow.

I will add the concept of refugee to my study of Second Life identity. I am interested in how people identify with the status of refugee and how it contains the area they can expand and grow. Second Life may actually be restrictive in the forms of identity formation and I have noticed a trend to more white more ordinary identity.

Gail Orenstein sees the Second Life space as a refugee camp, that there is no real difference between the migration patterns of refugees and the social experience of Second Life. Here ideas are interesting and we will continue the conversation.
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