Friday, 14 November 2008

Mix 'n match

Really enjoyed reading most of these, and got to know some blogs I wasn't familiar with, so it's all of the good.

Mind, in a moment of egoism, and despite having linked to where my own offering was posted, I decided to put it here as well.

RL and SL: Separated at birth or art imitating life?

The temptation here is to talk about the title as much as the issues. You have been warned.

For the first half of the question, after mature reflection over the first coffee of the day, I'd say that SL and RL can be to some extent separated at birth if you prefer, but most of the time I think there is some kind of blend. No two people are ever going to have the same 'blend' either.

So I'm starting with the 'yes and no' answers already. Second coffee needed.

Of course, you get those who claim 'I never ever see SL as more than just a game and I'm not involved in it' and those who let it - little by little or in huge leaps and bounds - take hold of their RL. It can be an addiction that ruins families, or solace for those alone and needing contact, not forgetting the attraction of the whole Barbie aspect (let it be said, SL shoes are a topic in themselves), or a case of hot cybersex, drama, rinse and repeat - and a lot more things besides.

Again, no two personal situations are alike. No two experiences of SL will be alike. Some people don't even care about SL shoes, can you imagine?

It's a statistical fact that the vast majority of those who download SL don't stay around. Some get as far as grabbing the freebies, hopping on a pose ball or three, and flying around a few sims, and then their enthusiasm fades as fast as it started. Been there, done that sort of thing with World of Warcraft. No, we won't go there, promise. A lot of those people will be inclined towards the 'separated at birth' approach, but then some experienced poseball-hoppers still claim they're totally detached from it all.

Me? I tend to think anybody who tries out SL will daydream a little even if their experience is fleeting. Could that bling-wearing, hooker-shoed poseball partner be Ms Perfect or a great person to get to know? Could it be fun to construct your own dream world / space station / whatever if you had the time or the skills? What if you just took a prim and played with the edit commands? What if you camped for a while or even put payment information on file and headed for a shoe shop (obsessed, me?) or rented a place to place your poseballs?

It's just those daydreams, which can turn into more involvement with SL or not, that mean that you can never be completely detached from it. Cliché time, but behind the pixels is a human being, and a human being has an imagination. So can you really say 'I am not my avatar'. I don't think so.

So my more detailed answer to the 'separated at birth' aspect would be a firm 'it depends' or more like a 'not really'.

Next, does this almost-no to the first part of the title mean that, given the 'either-or' structure, must SL therefore be a more a case of art imitating life?

See, I said I had a problem with the title. But onwards.

First, is SL art? Well, looking at some latex-clad bimbos, fresh-out-of-Photoshop-101-clothes or badly-textured freebie prefabs, this is a questionable at times. But then I'm a snob and I could write on the difference between quality and personal preference forever (and have, but that was in another blog far, far away, before I discovered SL shoes and the joys of texturing).

OK, to cut this short, SL can indeed be art, and there's always some element of creativity involved, whether it's choosing your newbie avatar or creating an entire world from little blocks of virtual plywood. Dammit, you only have to visit some absolutely stunning sims or those amazing little designer shops like Vent du Sud (and why of course this is a plug. Live with it. Look at the pretty picture).

Vent du Sud

So is SL a case of art always imitating life or is there another 'yes and no' answer coming up.

Dead right there is.

See, SL is a 'virtual world' so it's based on, y'know, our 'real' world. We don't have a whole lot else to use as inspiration, right? And it's still based on our world if you get into role-playing. Whether you're a furry, Gor, or anorexic-looking fashionista, you've based it on something you've seen or imagined in RL.

And yet…

SL is also a case of art, or imagination, going way further than what you can do in RL. We can be architects without needing to worry about how to place a castle 500m in the air. We can fix the weather, we can dance without having two left feet, we can design a whole world from a keyboard. Well, if we can pay for a fast computer and preferably a Rather Expensive Bit of Server Space (had to get that one in too, sorry).

So, for the 'art imitating life' part of the title, I'd say a resounding 'yes but it's more than that'.

But the two parts of this title aren't mutually exclusive, and that is, in fact, my point (between references to shoes and my store).

You can keep your SL away from your RL, or not. In my opinion, it's hard to really separate them completely, as I said above, but there are those who keep it at a greater distance than others.

However whether or not you separate your two 'lives', SL is still pretty much a case of art (let's not get into 'what is art', OK?) imitating life.

Coffee over. And now it's time or me to go shoe-shopping and to twist a prim or three.

Argumentatively yours,

Ariadne Korda
SL builder, SL and RL shoe-lover.

1 comment:

juliana said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.