storytelling the future


how to couple real performers and Second Life Avatars? how to produce a piece that compels and at the same time incorporates and complements the real and the virtual?

This last question was asked in the two installations exhibited in “Transmute” at the University of Toronto art Centre.

In “Dancing with Myself” Lynne Heller  tried to emulate her Second Life persona’s dance.  Instead of programming her avatar to follow her real life dance moves, she instead tried the opposite, clearly obtaining awkward results.


This latest performance is the last of a series of experiments to transfer object from the 2D illustrations created with photoshop onto real life by building the object she had designed, and then move them back into the 3D virtual world of SL.  This series of attempts,  culminated in her move to bring her avatar Nar Duell out from second life into real life.  once again, the artist didn’t limit herself to a performative imitation of her character, but decided to transform her into a comics character whose adventures in SL are also documented on paper.


given their idealized and stylized forms as well as their value as “virtual,” that is potential, but not always existing as real, how can we translate the objects we find in online imaginary worlds into concrete, material objects? or can we? how can we re-materialize as objects those imaginary objects we have seen in movies and that have circulated as myths in our culture? canSL help us with this task?and once we have visualized those objects, can we turn them into something tangible? how can we establish a connection between the virtual and the real through these objects?

in some way, in “No Matter” Victoria Scott and Scott Kindall succeeded in this task by asking the SL community to design imaginary objects such as “the Schroedinger cat” the “Kriptonyte stone”, “Pandora’s box”, the “trojan horse” etc..and then by extracting  and reconstructing them as real objects made of paper.



while the authors of each object received a reward for their labor,  credit recognition on the project website, and his/her piece exhibited on the gallery space in SL (picture above) it was soon clear that the amount they received (in Linden, the currency in SL) was, in fact, really poor if one consider the cost of real life labor . thus, no matter not only unveiled the difficulty of translating “imaginary objects” into “real objects” but also the potential exploitative dynamics of working in SL.