[iDC] Anyone using SL

Elizabeth Losh lizlosh at uci.edu
Fri Jan 8 16:30:51 UTC 2010

Hi All,

I tend to be a Second Life skeptic, particularly when it comes to
pedagogical uses, but I would agree with what others have said that there
were good papers about Second Life at the DAC conference

Of course, since I was program coordinator for the conference, my
testimony is probably biased.

I might argue that what made these DAC papers interesting was their
attention to the disconnects between real life and virtual reality
experiences and how they could be used to expose other disjunctions from
"reality" involving race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.

Here's Micha Cárdenas presenting on his Becoming Dragon project:


> HI All
> At the recent DAC conference (Digital Art and Culture), Sneha
> Veeragoudar Harrell and D. Fox Harrell gave a great paper on some of
> the issues surrounding SL. (Exploring the Potential of Computational
> Self-
> Representations for Enabling Learning: Examining At-risk Youthsʼ
> Development of  Mathematical/Computational Agency)
> Although they are specifically addressing the issues of "at risk"
> teenagers using Teen Second Life (TSL) the concerns that raised by
> Sneha and Fox pertain to all of us.  The teens in their study were
> uncomfortable taking on new identifies, especially when those
> identifies fit certain stereotypes.
> SL is a strange paradox in that it tries to mimic the real world in
> many ways, but forces us to enter this world by giving up the one
> thing that gives us grounding: our sense of ourselves.  While no doubt
> many people welcome this, I am among those who find this bizarre and
> less than appealing.  We do not all want avatars - we want other means
> to break into new experience that SL almost offers, but not quite.
> What I want from SL, or any VR experience, is a lack of reality in the
> world itself, while keeping a sense of myself.  I want the opposite of
> SL.  And I want an easy interface to be able to creative rather than
> just experiential, which includes being able to easily import fanciful
> colors, textures and 3D forms built in whatever software works for my
> own creativity.
> This is reminiscent of the history of so much software.  Developers
> begin with a narrow focus - remember the early digital imaging
> software when "PhotoMac" and "Photoshop" were supposedly only for
> manipulating photographs, with great color control but no layers, no
> easy interface for creativity.  All of that was left to "Pixel Paint"
> and "Studio/8" , which had layers from the start, as well as opacity
> changes (even in 8 bit) and all kinds of interesting tools to prompt
> creative play.  Eventually the behemoth Adobe bought up or drowned out
> every one else (but Painter), and the success of Adobe Photoshop is
> that it promotes creativity and invention while still providing the
> basic tools for those who just want to crop their photos.
> I am guilty of not exploring the creativity within SL - and I do
> understand that there are workarounds, but it is my understanding is
> that constructing in SL is cumbersome.  I have other things to do
> while I wait for a desktop VR interface that will fit into my ongoing
> workflow.  And this includes one in which I can really share and
> communicate with others - in whatever form they choose to present
> themselves.
> Cynthia Beth Rubin
> http://CBRubin.net
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