Aren’t my nephews just soooooooo cute (they hate it when I call them cute, hmmmm… dashing?), all dressed up in their Sunday best! Here’s Adam, Jason and Joel.
“My close friend and colleague thinks that since starting this course and spending time as Denver (my avatar), I have “blossomed” offline. My entire identity has changed – my perceptions about who I am, the way I think and interact, and the way I see the world now - has changed as a consequence of the journey Angela has encouraged us to take”
(Denver, a student in my SL New Literacies class, 2006)
I realise this is part of Dove’s viral marketing campaign, but since I already use Dove products, I am happy to spread it here. This is really important - you know maybe in Second Life I can enjoy the playfulness of being Barbie-like beautiful, but everybody KNOWS that avatars are pixels, and EVERYBODY is equal. It’s when those pixels are used for deception to distort real world images and create unrealistic expectations and pressure on women that I feel genuine concern.
Here’s the before and after shots:
(seen at Jill’s blog)
otherwise entitled: “The View From My Office Window”
There is a sports field outside my office and I have a window that looks across the field. This afternoon, whilst busily working away, head down, engrossed in writing, I suddenly became aware of a “more-than-usual-noisy” lot of raucous sounds coming from the window. Roused from my work, I peered out of the window, and to my astonishment, saw the following:
My colleague in the office next door and I went outside to errrr…. go get coffee…. and had to … unfortunately … pass right by this spectacle!!! My colleague says “is this legal? it wouldn’t be legal in my country!” (she is from Greece) Another colleague suddenly decided she needed coffee as well and came outside and asked “Why?”. Not wanting to look like women engaging in perverted pleasures, we didn’t stop to ask questions (of course)… we just quickly walked on by to get our coffees. Somehow though, I managed to whip out my camera and take a few blurry shots (my hand was shaking so much because of my hysterical laughter) - and this is the evidence.
Perhaps life at the University of Sydney is somewhat more colourful than I had ever imagined?
Howard Rheingold was the keynote speaker at the NMC’s 12 day symposium on the Impact of Digital Media.
Listen to Howard Rheingold’s podcast here.
Slatenight hosted a four hour series of events which, despite a few technical hitches, went really well. I am so pleased with how it all turned out!!
Following my talk was a special kind of fashion show, where people were invited to showcase their unique identities and discuss their decisions and reasons behind constructing the avatar that they did. The podcast of this event is here.
Then we were entertained by the musicians with some live music from each in turn:
and you can hear the music they played on the podcast here.
Next up was the incredible Dell Wilberg, who’s talk was entitled Future Perfect: Towards a Better Second Life. Using knowledge of trends in technology over the past several decades, Dell offered us an insight into what we might expect in our immediate future.
Very exciting indeed! Podcast here.
Finally we heard from Danielle Mirliss and Heidi Trotta who spoke about their work with Undergraduate students in Second Life: Engaging the Disengaged. It was fascinating to hear their experiences and to compare their thoughts with my own experiences with post-grads. The podcast is here.
In my closing remarks I mentioned that Christy was being interviewed in just a few hours time by the ABC media in Australia about Second Life, and here is the podcast for that (go Christy!!!).
The NMC blogging and recording of the four hour event was fantastic and my thanks go to Larry Pixel and CDB Barkley for inviting us to be a part of this very significant symposium. it was an honour and a thrill to be invited.
85 more photographs here, thanks also to Gary Hazlitt and NMC for many of the photographs in this set.
As part of the NMC’s 12 day symposium on the The Impact of Digital Media, last night (from midnight til 2am) I attended a live press conference run by the MacArthur Foundation. The press conference was held simulataneously in New York, and at the NMC campus in Second Life. It was a wonderful event and I felt privileged to be attending. I got to hear Mimi Ito and Henry Jenkins, and I even managed to get a question relayed from Second Life to the panellists in NY, which they generously responded to!! There’s two fantastic summaries of the event and what was said by Beth and Rik, a series of pictures taken from the NMC here, and a list of links to the audio and more media coverage at the NMC Observer blog. Meanwhile, here are a few of my favourite pics:
Listening to Mimi Ito:
Listening to Henry Jenkins:
The SL Crowd (That’s me sitting next to Christy in the front row!)
Listening to the President of the MacArthur Foundation, Jonathan Fanton, who announced a 50 million dollar funding roll out over the next 5 years to improve the research into the teaching of digital media, with the burning question: How is digital media changing the way that children learn and develop and what are the implications?
Tonight from midnight to 4am its my turn to speak! See my previous post for the list of events organised for this 4 hour session, it should be both stimulating and fun.
On Friday I am giving a talk titled The Avatar as Communication, as part of the The New Media Consortium’s Impact of Digital Media 12 day symposium. From their site comes this explanation:
The New Media Consortium will host the 12-day symposium on the NMC campus in Second Life, focusing on the impact of digital media on all aspects of our daily lives. The Symposium on the Impact of Digital Media will explore the ways we encounter and understand digital media — inside such a setting. This virtual symposium is informed by the MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning, a two-year project in which the NMC is helping to explore the impact of digital media on our lives in a variety of ways, and encouraging dialogue among experts, visionaries, and thought leaders from around the globe.
In my dual role as an educator in Second Life and as editor of Slatenight (a magazine about the Arts, education, culture and entertainment in SL) I was invited to plan a live event inside Second Life for Sl residents.
I have planned a four hour series of events, and here is our program:
Friday October 20th 7am-11am - Live Event SLATENIGHT hosted events
* The Avatar as Communication - Dr Angela Thomas, Sydney University (Anya Ixchel, editor of Slatenight)
* Fashion parade: Fashioning the Avatar (showcasing the range of unique identities in SL)
* Remediation of the Art Space in SL - Christy Dena, Sydney University (Lythe Witte, writer for Slatenight)
* Future Perfect: Projections forward to an even better world - Dell Wilberg (creative designer of Slatenight)
So, if you are in SL, come along and listen to us - our voices will be streamed into world as will the music, and you’ll probably hear lots of laughing and informal chatting during the fashion show - oh and the musicians tell me I will never be able to shut them up, so you may even hear me getting very stern trying to keep them in line *grin*
If you have Second Life downloaded already, and are a member of the NMC guests group (to access the NMC sim you need to be a guest of the group), here is the SLURL.
Slatenight 1.2 is available now - in Second Life at any Slatenight kiosk, and at the website slatenight.com
Articles this issue include the following:
Deus Ex Machina: “God From The Machine” (this one is the most popular by far, discussing the nexus between science fiction and technology, projecting into the future etc)
Hope, Fear and the Future: Burning Life 2006 (related to an in world event that mirrors an offline event called the Burning Man
Kids go Global in Second Life Part 1 (about the teen grid)
The White Cube of the Virtual World Art Space, part one
The White Cube of the Virtual World Art Space, part two (two fantastic articles about remediation by Christy Dena)
Avatars, Power and the Ethics of Freedom in Second Life (this one is mine!)
August Take5 Festival Worth the Wait! (about the machinima festival last month)
Crimson Falls Asylum & Village (about role-playing in SL)
All the (Virtual) Worlds a Stage
(and another article by me about a theatre performance in SL - images featured on the cover above)
and there’s lots more about art, identity, relationships in SL, musical events, SL lifestyles and more! Phew… and issue 3 is shaping up nicely, with some fabulous articles covering the arts, education, culture, and life in Second Life.
*laughing* this is just too funny…
If you haven’t seen this book yet, you absolutely MUST!!! I used it with my children’s literature class and the students found it very challenging. The text is written in a very unconventional style - the grammar and spelling and lexis is unusual - a cross between the invented language from Roald Dahl, the funny grammar from Tolkien, and sms text message phonetic spelling. I personally think it is brilliantly done, but I was fascinated to learn that there was such controversy over it that penguin books hired somebody to write the special teacher notes (see link above) to explain it to people. It isn’t a gimmick either, it is clearly reflective of the theme and issues dealt with in the text. Fabulous!