Friday, November 19, 2010

Dummy and I Win Koinup Contest

Botgirl vs. Dummy

My Botgirl vs. Dummy comic was selected yesterday as one of three winners in Koinup's funny and playful art and avatars contest. It will appear in an upcoming issue of Metaverse Creativity, a scientific journal about virtual worlds.

The work is an extension of an idea I started playing around with last year, using the ventriloquist/dummy relationship as a metaphor for human/avatar identity:
In the pseudonymous culture of Second Life an avatar's undisclosed human identity is often referred to as "Typist" or "Puppeteer". Since neither of those labels ever felt right to me, I was recently intrigued by the notion of using "Ventriloquist" as an alternative metaphor. Here's how I see the differences:
  • The Typist metaphor places agency within the virtual identity. The human is viewed as a third-party transcribing dictation with neither emotional involvement nor creative participation.
  • The Puppeteer metaphor casts the avatar as a doll on a string, manipulated by a human sitting outside and above the stage of the virtual world.
  • The Ventriloquist metaphor places the avatar intimately upon the human's lap. Human and Dummy are both active participants who are perceived as unique and vital individuals. 
from Typist, Puppeteer and Ventriloquist as Metaphors for an Avatar's Human Counterpart 
I'm pretty sure I'll return to the metaphor in future works and posts. For now,  I'll leave you with Human, Me and Majic Makes Three  a related video I created last September:


Sean Kleefeld said...


Now, you just need to get a vent dummy within SL to really starting going meta with it. Who, then, would be controlling the dummy in SL? Botgirl or your human? ;)

Mera Kranfel said...

Sean good Question!! This is deep....

Botgirl, I love the pic and I agree about your metaphor, although i cant spell it right.... ;)

Botgirl Questi said...

Thanks! The ventriloquism metaphor goes pretty deep and brings to mind the multiplicity of voices in the everyday human consciousness. I'd love to get a virtual dummy with scripting that allowed for movement of head, eyes and mouth.

Chrome said...

hey bot, kudos to you for going primetime... but who do I shake hands with - you or the dummy? :)

Botgirl Questi said...

My left hand is occupied at the moment, but the right will do!