Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gracie Kendal 1000 Avatar Project as the Antithesis of Avatar Photo Narcissism

As Daniel Voyager reported earlier today, Gracie Kendal's 1000 Avatar Project reached its goal of capturing the images of 1000 Second Life avatars. Although Gracie has her own reasons for embarking upon this project, I see it as the antidote for the type of virtual identity narcissism that's reflected in many avatar photostreams on Flickr. There are quite a few individuals whose photostreams are populated almost entirely of hundreds of images of themselves. What's up with that?

9 comments:

michelehyacinth said...

I love Gracie's photo documentary of the SL community. It's genius really. As for the photostreams almost entirely (or certainly dominated by) images of the self, I stand guilty of that. Why do that? Well, because I'm there and I can recreate my look nearly immediately, limited only by the Lindens in my pocket and my own imagination. I sketch portraits in RL so the face intrigues me. I studied dance in RL so body movement intrigues me. Using myself as a model is the best way for me to learn/improve inworld photography, composition, how to capture an image that attempts to reflect spirit, mood, or emotion beyond the pixels. Then too, I love to promote the work of emerging talented designers or wonderful builds. The odd or interesting thing for me is that I don't have a multitude of pictures of myself in RL. With SL, I view the portraits as a form of art and learning...even a form of sketching in a pixel medium. For me, privacy is private and always will be.

On top of all of that, I might have been a dolphin in a previous life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgJl4bONOqc

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

Pffft. With the way my av looks, can you blame me for taking thousands of snapshots of it?

-ls/cm

Botgirl Questi said...

I think that what you describe explains part of what's behind self-portrait fixation of many avatars on Flickr. But I have a feeling there's more to it.

If art was all that was going on, I don't think people would use one recognizable form for all of the images. There would a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, etc. When I used the word "narcissism" it was in the sense of the mythological story used to name the psychological condition:

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who had never seen his reflection. The nymph Echo had been punished by Hera for gossiping by being cursed to forever "have the last word". Echo had seen Narcissus walking through the forest and wanted to talk to him, but because of the curse she wasn't able to speak first. When Narcissus became thirsty and stopped to take a drink, he saw his reflection in the water for the first time. Not knowing any better, he fell in love and started talking to it. Echo had been following him and started repeating the last thing he said. Not yet understanding reflections, Narcissus thought his reflection was speaking to him and became more engaged. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away at the pool and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.(From Wikipedia)

Botgirl Questi said...

btw, my comment was addressed to michele. Crap snuck in while I was writing. :)

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

SNEAKY ROBOT IS SNEAKY

Gracie Kendal said...

Hmmmm isn't your portrait on my wall Botgirl??? :P

Botgirl Questi said...

Gracie: It is! I think the conceptual aspect of your work has great multi-dimensional depth . . . it begs so many questions about our projections of self and others.

Botgirl Questi said...

Michele wrote a great post related to this topic here.

Scarp Godenot said...

Interesting to think about, botgirl. And I think you are right in thinking there is more to it for some avatars than an exploration of art using your most available model (something that I think is a cool thing to do, Michele...)

I see a lot of self image production that I think is related to a dialogue with oneself regarding one's own avatar identity. Being focused on creating this identity and tweaking it through may small changes and situations. This might be classed as an interactive discussion with what their ideal person might be. And one that changes over time, albeit in minor ways.
It might also be classed as a form of self love of a self that can be measured to one's highest (or lowest) values. It might be an attempt to define what 'cool' or 'beautiful' or even 'disturbing' might be....

Interesting to contemplate.....